How do you guys do it? I know that I want to order GMK Olivia but just can’t justify the $209 (I need the base, spacebars, and extension, but would really like the novelties and the deskmat) before shipping on top of another ~$200 for the rest of the build, but it’s the only color scheme that I really want for the build. Opinions? How often do you order GMK keysets?
The only way I can possibly see to justify the cost is that GMK sets normally hold their value for quite some time, and even increase in value in some cases.
Other than that, there’s not real justification. They are plastic bits that will be usable for decades.
This is the main reason I novatouched my Realforce R2 TKL which is standard ANSI layout and now I almost only buy the base kits.
That’s why I’m kinda glad I can’t stand typing on abs caps, I save a decent chunk of money sticking to pbt. Yea it sucks that my color choices are much more limited, but I can afford to buy nicer boards that I’d otherwise have to pass on if I was splurging on gmk or sp sets.
What layout are you using that requires you to buy all those kits? If you are struggling to justify spending enough to fit the layout you’re using, then your only real choices are to accept that limitation and buy cheaper sets, or find a layout that you would only need, say, the base kit for.
See here. A custom handwired featuring a lot of weird sizes (1.5u backspace, 2x 1.75u shifts, etc.)
Well, not to be rude but that is really the whole reason why its so expensive, I would think that making the board more fitting to more common caps is the best way to avoid that problem. That or look for other options in other boards.
This ^, GMK sets for the most part at the very least hold the value of what you paid for them, some that had a small amount of buyers & only one run can skyrocket in value in the secondhand market. So you can just about get your money back 100% of the time on them, unless they are heavily beat on. The last bit @pixelpusher said is another justification for me, even if I do never resell my sets they will last a lifetime with a little bit of care. The only real degradation with a nicely kept GMK set is shine & that honestly doesn’t bother me too much, especially if I was the one who shined them. LOL!
I wan’t to try a set of GMK, but they can look pretty icky, when they start to get shiny.
EDIT: Same reason, that I’ve never bought an DSA set. Textured ABS, just looks icky to me, when it starts to shine.
Bought 2 anyway.
(gmk first love ship plz ;m;)
When buying a GMK set, you’re buying something manufactured in extremely small volume (by the standards of consumer products) that is precisely tuned to your specific tastes. It’s hard to say what is or isn’t a price in need of justification with something so inherently subjective. It’s less expensive to make hundreds of thousands of something, but it would probably be a something you’d be much less excited to have.
While ABS isn’t inherently extremely expensive as a material, custom color matching resins is, and so is manufacturing a product with hundreds of distinct components that have to be individually sorted, tracked, and QC’d. When manufacturing in non-slave-labor, non-totalitarian states like (modern-day) Germany, labor is almost always going to be the highest component cost rather than raw materials anyway, though, so I believe it’s the component SKU complexity of a product like this that primarily makes it expensive. The cost of manufacturing goes up even further when it must meet the standards of a community of buyers that will roast the product for even the slightest cosmetic aberration. This always means higher reject rates, and higher costs.
I often actually wonder how these companies manage to do these projects at such low volumes for as cheap as they do. Having visited Signature Plastics and learned a bit about what goes into making a set, it gives me a panic attack just to think about managing all that logistical and manufacturing complexity, especially just to sell at most a few hundred sets of a product.
I suspect it’s part marketing and part employee benefit program, to increase brand value and to re-energize folks having to produce millions of same dull looking keycaps day after day. I’m talking GMK and SP, of course. Numbers are very different for China.
That’s a good point. I know that at SP at least a large portion of what they do is just “normal” jobs that aren’t for the enthusiast community–things like control panel keys for industrial equipment, etc.
I only have a few GMK sets, and I only bought them because making something aesthetically pleasing is probably my favorite part of this hobby. GMK keysets just lend themselves to that so well that I’ve basically been planning builds based around matching a board to a keyset.
e.g. For the past couple of years my goal has been to make the best camping-themed keyboard I can, because that’s another of my hobbies and GMK camping is just fantastic. I figured out roughly what I wanted to buy and made an approximate budget of $1000 over the course of a year. I’ve changed a lot of things in that plan (including replacing the alphas with the ones from GMK coniferous), but I’ve mostly stuck to my budget of $100/month for keyboard-related stuff so I’m not really sweating the cost of it.
I’ve found myself starting to do this more as well. It really makes the hobby more manageable. On top of everything, GMK Olivia++ doesn’t ship out until around late April, so I really have no reason to hastily buy all my parts right away (but I am impatient!!)
how do you care for gmk sets? im guessing wiping them with solutions would accelerate the shine right
Honesty, I don’t even try. It’s a hobby, and I don’t feel the need to bind everything in it to a justification. If I have the money budgeted for my hobby, all bills are paid, and I’m still tucking away savings and retirement, then I let myself just have fun with my hobby.
If the money just isn’t there, then I sit out things I’d like to otherwise join.
Can’t justify. I’m surprised to see so many saying the same. I personally don’t buy it as I’ll have to pay an extra 41% of value as duty. Now, imagine you buy a set for $200 or so, and then paying an extra 80-90 at customs. I would love to own a gmk set someday, but for now I’ll just skip. Also, I see gmk sets turn all shiny / oily, always wondered if you could get ride of shine by washing? If not, bummer.
Depends on what you use, some chemicals will, some won’t, some will even eat through ABS so I would test anything you plan on using on a cheap ABS cap first. ABS is actually pretty resilient, but yeah any type of rubbing or wiping on the keys will accelerate shine. The way I care for my caps is just to throw them into lukewarm water with a couple denture cleaning tabs. Unless they have actual grime on them that will work most everything loose. I like to wipe down the tops & sides of the caps after the wash just to make sure I get them 100% clean, but just letting them soak then dry will clean them up if they aren’t terribly dirty.
Nope shine is pretty much forever, although it’s not just GMK or ABS sets that do this. Even PBT will shine over time. It’s not so much about how oily or rough your fingertips are, it’s more about just the amount of usage when it comes to shine. Sure some people’s skin may accelerate shine a little more than others, but IME usage is the biggest factor in shining. Personally it don’t bother me too much cause it’s bound to happen unless you don’t use the caps & honestly a set truly feels like yours once you’ve shined it.