Reverse dye-sub micro detailing

I’ve seen really good dye-sublimation, but was quite astonished at the micro detailing on the novelties of this OEM profile keyset I stumbled upon while doing my usual rounds on the Chinese side of the interwebs. If I put my face about 2 cm (most likely less), I can see a bit of micro-fuzziness on the edges, but I have to really struggle to see it, but there is a bit.

Honestly, putting super tiny chinese characters on a salamander thing with a chinese poem written in old script that’s actually quite legible when you put a magnifying glass to it (the individual strokes are still legible). This takes the cake for me…Absolutely pushed the limits of what I thought reverse dye-sub could do. That, and it’s clear that the designer really put a ton of work into this keyset…made this whole chinese old script sublegend type face just for keycaps.

The real kicker is how unnaturally cheap these are at 65 usd for 4 kits totalling to almost 200 keycaps…they give you enough novelties to fill almost 75% of a TKL keyboard in their proper row heights (You can get 18 kits for 500 usd. Testament to what beasts the designers are). The fact that they include enough to cover the quirks of 75% keyboards on their base and novelty kits was such a treat too. Also pbt is 1.4-5mm thick

I really just bought these out of curiosity because the design was so interesting in their IC. I didn’t expect to get legends this good for the price I paid. My many KAT reverse dye-sub legends are so much more fuzzy (obvious on casual inspection).

Sorry about the photos though, this particular manufacturer seems to like putting a lot of oleophobic coating on their pbt, and it messes with pictures quite a bit. The keycaps don’t look that grey or that weird red irl. I edited the first photo to make it more representative of irl colors which is gold-on-black, and gold-on-burgundy red(shade or two off. The black and red are much more vibrant irl. Closer to the renders imo). Additionally, sorry for the weird DOF effect…I’m not a photographer so my phone just kinda does its own thing and stuff that’s out of the main subject gets pretty blurry.

P.S. I’m new so I can only put one embedded photo on every post.


7u novelty space bar. Kinda warped, but it was one of only two major issues I saw during my inspection. The other being the slightly warped novelty enter.

They were kind enough to include 6u and 7u novelty space bars along with ordinary 6u and 7u space bars by default too btw.


Alphas and their chinese old script sublegends (chinese type using regular latin alphas so these sublegends are just nice additions). They even bothered to do a unique F-row, and chinese number row.

I really like the keyset cause it’s very much a respectful [high-effort] nod to chinese art and history with an execution that’s astonishingly good despite the price.

Something had to give though, the finishing at the bottom of the keycaps is rough, but, at this point. I’ve gotten way more than I ever expected to get.


Putting down another photo of the shilin novelty…and the ancient chinese coin novelty because I think they’re worth showing here too
Also, yes, I used a small shift key for the caps lock cause there wasn’t a stepped capslock. That, ooooorrrrr I’m flexing the fact that I can type fine even with a giant gap between caps lock and “A”

I’ve probably replied to myself enough so I’m gonna stop cause this might be rule breaking at this point.


Thank you for providing insight into the spectacular details.


Hello and welcome - what a cool set!

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Love to see a decent reverse dye-sub PBT WoB set in the near future.

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Oh, also…I think I totally forgot to link the IC: 【神祇·中国第一弹IC】金戈铁马,纵横天下——秦汉主题详解 - zFrontier 装备前线

It’s already shipped though. It’s been almost a year since that IC, and I only got my hands on this because I usually buy stuff from 闲鱼 (taobao, but for secondhand stuff). Most of the meaty info is locked behind QQ, and without a Chinese phone number it’s not something I can access. It’d be easier to shed light on China-only manufacturers if I do get into QQ.

If you’re interested. The same designers also made an Egyptian themed keyset named 神祗月恒. Translates to Gods: Eternal Moon (There are 3 colorways to choose from). Designed from scratch typeface afaik. Profile is like an OEM height cylindrical top with SA sculpt…doesn’t seem like Melgeek’s work though so it can’t be MDA…I’ve heard it called PDA profile, but there’s no info about that so I hit a dead end. Designers clearly pivoted from their XDA profile IC. Manufacturer is different. The stem molds are not your usual circle…it’s a fitted plus shape…I got a name for the manu though, but only in pinyin. Wen Ruo.

Quick and Dirty photo, but it’ll do. It actually comes with a blue space bar that has an ankh, but since I mindlessly soldered a 7u space bar…I had to improvise by robbing another keyset of a space bar.


I would like to see one too, but, so far, I haven’t had much luck. Most of the people from China I converse with tend to be younger so WOB sets are a rare thing to see being shared.

I might eventually find someone who’ll provide me a lead so who knows. I find it incredibly hard to imagine there isn’t a China-only manufacturer who can do reverse dye-sub WOB to an incredibly high standard. The domestic keycap competition over there is incredibly fierce (zfrontier cn would have you believe it’s more similar to the intl market. It very much is not). I know they’ve got manufacturers that span the whole price range…the only real trouble is getting names and linking them to existing high quality dye-sub keysets.


You should check out KAT Monochrome. They have WoB and BoW PBT dye-sub and “air dye-sub” (assuming that’s reverse dye-sub?). The GB ran in 2020 but they still haven’t finished production yet and there are expected to be extras available on a few vendor sites in Q1 or Q2 next year.


Kat reverse dyesub not good imo.

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Agreed. That was the whole point of my deleted post. I own KAT Arctic, Lucky Jade, Oasis, and Space cadet. The legends are thick but have fuzziness that’s observable on casual inspection. Like the profile enough to overlook that though.

I suspect the reason KAT Atlantis, Explosion, and Mizu moved from dye sub to doubleshot despite the considerable investment and risk is cause KAT couldn’t increase the quality of their dye sub QC without generating a ton of duds that would chew through their bottom line.

Dye sub and reverse dye sub are actually harder to execute than they sound. Doubleshot is really high up front cost aka higher barrier to entry, but more consistent across production afaik.