[Service] Keycoat Powdercoating Service

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#1

Hey Fellow Clackers!

I would like to introduce Keycoat, a powder coating service, to the community. The shop is located in San Diego, and we have already discussed this concept with the owner. We tested the shop on a kbd75 and ncase m1 side panels to see tolerances and their quality. Here are the results:


Disclaimer : Keycoat can not guarantee that the board will fit the same way it did before powder coating. This is because powder coat is thicker than anodization and that thickness varies depending on the material the powder is made of, but the owner has said that they will try to keep the thickness to a minimum without losing consistency. However, we haven’t had any problems thus far and the quality has been flawless since.

Although this is our first time running a service, we are committed to transparency, communication, and honesty. We will do our utter best to assure high quality powder coat with clear and concise communication.

Discord Server: https://discord.gg/AUVQkuj

What is powder coat?

Powder coat is a free-flowing, dry powder that can be applied to metals, such as aluminum, brass, copper, steel, or silver. Powder coat is uniquely applied to the metal electrostatically after being heated in an oven. Preparation for powder coat involves sandblasting previous anodization or surface finishes, preheating the metal, then spraying the powder.

The advantages of powder coat includes a reduction in the amount of volatile organic compounds released into the environment, a wide variety of specialty effects and colors not achievable in other finishes, and a durable and tough exterior finish that could possibly reduce or hide previous blemishes, scratches, or small nicks/dings.

Service Procedure:

  1. Fill out this form
  2. Keycoat will send the list of color choices to the shop who will review them and suggest any changes or approve of the color choices.
  3. Keycoat will invoice you the cost of the service plus 2 lbs. of powder.
  4. The shop will order the powder. Once the powder is received and is confirmed to be the correct color, you will ship the board to us with your own method of shipping, level of insurance, and packing.
    Note : Keycoat will pack the product the same way we receive it, so pack carefully.
  5. Keycoat will send the boards to the shop which will powder coat them and finish them approximately within a week. Quality control will be done to assure satisfaction.
  6. We will pick up the boards, pack, and ship them out the next day as long as a return shipping label is given to us.

Total Service Time: Approximately 14 days from when we receive the board.

Pricing:

For all keyboards there will be a flat service charge of $95. This is for the service solely. An additional cost for 2 lbs. of powder from prismatic powders will be added. Two pounds of powder typically costs around $30 from prismatic powders, however this varies depending on the color and type of powder.

Estimated total: $95 Service Fee + ~$30 = ~$125

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to PM or message on discord.


#2

I’ve had two boards powder coated with success but if the board has tight tolerances you might have to sand down some parts. It’s a nice way to change up the colours and get something truly custom!


#3

Awesome service! I’ll definitely be filling out a form soon to try this out


#4

Appreciate it Huey!


#5

It’s a really cool service for custom boards! That’s an amazing number of color options available. I would like to see what people come up with for matching existing keycap sets.

I think the price is okay for the dream board setup, but I’ll have to see how the colors look before I take the leap. I would be putting $125 into a $150 tray mounted case. I’ll have to sleep on that one for a while.


#6

Agree 100%. I wish I could lower the price even more. If I could I would. Maybe in the future if things start picking up.


#7

I think this is a good service for folks in the States! I’m hoping someone in Canada will be able to open this up, as this would be really expensive for us.


#8

Update: If you can not find a color you like on prismatic powders and you find a color elsewhere, let me know and I can ask the shop if they can accommodate that powder.


#9

I’m in SD and will def give this a try!


#10

@arissj

Curious, how do y’all handle complex geometries like USB port holes without getting excess powder build up? I know that could be a possible worry for some cases. Would there simply be a less consistent coating in those areas? Just wondering.


#11

For any holes, they get plugged with silicone plugs similar to these:

Here is an example of the board being plugged:



#12

Sorry I should have been more clear. I mean holes and tight areas for the USB port and possible reset holes. I know @norbauer said some powder coaters have issues with this in tight areas.


#13

I forwarded the image to the shop and they said that they have silicone plugs that will fit those areas to cover them.


#14

So that interior area would be completely non coated?


#15

Compiled a small list of past work from the shop.


#16

The boards I had coated are pretty even but they do have trouble around port holes like that. Mine are covered enough that you can’t see the finish underneath but you can definitely tell it’s a lot thinner. The overspray seems to do a good enough job I guess.


#17

Not trying to dissuade people from powder coating because I think it’s a great product and I plan on doing some cases myself (plus, just look at what Norbauer puts out there) but for anything with tight tolerances, Cerakote is a good option because it tends to be much thinner.


#18

The interior area will be coated evenly however the actual hole will be plugged. Sorry about the confusion.


#19

While cerakote is thin and about the same thickness as anodizing, I have talked to the shop about tolerances and they have agreed to make the coat as thin as possible without losing the characteristics of the powder. However, like you said, for boards with tight tolerances there is always the risk of powder coat being too thick even at the thin coat the shop will do.


#20

Yes, you really should have a case that was intentionally designed with powder coat tolerances in mind from the beginning, especially if you plan on using textured coats. That or at least have a thoughtful look over all the mating surfaces on your parts and see if adding some bulk in those areas might cause problems. For many housings, I think it wouldn’t be an issue at all, but it’s something to bear in mind because there are definitely cases where it can cause issues. I have experienced it myself in early prototypes where I had to tweak some clearances to make sure the textured powder coats would fit without being abraded by a mating surface, or even preventing a clearance fit.

By the way, this is really good pricing for a one-off powder coat service. Even small mom-and-pop shops here in California tend to charge a lot more. And the current industrial coater I’m working with (which admittedly has fairly serious equipment and capabilities so it’s not directly comparable), has a color lot minimum of around $1000.