Christmas Tree PCB

Christmas Tree PCB

A 6-key macropad that doubles as an ornament.

This week I spent a fun hour or so assembling this adorable Chrismas Tree macropad.

This 6-key macropad was sold in a group by by Maple-Computing, with design by That-Canadian and SpaceCat, and optional custom dye sublimated keycaps by ChillCaps.

The Christmas Tree can function as an ornament if you choose, but it’s also fully functional. It runs QMK firmware, so will be infinitely programmable.

The macropad kit is exceedingly simple, there were a few options during the group buy for a full kit (including keycaps and switches), and other options with fewer parts. I opted for the kit that included everything except keycaps. There were switches included with the kit, but I used ones I had on hand instead.

Parts

  • PCB Material bottom plate
  • PCB
  • Arduino Pro Micro w/headers
  • 6x resistors
  • LEDs
  • Mounting hardware
My own Parts
  • 78g Zealio switches
  • 6x white DSA keycaps

Building

The build for this macropad was pretty straightforward. It’s probably one of the quickest builds I’ve done in a while. Typically a full on 60% board will take me 2 or 3 hours, I had this done in about 1.

Assembled

I bought this macropad on a lark, for the simple novelty of having a light up mechanical keyboard ornament, but I think I’ll actually find this practical after the tree goes down. I’ve tried a few other macropads in the past, and have always found them difficult to get myself to use. My biggest issue with macropads is that they’re always some square grid configuration, with far too many keys. I have a very difficult time orienting my hands on them with touch alone - meaning that I’ll often inadvertently trigger an incorrect macro. Or I’ll forget which key does what, because I’ve got 12 or so different macros configured. The result has always been that I abandon them after a few weeks of trying to make it work.

The Christmas tree shouldn’t suffer from this problem though, with its triangular layout and only 6 keys I think I’ll have an easy time using it. The layout should mean that I can orient my hands on it easily, and the reduced number of keys will mean I won’t need to remember nearly as many keys and their functions.

For the moment this macropad is fulfilling it’s primary purpose: being a cool light-up ornament.

After the tree goes down, I’ll take the time to get this properly programmed and see how to fit a macropad into my workflow again.


Typed on RedScarf II+ Ver.D

Dialogue & Discussion