I’m looking for new macropads to build because they’re fun and also I’d like to have something a little larger than my BDN9 and it’d be a bonus if it had a biggish OLED to display information about the current layer. Double points for also supporting QMK Audio and having some kind of case option that puts something in the way of the OLED so it doesn’t get broken. Here’s the list of what I’m looking at.
- BIG OLED
- QMK and some other non-standard but sort-of-standard programmability.
- Configs saved to an SD card!? this is almost too user-friendly.
- Basically pre-built, hotswap (as long as you like that)
- No QMK Audio speaker
- Nothing protecting the OLED as far as I’ve been able to tell
- It’s in the UK so it’ll take even longer to get here
- Slightly expensive at $70 before the estimated $7 shipping, but it is assembled.
- Not a real case though you can upgrade the included plates to aluminum for an additional fee and you can get 3D printed cases if you have a 3D printer or know how to deal with them.
- No Soldering needed? I enjoy soldering!
This looks super functional, and probably what I should reasonably get because it solves almost everything I want except the speaker and OLED protection.
Southpaw Designs’ Spacepad:
- Supports MX and choc switches
- QMK audio support with a built-in speaker!!!
- Rotary knob
- 5-way switch, neat feature I haven’t seen before
- Plenty of keys
- Wireless or wired depending on the controller used. Both QMK and ZMK firmwares available.
- Value priced at $25!
- No case, not even a plate it seems like? There is a DXF to get your own made.
- OLED is supported but not included, guess that’s part of the value pricing.
- No real build guide I see, but I’ve built enough stuff just not with an OLED before.
This one looks like it meets almost every feature but I’m a little hesitant for the lack of a build guide to deal with the OLED support. I think it might be intended to use a more traditional thin OLED strip than the big guy on the DuckyPad. Still, the price is fantastic.
- Very configurable, there are a variety of supported layouts where you even replace huge chunks of the switch area with LED matrices!
- Supports many kind of displays, even old-school segmented displays. Could be fun to play with!
- Has at least plates for a case of sorts
- Not super expensive, only $40 to start.
- Not in-stock right now
- Not a real case available that I can see
- Infinite configurability means I’m unlikely to use this for productivity and instead just to do silly things with the build which is fun but not going to solve the problems I want to solve
- No QMK audio speaker support unless I use a Proton and try to wedge in a speaker that might not fit. I might just be able to leave out the switch just below the the controller.
The Knob Goblin checks some of those boxes: QMK, OLED with protection if you buy the additional case, great name (that was one, right?). It is “hotswap” by means of milmax that you have to solder (which is more challenging than switches so bonus). The R2 GB just ran so nothing is in stock but the turnaround times are fast (6 - 8 weeks), and R3 is planned after the delivery of R2 – not sure if they ordered extras for this round.
very cool option, I dig it, thank you for sharing!
My personal favorite pad is the NoodlePad by Mad Noodle Prototypes. It’s a good size, offers useful, out-of-the-box functionality, and is customizable.
Another one that I have that I like, although I’m not quite sure how to leverage yet, is the SPIN Macropad by DMQ design.
If you’re feeling particularly brave, and want Macropad that as much an electronics project as it is a functional tool, there’s this from “There Oughta Be…”
I’ve got some PCBs made for this and I plan to assemble one, hopefully soon.
Tindie has a diverse range of macro pads you can get. I can’t speak to the quality or the capabilities, but there’s sure a lot of creativity.
Don’t forget Etsy either, there’s quite a selection to be found there as well.
There was this interest check from a little while ago. That checks most of the boxes for what I’m looking for, but I’m really looking for numpads rather than macropads.
That Púca is very awesome. I actually really like the numpad capability and the GB starts in a few hours.
The MacroPact looks interesting. Lots of keys, OLED, one of the most put-together cases I’ve ever seen. Low-profile but that’s OK.
Spotted this the other day:
A 3D printed hinged macropad stand with adjustable angles: https://twitter.com/ecken/status/1412077529473687553
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005003050191725.html this thing is bonkers, I love it, but it is way too expensive
It looks like it’s a functioning can opener as well, lol. Not going to lie, at first glance, I thought that the sun on the deskmat was part of the pad.
I got two of these in the mail recently but haven’t had time to build them yet.
The Emugotchi falls in the extreme novelty end of the spectrum. It’s a Japan-only macropad in the shape of a Tamagotchi that uses a microcontroller with a screen, Bluetooth, and more that I hadn’t heard of before. I was able to order one through Yushakobo:
Will report back when the Emugotchi arrives and I build it.
I bought one of these to build: https://mechwild.com/product/murphpad/
OK the Emugotchi is the most amazing Macropad I’ve ever built. Here’s a twitter thread I made on it: https://twitter.com/MrNukeMonster/status/1523586339387502592
with the tl;dr I didn’t expect that the Emugotchi is also a trackpad! The video is in the thread.