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Default Default:Key Reference - Pics and specifications for various manufacturer's keys

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[top]Introduction

One of the things that determines a major part of the keyboards feel is the keys. The Wiki entry "All About Keys" gives an overview of different key types, how to maintain them and other background info on keys in general. The purpose of this wiki is to provide a database of the most common keys you will run across. In addition most manufacturers do not generally give specs on their keys so if keys are important to you this should help in your buying decision.

The key pictured is generally the "F" key along with other home row keys. The home row keys are sometimes a different profile from the other rows as shown below.

From Top To Bottom. IBM Model F/AT/Unicomp. Topre. Cherry Corp. Filco.


Signature Plastic has a handy chart showing family profiles here (most mechanical keyboards seem to follow the DCS profile)

[top]ALPS Compatible


[top]Focus 2001 (and many Taiwanese ALPS keyboards)

  • Picture
  • Material ABS
  • Font ?
  • Labeling Technology Double Shot
  • Weight .8g
  • Front Edge Thickness .65mm
  • Other Notes Red/green/blue lettering as well. Thinnest of the keys I've seen.

[top]NeXT

  • Picture
  • Material ABS
  • Font ?
  • Labeling Technology Double Shot
  • Weight .9g
  • Front Edge Thickness .9mm
  • Other Notes "Command" is a green doubleshot

[top]Silicon Graphics SGI Granite

  • Picture
  • Material PBT
  • Font ?
  • Labeling Technology Dye Sublimation
  • Weight 1 g
  • Front Edge Thickness 1 mm
  • Other Notes Many ALPS have pretty poor keys. These are quite nice.

[top]Add Your Own Key Template

  • Picture
  • Material
  • Font
  • Labeling Technology
  • Weight
  • Front Edge Thickness
  • Other Notes

[top]Cherry MX Compatible


[top]Filco

  • Picture


    Filco at 60x
  • Material ? - ruled out ABS or PBT through chemical/heat test. Probably polystyrene.
  • Font Futura
  • Labeling Technology Pad Printed with clear coat
  • Weight .8g
  • Front Edge Thickness .9mm
  • Other Notes Matte finish gets shiny quickly

[top]Geekhack Key

  • Picture


    baby picture
  • Material ABS. Source.
  • Font ? Rounded sans serif
  • Labeling Technology Double Shot
  • Weight .8g
  • Front Edge Thickness .8mm
  • Other Notes Cherry Corp Profile, The One Key To Rule Them All

[top]Cherry Corp L series

  • Picture
    Older version. G86-62410 ("RicerCar SPOS").


    at 60x. Note the infill is even with the key.


    Newer version. G80-3000. Note the lasered lettering is raised quite a bit and scratchy feeling

    pic courtesy of Soarer
  • Material Varies but usually PBT. Some keys are made of POM (Delrin).
  • Font ?
  • Labeling Technology Lasered with infill.
  • Weight 1g
  • Front Edge Thickness 1.3 mm
  • Other Notes Lettering has a greyish tint but uniform. Medium texture. Should be very long lasting.

[top]Cherry Corp H series

  • Picture


    at 60x
  • Material ABS
  • Font ?
  • Labeling Technology Double Shot
  • Weight .9g
  • Front Edge Thickness 1.5mm
  • Other Notes Up to 1.5 mm shorter than Filco keys. Important if you are trying key swaps.

[top]Cherry Corp Two Piece Key

  • Picture

  • Material - Undetermined
  • Font - Not Applicable
  • Labeling Technology - Not Applicable
  • Weight - 1.0 g
  • Front Edge Thickness -1.0mm
  • Other Notes - Clear part pops off easily, can harvest from some Cherry Corp. Point Of Sales keyboards

[top]Das S and Later Keyboards

  • Picture
    I don't have this keyboard but have some Windows "replacement" keys. These obviously go in the front row, not the home row.


    200X showing the distinctive Laser "pits"
  • Material Appears identical to Filcos in every way including molding patterns. Probably polystyrene.
  • Font 1980's Science Fiction
  • Labeling Technology Lasered with standard infill (not as nice as Cherry Corps process but durable)
  • Weight Weighs same as Filcos (I compared with front row keys)
  • Front Edge Thickness Same as Filcos (I compared with front row Filco keys)
  • Other Notes Note lower contrast "dirty" color from charred plastic mixing with paint/epoxy infill.

[top]Deck and TG3

  • Picture


    at 60X
  • Material PBT
  • Font Unknown "Lord of the Rings" Style
  • Labeling Technology Two piece key with dye sublimation of the translucent area
  • Weight 1.1g
  • Front Edge Thickness 1 mm
  • Other Notes The penguin looks much better lit up.


[top]SteelSeries 6GV2, 7G



[top]Add Your Own Key Template

  • Picture
  • Material
  • Font
  • Labeling Technology
  • Weight
  • Front Edge Thickness
  • Other Notes

[top]Buckling Spring


[top]IBM Model M and Unicomp Two Piece

  • Picture


    at 60X
  • Material PBT
  • Font Near Helvetica ("$" is off). Keys other than letters and symbols (e.g. Esc, Ctrl, Alt, Tab, etc.) are in Akzidenz-Grotesk
  • Labeling Technology Dye Sublimation, Some people think the oldest Model M's have the boldest lettering. Unicomp maintains it varies depending on age of dye printer "pads".
  • Weight 2.5 g
  • Front Edge Thickness 1.5 mm
  • Other Notes Rough sandpapery texture. Stem colors vary but generally color coded to larger keys and F/J nubby keys. The Ivory and Colored two piece keys from Unicomp weigh the same, have the same texture, and the same thickness. Didn't see any quality differences in my samples. The height is the same with one piece keys but is slightly wider.

[top]IBM Model M Single Piece

  • Picture
  • Material PBT
  • Font Helvetica
  • Labeling Technology Dye Sublimation
  • Weight 2.2 g
  • Front Edge Thickness 1 mm
  • Other Notes

[top]IBM Model F


[top]IBM M13

  • Picture


    at 60X
  • Material PBT
  • Font Helvetica
  • Labeling Technology Pad printed, no coating
  • Weight 2.2g
  • Front Edge Thickness 1 mm
  • Other Notes Rougher texture than Model M, technology abandoned by Unicomp due to customer complaints about wear

[top]Unicomp Black Blanks

  • Picture
  • Material PBT
  • Font None
  • Labeling Technology None
  • Weight 2.2g
  • Front Edge Thickness 1.0mm
  • Other Notes Shinier than the M13. Some Geekhackers have reported molding "crud" along the edges although I've only seen minor examples of it in my samples.

[top]Add Your Own Key Template

  • Picture
  • Material
  • Font
  • Labeling Technology
  • Weight
  • Front Edge Thickness
  • Other Notes

[top]Rubber Dome and Scissor Switch


[top]Logitech $10 OEM keyboard

  • Picture
    After scratching with a screwdriver
  • Material Polystyrene? - something with low temperature and solvent resistance
  • Font ?
  • Labeling Technology Pad Printed with "decal style" coating
  • Weight .6g
  • Front Edge Thickness .7 mm
  • Other Notes Not the best looking but highly durable

[top]IBM M4 (same as Unicomp "Mighty Mouse")

  • Picture
  • Material ?
  • Font Helvetica
  • Labeling Technology Pad Printed, no coating
  • Weight .6g
  • Front Edge Thickness .8mm
  • Other Notes Some people claim the Unicomp versions are inferior but I did not see much of a difference

[top]Add Your Own Key Template

  • Picture
  • Material
  • Font
  • Labeling Technology
  • Weight
  • Front Edge Thickness
  • Other Notes

[top]Topre


[top]Realforce and Happy Hacking Keyboard

  • Picture
  • Material PBT
  • Font Helvetica
  • Labeling Technology Dye Sublimation
  • Weight .9g
  • Front Edge Thickness 1.0 mm
  • Other Notes Less rough than IBM keys but rougher than Filcos. Lower profile keys.

    Also the Black on Dark Gray keys are difficult to see without bright lighting.


[top]Add Your Own Key Template

  • Picture
  • Material
  • Font
  • Labeling Technology
  • Weight
  • Front Edge Thickness
  • Other Notes


[top]Miscellaneous


[top]KBDMania Scarface Metal Keys

  • Picture


    Sandblasted after masking
  • Material Aluminum
  • Font None
  • Labeling Technology None
  • Weight 3g
  • Front Edge Thickness 1.4mm
  • Other Notes Only available custom order, Cherry MX compatible, Cherry Corp profile

[top]Add Your Own Key Template

  • Picture
  • Material
  • Font
  • Labeling Technology
  • Weight
  • Front Edge Thickness
  • Other Notes

[top]Information Sources


[top]Plastics

Topre - Happy Hacking and Realforce keys are identical (except for some larger keys but the spacebar is the same)
Source of info for Topres being PBT is in the PFU website under safety warnings.
Quote:
If you discard this product, please follow the regulations of each local government.
材質:ケース(ABS)、キー(PBT) Material: Case (ABS), key (PBT)
IBM/Lexmark/Unicomp Buckling Spring Keys - From Unicomp
Cherry Corp - PBT spacebars are marked
All Double Shots - tested with Acetone to rule out PBT. Although not 100% the lower melting point and the fact that Signature Plastics ONLY sells them in ABS points to ABS. Probably a function of the way double shots are made.

Acetone Test - Unicomp Black Blank key

Same results from IBM/Unicomp Black/Topre keys

Acetone Test - Geekhack Key


Acetone Test - Cherry Corp Doubleshot

Same results from NeXT, Focus keys

[top]Labelling

Generally obvious from pictures or scratch tests.

A Kinesis Lasered Key


Microscope also works.


Das at 200x



[top]Weights and dimensions

Weight - 10 keys from home row weighed and measurement divided by 10
Dimensions - "F" key front edge. Quite a bit of variability so average to closest .1mm.


Attached Images
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File Type: jpg 60x Cherry Laser.jpg (398.8 KB, 4053 views)
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File Type: jpg 200x Das Cloverleaf.jpg (265.3 KB, 8258 views)
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File Type: jpg 200x Filco.jpg (256.0 KB, 1044 views)
File Type: jpg FLA_9367.jpg (187.7 KB, 3178 views)
File Type: jpg 60x Filco.jpg (302.1 KB, 7228 views)
File Type: jpg 60x M13.jpg (258.1 KB, 1434 views)
File Type: jpg 60x IBM dyesub.jpg (224.6 KB, 1384 views)
File Type: jpg 60x Deck Skull.jpg (198.4 KB, 1388 views)
File Type: jpg 60x Cherry Doubleshot.jpg (285.2 KB, 1418 views)
File Type: jpg FLA_9601.jpg (150.3 KB, 1804 views)
File Type: jpg 6h2EQ.jpg (173.0 KB, 142 views)
File Type: jpg laser_fill_on_2010_g80-3000.jpg (276.9 KB, 2100 views)

Contributors: ripster, ch_123, Pylon, netwebber
Created by ripster, 06 May 2010 at 16:04
Last edited by ripster, 1 Day Ago at 17:55
Last comment by TheSoulhunter on 04 November 2010 at 12:16
19 Comments, 3,095 Views
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