PDXKBC Macropad Build Guide

1) Get yourself a beverage. You're going to want to stay hydrated for this build. I recommend something from Portland just to get in the spirit. You're also going to need a soldering iron and flush cutters. I like to use helping hands to hold things in place while I'm soldering, but they're not needed. You don't need anything fancy or expensive to get this done.

 

2) Let's get everything included in the kit laid out on a mat. Nice.

 

3) You will need to source your own solder, switches, keycaps, and micro USB cable. PCB mount MX switches work best. You can use plate mount MX and Alps switches as well, but you'll have to eyeball their alignment when soldering this is easier to do with keycaps on the switches.

 

4) Bend your diodes as shown. It helps to find something 7mm wide to use as a tool to bend the diode legs over. A piece of wood or cardboard will work.

 

5) Insert the bent diodes in the PCB so that the black stripe on the diode faces the white stripe and square pad on the PCB. At this point I recommend soldering from the diode side. The reason for this is that the flux residue will end up on the bottom of the PCB and leave the exposed top with a cleaner look. Feel free to solder from the top of the PCB if you prefer to do it that way instead, but you'll have to either tape the diodes in place or bend the legs out before you flip the PCB over to solder. You can also use SMD diodes with this kit, but I'm not going to show that here.

 

6) Clip off the diode legs with flush cutters.

 

7) Now we're going to solder in the headers for the Pro Micro. The shorter pins go in the PCB. Start by soldering just one pin on each header and then flip the PCB over to make sure the headers are in straight. Bend them if needed before soldering the rest of the pins. If you want to clean up the flux residue on the top of the PCB, do that before moving on to the next step. Don't solder in the Pro Micro yet!

 

8) Solder in the switches. Clean up the flux residue on the bottom of the PCB if you're so inclined.

 

9) Solder the Pro Micro to the headers as shown.

 

10) At this point the macropad is functionally complete and it's time to flash the firmware to the Pro Micro. In order to put the Pro Micro into reset mode, you'll need to jump the connection between the pins marked GND and RST. You can use anything metal that will touch just these two pins. Checking the 'Auto-Flash' box in QMK toolbox will flash the firmware as soon as you put the Pro Micro in reset mode. Make sure you have atmega32u4 set as your microcontroller in QMK Toolbox.

The easiest way to get a .hex file for this board is to use the QMK configurator. There is no default layout for the PDXKBC macropad, but it's easy to drag & drop basic keycodes onto the desired keys. Here's a great tutorial from MechMerlin explaining how to set up and use QMK toolbox to flash your generated .hex file to the Pro Micro:

 

11) Once you've got your macropad working, it's time to finish putting it together. Insert the flat screws in the bottom of the base and screw on the standoffs.

 

12) Place the PCB on the base and screw in the pan head screws. Stick the bumpons on the bottom if you want, add keycaps and a cable and you're done!