Mechanical Keyboard Macro Pad

Macro Pad Open

Handwired 2×5 Macro Pad with 3D-Printed case

While on lockdown for COVID-19 I decided it was the perfect time to build my first hand-wired mechanical keyboard and that starting small was the right way to begin. After much searching and thinking I chose a 2×5 case that I found on ThingiVerse by Jacob Jaeggli (jakebot) and with Kailh BOX Heavy Burnt Orange Switches and a quick trip to Microcenter for a Teensy 2.0 Arduino board and diodes I got started.

What I am going to document here is not the process I went through, as I got a lot of things wrong, made a lot of mistakes, and had to start over a couple of times. Here is what I think is the correct way to put your hand wired keyboard together.

There are a lot of hand wiring a keyboard guides out there now, but my favorite, and the one I aspire to is Kentlam0203’s Handwired Preonic Build Log, it is so clean. For the brains of the operation I chose the Teensy 2.0 which is a common choice for a hand wired keyboard, it is small, has plenty of inputs, and a sturdy USB-mini plug.

I started on the Keyboard Layout Editor website where I laid out the buttons, added legends, and copied the “Raw Data” for use in the Keyboard Firmware Builder. On the Keyboard Firmware Builder website I got the wiring diagram, pins on the Teensy to use, created a keymap, and compiled the firmware. It is hard to believe how easy this was.

It took a couple of hours for the case to print, then the switches go into the plate and tested with a multimeter to ensure they are all working correctly and get hot-glued into place, then the diodes get soldered to the switches, then the row wires (yellow) with more testing, followed by the columns (green) and a final round of testing.

I then use the Teesnsyduino software to make sure the Teensy is working correctly by uploading the Blink test script to it and changing values in the code to verify. With that done I use the Teesnsyduino to flash the firmware downloaded from Keyboard Firmware Builder. Then I solder the rows and columns to the pins and hot glue the board down to the case so plugging and unplugging the USB cable will be solid.

Then I plugged it in and used the MacOS Keyboard Viewer app to verify that it all works. I don’t have a lot of use for this macro pad as my mouse has more buttons and is already in my hand, but as a learning experience, this has been great.

Macro Pad 2x5

Next up is building a Planck 40% keyboard.

Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne

Iron Druid Chronicles at Audible

This was my third or fourth listen to the Iron Druid Chronicles on Audible and my first time to listen to the entire series in one go. All 9 novels as I have not gotten the 10 short stories available but may get them at some point.

In general, I do not recommend listening to so many books in a series one-after-another, it can lead to burnout and reduce the enjoyment from a series of stories. But I really enjoyed this listen all the way to the new book Scourged.

Luke Daniels is just as great in the last book as he was in the first book. His ability to create a strong audible differentiation between the different characters really brings them to life and highlights their different personalities.

Kevin Hearne does an amazing job creating characters that have different drives, goals, and personalities. From the gentleness and anger of Granuelle, the gruffness of Owen, and the lustful scariness that is the Morrigan, they are all wonderful characters. Atticus and Oberon are my favorite characters of the stories, but Owen and Orla are close seconds.

The book Scourged, the 9th, is meant as the last in the series (there is already a short story being touted as book 9.5). It is a good ending to the series and well worth your time.

I highly recommend the entire Iron Druid Chronicles series, although you may not want to listen to them one-after-another, maybe takes some breaks in between.