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MB-SEQ V3/V4 Control Surface PCB and matching case


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**edit** just skip to the good stuff starting here:

Everything between this post and that post is all design blog and "me too" posts.  :)


I am curious to know how many people would be interested in using an ultracore PCB with a custom-made MB-SEQ V3 control surface PCB and a matching custom-made, laser-cut, power coated, silk screened, sheet steel sloping keyboard/desktop style case, which could have optional wood endcheeks or optional rack mounting "ears" and alternate port cutouts on the base so it can be mounted in a 3U rack space (just like the Access Virus Desktop Ti).  At a 50 quantity order, this case would be cheaper than a 3U rack panel from Schaeffer/FPE.

I can't give actual prices of the PCBs and case, my best guess would be that the PCB should be under US$50 and the case under $200. Other parts like encoders, knobs, switches, switch caps, LEDs, LCDs etc. would be typically priced (nothing too exotic and expensive and should be easy to acquire in stores or through bulk orders).

So... this thread is to collect names of people interested in the idea.

If it's at all relevant, the control surface layout is done and the PCB layout is done, I'm currently designing the case and getting a prototype made.... so it's not going to be a year wait before it's ready.

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Of course it is! So, let's see how it looks like, what features it has (duo-LED button matrix?), etc!

Yes Button Matrix.... ;D  ;D

I´m also interestet

Rackmount/Desktop: Maybe A design which does both? ---removable Rackmounts  ;).

And a variable outboard- and with holes for it for both situations  ;) ---

If somebody has somebody how can cut Iron via laser ... thats would then be no big deal...a quick autocad drawing and its done  ;) ( a design like a post-package, cut the forms, the rest is bending and mounting....but hey only an Idea)

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hehehe you can't please everyone I guess....

TK's 16x4 button LED matrix is not included.

The PCB was originally designed to go with a matching Schaeffer/FPE 3U rack panel, so standard 3U rack enclosures could be used. These are a lot easier to find and a lot cheaper than larger sizes of rack enclosure.

There's also a lot of other reasons I did not include the button LED matrix - complexity of PCB design, availability of cheap illuminated buttons, aesthetic considerations, total cost of finished box, compact/portable design, "experimental" nature of the button LED matrix circuit/firmware etc. I think people (including myself) see the button LED matrix and want it just for the coolness factor without having a real need for it. Yes, lots of blinky lights, but you can only edit one track's steps on the LCDs anyway. That's not a criticism of the idea, I love the idea, it just was too hard to fit in with the other design considerations. It would still be possible to add this as a plug-in expansion, a separate panel/case etc.

The step LEDs will be bicolor though, so it will look like one row of the button LED matrix.... this addition of "coolness" was possible to do  ;D

There's a reason I'm not posting pictures yet... this thread would descend into design by committee if I did that  ;)  plus it shouldn't really matter to just get some numbers... it looks much like TK's original MB-SEQ... 16 knobs under two 2x40 LCDs, buttons underneath and on the left side, with all the additional buttons for V3 features (track group, trigger layer, etc).

If you're going to be fussy about the exact type of switch, knob, LED, paint colour, artwork font, specific button locations etc. then you are "not interested". If your MB-SEQ has to match perfectly with the rest of your MIDIbox collection, then you are "not interested". I am sure there are many people who don't like the MB-6582 control surface design (it has its flaws, I know!) but they want one because it's convenient, quicker and cheaper to build than doing it entirely from scratch. The idea here is to get a rough idea of how many "potential" builders there are out there who are interested in a convenient, quick and (relatively) cheap construction for a very professional looking MIDIbox SEQ V3.

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There's a reason I'm not posting pictures yet... this thread would descend into design by committee if I did that  ;)  plus it shouldn't really matter to just get some numbers...

OK maybe that was a bit paranoid.

Here's a picture of just the front side, the PDF contains more detail including the full design of the case.



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TK's 16x4 button LED matrix is not included.

Not to hijack the thread, but I'm planning to build a sequencer with all the bells and whistles, including the 16x4 matrix.  (Initial renders at http://www.midiboxaddict.com/mbmatrixseq)  I'm currently working on the MB-808, and then I need to finish the MB-6582 panels next, so my sequencer won't happen until next year (which is only six months away).  ;D

If you want a sequencer without the matrix though, Wilba is your man.  8)

(Please don't reply to this message here.  If you're interested in my sequencer, please PM me, or wait a bit until I start a dedicated topic about it.)

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And since my 3D rendering skills are poor (and I'd rather spend my time designing than make pretty 3D renders), you'll just have to visualize what this will look like with button caps like these:


as used on the x0xb0x... after seeing them in real life, I had to use them, they are very nicely shaped with a concave top and bevelled edges. They'll be sitting on top of the same kind of tactile switch used in the x0xb0x, a 12x12mm tactile switch from e-Switch. Both of these parts are cheap and plentiful enough (at least from Digikey).

Knobs are black Re'an P401 Soft-touch knobs


... they are the ones recently bulk ordered by MIDIbox Legend nebula here, so there should be plenty of them around... and probably in the hands of people who might want to build this design.

The datawheel I'm using came from ALBS.de and I think they have plenty. It's the same as the one on TK's original MB-SEQ, I think.

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Oh yeah, I suppose I should also mention, PCB uses the 16mm rotary encoders, same as the ones used on MB-6582 (i.e. SoundWell, ALPS, Voti etc.) Rotary encoders with switch are preferred, as the PCB supports this, all the step encoders have the switches wired in parallel for a "Fast" function, the datawheel encoder has a separately wired switch for some other possible function.

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Is it possible to order just the PCB and the 3U panel, or is the panel only available integrated into the case?

I can run a bulk order for the PCB separately from the case.

There won't be a kit, but there will be a few bulk orders arranged to make sure all the uncommon parts are distributed around the same time. Someone not wanting the case can still join those bulk orders too. I would prefer to limit the first production run of PCBs to 100, so that the associated bulk orders are limited in size.

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