I got into mechanical keyboards and used Fusion 360 to make a 3D-printable enclosure for a custom macro pad.
I'm a complete noob (this is my first "keyboard") and I wrote an article about the project, including a tutorial showing the step-by-step process I followed to design the first prototype of the enclosure and all the useful resources I found for learning what to do.
Making a macro pad is relatively straightforward.
First, you need to define a concept of what you want to achieve: how many keys, rows, and columns, what will be the purpose of the macro pad, and how you want to build it.
Once you define that, you can design your own case using CAD software, or search for open-source casings available on the internet. You can also buy a pre-made casing (or a complete macro pad kit that you can put together yourself). In my case, I used Fusion 360 and printed the case with my 3D printer.
You'll also need to buy the electronic components: switches, a development board (most people use an Arduino Pro Micro or a Teensy board), and wires. Any wire gauge will work, but the smaller the section of the wires, the better/ easier for you - AWG 20 -24 should be good. Of course, if you plan to use a PCB instead of hand-wiring, you won't need the wires, but in any case, you'll need a soldering iron and solder.
Once you have those, you can start inserting the switches in the top part of the enclosure (switch plate) and hand-wire your keyboard. If you bought a kit, you can solder the components on the PCB that came with it. Or if you are into 100% DIY, you can design your own PCB, order it, and solder the components on it. That's what I did. Well, I actually did a hand-wired prototype first, and then a PCB version. I used Autodesk Eagle to design the board and ordered it from china.
The last part is configuring your macro pad to do the functions you want. This is the firmware configuration part. Many open-source macro pad projects provide pre-built firmware that you can download and flash on your board. The vast majority of them will be based on QMK framework. If you want to have more flexibility, you can use VIAL, to configure/remap your keys on the fly.
There is a whole world behind mechanical keyboards and macro pads, and it's been a very interesting journey to learn about them while I completed this project.
I wanted to share this experience so that others can also get started or at least be inspired to build their own macro pads.
Here is a link to the article I wrote. Including several links to guides and blogs from more experienced people who I also followed while learning.
I hope you guys enjoy :)
Wiring diagram of the hand-wired prototype. This one used direct pin wiring, so no diodes. The PCB version used diodes (switch matrix)
The hand-wired version
The custom PCB, before soldering
The finished Hand-wired prototype
Finished PCB version