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The "Generic MIDI controller"

Will Willems • 20 Jul 2015 • 7 min read

The "Generic MIDI controller"

Diclaimer: I published this on a forum I joined at the age of 15 so some of the writing may be a little less than perfect but I decided not to edit anything when moving this to my own blog from the DJTT forum on 3-11-19.

I've been researching DIY midi controllers for as long as I am a member of DJTT. However it has always been difficult for me to settle on a design that really suits my needs instead of a quick project that I do not actually need. One thing I notice a LOT is that I would like to have a dedicated controller for my effects that enables me to control all of them without the need for shift buttons or weird button placement. I think this design is the solution for me. This controller is going to be placed behind a standard 12" mixer.

Design

First of all I would like to thank DJTT for the design pack for the "Midi Fighter X contest" that helped me create this. Here it is:

initial mockup

Schedule

  • 25-07-15 Order all parts (buttons, pot's, teensy)
  • 10-08-15 Complete design in auto cad for lasercutter
  • 15-08-15 Finish and order PCB
  • 25-08-15 Cast buttons in custom mold.
  • 01-09-15 Send files to lasercutter (and possibly 3d printer)
  • 20-09-15 Finalize software design

Technical details

Brain: Teensy 3.1 Material case: Three layers of 2mm acrylic

Build log

28/8

Ordered all parts except for the arcadebuttons (they are out of stock) just started on the first PCB design and have just finished the top layer of acrylic:29/8 front panel design

29/8

Ordered the fist PCB: (professionals be like 🤨 when they see this) front panel design

30/8

Made a concept for the 3d-printed case, final design is going to be made in autoCAD: 3d printed case

Finished the design in autoCAD but upon requesting a quote it appeared to cost $276.83 so I'm going with bent acrylic

31/8

Ordered the Chroma Caps: chroma caps order

12/9

Received the lasercut parts: (final device is going to be grey with red): laser cut parts laser cut parts

09/16

Got the PCB's in the mail, going to check them later but they look OK. arcade button pcbs

09/17

Got the buttons from focus attack for......... here it comes...... $7 a piece! wow! this sucks

This however does not: first assembly pic, buttons and pots

09/19

Assembled the button PCB's and tested them: test of RGB lights behind arcade buttons backside of light test

10/02

Finished the PCB for the potentiometers. layout if the potentiometer PCB

10/25

Assembled the PCB for the Pot's: Assembled & populated pot PCB

11/7

Finally found a place that sold transparant plastic (acrylic) rods with a small diameter in small quantity's, had to enlarge the holes though (with a drill bit 0.5 mm a time * 80 times) then i had to saw this rod in tiny matching pieces (saw, sand the end of the rod and saw the next piece using a saw box). Then I used superglue to glue these on, on the first two i used too much so I had to remove these buttons. acrylic extention test

11/14

Finished smaller buttons: front panel with smaller buttons added

20/01

Shitty pic's are better than no pic's😁, progress is slow especially since I'm in the middle of moving to Leiden. button and potentiometer pcb assembly integrated button and potentiometer pcb assembly integrated