A Fun Low-Cost Start For Your Macropad Hobby

If you were ever looking for a small relaxing evening project that you could then use day-to-day, you gotta consider the Pico Hat Pad kit by [Natalie the Nerd]. It fits squarely within the Pi Pico form-factor, giving you two buttons, one rotary encoder and two individually addressable LEDs to play with. Initially, this macropad was intended as an under-$20 device that’s also a soldering practice kit, and [Natalie] has knocked it out of the park.

You build this macropad out of a stack of three PCBs — the middle one connecting the Pi Pico heart to the buttons, encoders and LEDs, and the remaining ones adding structural support and protection. All the PCBs fit together into a neat tab-connected panel — ready to be thrown into your favorite PCB service’s shopping cart. Under the hood, this macropad uses KMK, a CircuitPython-based keyboard firmware, with the configuration open-source. In fact everything is open-source, just the way we like it.

If you find yourself with an unexpected affinity for macropads after assembling this one, don’t panic. It’s quite a common side-effect. Fortunately, there are cures, and it’s no longer inevitable that you’ll go bananas about it. That said, if you’re fighting the urges to go bigger, you can try a different hand-wireable Pico-based macropad with three more keys. Come to find that one not enough? Here’s a 2×4 3D printable one.

Now, if you eventually find yourself reading every single Keebin’ With Kristina episode as soon as it comes out, you might be too far gone, a ..

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