Genesis Macro Pad Launch Announcement
We’re launching our first product: the Genesis Macro Pad, an ortholinear MX kit. Just add switches and keycaps! The planned release date and time is currently November 24th at 12PM CST. Our initial batch consists of 80 units in white but preorders will be available if they sell out for white and black colors!
You can check out the product page for more pictures and basic information, but I wanted to take a moment to draw attention to a few of the more subtle aspects of this product–the little bits of TLC we incorporated to take it from “just-another-macro-pad” to one that is surprisingly pleasant to build and use:
- The switch plate is legitimately 1.5mm thick. If you’ve used a standard PCB material as switch plate before, you may have noticed the switches didn’t quite click into place properly. This is because the standard/default PCB thickness is 1.6mm, whereas MX switches are intended for use with 1.5mm thick switch plates. Because our switch plates are 1.5mm thick, you will both hear and feel that satisfying snap when you insert a switch into one of our switch plates.
- There are indeed two switch plates in the kit. Not one, but two. We could have just included one plate like everyone else does, but certain switches (*ahem* Kailh) just aren’t held in place securely by oversized switch plate cutouts (that is, a cutout that supports two 1u switches and one 2u switch in the same location). You really only need one switch plate for assembly of the Genesis Macro Pad, so you can use the other for whatever you like: you can make a basic switch tester, or you can even use it as a plate for a handwired build.
- We gave the bottom of the keyboard just as much (if not more) attention than the top of the keyboard. The four holes on the bottom corners are countersunk, providing a flat bottom surface when using the included flat head screws. Also, the rubber feet are inserted in holes with a very snug fit, meaning they aren’t going to budge just because you bump the macro pad around. Tap the macro pad on your desk or slide it around and you’ll only hear the soft sound of rubber feet making contact.
- Looking now at the edges of the PCBs, you will find that they are nice and smooth all the way around. This is in contrast to two very common edge treatments called breakaway tabs (a.k.a. mousebites) and V-scoring. Breakaway tabs leave very rough, pokey spots every few inches around the perimeter of the board, and are visually jarring and physically uncomfortable. V-scoring results a better appearance visually, but because the boards are still snapped apart when being removed from the PCB panel, you end up with a rough sandpaper-like edge all the way around, at least along the straight edges. These two options simply don’t provide a very pleasant experience, whereas our boards are fully-depaneled by a router. The router-depaneling method we use results in 100% clean, smooth edges all the way around that both look great and feel great.
- We took some time to get to know the bootloader options, and chose to use the one that makes the most sense: qmk-dfu. With VIA, you probably won’t need to use QMK at all, but if you do, getting into the bootloader is super simple: press the top left key while plugging in the board. The software will send it into bootloader mode, where QMK can then work its magic. And as a backup option, there is physical button on the PCB that will also send you straight to the bootloader: do not pass Go, do not collect $200. It just works.
- And while we’re on it, it seems weird to say, but simply being pre-programmed is pretty nice…only because so many ProMicro-based kits just toss the board in and leave you to sink or swim with the default Sparkfun-modified Arduino Caterina bootloader. But if you’re into that kind of thing (we don’t judge), we included holes for a standard 6-pin ICSP header so you can take full control over the Atmega32u4. We even included some header pins for convenience (and also because we already know you probably own a soldering iron if you bought the kit)
- The acrylic pieces are 35% translucent white, which provides a very nice diffuse lighting effect, such that there are no glaring reflections from individual LEDs.
- To keep the boards from rubbing during shipment, we separate them with microfiber cloth. You may be asking:
- Did we have to use microfiber cloth? Technically…no.
- Did we decide to use them anyway because it was fun and exciting and cool? Um…Yes. 1000 times yes.
So clean your screen, clean your glasses, clean your mirrors, give them to your kids….whatever you like…you’ve got four of them in each kit.