Get in touch
Sign up for workshop announcements and updates:
- Events on September 16, 2014
3D Printing Group - Members Meetup
From: 7:00 pm
to 9:00 pm
Description: Every Tuesday BB Members are invited to meetup to discuss 3d Printing, build their 3D printers and maybe even do some printing!
Check on the Google Group for more information about this weeks activities
- Events on September 18, 2014
From: 7:30 pm
to 11:00 pm
Description: We'll be open for the evening. Feel free to pop in and see what we're about.
- Events on September 19, 2014
From: 9:00 am
to 10:00 am
We are here
Rodhus Studios (back entrance)
Author Archives: Jason Hotchkiss
Someone sent me this clip and wow, what memories came flooding back.Ant Attack on the ZX Spectrum was the first computer game that not only totally hooked me, but made me think “I wanna be able to do that”. At one point, circa 1984, I could even beat t… Continue reading
Since I made my first Arduino-powered MIDI arpeggiator a couple of years back I have been meaning (and promising) to get a kit together so others can build their own. Today I listed my first “fundraiser” on Tindie. Hopefully that will raise enough cash… Continue reading
I’ve had quite a lot of fun with the Novation Launchpad, building interactive MIDI sequencers and control surfaces. For a while I’ve had the idea in mind of making an Arduinome (an Arduino powered DIY Monome MIDI controller)
When I was working with Will Nash on the Noisy Table, I really got to like the micro-switched arcade buttons that we fitted to the table to control the sounds. And so it was I hatched a plan to make a Monome style grid controller using arcade buttons. I soon found it had been done before, but it looked so cool it just encouraged me more.
I bought the switches quite a long time before I really decided exactly how I was going to use them. They have translucent white plungers with an LED holder in the microswitch clip at the base. The supplied LEDs were white and resistored up for 12V (I guess as a drop in replacement for filament bulbs in arcade machines). I decided to replace them with RGB LEDs, but I needed to make sure I had a decent scheme for doing this, since I needed to wire up 80 of these switches and didn’t want to end up making the same mistake 80 times!
|12V LED modules and sockets|
What I ended up with was breaking a matrix board into little squares, so I could thread the leds of the 5mm RGB LED through the holes and slide the board into the socket in place of the white LEDs modules. This worked nicely to connect the common anode and one of the cathodes to the LED socket. I was then faced with somehow getting a connection through to the other two cathodes while not interfering with the operation of the switch.
I have a big roll of Kynar wrapping wire that comes in very handy for this kind of thing. Kynar wire is a single core wire with a very thin insulation layer, so it easily gets through the tiniest of holes and gaps. I could solder two wires to the remaining LED cathodes and thread them down through the socket and out between socket and switch. Since the thin single core wire can be brittle I used little blobs of superglue to anchor the ends after soldering (Its amazing how much more useful superglue becomes if you get a spray can of activator, which sets the glue off instantly – even in blobs)
I am driving my LEDs with LPD6803 chips, which I have a big batch of from an eBay bargain. These are chainable 3-channel, constant current, self-running PWM controllers with a 2 wire serial interface. They allow 5 bits per channel of PWM resolution (Maybe the 8-bit PWM WS2801 would have been better, but I think these LPD6803′s are good enough, and they are what I had)
Every single LED needs its own controller chip… thats 80 chips… how to fit them all in? I considered putting an LED driver board on every button but quickly decided that wasn’t going actually to make life any easier. In the end I decided to put 8 driver ICs on a PCB and have one PCB per grid column (so 10 boards). There would be a lot of wire in there, but it seemed the most straightforward way to build it.
I’ve recently started getting small batches of PCBs made up by a supplier in China (ITEAD), and these driver PCBs are only the second batch I have ordered. Just getting the thing wired up to see if it worked (or if I had badly messed up my PCB design) took a long time and the suspense was killing me – but finally I was able to connect up an Arduino to send some data to it… and it worked!!
As well as the 8 x LPD6803 chips the PCB contains a 74HC165 parallel input shift register for reading the switches. I wasn’t going to count my chickens until I’d also tested the input part. Wooo, that worked too! (Eventually the input and output driver chips for all the boards will be chained together so the last test will be whether that all works)
The console for the grid is laser-cut 5mm acrylic. I had considered making a box completely out of acrylic, but wondered how sturdy it would be. Eventually I settled on building the box into a flight case and thought cases designed to house 19″ rack-mount mixers would be perfect. The one I got is a Reloop case from eBay, where if cost about £75. Not the cheapest way of getting a housing, but it should be good for a few knocks.
So… looks like I have a lot of wiring to do! I am still not certain how I will drive it when its finished, but most likely I will use an Arduino.
I’ve wanted to make a “globe POV” for a while after seeing a totally amazing hi-res one on YouTube a while back. The mechanical side of it (motor drive and power supply) always put me off a bit – while I think I can design a PCB and feel pretty confident it’s going to work, motors, gears and bearings are still a matter of kludge and guesswork for me.
“borrowed” (saw it on a Youtube video) the idea of using an axially mounted, graphite-lubricated, 3.5mm jack plug/socket connection to take power to the rotating LED board while also acting as a bearing. This time I used some chunky graphite brushes (intended for drill equipment I think) and drilled a 2.5mm hole in each and passed the 2mm drive shafts through them, then crudely superglued the end of the brush springs to my frame. And it worked! In fact it works rather well and I think I will be using this approach again.
The next step was to calculate the bitmap values to insert in the code. I needed data as 3 bytes for each vertical scan column through the image (64 x 3 bytes of data) and I needed the low bit positioned at the vertical top of each byte.
*** Source code, EAGLE files and image data available at
At the BuildBrighton hackspace we have a workshop planned for DIY stompbox builders. We’ll probably be concentrating on a Fuzzface clone since thats nice and simple. Just to make sure we knew what we’re doing we put together a couple of Fuzz face circu… Continue reading
Mikepea at BuildBrighton is building a Scalextric setup with a difference! One of the many features we’re thinking about is a POV display on the roof of a car which will plot out a graphic image as the car moved round the track. The first test was to s… Continue reading
Will and I trying out the sensing and early version of MIDI handling on one half of the table.Video by Will Nash. Will’s site is athttp://www.willnash.co.uk Continue reading
I thought it was about time to give an update on the MIDI ping pong table sensing stuff. I’ve spent quite a lot of time on it, been through a few iterations of the hardware, and learned a lot! I started this as a total newbie as far as analog electroni… Continue reading
Well, without too much pain, its just about working! Here is how I went about it, which might help you if you want to make one yourself…When you pick a drive to use, make sure it has four conductors going to the motor (“Y configu… Continue reading
Just starting this project, which again uses a 2.5″ laptop drive.Last year I made a POV “slot” clock on a HDD platter, inspired by other peoples projects I saw online. Around the same time saw an excellent project on YouTube where someone had made a di… Continue reading