The best streamers keep their audience constantly engaged. They might be making quips and doing the funny voices that everyone expects them to do, but they’re also busy reading chat messages aloud and responding, managing different scenes and transitions, and so on. Many streamers use a type of macro keyboard called a stream deck to greatly improve the experience of juggling all those broadcasting balls.
Sure, there are dedicated commercial versions, but they’re kind of expensive. And what’s the fun in that, anyway? A stream deck is a great candidate for DIY because you can highly personalize the one you make yourself. Give it clicky switches, if that’s what your ears and fingers want. Or don’t. It’s your macro keyboard, after all.
[Patrick Thomas] and [James Wood] teamed up to build the perfect stream deck for [James]’ Twitch channel. We like the way they went about it, which was to start by assessing a macro pad kit and use what they learned from building and testing it to design their ideal stream deck. The current version supports both the Arduino Pro Micro and the ESP32. It has twelve key switches, a rotary encoder, an LED bar graph, and an OLED screen for choosing between the eight different color schemes.
If you’d rather have dynamic screens instead of cool keycaps, you can do it cheaper by making non-touch screens actuate momentaries.
Working from home has now become de rigeur for many more people around the globe. With it, has sprung up a desire for better controls for streaming and conferencing software. There are plenty of streamdecks on the market, of course, but this isn’t BuyADay, it’s HackADay. Thus, you’ll want to check out this great build for Microsoft Teams by [Build Comics].
The build consists of a series of Cherry MX Silent Red key switches in a 3D printed housing, dedicated to muting audio, switching video, and making and hanging up on calls. Naturally, they’re marked with their individual functions and lit with RGB LEDs for obvious feedback. The keys are read by a Raspberry Pi Pico, which handles USB communication with the PC. AutoHotKey is then pressed into service to make the final link to the Microsoft Teams software. [Build Comics] also worked on a 3D-printed busylight that indicates when they’re on a call; however, thus far it isn’t quite working properly. Jump into the conversation on Github or comment below if you’ve got insight on the problem.
It’s a build that likely saves a lot of hassle when you’re on several calls a day. The mute button is a sure-fire jobsaver on some occasions, and it’s better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it. We’ve featured work from [Build Comics] before, too – like this excellent vintage meter restoration. Video after the break.
Continue reading “A Useful Macro Pad For Microsoft Teams”
Whether it’s for work, school, fun, or profit, nearly everyone is a content-creating video producer these days. And while OBS has made it easier to run the show, commanding OBS itself takes some hotkey finesse. Fortunately, it just keeps getting easier to build macro keyboards that make presenting a breeze. That includes the newest player to the microcontroller game — the Raspberry Pi Pico, which [pete_codes] used to whip up a nice looking OBS stream deck.
Sometimes you just need something that works without a lot of fuss — you can always save the fuss for version two. [pete_codes]’ Pico Producer takes advantage of all those I/O pins on the Pico and doesn’t use a matrix, though that is subject to change in the future. [pete_codes] likes the simplicity of this design and we do, too. You can see it in action after the break.
In reply to the Twitter thread, someone mentions re-legendable keycaps instead of the current 3D-printed-with-stickers keycaps, but laments the lack of them online. All we can offer is that re-legendable Cherry MX-compatible keycaps are definitely out there. Maybe not in white, but they’re out there.
If [pete_codes] wants to go wild in version two and make this macro keeb control much more than just OBS, he may want to leave the labeling to something dynamic, like an e-ink screen.
Continue reading “Lighted Raspberry Pico Stream Deck Is Easy As Pi”
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!
[Adam Welch] has built macro pads in the past out of pre-fab key matrices and handfuls of Cherry MX clones. But all the stickers and custom keycaps in the world wouldn’t make those macro pads as versatile as a stream deck — those visual shortcut panels with tiny touchscreens for each button that some streamers use to change A/V settings or switch between applications.
Let’s face it, stream decks are expensive. But 0.96″ OLED displays are not, and neither are SMD tactile buttons. Why not imitate a screen deck on the cheap by making it so the screens actuate buttons behind them? [Adam] based this baby on the clever design of [Kilian Gosewisch]’s FreeDeck, and they ended up working together to improve it with a dedicated PCB.
The brains of the operation is an Arduino Pro Micro, which addresses each screen individually via two 74HC4051 mux ICs. Thanks to an SD card module, there’s no need to flash the ‘duino every time you want to change a shortcut or its picture. Even if this deck doesn’t hold up forever, it won’t break the bank to build another one. Poke past the break for the build video, which has all the links you’d need to make your own, including a handy configurator.
There’s more than one way to do a visual macro pad. Here’s one that uses a single screen and splits it Brady Bunch style to match the matrix.
Continue reading “Open Source Stream Deck Does It Without Touch Screens”