With many folks continuing to work from home for far longer than they ever thought, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing the rise of small DIY devices to make that video call or virtual presentation a little easier. [Dustin Watts] was interested in the functionality of the Elgato Stream Deck — a macro keyboard where each key is its own screen. But that kind of fancy hardware comes with a formidable price tag. So he built his own, and made it open source!
His first iteration — FreeTouchDeck — was built using commonly available modules but has since evolved into the ESP32 Touchdown which does it all with a single PCB. It’s a highly-customizable touchscreen macro keyboard which provide easy access shortcuts and macros for quick actions. Need a quick mute button, want to switch camera views on OBS, or maybe you want smarter shortcut keys for your CAD of choice. This will can get you there.
There a few key differences from the first version (FreeTouchDeck). The ESP32 dev board was ditched for a tidy PCB the directly integrates the module. This one has a capacitive touch controller (FT6236) rather than a resistive one as the capacitive screens deliver a far nicer user experience. A built-in battery and charger circuit (which the FreeTouchDesk didn’t have) allows for the extra bit of flexibility to stream from anywhere (within wireless range of course). Multiple case designs are available in STL form that allows it to be placed on a wall or desk with ease.
Datasheets, gerbers, kicad files, BOMs, and example firmware is provided on GitHub. The software is easily configurable so it can be set up to do any sort of macro, key combination, or action. This isn’t just limited to emulating a Bluetooth keyboard as there are examples showing how to connect to Home Assistant. All in all, this is a wonderful example of continued iteration on a project.
Thanks [Timothy Gregory] for sending this one in!
23 thoughts on “FreeTouchDeck Upgrades Its Hardware And Its Name: ESP32 Touchdown”
Would love to buy one of these boards. Looked around and couldn’t find?
Just managed to get this working on the Lilygo Pi, very easy to use :)
Same, maybe not in production yet?
If there are pcb files in here, I might be interested in splitting the cost of some from a China pcb manufacturer. Do you live in the USA?
That’s the beauty of open source; you can make it yourself
I don’t believe they’re for sale, the files are available so you can make your own.
Dustin will be listing a small amount of them on tindie shortly
Please update here with a link when it’s available!
I’d buy 1 or 2 myself.
The PCB looks like a perfect fit for my RepPanel user interface (for Duet based printers). Even uses the same touch and display controller.
” a macro keyboard where each key is its own screen”
Actually I believe the Elgato is also a large screen that is subdivided into keys either with graphics or an overlay in front of the screen.
Apparently so. Here’s a teardown video showing the bottom layer of the overlay being removed from the screen:
@Matthew Carlson Thanks for this blog post! @anyone who wonders: I will start selling these very soon. I hope the Tindie listing will be up this week.
Sounds great. I’m definitely interested.
It appears they’ve already sold out? Are you anticipating another run?
Absolutely! (see comment below)
It seems I have heavily underestimated interest. And although the Tindie listing is up, it sold out within about 10 minutes. https://www.tindie.com/products/dustinwattsnl/esp32-touchdown/
I’m making more as I type (I have about 300 seconds between reflow ;) ) but If you join the waitlist I can get an idea of how much more to make.
Get ready to make more mate. Andreas Spiess just showed it on his channel. This is an excellent product. I hope you’re charging a good price and making money from it, as it’s an excellent bit of kit. Don’t sell yourself short.:)
I know… how nice of him! :) There has been quite a jump in people on the waitlist. I make some money of it but not a lot. I’d like to keep this as accessible for everyone as possible. Also… I find it really difficult to price things. But thank you for your compliment!
A quick update…. Per June 20th a new batch is online on Tindie! https://www.tindie.com/products/dustinwattsnl/esp32-touchdown/
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