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Ontario Compaq Portable/Plus Keycap 3D Files?



Aug 19, 2023
I guess I’m just putting this out there as more of a question/ discussion point but also a request. I was wondering if it was possible for someone to create 3D files for the Compaq Portable/ Plus Keycaps, instead of trying to source NOS keycaps or look for parts on ebay. As a side tangent if that’s not possible, I’m wonder about if there is any reputable custom keycap maker company, website who is willing to do this.
Why not try making them yourself? If you don't care about them being perfect, you can make silicone molds and cast them in resin.
There are learning curves with creating silicon molds and resin casting, from differential wall thickness, resin bubbles, tack surfaces, and the resin taking up moisture. There also tighter tolerances concerns. I will keep in mind of what you said, but I would prefer to work with materials that produce more consistent and uniform results at a lower trial/ error process and therefore, material cost. 3d printing seems like the more efficient method.
3D printing is not consistent nor uniform, it's also not cheap. Your average run of the mill FDM 3D printer is not going to be able to print extremely fine tolerances required in a keycap, you're going to need an SLA resin printer. Even with a super fine nozzle on a FDM printer and tiny layer slices, the layer boundaries are always going to be a weak point, and won't really hold up to being a structural part with such a small cross section. Maybe with exotic carbon fiber or glass filled filaments, but those just compound the problems like nozzle clogs.

Resin casting has far fewer variables and more control than the average 3D printer. You can quite literally spend hours, days and weeks debugging a 3D printer to why it won't print properly and waste tons of filament stock during said process.

If you don't want to go the resin casting route, I'd recommend a 3D scanner, clean the resulting model up and then send it off to a professional printing company, where they take all of the headaches out of the equation and give you a near perfect end product.
Just putting it out there that I am still open to anyone who has suggestions, services or skills on creating keycaps on a budget. I am experimenting with silicon mold making/ resin casting and it hasn’t worked out well. Futhermore I asked around for some quotes with some more professional services near me, which are out of my budget range