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What are Double Shot Keycaps? (The Definitive Guide)

Are you looking for a reliable high-end keycap solution for your mechanical keyboard build?

No problem! 

There are options available to print keycaps using the Dye Sublimation and the Double Shot method.

There has been a lot of buzz about double shot keycaps over the last few years, with many keyboard enthusiasts wondering what it is actually. 

This blog will look at what Double Shot Keycaps are and what they are made of. We will also look at how they are used and the different types of Double Shot keycaps.

Even I have taken a step to provide you with my top choices.

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Sounds interesting? Let’s dive right in!

Double Shot Keycaps
Image of Double Shot Keycaps

Table of Contents

What are Double Shot Keycaps?

Double Shot keycaps have a second layer of plastic around the top of the keycap. This second layer can be used to print legend with a different color or design on top of the keycap. 

The top of Double Shot keycaps feels smooth even with another layer on top of it. The legends don’t wear off as they are not printed directly on the top.

Artisan keycap makers often use double Shot keycaps to create custom colorways for keyboards. They are also common among the modding community.

The most highlighting features of Double Shot Keycaps are:

  • Legends are clear, sharp, and consistent,
  • Legends can have RGB shine through within them,
  • Legends don’t wear off even with intensive usage, as the legends are printed in a different layer than the keycaps.

The Double Shot Keycaps are best if you use RGB keyboards as the look that the RGB shines through the back of legends provides gives an incredible look.

What are PBT Double Shot Keycaps?

PBT is short for polybutylene terephthalate, and it is an engineering thermoplastic polymer resin.

It has properties that make it desirable for Double Shot keycap manufacturing, such as its high heat resistance, low moisture absorption, and ability to withstand colder temperatures than ABS.

PBT Double Shot Keycaps offer extremely tough and durable protection for your keyboard and typing experience.

How are Double Shot keycaps made?

Double Shot is made from two materials: base material and top material. 

The base is a thermoplastic resin, and the top is usually a PBT, PETG(mainly used in 3d printed Double Shot keycaps), or ABS. 

It is common to use two layers of the same material or to use two different types of material such as PBT with ABS beneath it. 

First, the basic shape of the keycap itself is created using molding materials. Then, each keycap is coated with its layer of upper plastic.

Why Should You choose Double Shot PBT keycaps?

Double Shot keycaps are different than other keycaps where legends are printed on top of a blank keycap.

The Double Shot PBT keycaps are made with high-quality PBT plastic and have legends that won’t fade off easily.

Here are the reasons why you should choose Double Shot PBT Keycaps:

1. Legends

This textured appearance results when two layers of the same material are exposed to light.

Double Shot PBT keycaps often have this effect because they are formed using two layers of the same material.

2. Durability

Double Shot PBT keycaps often last longer than other types of keycaps, or they have higher durability than different types of keycaps.

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3. Feel

Double Shot keycaps are also better than standard PBT keycaps in terms of feel.

They are more resistant to wear and tear, and they don’t wear down as fast.

The surface texture is also denser than other keycaps, which means they feel better and are very sturdy overall.

4. Style

The looks of a Double Shot keycap are beautiful as it has that shine-through look.

You will also see some small details like the texture of the bottom case’s metal, which gives the keycap more character and uniqueness.

Pros and Cons of Double Shot Keycaps

Here are the pros and cons of the Double Shot Keycaps:

Pros

  • Unevenness: Since it is made of two layers, the unevenness in the Double Shot keycap is less than on other types of keycaps, especially on the bottom layer.
  • Easy to Manufacture: Compared to standard PBT keycaps, the process of making Double Shot PBT keycaps is pretty straightforward. 
  • Cost: Normally, Double Shot PBT keycaps are cheaper than normal PBT keycaps. This is because the process of making them is much easier. They are also made with fewer materials, which means lower manufacturing costs.
  • Textured look: Most Double Shot PBT keycaps have a textured look, and this is more attractive than a smooth look compared to normal PBT keycaps.
  • Accuracy: The accuracy of a Double Shot keycap is always higher, and there will be no color variation on the Double Shot keycaps that gives you an imperfect look. It also cuts out some of the additional costs like adding overprinting to structure your imprints onto.

Cons

  • Two-Layers: The upper layer of a Double Shot PBT keycap is usually only one piece of plastic, and this can result in unevenness in the middle of the keycap if you put it on a keyboard.
  • Accurate: With the shine-through effect that Double Shot PBT keycaps have, there is a difference between the inner and outer layers. This makes it difficult for the manufacturers to be exact and accurate when making the keycap. 
  • Uniform: The uniformity in Double Shot PBT keycaps is usually worse than on standard PBT keycaps because of the difference in material between the two layers, which results in an uneven surface texture.
  • Wear and Tear: Due to the two layers, Double Shot PBT keycaps are less resistant to wear and tear than normal PBT keycaps. They are also more susceptible to scratches because of the shine-through effect between the two material layers.
  • Weight: Double Shot PBT keycaps are usually heavier than standard PBT keycaps because of the two layers of material that make up the keycap.

Types of Double Shot keycaps

Here are some types of Double Shot keycaps that you can choose from:

ABS Double Shot Keycaps

ABS is short for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene and is a common thermoplastic used to produce many things, including keycaps.

Many people call it simply “acrylic.” 

The keys are usually clear and printed.

PBT Double Shot Keycaps

PBT is short for polybutylene terephthalate, an engineering thermoplastic resin. 

It has properties that make it desirable for Double Shot keycap manufacturing, such as its high heat resistance, low moisture absorption, and ability to withstand colder temperatures than ABS.

PETG Double Shot Keycaps

PETG is short for Polyethylene Terephthalate, which is another thermoplastic polymer resin.

It is not much popular and is mainly used in printing Keycaps using a 3d printer.

PETG is often used to make Double Shot keycaps because of its toughness and strength. 

Its uniformity in manufacturing makes it ideal for Double Shot keycaps.

POM Double Shot Keycaps

POM is short for polyoxymethylene, a thermoplastic used to make keycaps and other plastic components. 

It is often used to produce keycaps because of its high stiffness, strength, and resistance to heat, chemicals, solvents, and abrasion. 

POM keycaps will also not crack or become brittle.

How do you know if a keycap is Double Shot?

The keycaps that are Double Shot have a shiny-through look visible in the upper and lower layer. 

This effect is seen between the two layers of plastic material, which can be ABS or PBT.

Is there a difference between ABS and PBT Double Shot Keycaps?

Yes, there is a difference as ABS is more brittle than PBT when it comes to heat resistance, and PBT has better properties when it comes to heat resistance compared to ABS. 

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ABS keycaps are more prone to cracking and brittle when exposed to heat.

The PBT ones come at a premium price whereas the ABS keycaps are way cheaper.

You can check this article on ABS vs PBT to know more about this keycap material and which type of keycap is better.

What is the difference between Dye Sub and Double Shot?

Dye Sub is short for Dye Sublimation or sublimation printing and is a process whereby ink is melted onto the plastic surface of keycaps, making them printed. 

Another common name for Dye Sub is Double Shot.

There are a few key differences between the two :

  1. The deco time and the second is the thickness of the layer seen between the two layers.
  2. Dye Sub allows you to get a finer shade, and hence, you can use various colors to give each layer of your keycap with different colors providing a unique look. On the other hand, Double Shot gets its color from multiple layers of plastic, giving your keycap a less transparent look.
  3. Dye Sub has a wider color range compared to Double Shot. Dye Sub allows custom colors, whereas Double Shot does not have the same amount of colors.
  4. Dye Sub is better for smaller details, and Double Shot may have a better-looking print effect overall.

Is Dye-Sub or Double Shot better?

Double Shot keycaps are better than Dye Sub by far, and there are many reasons for this. 

  • Dye Sub keycaps have less depth than Double Shot ones, which can be seen compared to each other. 
  • In addition, Dye-Sub keycaps have a shine that is not as noticeable as Double Shot ones.

Top 3 Double Shot keycaps in the market

There are several Double Shot keycaps available in the market.

But, from them, here are the top 3 choices that are awesome in terms of quality, design, and pricing.

Drop + Mito GMK Pulse Custom Keycaps Set

The GMK Pulse Custom Keycaps Set is a complete Novelty keycap designed with the triple shot technique. 

These keycaps are constructed using ABS plastic for durability and a better feel. 

The set comes with keys compatible with Cherry G80-3000, Colemak, and DSA layout.

Pros:

  • GMK is a well-known brand.
  • The keycaps are made from ABS, which means they are durable.
  • The keycaps are designed to be used on Cherry MX switches.
  • The set comes with the full set of 104 keys, including Function Row and Print Screen keys.

Cons:

  • The set contains only *N space keys.
  • Due to its design, the keycaps are not suitable for backlighting.
DROP + MiTo GMK Pulse Custom Mechanical Keyboard Keycap Set - 163-keys, Doubleshot, Cherry Profile, for 40%, 60%, 65%, TKL, 1800 Layouts, etc. (Base Kit),Turquoise
  • GMK's Electric spin on an enduring favorite:...
  • Thick & compatible doubleshot ABS: Made with ABS...
  • Switch compatibility: Sculpted in Cherry profile,...

Last update on 2022-05-07 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

HK Gaming Pudding Keycaps Set (108 OEM PBT Keycaps)

The keycaps are made from PBT plastic and have an OEM profile which makes them compatible with most of the Cherry MX type switches. It will also work for Gateron switches and Kailh switches.

The keycaps also have an LED-backlit effect which can be controlled by the key switches.

The set comes in various colors for different audiences and moods. The bottom part is translucent which makes it look amazing when used with an RGB keyboard.

Pros:

  • The keycaps have an OEM profile, which means they will fit any Cherry MX switches with a similar profile.
  • The set comes with only 108 keys and no function row or print screen keys.
  • Many color options are available like Pink, Orange, Red, White, and more…

Cons:

Not many cons considering the budget price point this product is available at.

HK Gaming Pudding Keycaps Set | Doubleshot PBT Keycap Set | Full 108 OEM Profile Key Set | ANSI US-Layout | for Mechanical Keyboard | Compatible with Cherry MX, Gateron, Kailh, Outemu | Black
  • COLORFUL – The translucent dual layer design...
  • DURABLE QUALITY – The keycaps are made from...
  • HIGH COMPATIBILITY – The keycaps are widely...

Last update on 2022-05-07 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Double Shot Non-Shine Through ANSI OEM Profile Keycap Set

The YMDK White Gray Black Keycaps Set comes in a pack of 104 Double Shot PBT keycaps.

The keycaps have an OEM profile and are constructed using two layers of plastic material(Double Shot). 

The available color options are :

  • Black and Grey,
  • Red and White, and
  • White and Grey

Pros:

  • The keycaps don’t come off easily in between switches.
  • The keys are made from 90% PBT which makes them more durable.
  • The size of the keys is according to the ANSI layout
  • Very durable keycap at an affordable price

Cons:

  • These are not backlit-supported keycaps. The top is opaque so if you use it on an RGB keyboard, the light would only come from its sides.
  • The Double Shot legend is not shine through.
YMDK 108 104 PBT Double Shot Dolch Non Shine Through ANSI OEM Profile for MX Mechanical Keyboard (Only Keycap)(Black Gray Mixed)
  • This link only sells Keycaps,no keyboard included...
  • This keycap is made of 90% PBT.The thickness is...
  • This keycap is compatible with most standard ANSI...

Last update on 2022-05-07 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What is the difference between Single and Double Shot keycaps?

Single Shot keycaps are made by creating a blank keycap with a keycap material ABS or PBT. Then the legends are printed on the top of the blank keycap.

In contrast, the Double Shot technique is an expensive process that involves creating two-layer of mold to create a keycap. The legend is injected between the two layers.

This makes the legend long-lasting and it won’t wear off easily. But, in the case of Single Shot Keycaps legends wear off easily on heavy usage.

The two methods are more precise, but the results can also be different depending on the manufacturers.

The Double Shot method is also seen as more aesthetically pleasing, with the double layer providing more depth to the keycap. Also, the legends can have a shine-through effect in them if you get an RGB keyboard with a Double Shot keycap.

Can I get a custom set of single or Double Shot keycaps?

Yes, you can, but if you’re looking for a cheap custom set of keycaps, Double Shot is more recommended than Single Shot. 

Getting a custom set of Double Shot keycaps is more costly as it involves designing from scratch. 

This is because you have to provide your design, which has to be approved by the manufacturer. 

A Single Shot custom keycap is easier to get as you will only have to send your own Single Shot keycap design, and it will be used as a mold for their production.

Is HyperX pudding keycaps good?

HyperX pudding keycaps are excellent as they are made from Double Shot ABS plastic. 

The plastic used for the construction of the keycaps is PETG, which gives the keycap more durability and sturdiness. 

You get 104 keys in the set, and they are compatible with almost all Cherry MX keyboards. 

Most HyperX pudding keycaps have Double Shot RGB LEDs which illuminate the whole set.

The keycaps are available in different colors, with QWERTY and number row keys.

Is Double Shot Keycaps expensive?

Double Shot keycaps are not expensive, but they are still more costly than their Single Shot printed counterparts. 

However, due to the quality of the keycap, it is well worth purchasing. They are durable and provide the user with greater functionality.

Double Shot Keycap FAQs

Q. What does Double Shot mean in keycaps?

Double Shot keycaps are keycaps that are made from two layers of plastic. The two layers are molded together and the legend goes in between. It results in a keycap that has nonfading shine-through legends.

Q. Are Double Shot PBT keycaps good?

Yes, most of the time, they are great, and there is no real difference between them and standard PBT keycaps other than appearance.

Q. Do Double Shot keycaps sound better?

No, Double Shot does not impact sound in keycaps. But if you are using a PBT Double Shot keycap, it will have less noise than an ABS Double Shot Keycap.

Conclusion

Let’s conclude the post on Double Shot keycaps!

Double shot keycaps are a great way to improve the look and feel of your keyboard.

Not only do they look great, but they also feel great and provide a better typing experience. 

If you’re looking to improve your keyboard, consider investing in some Double shot keycaps.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post.