Table of Contents
The Waka60 is our ortholinear option featuring a few top-facing RGB LEDs and a speaker that you can set up to play most things you can think of (or even use the board as an instrument of sorts). This board is made to be fun and interesting and offers a lot of strange options that you just don’t get to try out on very many boards.
Like most of our kits, this isn’t too difficult to build, but there are a few components here that you might not have played with before so make sure to read this guide the whole way through and feel free to stop in to the MechWild Discord Server and ask for assistance if needed!
Required Tools and Components
These tools and components are required to complete the project and are not included in the kit. The linked names of the components will generally link to a place where you can buy them.
- Soldering Iron
- Preferably a medium or small tip to make soldering the components easier.
- Solder Wire
- I recommend a thinner 63/37 rosin core solder wire. In this build I am using Kester Solder 63/37 .015 Dia.
- Flush Cutters (THESE ARE ABSOLUTELY MANDATORY IN THIS GUIDE IN PARTICULAR)
- Small Phillips Head Screwdriver
- Small piece of tape or other adhesive to affix the speaker with
Note: You might have extras of some components. This is normal and is to account for small mistakes.
The Big Stuff
EEPROM and 10k Ohm Resistors
These are now optional and will not be included unless purchased.
Encoder and Knob
Aluminum Cone Feet
(if you purchased them)
2x 3U Stabilizer Wire
(Included for GB orders)
Step 0: Test and Flash Your Blackpill
Next, we will try and put it into bootloader mode. To do this, hold the button labeled “Boot0” on the top of the Blackpill, and while you are still holding that button, tap and release the “NRST” button. Then after a second or two, release the “Boot0” button. If nothing happens in QMK toolbox or if it still is responding when you push the Num Lock, then you should try again, because it didn’t go into bootloader mode.
Now we will try and flash the Blackpill using QMK toolbox (or your tool of choice.)
First download the firmware zip file from this link for the Waka60:
Then unzip, select the bin file you want from QMK Toolbox and click the “Flash” button in the top right.
Then select that file from QMK Toolbox and click the “Flash” button in the top right.
Step 2: LED Strip
Next bit is to stick the LED strip on to its position that is outlined on the PCB. I tried to make it as easy as I could for y’all.
The only thing you need to pay attention to is making sure that the solder pads on the strip go halfway across the solder pads on the PCB and that the strip is facing the right way. There are triangles on the LED strip that show the direction of the LED strip. The triangles should point towards the top of the PCB.
If your strip has wires or anything on it extra, just cut it off first.
Remove the paper backing on the LED strip and put it on your board like this:
Then you are going to go ahead and solder between the strip and the solder pads on the PCB. You might need to use a little more solder than you normally would when soldering things. It will end up looking like this:
Step 3 (optional): EEPROM (U1), R1, R2
Now we are going to put our EEPROM and the EEPROM resistors on the board. This is pretty simple. The only thing you need to worry about is making sure that the notch on the top of the EEPROM is on the same side of the silkscreen as the notch on the silkscreen AND you also need to make sure that you are putting it on the right side of the PCB. It should be on the same side as the diodes and NOT on the same side as the LED strip. The direction of the resistors doesn’t matter. I like making them match so it looks better, but these wont be visible anyway, so go crazy with power and put them facing opposite ways if you want. Same with all the throughhole components you will be using, you put the components on one side, then flip the PCB over and solder them on the other side. Make sure you clip the resistor legs after you are done soldering them.
Step 4: Black Pill
Rest the pin headers in the PCB with the short side of the pins in the PCB and then put the black pill onto the pins and make sure it is sitting flush. The components on the black pill should be facing AWAY from the main PCB. There are buttons on the PCB that you will need to push at some point to put it back into bootloader mode, so make sure you solder the black pill on in a way where you can do that. After that solder the black pill on this way:
Once it is soldered, trim the long side of the pins that is excess on the top of the black pill. The short side of the pins on the opposite side near the LED strip doesn’t matter if it is trimmed or not. Your choice.
Step 5: Speaker
To solder on the speaker, you will be putting a little bit of solder in the hole on the PCB and then reflowing it while pushing the end of the speaker wire into it. The black wire on the speaker goes to the negative (minus) sign and the red wire goes to the positive (plus) sign. You will be putting the speaker on the top of the PCB on the side where the outline box and labels are. Like this:
Then you will want to adhere it to the side of the encoder spot with a little bit of tape that you have rolled onto itself to make it sticky on both side, or with a piece of double-sided tape if you’re fancy.
Step 6: Encoder
Encoder goes on the board on the same side that the LED strip and speaker are on. The top of the PCB, since you will want to use it while typing. Put the three pins in the three pin side and the two pins in the two pins side. Flip it over, solder it into place, celebrate being done with enough steps to test the board, and move on to actually testing the board. It will look like this when you are done:
Step 7: Test it all
Plug in your board, head over to VIA, and click on the KEY TESTER tab and then select Test Matrix from the options at the bottom. Your board should load in if you flashed it with the VIA firmware that was provided above (or any of the VIA enabled firmwares like the audio one). Connect each position on the keyboard one at a time with tweezers. This will simulate a key press and show you if your keyboard is working as intended before you move on to soldering switches.
Step 8: Stabilizers and Switches
I’m not going to walk you through this part. Put on your stabs and switches. Please remember that the switches go THROUGH the plate before being soldered and that once you solder on your switches you will not be able to put the plate on afterwards. The plate is not optional in this build, so take some care to do it right the first time.
Step 9: Put standoffs on and finish assembly
The way that I have found this to be easiest for this build is to screw one end of each of the standoffs into each of the holes on the plate, then putting the board face down on the switches and placing the bottom of the case on top and letting it rest on the standoffs that are attached to the plate, and then screwing the screws into the other ends of the standoffs through the bottom. The PCB itself is not directly connected to any standoffs or screws.
After you have it together, put the rubber feet onto the bottom near the corners, then flip it over and put some keycaps on so you can get to typing!