Building a RadioDJ USB controller pad

When we first started looking at controller pads, we found some units we really liked. They were programmable and had tops you could take off the keys and put pretty little coloured inserts in. Unfortunately, they cost $200.00 apiece and were out of our price range. We went with Plan B, which is taking $5.00 USB numeric keypads and gluing new labels on them. First of all, you’ll need to purchase a keypad. Please make sure yours has the exact same key configuration as the one pictured below:

If you get a different configuration, it may not work properly and we can’t help you fix it. These cost about five bucks each including shipping on sites like Amazon Canada. Next, you will need to print out our key labels and cut them out (click on the image below to download the PDF):

When you go to print the file, most systems will try to print a PDF so that it fits on the page, usually at 96%. This will shrink the labels so they don’t fit your keys. Make sure you choose ACTUAL SIZE on the print dialogue as shown below, and that you have selected 8.5 x 11 inch paper (letter sized) as the type of paper (click image to enlarge):

Once your labels are printed, you can cut them out and glue them onto the keys on the keypad. A glue stick works well for this. Make sure that you match the labels up with what we have in the picture below:

Once your labels are glued on, there may be a bit of white paper showing around the edge of the labels. A bit of touch up with a black Sharpie pen will fix this. Make sure your labels are well-affixed. Once the keys are labeled, you don’t want the print to wear off, so a bit of clear coat is in order. The easiest way to do this is to mask off the edges of the keypad with masking tape as shown below and give the keys a light coat of clear coat enamel. Do NOT try to remove the keys and paint them individually. It was too much work and resulted in one damaged keypad when we tried. Just mask the unit as shown below:

Give it a light coat of enamel, and let it dry for an hour. Remove the tape and you have a custom control pad for your RadioDJ broadcasting system. You will occasionally have a sticker come off. Just print out a replacement, glue it on, mask the unit, and give it another shot of clear coat and you’re good to go.

The next bit is installing AutoHotKey, which we’ll cover in a separate article. AutoHotKey remaps the keys on the numeric pad to work with the shortcut keys in RadioDJ.

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