Ponoko front panel for Wilba's control surface pcb

31 posts in this topic

Posted · Report post

Can someone please give a quick look over this svg? Any tips would be appreciated.

Mostly it is a direct conversion of wilba's 17" dxf. I have removed the 'extra' ring around the mounting holes, changed the lcd windows to a simple cutout, and widened the vertical spacing of the lcd mounting holes to match the optrex displays I'm using.

I plan to double up the engraving layer before submitting to ponoko. File was composed in Inkscape.

Thanks :)

panel.zip

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Ok, hopefully final draft now. I've enlarged the panel to include mounting room for desktop case.

panel individual.zip

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Good work! About how much will the panel cost and which material will you order?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

I'm still yet to finalize my files, but I just ran a test through with this panel file in 3mm black acrylic, lcd windows in 3mm clear acrylic, and some simple end pieces of 5.5mm natural bamboo. Total came to $100 USD, shipped to me in Australia, from the ponoko hub in New Zealand.

I'm still pondering adding extra buttons and/or encoders to my panel, for custom functions like VST or DAW mixer control.

:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

I'm in New Zealand, would consider ordering a few of these to send out to people if we could agree on a fixed format.

Question: I think I remember a clear acrylic WilbaSeq panel a while back, is it robust enough to handle JB weld? Or judging from your drawing were you contemplating normal panel screws?

Might be useful putting a thread in the Bulk Orders section?

I don't have the PCB yet; I'd need one at some stage ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

I'm in New Zealand, would consider ordering a few of these to send out to people if we could agree on a fixed format.

Question: I think I remember a clear acrylic WilbaSeq panel a while back, is it robust enough to handle JB weld? Or judging from your drawing were you contemplating normal panel screws?

Might be useful putting a thread in the Bulk Orders section?

I don't have the PCB yet; I'd need one at some stage ;)

I was lucky enough to get the last PCB from the last order....

I was planning to use through panel screws. I don't mind (black) screw heads visible. My entire enclosure will be made from ponoko materials, so there's currently space around the edge of the panel to allow for screwing onto the 5.5mm bamboo.

As far a group buy goes, I'd be happy to be the guinea pig and pay for the first/test panel, but I think I'm going to have some additional holes in there that other people won't want. There's quite a few DIN/DOUT spaces left after Wilba's PCB takes its share, and I'd like to use some of them. I'm currently thinking 32 encoders for DAW/Mixer/Plugin control, and a few buttons for choosing the functions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Here's a quick mockup of a panel with the default SEQ/Wilba control surface, a 16x16 BLM, and 2x16 extra encoders + a few buttons for DAW/synth control. This is using roughly the max height available from Ponoko's materials (384mm), considering the width of the control surface PCB requires the panel to be oriented this way. Ponoko says: USD$78.77 ex shipping.

post-6793-127367044541_thumb.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Madness! Are you going to DIY your own BLM??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

See http://midibox.org/forums/index.php?app=gallery&module=user&user=3436&do=view_album&album=51 for what TK's up to.

I'm awaiting more details of the project, like a schematic - I'm not sure if anyone else is designing a PCB for it, so I've been having a fiddle with KiCAD. I'm pretty sure it'll fit on one of Gold Phoenix's 14.5"x10" boards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Maybe not the place to discuss this, but I was under the impression the BLM project was a cost-saving exercise, i.e. using ordinary tact switches with home-brew buttons ("feet") and RG LEDs to shine through, all on a double layer PCB of course! :)

I was only asking of yours as you seem to be using the same switches and LEDs throughout the whole design.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Ah ok. Well at this stage, if I do end up putting the BLM on the same panel as the SEQ control surface, I want the BLM to line up with the existing GP buttons. I'm not sure if TK's solution will allow that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

I real giant frontpanel (* :drool:

But there are some things that need to be considered: you placed the BLM at the top of the panel, which means that when you are pushing buttons you won't see the LCD output.

But for some BLM modes it might be important to get a direct response from the LCDs. Therefore I propose to place the BLM below the common control surface.

The 16 "extra column" and 16 "extra row" (I haven't found a better name yet) buttons/LEDs are missing.

They are important to select modes/tracks/step views and maybe other features (like loops, sections, parameter/trigger layer, octaves, special effects) directly.

Also the "shift" button is not there (lower left corner of my BLM16x16+X) - thats one of the most important buttons to control the entry.

E.g., pressing SHIFT will allow you to select the BLM mode with the 16 "extra column" buttons that are normaly used to select and mute tracks.

It will allow you to accent steps with the BLM in pattern edit mode.

etc.

Currently I'm in the progress to implement the BLM modes and to find an intuitive interaction scheme.

Once most of the modes have been implemented and I'm happy with the solution, I will finalize my own frontpanel (e.g. adding labels to the extra buttons) and document the project.

So long I haven't reached this state, I can only recomment: be patient please and design your frontpanels based on my specs, otherwise you won't be able to use most of the features later!

(I'm not willing to implement alternative solutions for reduced BLMs, because it would be too much work and the usage would be really ugly - so cumbersome like on most monome apps ;))

I will document the schematics in the next days and start a separate topic for this.

Basically it consists of 5 chained "BLM_SCALAR" modules that are documented here: http://svnmios.midibox.org/listing.php?repname=svn.mios&path=%2Ftrunk%2Fschematics%2Fmbhp_blm%2F

(but note that the Jx sockets are combined now to two 2x10 sockets)

A schematic which documents the matrix construction (connections between rows and columns) isn't available yet.

It requires a PIC based MBHP_CORE module with the "blm_scalar" firmware: http://svnmios.midibox.org/listing.php?repname=svn.mios&path=%2Ftrunk%2Fapps%2Fcontrollers%2Fblm_scalar%2F

I consider a PIC18F4550 based USB option as well, but I'm not sure if this is really for interest...

Communication between MBSEQ V4 and BLM is done via MIDI.

The protocol is documented in the README.txt file of the application - it's really fast!

And it's generic enough so that the BLM could be controlled from other applications (e.g. PC/Mac based) as well.

The MBHP_CORE_STM32 module has some spare "midi" Rx/Tx ports available on the JTAG connector, one of them will be used so that no common MIDI IO pair has to be sacrificed.

Thats all for now.

My BLM is running very stable btw. - I'm surprised a bit because I expected a) a higher current consumption and b) issues with the shared DOUTs as line control driver for LEDs and buttons (the only solution to reduce the DOUT chain to 15) - but it works :)

If somebody could create a PCB for the matrix (once schematics are available), it would be very helpful.

Best Regards, Thorsten.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

But there are some things that need to be considered: you placed the BLM at the top of the panel, which means that when you are pushing buttons you won't see the LCD output.

But for some BLM modes it might be important to get a direct response from the LCDs. Therefore I propose to place the BLM below the common control surface.

The 16 "extra column" and 16 "extra row" (I haven't found a better name yet) buttons/LEDs are missing.

They are important to select modes/tracks/step views and maybe other features (like loops, sections, parameter/trigger layer, octaves, special effects) directly.

Also the "shift" button is not there (lower left corner of my BLM16x16+X) - thats one of the most important buttons to control the entry.

E.g., pressing SHIFT will allow you to select the BLM mode with the 16 "extra column" buttons that are normaly used to select and mute tracks.

It will allow you to accent steps with the BLM in pattern edit mode.

etc.

I've attached an updated example - unfortunately it won't fit with the extra column/row to bottom/left while maintaining alignment, so I've put it on bottom right. There's a bit of the control surface PCB that's in the way.

Will it be possible to leave some 'mode' buttons spare (in the extra column/row) for the user to add extra features in their firmware? I want to add a mini-Logic Control, perhaps using the bottom few rows of BLM for Mute/Solo/Rec/Select and the top rows as VU meter.

It requires a PIC based MBHP_CORE module with the "blm_scalar" firmware: http://svnmios.midibox.org/listing.php?repname=svn.mios&path=%2Ftrunk%2Fapps%2Fcontrollers%2Fblm_scalar%2F

I consider a PIC18F4550 based USB option as well, but I'm not sure if this is really for interest...

Communication between MBSEQ V4 and BLM is done via MIDI.

The protocol is documented in the README.txt file of the application - it's really fast!

And it's generic enough so that the BLM could be controlled from other applications (e.g. PC/Mac based) as well.

The MBHP_CORE_STM32 module has some spare "midi" Rx/Tx ports available on the JTAG connector, one of them will be used so that no common MIDI IO pair has to be sacrificed.

I think so long as data and power can be interfaced within the same chassis as the SEQ modules, no USB option would be necessary.

If somebody could create a PCB for the matrix (once schematics are available), it would be very helpful.

I'll be happy to create a PCB and panel to match with Wilba's CS PCB - I'll need some experts to take a look at it before any money is spent though :)

post-6793-127379374191_thumb.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Will it be possible to leave some 'mode' buttons spare (in the extra column/row) for the user to add extra features in their firmware? I want to add a mini-Logic Control, perhaps using the bottom few rows of BLM for Mute/Solo/Rec/Select and the top rows as VU meter.

My plan is to give each button a useful function.

But you are always free to remove functions that you don't like and to add your own code.

Some programming examples can be found at http://svnmios.midibox.org/filedetails.php?repname=svn.mios32&path=%2Ftrunk%2Fapps%2Fsequencers%2Fmidibox_seq_v4%2Fcore%2Fseq_blm.c

I'll be happy to create a PCB and panel to match with Wilba's CS PCB - I'll need some experts to take a look at it before any money is spent though :)

No problem. :)

Best Regards, Thorsten.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Wow, this is awesome! I'm extremely excited about this! :w00t:

findbuddha: I did some very quick edits of your images to hear what everyone thinks about them.

The first has the whole sequencer on top of the BLM, because i think the LCDs and the encoders should not be too far away from each other, it's more intuitive that way.

In the second I added 3 rows of encoders which could be used to directly edit gate, velocity, length, etc... this would allow a very nice workflow without having to switch which parameter to edit. Would that be possible? The whole thing might get too big though....

They are just rough ideas... would they work?

What do you think about them?

post-6839-127409272705_thumb.png

post-6839-127409273499_thumb.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

The first has the whole sequencer on top of the BLM, because i think the LCDs and the encoders should not be too far away from each other, it's more intuitive that way.

Yeah, I'm not sure what's the best way with that - I'm thinking it might be best to be able to see the BLM while using the control surface? I don't know.

In the second I added 3 rows of encoders which could be used to directly edit gate, velocity, length, etc... this would allow a very nice workflow without having to switch which parameter to edit. Would that be possible? The whole thing might get too big though....

Wilba's PCB uses 6 DIN shift registers, so we have 10 left to use. 16 encoders use 4 shift registers, so we can only have 2x16 encoders, plus some buttons (or a few more encoders). This would still give 3x16 encoders in total. I've attached another image of how it might look. I would use a couple of buttons to assign different parameters to each row of encoders, eg. 3 buttons: EncRow1 Assign, EncRow2 Assign, EncRow3 Assign. Press the assign button, the options come up on the LCD, select with the matching general purpose button.

Having the encoders lined up horizontally will make the panel too tall to fit in a single ponoko sheet, there's only 384mm to work with. While this will raise the costs, it's probably worth it to have the more optimal layout.

Perhaps it would be good to split the panel into 3 parts, horizontally between LCDs, BLM and encoders. This would have the benefit of allowing people to rearrange the panels as suits them. I'm not sure how to manage the aesthetics of 'joining' the panels. ;) Perhaps Ponoko bamboo would look nice in between.

:)

post-6793-127410118609_thumb.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

That looks great! 2 additional rows of encoders would already be very cool!

I still would like to have the encoders next to the LCDs, but that could be solved if we make the panels modular, like you said. I think that's a very good idea.

Let's hear some more opinions on that, I'm curious what other people think about this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

You won't be able to edit parameters when GP encoders and buttons are so far away from the LCDs!

Adding encoders to the BLM and/or MBSEQ circuit could be possible, but I'm not sure if the SRIO chain can be scanned stable enough if the SCLK cables get so long!

Up to 10 free DIN registers could be added to the PIC (= up to 40 encoders), and since this chip drives the signal lines at 5V push-pull, it would probably better to add the encoders there.

But as already mentioned in another posting, I'm much more happy with a desktop solution, resp. a separated BLM that sits flat on the desk.

Best Regards, Thorsten.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

More panel size, power consumption, transmission issues and redundancy but:

Two duplicate LCDs, one by the GP encs, one by the BLM?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Not sure about everyone else, but I can't afford duplicate LCDs.

Here's a quick sketchup of how another layout may look. Regular SEQ panel on top, BLM and 2x16 encoders on bottom. The SEQ panel need not be angled differently, but I think this may improve visibility and reachability.

post-6793-127413472156_thumb.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Wow! Now it becomes interesting! :)

Best Regards, Thorsten.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

TK, as the only person who has both the big BLM and the SEQ, do you think this is the optimal layout?

Of course the extra encoders are optional, and could be replaced with each individuals choice of encoders/pots/buttons/faders. But at least it will settle the layout for the main SEQ panel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

The construction looks very similar to my setup, with one exception: since MBSEQ frontpanel and BLM are separated, my solution is easier to transport. And I can remove the BLM if I need some free place at the desk for something else.

In order to connect BLM to my MBSEQ I will use a single cable for MIDI IO and power supply.

With optocouplers instead of TTL level digital IO the allowed cable length is ca. 10 m! :)

Best Regards, Thorsten.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

I love the idea of the tilted sequencer on top of the BLM. That's the right direction!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

More panel size, power consumption, transmission issues and redundancy but:

Two duplicate LCDs, one by the GP encs, one by the BLM?

Yes, i have the same Idea! Would gives more oversize.

Is there a Problem to duplicate the LCD´s? How long can be the Wires to the external Box?

Servus,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now