Like most folks in the community, I'm pretty sick that there isn't a viable C64 keycap option in the market.
I’ve done a fair bit of research and it turns out that a very highly respected keycap manufacturer is just a 2-hour drive from my house in Seattle, WA.
I’ve been in talks with them for the past few weeks and have even given them one of my breadbin keyboards for deeper analysis. The idea is for them to create brand new keycaps for the C64.
(Note: There is a poll at the bottom of this post for those of you that wish to have a voice and participate in this decision I will be making soon.)
Keep in mind everything here would be made 100% in the USA. Therefore, the prices of things are naturally higher because of living wages, etc. Basically, 2-3X higher than Chinese-manufacturing prices. But please read on if you are interested in C64 keycaps. There have been whispers of other options but nothing exists today. These are real options to ponder.
Brand new tooling would be made from an original set of C64 breadbin keycaps. The tooling alone would cost $110,000.
Let that sink in for a moment.
On top of that, if I was to put in an order for 1,000 keycap sets (again, as close to 100% perfection as we can make it today) it would cost about $130/set + packing/shipping costs.
So, the tooling AND keycaps would be closer to $240/set total. It’s a lot of money.
Worth noting that these would be pad printed, and we’d get color-matched dark chocolate brown keys with bright white glyphs. They’d print the letterforms on the tops of the keys, and the PETSCII glyphs on the front of the keys, just like the original keycaps. In theory they would be perfect.
We don’t order new tooling and use an existing keycap that is very close to the original. These are referred to as “SA” keycaps and look nearly the same except the profiles of the keys aren’t quite as high. These would also be dark chocolate brown, with the letterforms printed accordingly as described above.
These would run closer to $130 + packing/shipping worldwide. They would be nearly ½ the cost of the perfect keys as described in Option 1.
Do nothing. Just go buy an extra C64 on Ebay for $100 (more or less) and go that route. Sure most of the keys are yellow, but whatever. Sometimes you get lucky.
Please take this short 3-question (anonymous) survey
when you have a chance. I will be posting this in a few locations throughout the day, so please just ignore it if you see it elsewhere. Thanks, everyone!