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DCX Novelties

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Creating a flexible novelty tool for DCX keycap sets Before we can talk about the nuances of different novelty tool designs, it’s important to discuss how DCX keycaps are produced to begin with. DCX tooling is all designed to use a doubleshot injection molding process, which first injects the inner legend shot, then flips the entire metal slab of tooling to another portion of the machine, where the outer shot of plastic is injected to complete the keycap. In contrast, an alternative method would be to use a process called “insert molding”, which creates many of the inner legend shots in a row before—you guessed it—inserting those back into a different machine for the outer shot to be molded around. Each process has its pros and cons. Most important to the topic at hand, the doubleshot process is very efficient and designed to produce an entire keycap set’s worth of keys at once. However, this comes at the cost of rigidity, requiring an entire new tool to be produced if you want to change the legends. Conversely, insert molding uses smaller, more flexible tooling, which is less efficient on the whole but allows for more customization.  Those familiar with the DCX line of keycaps have probably noticed that only one set in its entire existence has featured a novelty set alongside the base kit—DCX Deep Space, by booper. Due to the factors described above, each new keycap set that would include a novelty kit must create an entirely new set of tooling unique to that set of legends. This is also true for insert molded keycap sets, of course, but the nuances of each process means that the tooling costs are orders of magnitude different between the two. It simply did not make sense to create a new tool for each new DCX keycaps set. The time required would be exorbitant and the costs would likely not be recouped on many of the sets. 
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Enter, insert molding. The solution to this problem is to create a set of novelty tooling that makes use of insert molding production methods. That way, the base kit can continue to allow for efficient production of the keys that we know every set will include, while an agile novelty kit can exist on the side to account for all of the fun and exciting works of art that designers come up with.  In this solution, however, there are still decisions to be made regarding key and profile options. While the legends are flexible and their design is up to the designers, the keycap size, keycap row and quantity of keycaps offered on the kit is fixed (as shown in the diagram below). Keys cannot be added, only removed at the designer’s discretion. We believe that the novelty tool landed upon offers the widest compatibility for designers to work with—65/75% column keys, R1 TKL options (like Print/Scroll/Pause swappers), Esc+Enter combos, and bottom row are all supported. There are of course some inherent limitations, but this new tooling opens up DCX to a whole new landscape that was previously not possible.  DCX Novelty Tool Kitting:
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One thing worth noting at this point is how the underside of the novelty keycaps will compare to the underside of the rest of the keycaps in a DCX kit. The insert molding process does create a slightly different appearance, with the “gate” effect seen on other keycap profiles. While the bottom of DCX novelty caps look different, the keycaps retain the same high quality plastic materials, legends, surface texture, and hidden sprue marks that you have come to expect from DCX keycaps.  DCX Novelty Tooling:
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Sample DCX Novelty Keycaps:
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Left: DCX Novelty, Right: DCX Standard
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So, with all of that history and new developments in DCX tooling covered in depth, we are very excited to showcase the first DCX novelty set to make use of this new tooling! DCX Rocky Bird (designed by ArqKeebs), which launches in just a few days, will feature a full-fledged novelty kit, made possible by the new tooling. See below for some in-process renders as well as the finalized kit. 
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Rocky Bird isn’t the first, and won’t be the last (another upcoming DCX set launching with a novelty kit is already in the works). Are there any existing DCX sets that you’d like to see remixed with a novelty kit?
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MentatYP
4
Apr 15, 2024
All this work into novelty sets, but still no ortho or Colevrak support in DCX profile. Are ortho and Colevrak coming at some point?
Emerald but especially latte set would be perf for novelties!
Fahmii
1
Feb 22, 2024
Please considering a custom box package too. You know that we love to collect the keycaps, but we also love the package.
Tickety-Tappin
5
Feb 22, 2024
Any new MT3 tooling? I prefer the higher and sculpted profiles, and I hope this capability is applied to that.
Would this process allow for sublegending or triple shots caps?
TsiklonThis process/tooling won't affect sublegends or triple shot specifically (which would technically be possible with a similar method, the tooling is just a lot more complex). Doubleshot PBT + dye-sub sublegends is a very real possibility though... 🤔
Cyanlet's GOTTA get Novelties, amirite?
jherr
18
Feb 22, 2024
I think it’s a great idea, especially for the 75 right column. I always have the screen print at the top and Lock Screen at the bottom and calculator in the middle. Having a set or two that’s just basic functionality icons would be nice.
huffa85
33
Feb 21, 2024
I got my learn on reading this. Thanks!!
Does this also apply to international kits? Unfortunately, the availability of usable DCX Sets for ISO-De is quite limited.
Darkzom
14
Feb 21, 2024
ZerberasThis!!! Wonderful opportunity to offer a full international set, or south/north of europe variants!
It's a lovely solution for keycap sets with only modest novelty legend needs. This approach wouldn't work for something like Space Cadet, in which virtually every keycap is "non-standard" in terms of legends.
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