Coz Caps Interview
If you're in the artisan keycap hobby you may have seen sometimes a little prison or a cutted hand caps; those come from Cozcaps. He took some times to answer some questions for us. Enjoy!
So let's introduce CozCaps, can you please present yourself for people who don't know you?
I'm Coz, or Toby, by day I'm a picture framer, in the evenings, and often weekends, I make little pieces of plastic to go on keyboards. What started as a little hobby in my spare time grew pretty quickly and became a big part of my life. I love artisans, and mechanical keyboards, and the friends I have made in this wonderful community.
You started casting quite early as far as i remember, early 2015 right?
Wow, it's been 5 years already? To be honest man without looking at reddit, and cheating, I couldn't tell you when I started, having two kids and running my own business time kinda becomes just a blur.
You were already in the mechanical hobby before for long time? What was you first satisfying keyboard build and your first artisan cap?
Not really man. I was looking for a new keyboard for my computer, I had some piece of shit gaming monstrosity, rubber domes with a built in wrist rest, and being an older gamer with a bit of disposable income I wanted something a little better. So I started researching, got a Ducky full sized board if you're interested, and found /r/mk. That was a slippery slope, had a winkeyless TKL pretty quickly, then it just kind of snowballed from there, TGR Janes, 910's Rama boards.. I have a few now. So yeah anyway whilst researching I came across artisans, and I had a pot of silicone from a framing job, and this idea for the No Escape, that was what got me making. I thought it was funny to have a jail on the esc key and really liked the play on words, so yeah pretty much had an idea and the materials at hand and just decided to give it a go. My first caps were pretty rough tbh, but I feel I've come a way since then, and mostly, love making caps. Sometimes it's a chore when I'm trying to sculpt something and it's just not coming out right, but mostly I love it.
My first keyboard build was my Winkeyless, but tbh it wasn't satisfying, because I f***d it up, I tightened the screws too much and cracked the plexi, even though I loved that board, and Winkeyless made an amazing board it kinda soured it for me, my first really satisfying experience was a TGR Jane with Zealios, that was and still is a beaut of a board.
My first artisan, you know, I have no idea, maybe a RAG cap? Flehrad who does the board podcast used to make them way back in the day, I think that must of been it, either that or like, maybe a oh god what is his name, that dude who makes the ones with printed masters, the gas mask guy, I think they were the first I ordered because it was easy, I got them from like mechanicalkeyboards.com or something, HKP that's it... Hot Keys Project, I think I ordered them first, but RAG caps arrived first. RAG were my first real artisans, hand made and all that, probably still have some of his flowers in a box somewhere. I have way too many artisans.
Your most famous sculpt is the No Escape (at least for me haha), you reached version 4 lately, was it the first sculpt you did?
Yeah it was, and it, along with the IdleKey and Volkeyno are by far my favourite caps I have made. I am so proud of my IdleKey, but for some reason it never sells well so I hardly make it.
Pressure pots are dangerous people, treat them with respect, ALWAYS get a good quality release valve.
Regarding updating the sculpt what's the trigger for it? Having new ideas, getting bored of the current version?
Nah man not so much getting bored, just improving. I made the first No Esc then just made some other things and though, I can sculpt better now why not revisit this. Sculpting doesn't come easy for me, so each variation of the sculpt is me pretty much skilling up and being able to fix a part of the sculpt I tried to and failed originally.
Through the colorways and sculpt you've explored a lot of techniques: Plain colors, swirled, marbles, sparkles and so on. Any one you prefer?
I love marbles, but I feel the look amazing in photos and less so on the board, for daily caps I like simplicity, and strong contrasting colours. I love bright colours on grey caps. I have made some blanks that I am super proud of and I feel they can really show case technique, little infusions of colours in clears are fantastic for blanks in my opinion.
Will you cast idlekeys again? May we see a v3 in the future?
To be completely honest I don't think I could improve, or want to improve on the IdleKey, I love it how it is. I mean it's not perfect, but it's my vision for the cap and that's kinda how I like it. And yes, I will always cast IdleKeys. They are a pain to cast, but I love the cap. IdleKeys No Esc and Volkeyno will never be retired.
Do you have any maker / sculpt you follow these days?
Oh geeze, I mean I wish I could. But we are a single income family with two kids so I can't actually spend any money on keyboard stuff anymore. Not until my wife finishes Uni anyway. So because of that I try not to follow too much.. but yeah there are still some I gravitate to. I think Alphakeycaps is amazing, I really like Zorb, when he actually gets round to casting, Sludgekidd is great too. Krytone (Krap caps) is one of my best mates in the community and I always have and always will love his work, if you haven't checked him out I recommend everyone to hit up his instagram. I mean all the big players too, ETF, Boop, they kinda go without saying. Pretty much I have a lot of respect and really enjoy seeing anyone making who takes the time to hand sculpt, and cast their designs. As stated with my IdleKey I think the imperfections make art perfect and I really enjoy caps where you can see the hand made aspect of them.
Any little funny casting story you have to share?
Oh jeez, I mean... I don't know... I almost knocked myself out once when my pressure pot jammed and the lid flew off and hit my in the head. Pressure pots are dangerous people, treat them with respect, ALWAYS get a good quality release valve. Dunno about funny stories, I used to cast in this shitty little shed down the end of my garden, it was tiny and cramped and just horrible. That was tough looking back at it now... Ever since the early days (besides the incident with the flying lid) I've been pretty careful around the pressure pots, and casting, it's not something you really want to have funny story abouts I guess. I dunno, I hate to admit but I've forgotten to mix in part b to my resin more than once, and opened my moulds to find slush, that absolutely sucks as it takes ages to clean out the moulds. I think that's about it. Just be safe if you're going to use pressure/resin.
That's already the end but do you same some few words to share for collectors?
Yeah for sure, collect what you like, if you like something, go for it, doesn't matter if it's someone who's been doing it from the start or a new maker who popped up last week, it's your keyboard, it's a personal thing, only you need to like it. Not even just your keyboard, haha I have like 3 frames full of artisans hanging on my wall, anyway I digress. To everyone who collects my caps, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, there have been times that my little family in Perth, Western Australia would of been in serious trouble without my cap money, it's all thanks to you guys in the community who support me, it means so much and makes me so happy every time I open a sale and see the number of entries, I can't thank you all enough. Keep being awesome!