Let’s face it, not everyone can live with a 60% keyboard as a daily driver.
Sometimes you’re thousands of cells deep in pivot tables in Excel and it’s just not practical navigating via an FN key while inputting data via the number row.
A numpad is an absolute must for work involving large amounts of data input. Embedding a numpad into a function layer just isn’t the same–it’s useful in a pinch, but it’s definitely not practical.
So what do you do when your daily driver is a 60% or smaller and you need to work in Excel or Google Sheets for the rest of the day? Bring a mechanical numpad along of course!
As much as I’d love to spring for a Realforce Numpad I don’t think it’s a worthwhile investment since I really only need to use a Numpad a handful of times. So on that note, I went with a budget option and got myself a Magicforce 21-key mechanical Numpad off Massdrop when I saw the drop go live.
The model I got came with black ABS keycaps, Cherry MX Clear switches and had blue backlit LEDs. I swapped out the Cherry MX Clears for super smooth Gateron Browns and used 78g Zealios for the FN row up at the top and finally I replaced all the horrible blue LEDs with soft white LEDs that I got off AliExpress.
Entering numerical data has never felt so good! One of these days I’ll probably swap the PCB out and handwire the thing to a Pro Micro to make it full programmable. QMK firmware and a decent set of layers will make the Numpad infinitely more useful as a macropad/Numpad. I’ll probably make a build guide for that so stay tuned!
So now that I’ve got a Numpad to take along with my HHKB in its sleeve you’d think I’d have a proper solution for the Numpad too right? Of course! I got Cat to design a Numpad sleeve for me and it’s basically a miniaturized version of our larger keyboard sleeves!
If you’re looking for a solution to carrying and protecting your own mechanical Numpad on the go you can fill out our Contact Form and request a custom order.
The Numpad sleeve will fit most standard-sized Numpad models but if you need one tailored to your specific model, just let us know what the make and model is and we’ll be happy to make one that accommodates it.
The Numpad sleeve shown on this post is a Midnight Blue + Red that has a personalized, stamped leather label made specifically for an accountant who never leaves home without his Numpad.
The Numpad shown is my personal Magicforce 21-key mechanical Numpad. You can get the same Numpad off Amazon (it’s the exact same model but is marketed/distributed as Qisan), Massdrop, or AliExpress. The odd used one occasionally shows up on the /r/mechmarket subreddit once in a while so keep an eye out there too.
Until next time… keep on clacking! – Christian