I’ve been getting back into my mechanical keyboards hobby again lately. Well, to a certain extent I never really left it. I’ve been using an Ergodox daily for the past 3 years and prior to that I had been switching between boards regularly. Lately, I paid my current Ergodox some much needed attention and even began to dig through my old stock.
In my last post (or the one before?) I spoke about having purchased some additional mech parts. These were: a new set of cherry profile pbt ergo caps, some pbt sushi alphas and some “Bulbasaur” keyswitches. I have no idea what brand those Bulbasaurs are supposed to be but they’re 42g actuation force and prelubed so I’ll write about them when they arrive. All of this is to come from China, so I’ll have some more posts at the end of the month.
Now, back to the reason for this post.
I had found my artisan collection. Well, most of it. One keycap was missing. The keycap in question was the last artisan I bought. I got it online from r/mechmarket back in 2019 and I distinctly remember the price being 40 bucks (which is cheap for an artisan!). This keycap was my Party Gnomes V1 from BrewCaps, depicted below:
Evidently as the picture exists, I found the cap. I was determined to find this thing today and by the grace of St. Anthony it came to be. However, there was a catch: my Party Gnomes partied too hard. It’s true. I turned the cap upside down, as I did to all my artisans once I had them in my hands again, to look for the maker’s mark. The stem was snapped in half, probably from having a great weight placed on it the last time it was packed away. Ugh…
An artisan like this is irreplaceable. There are only so many of them in circulation and I spent 40 bucks on the thing man. Time to get my hands dirty and attempt a fix!
Now, I’m no idiot. I knew going in to it that this fix wasn’t going to be pretty. This was going to be utterly shite. But if done right, it would work and I would be able to watch those little guys dance around again.
I started by looking for some old caps I don’t use. My idea was to remove the stem on the Party Gnomes, trim an old cap enough to remove the stem from it and then transplant that stem onto my Party Gnomes. In the end, I chose to use two caps from a Tai Hao set I never used.
I began by stripping the caps of all they’re surroundings until I had just a stem left. The reason I chose to do this to two caps instead of one was simple; I didn’t want to run out of screw-up options.
The whole thing when a lot easier than I thought it would. I used a pair of cutters that I normally only take out when I need to strip a wire or something. Once done, I had two viable stems to try with.
The first attempt was semi-successful. I was able to get the stem positioned well and even test a mount. This was with the shorter of the two stems. The problem was that once I mounted it, it became almost impossible to remove again, the reason being that the stem had warped when I clipped it of the original cap it was on. All of this was fine, it snapped off in the end anyway.
The second attempt was a keeper. As the second stem was taller than the first, I had to sand it down a bit. I was weary of this as it was more likely to warp beyond the point of usability. It did.
I couldn’t even get this one mounted, it was just too tight. My way of solving this was to heat up several screw-bits I had, both Phillips and flatheads, and insert them into the stem slot to widen it up. I used a lighter to heat the bits and I took my time to make sure it was working. I used an unmounted Zealios switch I had to test this.
If you haven’t noticed by now: This post is NOT a tutorial.
Below, you can see the cringe inducing end result. It looks horrible and I rather strike it from my memory. However, believe it or not, this was all necessary to reinforce the main stem so that the cap could be mounted and booped with force and without fear of it breaking again.
The one point I have to keep repeating in my head over and over again is that you can’t see it when it’s mounted. Which is true, even though I know what’s lurking under there…
At the end of the day, I won’t tell if you don’t. I plan on working on my artisan collection further, and ensuring I have proper protective casings for them. I don’t ever want a repeat of this, especially to a cap I love as much as this one.
I’ve put the cap away again since. I don’t want to over-boop the thing. Although I love the way it looks on my Ergodox, I have a Mad Sonic cap sitting in its place now.
I’ll write a post listing my current artisan cap collection and I’ll update it as I go collecting more. I might even create a pinned feature for posts intended to be updated regularly on the homepage of this site.
Eitherway, sorry for doing this to such a beatiful cap, but I still don’t have my 3D printer for such issues. Once I do I’ll revisit my gnomies.