Cool! Thanks for sharing!
For anyone who doesn’t want to take on building such a thing, I can recommend the Stream Deck which gives you programmable buttons with color LCD keycaps.
Macropads are a good introduction to the deep hole of building your own keyboards, most of which only require basic soldering. For anyone else interested, there are many alternatives through different vendors, with different availability (which is unfortunately usual for this hobby where stock comes and goes, some are only available through group buys etc.):
These are all programmed with QMK and some even support rotary encoders (knobs that can be used for adjusting volume, scrolling etc.)
Just curious, why did you decide to tag this with a11y? Do you have any accessibility-related applications in mind?
Personally, no. I hadn’t thought about this device’s potential accessibility use cases until I was scanning through the available tags. In retrospect, it seemed like this device may be of some interest to the a11y community, given it’s potential to automate / shortcut repetitive tasks. I would be happy to remove the tag if folks feel like it’s inappropriate.
To give an example use case, I broke my left wrist a few years ago. Typing was mostly possible with my right hand, “hunt and peck” style. However, it was difficult to submit key combinations that required multiple buttons spread across the keyboard. For example, Ctrl+Alt+Del. This device would have made submitting such a key combination possible with the press of a single button.
I have no objection to the tag; I was just wondering what you had in mind.
I have one of these and use it as a combo numpad and macropad (default layer is numpad with some macro keys; an fn key to switch to macro layer).
My favorite trick is to set MacOS automator quick actions to obnoxiously long key combinations, then map that combination to a single key on my macropad. It lets me have a single keypress to for example, send a fingerprint tap event to the android emulator.
I enjoyed your writeup on the build process. It is definitely a lot of fun.