Today we would like to sincerely explain why our products are taking longer than expected to deliver, as we understand that it is difficult for you to wait so long for your purchased keycaps.
Let us tell you about how Jelly Key Team produces each of our unique keycaps. We put a lot of efforts into handcrafting them in every single step. We do not use a 3D printer to create the models, then just paint them off and call it finished. Learning a great variety of materials and skills also matters greatly. Each of them is one of our giant leaps in idea and technique innovation and creation.
Furthermore, we have only one to two people in each team, ranging from painting, casting resin, casting Eden effect; to polishing, packaging, and other required functions in completing the keycaps. This has created a bottleneck in our keycap production, making the whole process very challenging to be finished promptly. So if we don’t have new group-buy, the old group-buy is still delayed because it might be the case that when the casting teams already finish their work, other teams of polishing and painting or creating effects still have a lot to do.
We are trying to make the keycaps as fast as we can, but in these recent months, COVID-19 has made everything extremely hard to control. Shipment too is one of our greatest challenges as several Jelly Key member is out of work, further extending the delivery delay. Please kindly keep your valuable patience because we have shipped each keycap right after we finished them.
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First thing first, we cast a resin base to form an essentially basic framework for producing any keycaps. The main difficulty in this very first step is the dry time; it takes more than 8 hours for the resin base to fully harden, and therefore being able to proceed to the next stage.
Then, we start making the mini details inside, which you can already imagine: It is very challenging and requires extreme patience and high artisanship from Jelly Key artists to keep the resemblance to what they should look like in real life. Signature bits made in this keycap series are iconic in the gaming field: tank, monster, gun, animal, ball, and many more vibrantly coloured details.
When the pieces are correctly shaped, we paint them with a wide range of colour sets per this particular Arcade Cabinets collection. In this vital step, we apply multi-layers of paint to create more profound effects in hue and a more intense feeling of thickness, making it visible to your eyes.
After these tiny gaming graphics are completed with their appearance, it’s time to put them on screen! We carefully place each painted item into the keycap and arrange them according to their correct positions behind the cabinet screen. Then we continue moulding them in a resin base to form a concrete block.
Another component needed to complete this keycap is the cabinet’s outer case, including the buttons and handles. Everything here is produced by casting and sculpting through molds, and this is the same for making the cabinet case. We have six color versions in the Arcade Cabinets collection, so we have to wait for 8 hours for each colored detail on the outer case to cool off and dry, and it takes 48 hours on average to finish the whole case. After hand-painting them, again, in multiple layers, we put solidified cubes of the overall screen with small details, which are finished earlier into the case, and there you have it! A fully completed Arcade Cabinets keycap that holds your favourite retro gaming moments!
Zen Pond keycap making
First thing first, we cast the resin to form tiny Koi fish moulds. This initial step alone requires up to 8 hours for the resin base to become hardened. We create six different positions of Koi fish, dividing into three sizes of 6mm, 7.5mm, and 9mm. These micro sizes of keycap details are new challenges that we have to take while making the keycaps.
Next, we focus on colouring the fishes, which is the most challenging stage among all the production steps in this keycap series. Colour and effect formation is crucial; it takes the Pouring Art of mixing alcohol ink with resin to produce this magical collection. In the group, we applied 3 to 5 layers of paint for each keycap so the colours can have a certain thickness and be more apparent to our eyes. Koi fish moulds in the collection are much smaller than the previous series of Zen Pond I and II, so it’s very challenging to paint the fishes and keep them spirited as much as possible.
Waiting time for the colour rays to sediment is another extreme difficulty we have to meet with. It takes roughly 8 hours to adjust along the way to produce the perfect colour rays. Moreover, temperature and the resin’s solidness are other factors that need to be continuously monitored to ensure the correct colour shades.
After the Kois have been painted with their authentic colours, we attach them to the mould. More paints will be poured as rays to create the iconic Eden effect when their position is secured. At this point, we will cast resin one more time over the current work to make the complete form of keycaps. After this, they will be put in the pressure cooker for 12 hours.
When the keycaps are properly formed into their designated shapes, the next important step is quality control to ensure everything is error-free. We check their stem’s incline level when put on the actual keyboard through test typing multiple times. Then, the roughness is controlled by sanding and polishing the surface. We continue to perform another overall check on the polished keycaps. If they’re all good, we move to the final step, which is to clean and package them properly.
After finishing, each keycap will have its unique and distinct fluid effect, so the only common thing they share is the colour option. No single keycap will bear a similar look to any other ones with their signature colour ray imprint. Jelly Key always do our best to produce the same colour as shown in our keycaps photos.
8-bit keycap making
Just like the other series, we always begin by casting the resin base for the keycaps. However, the decisive stage in making this 8-bit collection lies in how we produce every small detail inside and colour, or you can call, “breathe life” into these pieces.
Each miniature item you see in an 8-bit keycap is created by shaped moulds, which is very difficult to make concise and perfect final products considering their tiny size. The micro-objects that can be seen in the 8-bit series are as following: coin in various scales, sewer pipe, tree, mushroom, flower, carnivorous plant, ghost, floating garden, and tons of other lively details. Although these bits are small, it takes from 8 to 10 hours for the moulds to reach the necessary hardness so that we can move on to the next step: painting the keycap details.
Next comes the second hardest part that we have to do in the whole process of making 8-bit. We paint the details by pouring coloured resin onto each piece on the base. Waiting time for every layer of resin to dry is hard to imagine: the team has to wait around 8-16 hours in order to have an utterly stain-less color block. Especially for the Spacebar profiles, we produce up to 10 different colour blocks, which increases the waiting time by ten times. After finishing the base properly, we then continue hand-painting them to highlight each detail’s outstanding features.
When all the pieces have begun to look alive, we take some extra care for the floating bits as they need to be appropriately secured. This prevents them from falling off their designated positions and breaking the whole design. The remaining steps after this should be more easily and following the previous keycaps that we’ve made. We continue pouring another layer of resin base to form the keycap shapes, after which will be sanded and polished to ensure a fresher look.