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Old Feb 11th, 2014, 01:33 PM   #1
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Question Replacement keys for MacBook / Pro?

My former (now wife's) MacBook (late-2008 aluminium) and my current late-2011 MacBook Pro both have seriously worn out keyboards. The W, E, R, T, A, S, D, C, I, O, N, M and left Command keys are just transparent plastic circles with black borders

Anyone want to recommend a source for replacement keys? Maybe something not so plain as the original black ones? I rarely do video editing, so a Final Cut keyset, while colourful, is not going to be particularly useful to me.

Lazerwood Industries sells this kit for stick-on wooden keys ($40USD):



They have sets for multiple languages, desktops and MacBook Pro models... though I'd be wary of using these for fear of them damaging the screen on the laptop. Plus, you lose the backlight effect on the keys.

Here's a source for original key replacements, but - man - $4.95/key? Maybe I should just find a trashed MBP on eBay... I have about 15 keys that should be replaced... $75 at that shop....

Thoughts?
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Last edited by CubaMark; Feb 11th, 2014 at 01:43 PM.
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Old Feb 11th, 2014, 11:04 PM   #2
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What about a keyboard protector film?
MacBook and Apple keyboard protection | iSkin ProTouch
Notebook keyboard protectors | Macworld
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Old Feb 12th, 2014, 12:02 AM   #3
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The $4.95/key seems to be the going price and at that price one could pickup a whole new keyboard.

If you have a Sally Anne or recycling place close by you may luck out and find a kaput MB that's heading out that you could purchase or maybe even some Mac service shop.

I bought a set of super-sticky peel and stick characters for a lady many years ago but I sure can't find a trace of them anywhere.
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Old Feb 12th, 2014, 12:24 AM   #4
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NFtoBC - good link, thanks. The ProTouch Visual Assist ($24.95) looks like a good bet. Some of the products on that page and at the other link are for transparent covers, which won't help me since the letters have worn off of my keys already. A skin that provides the characters is probably the cheapest way to go. My only concern is from having purchased a keyboard protection skin some years ago - a silicone overlay - that I found rather uncomfortable on which to type. But - $25 isn't a lot to risk to see if it will do the job.

pm-r - sadly, still stuck in Mexico, and not much of a parts playground here. It would be a bit of an excess to have to purchase an entire laptop - even one with, say, a shattered screen - just to harvest the keys... but that may also be the easiest route.

I really like the laser-cut wood keys I posted above, but it's a shame they're peel-and-stick. they'd be great as actual key replacements, but the reason they haven't gone that route is probably because they'd be too fragile for sustained use...

Thanks for the suggestions, all.
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Old Feb 12th, 2014, 09:38 AM   #5
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FWIW I too wear the keys out on my 15" MBP. Since I trade every second year, it is only an issue for about six months during that time. Why Apple cannot make keys that stand up to a lot of use is beyond me. My daughter gave me one of those silicone skins for Christmas and that lasted about two weeks. I just could not type with the darn thing in place. Have you thought about getting an Apple bluetooth keyboard and touchpad and setting them in front of the keyboard? That would work for now and into the future. Not an ideal solution, but perhaps an alternative?
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Old Feb 12th, 2014, 10:06 AM   #6
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You can change it yourself, but the part is not cheap. There must be a way to just get the keys themselves.

MacBook Pro 13" Unibody (Model A1278 Mid 2009/Mid 2010) Upper Case (661-5233, 661-5561, 661-5858, 661-5857) - iFixit
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Old Feb 12th, 2014, 11:17 AM   #7
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keycap only kits are available...not sure about how available they'd be in mexico but the possibility does exist...
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Old Feb 12th, 2014, 12:56 PM   #8
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CubaMark, how good are you with a fine tip permanent paint maker? Not the cheap wear away markers.

Or for maybe a better appearance method, a proper sheet of LETRASET TRANSFERS in an appropriate font and add a protective clear coat.

Letraset - Product Inforamtion : Transfer Lettering

We used to use them for some outdoor signs on waterproof paper and then their exterior fixative/protection spray years ago and they often lasted for years.

They're sure thin enough so your fingers wouldn't notice, and easy enough to reapply if they did wear off. And a pretty affordable price as well.

Should be something close to match in their examples:

http://www.letraset.com/InformationP...-Chart-Lrg.jpg

http://www.letraset.com/InformationP...ing-Sheets.pdf
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Old Feb 12th, 2014, 01:50 PM   #9
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broad: keycap-only kits - I've done a few cursory searches, but haven't found complete kits... just the rather expensive "by the key" parts providers.

pm-r: Good tips. Will follow up on those...
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Old Feb 12th, 2014, 03:59 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by CubaMark View Post
broad: keycap-only kits - I've done a few cursory searches, but haven't found complete kits... just the rather expensive "by the key" parts providers.

pm-r: Good tips. Will follow up on those...
Have you tried calling your local AASP? I'm sure there are a couple in Mexico. The AASPs I know here all keep busted keyboards beyond the desk, and replace key caps for free if they have them.
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