Keyboard Builders' Digest
Save 5% at Ashkeebs! Code: KBDNEWS
Keyboard Builders' Digest / Projects


Gleb Sabirzyanov made and sells a single piece of Deathpad, a one-of-a-kind macropad with 9 keys at the hearth of a death metal inspired case.
Published August 21, 2023
Creators! Feel free to tip me off about your keyboard related projects to bring them to 100K readers.

I mentioned Gleb's Deathpad in my recent editorial, however, I wasn't aware of all the details available nor the splash page until he commented below my tweet: the dedicated Deathpad page was included in the newsletter at the last minute, but I had some more questions about this artistic project.

I actually made a little page for it with photos and some details in case someone wants to grab it from me: — I haven't published it anywhere yet so would be nice if it was included in the article 🤗 – Gleb.

OK, this is pretty sick. Would you share your thoughts about your design process?

One day I was thinking about keyboards as always and got a fun idea to make a tiny macropad in a ridiculously huge case. The next day I immediately sketched some 2D drafts and opened Blender.


I had to watch a ton of tutorials as I have pretty much zero experience with 3D. But in about two weeks of working from sunrise to night, spending over 100 hours perfecting the design, I got my idea to the state I was happy with. This project proved me once again that with enough time and effort you can create anything you can imagine.


I first sketched some draft lines in Figma and used this rough shape to define the exact curves in Affinity Photo. I imported the sketch to Blender and used curves to trace over the sketch in 2D before making them 3D. My ancient Macbook was pretty much dying with the amount of complexity in this file. So I learned a lot about mesh optimization, which was important for 3D printing hand-off too. At one point I even had to write a Blender script to process all the curves in a specific way at the same time as it wasn't possible with default Blender tools – I definitely wasn't expecting this project to involve any programming!

So how would you define Deathpad?

The result of all this work: a tiny 9-key macropad in a huge 30×30 cm ominous-looking case. The look was mainly inspired by the aesthetic of death metal/deathcore bands and of course their crazy logos.

Are you into death metal by the way?

The first band of this genre I discovered as a kid was Cannibal Corpse. Among others, my playlist is still full of hardcore performers: Adept, Suicide Silence, Slaughter to Prevail, Caliban, and many more. One of my favorite songs now is by the band I recently discovered: Ana by Darko US.

I wouldn't have expected this based on your pink hearth shaped glasses.

Despite the dark aesthetic of my keyboards, I'm not a brutal metalhead dressed in leather. My favorite color is pink and I love light and bright colors too, as evident from my handwired acrylic keyboard. You can think of it as two sides of me that come together to create a unique way of self-expression. Just like how I blend technical and artistic skills in my work. I imagine it would be hard to live when everything around is just one color, so I enjoy them all.

There's one single specimen of Deathpad in existence if I understand correctly.

I actually got two copies of the Deathpad case made as both the print and the shipping were quite expensive and if one got damaged I'll have a backup. Thankfully both arrived safe, so I'm offering one for sale and keeping the backup for myself to potentially showcase it at art exhibitions.

What are your further plans? Are you going to print more with maybe slightly altered case design to retain exclusivity and collectability? Or this was it?

I'm not planning to make more copies of Deathpad but I have some ideas for upgrades and next iterations. Specifically it would be fun to equip it with a trackball or a trackpad instead of the keys. Also I have an idea to make a “normal sized” macropad version in this style that's easier and cheaper to produce. And how about a full-size keyboard while I'm at it? However these are just ideas for now and I'm not sure if I'll have time to make them a reality. I also have many other ideas, especially in this aesthetic. You can say the Deathpad project helped me learn the skills that are needed to start learning the skills for my other dream projects. ;)


Based on the images on the Deathpad page – they are all photos, not renders! – you got killer photography skills already.

I've always enjoyed activities that blend technical and artistic skills: LEGO, photography, design, programming, and now keyboard building. My main occupation is designing and developing Figma plugins, the keyboards are just a hobby for me that I obsess over in my free time. The main motivation for me besides personal creative expression is to make people think about what they type on and spread awareness of ergonomic keyboards: 99% of keyboards nowadays have the outdated row-staggered design with an ancient QWERTY layout, and I'd love to change that. I even made a little video about that.

After your death metal coming out your Skull keyboard comes into new focus. What's its status nowadays? Is it available somewhere?

Regarding The Skull, I think it might be worth setting up its own project page on my site. I wrote an artist statement for this project recently and took some more beautiful photos of it which I haven't shared yet. So far there is one unit that I'm dailying and one that was received by the giveaway winner.

I wanted to produce more and sell them but I didn't end up doing so as setting up sales + building them is quite difficult, plus I encountered some design challenges and basically got distracted from keyboards in winter as I went skiing almost every other day. So for now this is just one more art project.

Pic: The Skull by Gleb

The Skull by Gleb

So a single Deathpad is on sale.

I didn't make Deathpad to sell — but I thought it would be nice to let someone else make it a part of their keyboard collection too. Obviously, it's not ideal for day-to-day usage but most people in this hobby have a wall of keyboards they don't use anyway, right? Additionally, I'd love to show it at art exhibitions. If you have suggestions, please let me know!


The most rewarding thing about this project is seeing very different and unique reactions of people in the community. It was a challenging project and I learned a lot but the real treasure was the friends I made along the way. Also, ergonomic keyboards are the best!


  • 9 fully programmable keys
  • Bluetooth & wired connection supported
  • MX and Gateron KS-33 switches supported
  • Gateron Ink Red linear switches pre-installed
  • Black resin 3D printed case, matte finish
  • Dimensions: 30×30cm (12×12") or three 60% keyboards
  • Over 100 hours spent perfecting the design

More info

Do you like this post? Share, donate, subscribe, tip me off!

Published on Mon 21st Aug 2023. Featured in KBD #202308.


Macropad for osu!

Oplivion built and open-sourced a custom macropad with knobs and a slider.

Addams by KBDcraft

KBDcraft released Addams, a LEGO-compatible numpad as a versatile companion for the widely popular Adams kit.

Inkkeys: an e-ink macropad

The inkkeys is a dynamically assignable macropad project with e-ink screen by DiConX (video, docs, git).


Ming-Gih Lam published the ArtPad, a double-purpose macropad and artisan tray in one.

Peggi: an arpeggio keyboard

The Peggi is an eight-key arpeggio keyboard by Ian Henry.


The MacroPact is a rPico/KMK macropad with IPS display by kbjunky.