My usual 5x3 keyboards don't work that well for gaming, so for the longest time I've been using an Iris, or rather one half of an Iris.

There was no need to ditch the Iris, but I recently rediscovered a link in my collection: the Sherbet, a keypad with a joystick.
I only bookmarked it years ago because I did not own a 3D printer, had no idea how to use CAD, nor have I ever done a hand wired build before, and I knew even less about QMK.

I bought a 3D printer last year, so that's not an issue anymore.
After that I started printing Dactyls (using the SCAD generator and wired them up).
Along the way I picked up some more QMK knowledge, stuff outside of the keymap.c.

The only things standing in my way are CAD knowledge, and wiring up a joystick in QMK.

Sounds manageable.

The components

I had all the components for a build already at home, some of it leftovers other stuff I bought years ago and never used.

3D Printer & >200g of filament
3D Printer & >200g of filament

Any FDM printer will do

Anycubic Vyper
31x Switches /w Caps
31x Switches /w Caps

Any MX or Choc switch will do

62g Zilents
31x Diodes
31x Diodes

normal keyboard diodes


Any wire will do

24awg wire

Anything that runs QMK

PostageBoard Mini
Adafruit Joystick
Adafruit Joystick
RGB strip
RGB strip

Any LEDs supported by QMK

WS2812 high density strip

Starting point

I suck at CAD, so I was looking for a way to not design a whole keyboard.

The Sherbet looked like a nice starting point, but I'm not a huge fan of small joysticks. On top of that it was only a 6x4 grid, compared to the Iris I would've lost some keys. Moot point if gain WASD, but I was looking for a few more keys.

That's when I found the Redox Manuform on

Redox Manuform
Redox Manuform
  • plenty of keys
  • Dactyl like shape
  • plenty of space in the thumbcluster for a proper joystick
  • with source files.

Only two issues, it's using 1.25u and 1.5u keys. And I need to edit the thumbcluster

Struggling with CAD

Removing the 1.25 and 1.5u keys was pretty easy, the design was using parameters for the keys.
Only had to edit those parameters and then a few more to remove the now pointless spacing around the now 1u keys.

The thumbcluster was a bit more work.
Adafruit has a repo with CAD files for all of their products. Downloading and importing it into Fusion was 90% of the work.
All that was left to do was to remove the 4 thumbkeys, make a hole and add some standoffs for the joystick PCB.

Positioning took some trial and error, but after 4 prototype thumbclusters I got a nice case.

4 prototype thumbclusters
The 4 prototypes I printed to test the spacing
The finished desgin
The finished design


Designing an MCU holder

In the spirit of using stuff I had lying around, I'm going to use some of the Postage Boards I still have. I got them a while back and never got around to using them.

It's basically an Elite C with a different pin layout for this build. It has already 3 cutouts for switches, but I can't use them in the Redox case.

I need to design my own holder for it since the footprint is very different. The case has a nice and simple cutout, so sketching one up in CAD was easy enough.

Bottom plate

I wanted a simple RGB strip at the front of the case, just to get a nice underglow effect.
To do that I printed the bottom plate in a transparent filament, I actually used a glow at night filament, but just because I had no other transparent filament lying around.

But me being me, I printed the left side, not the right one I needed. Felt it was unnecessary to print another one since I can just flip the plate around. The bit that is designed to interlock with the case is not sitting at the bottom, but it's really no concern.


I had to raise the whole case by ~1cm to house the joystick PCB, which means the ergonomics aren't that great. The Brila wrist rest on its own wasn't high enough, so I needed to raise it by around 3cm to get a comfortable position.
Thingiverse to rescue, there was an existing casing for the wrist rest, extruded it a bit and printed it.

The Print

Gaming Pad Case
The case straight from the printer

The printing itself was straight forward

  • .3mm layer height
  • tree supports in Cura
  • 20% infill
  • brim for better adhesion

I added some extra lines to the brim, just to be sure.
The last time I printed a Dactyl I had terrible warping on the corners, the brim helped this time.

Last minute changes

Like always, after 13hrs of printing you realize another feature would've been cool.
For me, it was an OLED, I still had some from my wireless Lily58 over.


just the one I had lying around and fit into the case

0.91 OLED 128x32 SSD1306

So I heated up my 3D print finishing tool and quickly cut a rectangle into the print.
I prefer this to a dremel for small changes.
The heated blade went through the PLA just fine, and the plastic was still malleable enough to do tiny adjustments.

Modifi3D 3D print finishing tool
Modifi3D 3D print finishing tool
OLED cutout
OLED cutout in the side

The finished case

Pained case
Painted case with placeholder DSA caps

The DSA caps are just a placeholder for now, I intend to put KAM Superuser on the gaming pad, once those arrive. Sculpted profiles like MT3 just don't work because the keymap isn't going to remain normal QWERTY.

Like always, not 100% happy with my sanding work. Some areas show that I rushed it a bit, but the obvious sections like the thumbcluster look decent enough.