Why have a clear keyboard?

@Micah_Lindstrom It was a bit expensive, but it wasn’t $90. Here are the details from my order:
Fit: perfect fit
Brand: Other
PC Model: Framework 13
Device Enter: US
Background type: transparent
1st Language Windows: English (United States) [US]
1st Language Position: upper left
1st Language Color: black

It was $62. It came with stickers for all the keys on the keyboard, including all the special characters. Still awfully expensive, especially since I really only wanted the special characters, but I liked that it would be custom fit for the FW 13 keys and I decided to try it out. I haven’t actually put any of the stickers on yet because I had fewer issues without any labels than I expected. But I still plan to put the top two rows of stickers on (function and number rows), mostly because once in a while I want to reach out and just press one of those keys and without the muscle memory of my hands being on the keys, it takes me a moment to remember what key is what, so I’d like to have those labels on there.

I’ll try to put them on sometime this week and will post a picture.

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My only reason for getting the blank keyboard is to avoid the awful “Windows” key. Has anyone been able to customize one key like that for keyshorts? I have sent two inquiries to keyshorts about ordering a set like this for the blank RGB 16 keyboard but they have ignored me both times.

I asked something similar and got the following semi-clear answer :
« Unfortunately, we can’t use Debian logo. In case of Windows logo it’s a different story because the logo is already there and for such purpose it’s ok to print it. »

I didn’t insist but the summary seems to be : no they don’t make custom logo keys.

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well that just shatters my plans :smiley: Guess that key is remaining blank for the time being.

probably so you can feel like this:

I have a blank HHKB keyboard, you get used to it after a while.

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I finally got around to putting on the function row and number row stickers. I imagine I’ll leave them on, but I’m glad I didn’t put them on the letters. The feel of the stickers is okay, but I can feel the edges of the stickers as my fingers slide around the keys. I imagine I’d get used to it, but I do prefer the feel of the keys without the little edge created by the stickers.

The labels show up better in person than they do in the picture, even without the backlight on.

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Awww yeah, that looks sick, thank you for sharing! Good to hear about feeling the edges of the stickers. That reinforces my decision to do the same with no labels on letter keys. Although, I was thinking if I have to get labels anyway, maybe it’d be fun to get labels that include qwerty+dvorjak+colemak…

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Looks like Keyshorts has a new configurator specific for FW16 and FW13 at Framework Keyboard Stickers (Colored Background + Colored Symbols), along with a 15% discount code FRAMEWORK15. I’d get the Transparent Background + Colored Symbols version. They also have Colored Background + Transparent Symbols which looks more like a regular backlit keyboard.

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That’s awesome! Now they just need to add an option to change that ugly Windows key.

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Followup to this. I sent in an order for a Framework 16 sticker set from Keyshorts and asked specifically to change the Windows key to a Linux Tux. He responded to me this morning stating “Sure, we’ll use tux instead of Windows logo :)” so I’m a happy camper.

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IMO it’s a bit backwards that a blank keyboard is more expensive

Do you mean blank, or clear? Either way, the first possibility is the same. They probably sell fewer blank and clear keyboards, but it still requires a separate process to make the keys. So it could just come down to economies of scale.

As for the clear keyboard, it’s possible the keys are more difficult/expensive to make. I could be wrong, but I doubt the normal keys are just the clear keys painted. I’m guessing it’s a different material and process to mold the clear keys. Could be more expensive.

Edit: I stand corrected on point two. The standard key are, indeed, clear before being painted white, then black. This doesn’t guarantee they are the same material, but it’s probably more likely than not.

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I believe all the keys are transparent by default and they just put a black foil on the “normal” variants. Otherwise you couldn’t have the letters backlighted.

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No doubleshot keys, huh?

Thanks, you are correct. I did some searching around and the standard keys are indeed clear, painted white, then painted black. The backlight shines through the white paint of the key labels. I imagine the backlight could shine through a thin, white keycap, but they are in fact, clear and painted.

So it is possible it’s the same keys, just without paint. It’s also still possible that they are different material, but clearly not certain.

Either way, it’s still plausible that when dealing with suppliers, it’s more expensive to get the clear variants in lower quantities, vs. the larger quantities of the standard keyboard. But, who knows. Maybe they just charge more based on the perception of being something different. I thought it looked cool, so I spent the extra $10 when ordering the 13" AMD. So, either way, they got me, lol.

I agree with @BigT 's assumption that it’s likely economies of scale. At scale the parts cost between blank and painted is trivial, but the logistics cost for each variant is significant.

Plenty of keyboard variants are completely unavailable even though the difference is just lettering. For example Clear JIS, Clear ISO for FW16 (Clear ISO is available for FW13, but not FW16), and Arabic.

I proposed Combo ANSI/ISO/JIS keyboard layout - #6 by Micah_Lindstrom because it’s one SKU that should work for as many people as possible. Minimizing Framework’s logistics cost should let more people have a keyboard which functions exactly the way they need it.

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