[IC] KAT Specimen


Featuring bold and vibrant colors, KAT Specimen is a new reverse dyesub PBT keyset. To introduce it best, here are a couple questions you
might have:

What is KAT?
In the words of the zFrontier website:

a brand new collection of high profile molds from Keyreative. Nineteen months of intense research, machining, and testing resulted in this delectably thick (1.658mm) sculpted design. Some inspiration also came from cats, as their claws provide an appealing slope to model keycap curves on.

Unlike SA, which can seem pointy and disproportionately tall on modern keyboards, KAT is smooth. Silky smooth. Superlatively smooth. Kat’s concave keycaps don’t stab or inhibit your fingertips during row jumps, nor do they have the gritty texture that one typically associates with PBT plastic. The characteristic dryness of PBT is present, but your fingertips won’t be ground into submission by the substrate.

Some keycap sets make generic nods to sound quality, but premium audio design was a serious consideration in KAT profile. The interior walls of its keycaps are angled such that sound is reflected in a precise pattern. That should, when coupled with high wall thickness, provide sharp clicks and muted clacks.

Finally, KAT keycap tops have the same dimensions across each row. That’s a vast visual improvement, but it also has a positive impact on muscle memory while touch typing.

Why KAT?
A flat profile just doesn’t feel right for this set I think, so the decision was down to manufacturers who can
do either doubleshot or reverse dye-sub. Frankly, I think a lot of us are tired of SA and GMK, and since
trying out new, innovative things is always awesome, KAT felt like a natural choice (plus: KAT -> cat, and cats are awesome).

Why specimen?
The name came to me out of pretty much nowhere, and it just stuck. This set feels pretty hard to name anyhow, so I’m happy I have one.

What kits are there?
Glad you asked:

The most basic of base kits. Should support pretty much all 60% to TKL keyboards, as with everything, if this is not the case for your preferred keyboard layout, please do tell me in the comments. Now with HHKB support.

A good splash of color for people wanting to spice up their TKL right hand side.

Literally just keys for a numpad, explains itself.

Some love for ISO gentleinsert gender here.

Cheap ortho kit that works without the base kit. This type of kit received love in the past.

40s kit, currently explicitly only for minivan, what else do you 40% people want?’

A couple of spacebars, lots of sizes, anything missing?

If you spot something you’re missing, don’t hesitate to tell me below, and/or use this google poll.

Other Info
I currently have colors selected from the pantone coated collection. zFrontier have told me these are less accurate on KAT keycaps due to their semi-matte finish. Pantone uncoated colors would be easier to match, but I quite heavily favor pantone coated right now, so it remains to be agreed upon what the exact colors are, however, I promise I’ll do my best to bring out a set with colors as similar to these you see here as possible.

As you can see: I have one novelty as of now, would you be interested in more?

Will add 1.5u delete and 1u tilde for HHKB support.

UPDATE 04/01/2019:

  • ErgoDox kit remove due to Keyreative’s lack of upright 1.5u molds.
  • HHKB support in base kit
  • Spacebar and 40s kits


Dig these colors, even if the set isn’t exactly to my taste! Happy to see reverse dye-sub gain more traction.


This looks like a cool set. Is there any word on pricing?


I haven’t spoken with zFrontier about the pricing and MOQ just yet, as the sets themselves are still likely to change. I will update the post once I have more information.

Thanks for your interest! :smile:


Got it, thanks for the quick response.

On an unrelated note, is the alien novelty inspired by any particular property (e.g. a show, a novel, etc)?


No, not consciously anyway. I just had this image of a stereotypical, kinda simple alien in my head. I call him Mr. Spook. I also already experimented with a UFU novelty, but it’s not at the standard I want to set just yet.


What is the 1.75u R3 Backspace for (I am referring to zFrontiers rows of 5-4-3-2-1-1 here)?


To be totally honest with you, I don’t know. I used a bunch of different sets to reference kits, it must have slipped through my sanity filter. I can’t think of a use for it. A definitely needed keycap is a 1.5u delete in the same position, maybe I originally wanted it to be that…


Colemak uses Backspace on Caps Lock, which is 1.75u. But then it should be R2 (and purple). But without any other compatibility for Colemak it seems pointless.


I removed the 1.75u backspace from the base kit and made a 40s kit for minivan, which indeed uses it.


well color me interested! thanks for the support, I can’t wait to try this profile.