In a new YouTube video, maker Salim Benbouziyane presents a modular keypad that he designed himself. The 12-button pad (“Makropad”) can be expanded to include encoders, sliders and other elements. At its heart are special 3D-printed magnetic connectors.
According to Benbouziyane, the starting point was a simpler macro pad project from the previous year. Based on feedback and suggestions for improvement in the comments, the YouTuber developed a modular, expandable version. The core idea is to adapt the arrangement and configuration of the keypad according to the task at hand.
Benbouziyane developed a magnetic plug-in connection to make it easy to attach and replace expansion modules. The associated components consist of plastic-coated circuit boards with integrated magnetic poles. They are plugged directly onto the main circuit board and electrically contacted.
The components were developed using 3D printing. According to Benbouziyane, 3D printing enabled precise production of the delicate components. According to the YouTuber, this meant that only minimal post-processing by grinding and polishing was required.
Benbouziyane designed a total of 5 different expansion modules, equipped with potentiometers, encoders and buttons. They communicate with the macro pad via an I2C bus. On the software side, the system relies on CircuitPython and the Adafruit Seesaw framework.
However, the YouTuber points out that the current implementation has limitations with many parallel modules. He is working on optimizations and alternative concepts. Nevertheless, the modular design enables interesting setup variants for makers, says Benbouziyane. All design files are available on GitHub.