Introduction: Big Wheel - Premiere Pro Video Deck

About: I'm a prototype developer, and I make VERY SERIOUS videos about making stuff! Every Monday, I show you a new project, teach you some fun facts, or pull back the curtain of product development.

Keyboards are the ultimate controller for video games (fight me, console peasants) but Premiere Pro demands a power level for which 104 buttons is not enough. We must Super Saiyan into a new form - we need KNOBS.

This project takes big, big influence from MattRHale's glorious Elite Dangerous control pad, a project that would make nine-year-old Zack Freedman flip his metaphorical pogs. I also encountered HappyThingsMaker's Premiere Pro Edit Dial Controller while researching the project, which almost certainly influenced this project.

The Big Wheel was built in one weekend (and a bit of Friday) for the attached YouTube video, but that video focuses on the development process. You handsome intellectuals get the part that's too cerebral for the drooling masses of YouTube - instructions to build your own.

The Big Wheel brings the knobs, baby. It's half mechanical keyboard, half DJ deck, half fidget spinner. You get 14 hotkeys, three knobs, and one more really big knob, to assert your dominance over industry-standard video-editing software.

I suppose you could also use this to control DaVinci Resolve, iMovie, Final Cut Pro X, Windows Movie Maker, Sony Vegas, and other searchable keywords for video editors. For that matter, you could use this as a MIDI deck if you reprogrammed it. I'm not gonna judge. You do you.

You'll need a 3D printer, ideally but not necessarily a laser cutter, a soldering iron, the ability to read schematics, and the Arduino IDE with Teensyduino installed. Mac people, you're gonna need to jump through some hoops. I used to love OSX; it treated us like developers instead of bumbling doofuses who aren't educated enough to understand the implications of modifying their binaries. Dammit, Tim Cook, I'll monkey-patch whatever I want.

Files are attached in their respective steps, but for the definitive version, download it off GitHub.


  • One set of 3D printed parts
  • Either of the following:
    • One print of the Waffle Baseplate Combo
    • One print of Support Waffle and one laser-cut Big Wheel Baseplate
  • 7x 10mm M2.5 screws
  • 6x M2.5 heat-set inserts, 5mm-ish length
  • 1x M2.5 nut
  • 14x Cherry MX-compatible keyswitches
  • 14x keycaps for keyswitches
  • 14x rectifier diodes, such as the 1N4004
  • 4x PEC12-compatible rotary encoders with pushbuttons, 15mm flatted shaft preferred
  • 3x encoder knobs, max. diameter 22mm
  • 6x rubber feet, thicker than the head of the M2.5 screws
  • 1x Teensy LC, 3.1, 3.2, or 4.0 (I used an LC)
  • Lots of wire and heatshrink

  • If you're a laser-cutting bad-ass: Zap-a-Gap or other adhesive that can bond your 3D-printing material

Step 1: Fabricate Custom Parts

Print the following:

  • Big Ass-Wheel.stl
  • Body.stl
  • Wheel Insert.stl

If you have access to a laser cutter:

  • Print Support Waffle.stl
  • Cut Big Wheel from 1/8" (3mm) acrylic. Red lines should be cut, black shapes should be etched.

If you don't have something that can open Illustrator files, I've attached DXF files - cut the outer lines and small circular holes, and etch the inner lines.

Glue the Support Waffle onto the Baseplate, lining it up with the etched guideline.

If you don't have a laser:

Don't worry! I just split this up because solid flat objects like to curl. Just make sure your 3D printer's bed/print adhesion is good, and print Waffle Baseplate Combo.stl. Keep an eye on it to make sure it ends up perfectly flat!

Step 2: Build the Switch Matrix

Snap the keyswitches and encoders into the Body.

Using the wiring diagram, build the switch matrix. Take care to route wires away from any surface on the switches or encoders that contacts the Support Waffle. Be careful about the orientation of the diodes!

Continuing to refer to the wiring diagram, solder the switch matrix and encoder outputs to the Teensy.

Finally, slide the Teensy onto its rails. It should fit snugly - if it's loose, add a bit of electrical tape to tighten things up. The reset button should face upwards, away from the keys.

Step 3: Firmware

Connect the Teensy to your computer. If anything catches fire, put it out and replace it.

Open the firmware, select your Teensy board, navigate to Tools --> USB Type, and pick Serial + Keyboard + Mouse + Joystick. Check the switchAssignments and topKnobAssignments matrices in actions.h and compare with your preferred layout. The matrix lists the controls as they appear on the board, from left to right, top to bottom.

You may need to implement key combos yourself; the code has plenty of behavior you can modify. It's easier than it looks. Consult the Teensy Keyboard documentation to see the available keycodes.

Upload the firmware.

Test each control by entering a text editor, pressing each button, and turning each knob. The wheel should move the cursor left and right, the lower-left button should act like CTRL, and other buttons and knobs should all fire different keystrokes.

Step 4: Close the Enclosure

Using a soldering iron, sink the heat-set inserts into the bosses on the Body.

Mount the Waffle and Baseplate combo to the Body using the screws.

Apply rubber feet to the Baseplate.

Step 5: It's Straight-Up Knob Time (and Keycaps)

Attach a knob to the three encoders on the right side. Make sure they have enough headroom to click!

Slip a nut into the slot on the Big Ass-Wheel and insert a screw through the side of the wheel. Tighten the screw until it protrudes into the central cylindrical hole.

Glue the Wheel Insert onto the recess in the wheel.

Mount the Big Ass-Wheel on the center encoder. Make sure it's bottomed out against the three nubs on the Body, and tighten the screw.

Test the knobs to make sure they turn smoothly. Lubricate, loosen, and tighten as necessary.

Add some keycaps. The switches may press down into the Body as you do - this is fine.

Step 6: Project Is Done!

You've built a Big Wheel Video Deck! You rule!

You'll notice that every control except the big wheel is mapped onto a button. Every knob turn or keypress types a key into Premiere Pro, which are set to the hotkeys I use most often.

The wheel has special behavior. When you turn it at a slow speed, it types left and right arrow keys, to move one frame at a time. Turn it at a faster speed, and it starts typing J and L, so the shuttle can smoothly run through the video at high speed. Hold CTRL (the bottom-left key) while turning the wheel to lock the shuttle, so you can take your hand off the wheel and watch your video at normal speed.

This project is an entry to the Instructables Remix contest, and your vote can make a massive difference. Let's push the Big Wheel to the front page!

I love seeing people build my projects - if you did, send me a picture! If you enjoyed this 'ible, make sure you watch the video - it goes deep into the challenges I faced trying to design, develop, and build this project in one weekend.

Thanks for reading, and I'll see you in the future!

Step 7: Step 2:

Remix Contest

Participated in the
Remix Contest