Derek and I were out in NYC for the first ever World Maker Faire, and on our extra day in the city after the show, Derek put me on with my beatseqr for an improvised unscripted demo… Normally, we play as a group with a couple of beatseqrs going, so it became somewhat obvious to me half-way through that I need to tweak my live solo set up. But it was fun and then Derek of course played an awesome set of techno as per usual.
Here’s the first look at version Beatseqr v4.0 in the new case:
I had to look high and low to find sources for the right size project box. It’s been a big challenge to balance cost, availability, feasibility, and also consider the fabrication work flow when selecting this type of case. I’ll be honest in that I’d prefer to have super nice solid wood, or unibody aluminum cases. That would be friggen’ sweet. But… 1. wood cases are extremely time consuming to build. I *will* offer custom wood cases for an additional fee. And, 2. aluminum is expensive, and my tool set really isn’t appropriate to work with it at this time… so we’ll have to settle for our dreams for now. The case I’ve selected is a good candidate for custom paint jobs, and the way all of the parts mount to it is the easiest we’ve ever had. So this is a pretty good case.
After I located the right cases, I reformatted the circuit to fit onto the appropriate board dimensions for the case. I’m still unable to offer the circuit boards as open source designs at this time, but I’m hoping to loom more into that in the next year or so.
Next, I had to work out a set of CNC gcode to reproducibly route all of the mounting and component holes on the circuit boards.Â The complications here were in the increased precision I now get to.. enjoy (?) working with, due to the new cases and strict requirements for mounting holes. Previously, mounting the board to the case involved custom drilling holes into the top panel, towards the very end of the process, and now the entire process has flipped. Now I work from the case on down instead of circuit board on up. It’s something I didn’t really think about until I started seeing all of the repercussions once I had my new boards and was cutting holes in the cases. But it’s pretty good now.
Then finally, I’ve been spending a bunch of time dialing in the CNC gcode for the case, as you can see below:
Here’s the aftermath on the blacktoe after several trial and error runs on layout designs.
Here are a few photos of “close but no cigar” runs. You can see that the early tests had holes in the wrong places.
Check out this video of what the cutting process is like. Sorry for Mr. Shaky Cam. I ordered an iPhone 4 tripod mount, so I’m hoping the quality of my videos is going to improve soon.
As usual, when you don’t hear from us, we’re cooking up new stuff. Here’s the assembly video for the version 4.0 circuit board.
The main new features of version 4 are:
* changed form factor to accommodate being able to be placed in a new case that I’ve sourced.
* added a parameter record button. This is going to be awesome, so more info will come when we’ve been able to bake the sequencer more for this feature.
* improved the placement of the arduino mega so that the USB port is closer to the edge of the board
* improved all of the hole sizes for the LED tact buttons
* when I though to, I added secondary holes for potentiometers in case you ever need that.
* added a small prototyping area for ad-hoc needs.
* hardwired the mode button LEDs up to 5V so that they’re on all the time, which freed up three pins on the arduino. One of those was used for the parameter record button
* TWO UNUSED PINS. They’re digital in, and PWM out. You could put two more buttons on here, or switches, or LEDs… or serial devices and drive input/output with softwareserial in the arduino code. You could, in theory, add two more LCD screens using the moderndevice.com driver boards or similar serial input display drivers. All kinds of things. Oh, Maybe you want to add a couple of midi ports? Hmm!
* generally labeled a lot of things on the board so you know what you’re looking at.
* had to rewire an awful lot of stuff to make the autorouter happy. So consequently, the firmware has changed somewhat significantly. I don’t exactly know what the right method is going to be to keep the 3.x units up to date, but we’ll get something figured out.
* one of the buttons needs a jumper wire to ground. I’ll certainly get that fixed next time I order boards, but it’s an extremely minimal bug fix to perform.
I wanted to make a piece of art for my anniversary card to my wife, so this year I used brushes.app on my iPad to paint (?) this set of orchids. I really like the reasonable limitations and extremely flexible set of tools. I went through the tutorial a while back and started remembering the color blending a ways into this piece. I’d done several pieces of abstract work as per my normal mode in brushes.app, so doing something representational was something new for me. I guess. I do some representational works; mostly seascapes… so this turned out pretty ok given that it’s just not what I normally do.
I had a hell of a time with this so-called-free epson printer, wasting a precious hour on changing ink and reading about how lame that is given the amount of ink left in the “empty” cartridge. Sigh. I have another “Free” canon printer/scanner sitting right next to the epson, and not only did it fire up right away, but it had full ink carts, zero clogged nozzles, and printed out a *beautiful* 4×6 glossy print for me on the first try. Whew. Anniversary card project successful.