When presented with a pile of free electronics, sometimes you grab things for their ‘someday’ potential. Other times, you know exactly what you’re after. [Bryce] got a big old cash register for free from school because they’ve moved on to using Square or something. He scored two VFDs and a solenoid as a side effect, but he was really after that sturdy keypad and its paper-label keycaps, ripe for customization.
Two hours of reverse engineering later, he knew where the button presses were going well enough to reach for a knockoff Arduino Pro Micro and a couple of shift registers. [Bryce] wanted his hotkey-board to handle keyboard presses as well as media key input, so he went with the HID-Project library over the standard-issue Arduino version. Of course, the whole point of making your own hotkey-board is customization. For [Bryce], that means Word shortcuts and quick access to Greek letters for all those engineering reports he must write. Dig that Half-Life lambda!
What? You don’t have access to free electronics? You could make a hotkey-board out of arcade buttons. Those things can really take a beating.