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[Build Thread] 157 spaces of fun!
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> 5U Format Modules  
Author [Build Thread] 157 spaces of fun!
Eric the Red
It has taken about 1-year of planning, but my full DIY system has been planned out, and now I can dedicate more time to putting it all together. In total it will consist of 3-cabinets with a total of 157U available.

-Left - 17U x 3 rows
-Center - 24U x 3 rows
-Right - 17u x 3 rows. This cabinet also has space for 2-rows of euro for some of the weirdness available there, specifically Metasonix!



For the cabinets:
-I will be putting that LED Tape Light inside, and all of the yellow cells will be lite up from within, also light will shine through all of the unused jacks. Bonus points if I can get it to react to the music.

-Vertically mounted patch bays. I picked up two of these recently, and I was racking my brain on where to put them.. vertically mounted between TJ cabinets was the best idea and that is where they will live.

-Yellow cell strategic placement: in the middle cabinet, they were strategically placed between different Sequencer type "mini Systems"

As I build up the modules, I'll also be building up the cabinets and tables for everything to live on. Everything here is going to be DIY

For the modules, I have a wide array of boards from different designers:
-Barton Musical Circuits
-Chris Lee
-Horstronic (euro, but can run on +-15v)
-J3rk - super excited to build that bit station
-Klee!! Circle jerk fun will be had there
-Lord of the Wah Wah wah
-Melon Farmer - or _________ I forgot the name and who I got this from, but it looks exciting
-NonLinear Circuits Null A (euro, but can run on +- 15v), this is a sick ass Module and is like a Swiss army bag of swords.
-Oakley!!
-Yusynth

Are there some key modules that I need to put in this system? Yes - where are th multiples!!??

Do I need more VCAs? Are about 45 enough!!!

Stay tuned to see lots of detailed pictures and my thoughts along the way as I start building everything. I have a few things almost done, 10000 panels to design and make, and some new tools to finish building and buying!

I eagerly anticipate your feedback, encouragement and constructive criticism as I build this beast.

Stay tuned. And let's do this!![/img]
ualslosar
Leave some room for a little expansion...

Eric the Red
ualslosar - in the synth cockpit I'm building. The DIY will be in front, a mixer / rack gear will be on one side, and an 88-key keyboard with 2-box 11's wil be set up.

I still have 1 more side before I'm fully closed on, and I can easily expand to 10 more Box 11's... where is that credit card again??
AlanP
Eric the Red wrote:
For the cabinets:
-I will be putting that LED Tape Light inside, and all of the yellow cells will be lite up from within, also light will shine through all of the unused jacks. Bonus points if I can get it to react to the music.


Google "colour organ" -- they were huge, decades ago.
coyoteous
Eric the Red: Build on!

ualslosar: Wow...
cornutt
That's a pretty kick-ass setup. Looking forward to some construction photos. I'm hoping to start on a case of my own pretty soon.
Eric the Red
I took some photos last night, need to post my update soon.
-the two Barton drum Systems, I have the boards all populated - I just need to make panels
-I am currently building the 10 B!C-015's. Those are quad mixer VCA's. These will act as my main outputs to the entire system.

-Eric
JohnLRice
coyoteous wrote:
Eric the Red: Build on!

ualslosar: Wow...

+1 eek! screaming goo yo SlayerBadger! w00t love thumbs up
Rex Coil 7
Subbed .... thumbs up
DrReverendSeance
Quote:

Melon Farmer - or _________ I forgot the name and who I got this from, but it looks exciting


Melon Farmer is from fellow Wiggler Satindas, here is the thread for more info https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=162519&highlight=
Eric the Red
Rex Coil 7 - Thanks!!

DrReverendSeance - Thanks! As I play around with the CNC Mill, I might engrave everyone's name on the side of the racks whom I purchased Boards from. Who knows!

Since I last posted:
-I ordered a crazy amount of components for a lot of the projects
-Starting up another shopping list for components I forgot to order and for another project - the NGF Vocoder
-Priced out a lot of aluminum for all of the front panels - shipped, it is $250. Not bad for 157U! That's $1.59 / U
--After drilling holes, I am going to do the paper/clear coat method panels.

Here is the status so far: mostly working on items in the middle cabinet first:


-The boards for the 2-Barton Drum systems are 99% done - there was 1-missing component on a few of the boards that arrived in my last shipment. Just need to solder it up, and create the panels.

-The boards for the 10 BMC-015,s are 85% done, just missing a few components and need to create the panels.

-Boards for 1-Klee has been fully populated. Just need to design the panel, and purchase enough wire for a small apartment...Also need to get that "Wire insertion tool". I find it crazy that I can't find one for under $30 for a molded piece of plastic with a funny tip..

-Currently working on the Barton BMC-016 - Quantizer. Well, 10 of them... don't know why I bought 10 boards. I got this before I found the Clee Quantizer. Oh well, I'll use the leftover 5 in my next 156U set of cabinets? Sounds crazy now, but when I am done building all of this, I know I am going to want to get more.. because More is better than lesss?



One of those fancy board holders/3rd hands was a recent purchase along with smaller tips for the iron, all in all, I am moving slow and steady. I think by December I'll probably have my first finished set of modules

I'm not working tomorrow, so I'll probably be hanging out with the soldering station all day.

-Eri
Rex Coil 7
I am WAY interested in your project here. In ways you and I have some things in common (mill, lathe, desire, passion, love of aluminum stuff and metalworking). However my shop is still 100% manual ... no CNC (yet!).

Without a doubt our two projects are on different planes. Mine is essentially seeing how far I can go with a roll of duct tape and bailing wire with "Home Depot" type hardware stores used as a primary source of materials, and your project is an exercise in precision and taste.

we're not worthy

I simply cannot wait to see what you put out!! I'm also hoping to learn from you along the way. I really love these ongoing construction journals!

I just wish I had your ambition!!!! thumbs up

Give it hell, Eric!
Eric the Red
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
I am WAY interested in your project here. In ways you and I have some things in common (mill, lathe, desire, passion, love of aluminum stuff and metalworking). However my shop is still 100% manual ... no CNC (yet!).

Without a doubt our two projects are on different planes. Mine is essentially seeing how far I can go with a roll of duct tape and bailing wire with "Home Depot" type hardware stores used as a primary source of materials, and your project is an exercise in precision and taste.

we're not worthy

I simply cannot wait to see what you put out!! I'm also hoping to learn from you along the way. I really love these ongoing construction journals!

I just wish I had your ambition!!!! thumbs up

Give it hell, Eric!


I wish there were more of these type things here on Muffs. There are a few in the Euroland, but mostly "here is what I am buying and using...update in 2-months... sold everything and started fresh"

I got a nice payday bonus early in the summer with some freelance work and changed jobs - so I treated myself to a nice gift (CNC). This thing is a beast to build in itself - I got it from Inventables. It came in 7-boxes while I was at work, and my wife had the misfortune of bringing everything inside. That thing is harder to put together than DIY modules.

This has been something I have wanted to do since I first heard the Clockwork Orange soundtrack and saw how the music was made. At the Henry Ford museum here in Detroit, they have the first ever Moog prototype on display.

Rex Coil 7
Those patchbays ... will you be posting pics of those?

And I'm going to have to insist that you show some ambition here, this is such an easy project ....

meh Mr. Green eek!

Kidding of course. Just wow.

thumbs up

Glad to see you're acknowledging the need for at least some Euro. There's just some stuff in Euro that MU simply does not offer.

And your cabs ... full DIY or are you using some prefab cabs?

Also ... power system?
Eric the Red
Cabs: full DIY
Power: Dotcom - haven't even thought of the euro part yet, bull will probably
call up Mr. Hinton for that as everything in the euro world looks flimsy.

Pay day is Wednesday and Thursday this week - I am ordering aluminum for all the 5U panels.

Next Wednesday, I have the day off work so I'll be buying most of the wood needed to make up the cabs.

Other than that, my mom picket up another one of those component sorter drawer things for me as a gift so I need to reorganize the DIY area.
Flareless
Very ambitious and cool looking project Eric. Thanks for sharing and please keep us posted.

If I might make one suggestion; consider the Deep Equinoxe over the standard Oakley Equinoxe. The build is not much more difficult and doesn't require any extra rack space. The difference in sound quality is incredible.

I originally built myself a standard Equinoxe but after building a few Deep versions for others I converted mine and could not been more pleased with the upgrade.
Eric the Red
@Flareless - thanks for the tip! I should just build both and see which one I like more.

After I build this 157 space monster, I am probably going to want to do it again... who knows what kind of modules I'll have by then.

I feel like if I could start building as fast as you, I could have this thing done in about 3-months.
krisp14u
Eric the Red wrote:
@Flareless - thanks for the tip! I should just build both and see which one I like more.


No need to build both just build the Deep Equinoxe and switch to Norm for the Equinoxe and Deep for well the Deep Equionoxe hihi

Excellent looking project by the way
Flareless
krisp14u wrote:
No need to build both just build the Deep Equinoxe and switch to Norm for the Equinoxe and Deep for well the Deep Equionoxe


Excellent point!

I would just go for broke and go with the "Deep" right from the start. For one thing it will save you having to re-drill the panel (not to mention re-screen) to support the two toggle switches used by the Deep Equinoxe.

I'd also like to suggest replacing the jumper which selects Inverted versus normal LFO output with a toggle switch. If you decide mid-way through a patch that you'd like to invert the LFO output it is far easier to flip a switch than to remove the module, change a jumper and re-install the module in the rack.

Plus everything looks cooler with more switches It's peanut butter jelly time!
Rex Coil 7
Eric the Red wrote:
Cabs: full DIY
Power: Dotcom - haven't even thought of the euro part yet, bull will probably
call up Mr. Hinton for that as everything in the euro world looks flimsy.
Good call. thumbs up Everything in Euro seems substandard to me as well. I'm using "flimsy" stuff for the moment because I'm still working out what I want to end up with in my Euro cab. Once more or less settled on what's going in the controller/modulation cab (my Euro stuff) I'll commit to putting together a power distribution system that lives up to the rest of the setup. "Custom" ... all the way!

I'll also be uprating my Dot Com power distribution system as well, the rat's nest Dot Com QDH20 system is getting me by but it just seems so ... I don't know ... ~sufficient~ as opposed to ~optimal~.

Hmm .. that sounds bad, I'm not slamming Roger's offerings, it simply seems that since I've built my own cab, making my own normaling setup, and have given myself a lot of design flexibilty as far as mechanical engineering the whole lot goes that for me to NOT address cleaning up the power distribution setup feels lazy and somewhat "good enough" or "half assed".

If I wanted "good enough" I would have NEVER taken on designing and building my own take on a performance mono-synth and simply bought something prefabbed. With designing one's own modular system we as builders have the opportunity to employ the best options available. Not doing so seems sortof lazy or perhaps "uncommitted" to the project's potential.
Rex Coil 7
Oh man ... the Oakley Deep Equinox looks a treat! Heheh .... the ~Deepquinox~

http://www.oakleysound.com/deep.htm

Dumb noob question though .... does it have to go post-output VCA or does it process fully blown VCO "synth level" outputs? I couldn't work that out from the info on the module's web page.

I have owned a few Nord Modular (+variants) and I know that placing a phaser between slave/master VCOs in an FM configuration produces some really wild ass sounds in those units. I've often been curious about how that would work out in a hardware synth.

That said, I picture placing the Deep Equinox between two FM'd (aka; Cross Modulated?) VCOs, phase shifting the audio signal that goes in to the other VCO's FM input.

Seems like fun!
Eric the Red
Because I am a bit of a loon, I also want to make all of my own patch cables... because the cabinets, panels, and modules isn't enough for me... oy. I have issues.

Is this all that I need to make them:
--Cable: https://www.performanceaudio.com/item/canare-gs-6-guitar-keyboard-and- instrument-cable-orange/54940/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIh5nKwtiB1gIVgTVpCh2-E AIsEAQYAiABEgK4O_D_BwE

Jack: http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/REAN-Neutrik/NYS207/?qs=sGAEpiMZZM tUKTCHc2CNRMeXFvjPG6RF
**updated for Mono jacks.

Probably need some heat shrink as well...

Thanks in advance.

Eric
Rex Coil 7
Eric the Red wrote:
Because I am a bit of a loon, I also want to make all of my own patch cables... because the cabinets, panels, and modules isn't enough for me... oy. I have issues.

Is this all that I need to make them:
--Cable: https://www.performanceaudio.com/item/canare-gs-6-guitar-keyboard-and- instrument-cable-orange/54940/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIh5nKwtiB1gIVgTVpCh2-E AIsEAQYAiABEgK4O_D_BwE

Jack: http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/REAN-Neutrik/NYS208-U/?qs=sGAEpiMZ ZMv0W4pxf2HiVyu0UZNzwMHSnEazeNK4Q1c%3d

Probably need some heat shrink as well...

Thanks in advance.

Eric
I have a few of those Neutrik right angle plugs, I was concerned about their overall width (in other words can two or more ~fit~ in close quarters next to one another). With jack spacing of 0.750" they fit next to each other just fine. Your buck standard Q106 VCO has jack spacing of 0.750", so no problems there.

However if some other modules have jack spacing less than 0.750" you may run in to issues.

I just now took a set of dial calipers to both jacks, Switchcraft right angle plug measure at 0.500", the Neutrik plug measured at 0.600" ... a 10th of an inch difference in width.

I also just snapped a couple of images to illustrate the point. Here's a comparison between the "plain old" 1/4" Switchcraft #11 open frame TS (tip-sleeve) jack used on very early Dot Com modules before a decision was made to use different jacks .........




And the venerable Switchcraft #111PCX box frame 1/4" TS jack which is highly popular due to it's smooth operation and reduced rear panel real estate (this is the most commonly seen jack on later Dot Com modules) .....




Since the Switchcraft 111PCX is a bit less wide you may be tempted to crowd them together (tighter than 0.750" center to center) on a given DIY module to increase component density ... so be certain to check the clearance needed to adopt the Neutrik right angle jacks.

Lastly, the part number you provided is for a Tip/Ring/Sleeve (TRS .. aka "stereo") plug. That having been said, is there some reason you've elected to use those instead of Tip/Sleeve (TS .. aka "mono")? Just curious ... it makes me think you have some tricked out plan! cool

That is all. Transmission complete, RC7 out.




thumbs up
thresholdpeople
I made all my own cables for my studio, -- Amphenol makes real nice 1/4" connectors, the mid tier ones are like 1.20/ea, and assemble pretty easily, and are very nice.

I also personally like Mogami cable over Canare, and for less fancy stuff, Redco makes their own, good, cable too, appropraitely named The Good Stuff: https://www.redco.com/Redco-Instrument-Cable/.
DrReverendSeance
I've built cables using the Rean plugs you linked to, I didn't like them because the boot was not closed to dust.

I prefer these for 90 degree because of the better strain relief and boot: http://www.neutrik.com/en/audio/plugs-and-jacks/px-series/np2rx

There are also different coloured boots available which is a nice touch. http://www.neutrik.com/en/audio/plugs-and-jacks/plug-accessories/bpx

Any particular reason you want to go 90 degree? I've found 90 degrees cables get in the way while patching. Just MHO.
Rex Coil 7
DrReverendSeance wrote:
..... Any particular reason you want to go 90 degree? I've found 90 degrees cables get in the way while patching. Just MHO.
Speaking only for myself here, personally I like using them in certain spots on my modular that tend to stay patched.

Also, their low profile allows my hand to sweep across the panel to get from one area to another (the same natural way you would when playing a completely hardwired performance synth).

Standard .. as in "straight" .. patchcords require that my hand first move roughly 6 inches back towards my body ... then move over to the next area of attention (next module or region I wish to tweek) ... and then move six inches back inward towards the panel to apply changes (twist knobs, flick switches). So it becomes an issue of economy of movement. It sounds super trivial, even as I type this. However, moving from one set of controls to the next means moving away, then over, then back in again. Right angle jacks mean ... well ... just moving over rather than the out/over/in motion. Less electric hair to get my hands/fingers tangled up with.

Here's a pic of Tom's ("Noddy's Puncture") rebuilt 1970's R. A. Moog modular ... note the region at the lower right .... nice and low profile. Easier to get from knob to knob without "tripping" over cables and straight jacks in a hurry during realtime performance.

(outstanding performance synth ... so glad to see the old Moog making live music with a progressive rock band and entertaining people rather than enshrined in some museum-like environment or relegated to doing gear shows such as NAMM like some poor perfectly restored 1967 Mustang that gets traded back and forth between wealthy collectors at Barret Jackson auctions ... this one is out there performing, exactly what it was intended to do ... GO TOM!!). whew! ... that's one hell of a run-on sentence!



If you've not seen Tom in action, make it a point to check out a couple of his videos that he's released in just the past day or so. You can see how quickly he needs to move from region to region (his recent live performance of Hoedown by ELP is especially exciting). The low profile cables really help with that.

Rockin' Banana! Rockin' Banana! Rockin' Banana!
DrReverendSeance
Interesting, thanks RC7.

I still find the 90 dgree plugs block the jacks nearby, or get in the way of knobs, and I see the benefit of the easier access for controls.
Eric the Red
@RexCoil7 - mono vs Stereo - I just clicked on the first one I saw that was reasonably priced... I updated my original post with links to Mono jacks.

--Thanks for the tip on placement. With these being 100% DIY, I can make sure they are placed right. For my existing DotCom stuff, I might run into an issue at some point, but I'll figure it out later.

@Thresholdpeople - Thanks!!

@DrReverendSceance - for the reason RexCoil7 posted, the height while patched.
Rex Coil 7
DrReverendSeance wrote:
Interesting, thanks RC7.

I still find the 90 dgree plugs block the jacks nearby, or get in the way of knobs....
This is totally true. I suppose the choice depends on intended use at the time of use. Doing sonic design work in the studio ... straight plugs all the way for the reasons The Dr. cites ... 100% agree.

we're not worthy thumbs up
Synthbuilder
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Oh man ... the Oakley Deep Equinox looks a treat! Heheh .... the ~Deepquinox~

http://www.oakleysound.com/deep.htm

Dumb noob question though .... does it have to go post-output VCA or does it process fully blown VCO "synth level" outputs?


You can stick it any where in the modular signal chain. In a standard MU/MOTM format synth the audio levels are typically +/-5V and the Equinoxe can handle this with ease. It'll be happy enough with lower levels too but the signal to noise ratio won't be as good.

Tony
Rex Coil 7
Synthbuilder wrote:
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Oh man ... the Oakley Deep Equinox looks a treat! Heheh .... the ~Deepquinox~

http://www.oakleysound.com/deep.htm

Dumb noob question though .... does it have to go post-output VCA or does it process fully blown VCO "synth level" outputs?


You can stick it any where in the modular signal chain. In a standard MU/MOTM format synth the audio levels are typically +/-5V and the Equinoxe can handle this with ease. It'll be happy enough with lower levels too but the signal to noise ratio won't be as good.

Tony
Great! Thanks for the information. cool
Eric the Red


First panel - DONE - or so I thought...

Module: Barton Musical Circuits VCA-Mix (X10!!)
-Link to Module description: http://www.bartonmusicalcircuits.com/vcamix/

You know when you go and just start something without really looking at the source material, and then just kind of keep going with it... well, that's precisely what your good friend Eric did with this one.
seriously, i just don't get it seriously, i just don't get it very frustrating very frustrating Russian Roulette Russian Roulette Russian Roulette Russian Roulette Russian Roulette

So, this guy designed this panel for each VCA being 1-channel instead of 4!! so consider this draft #1. The final version will be set up similar to this, with the Master outs being at the end, only now instead of each channel being set up horizontally, they will be vertical.

I am really happy with how this design turned out, sucks its gotta change. Oh well, let's see how draft 2 turns out later this week. I originally had this bad boy slotted for 20U, lets see how that goes.
Rex Coil 7
Eric the Red wrote:
..... each VCA being 1-channel instead of 4!! ....
Ok Eric ... I'm not getting it .... So there will be 4x as many channels when you reconfigure it (40 channels)? Naw .... that's gotta be wrong. I looked at the link, still confused (sweet find though!!).

Yea, see, I'm lost here .... I believe my problem is obvious, see below.

Eric the Red
Hey Rex - each Master Out should have 4-inputs each to mix together.

To clarify..
-Each VCA has 4-channels, so 4-rows that I had in the middle part of the panel all correspond to 1-Master Out.
-Not to sound like a smart ass, especially being the dumb ass who made a silly panel... I think this is how Mr.Bartongot the clever name for VCA/Mix - its 4-VCAs going to 1-Master mix out.

The redesigned panel will be a lot more compact, but instead of having 2-rows of 5 in the middle, it will have 10-rows of 4, or I might keep it horizontal... who knows!!

Hope this helps
Rex Coil 7
Eric the Red wrote:
Hey Rex - each Master Out should have 4-inputs each to mix together.

To clarify..
-Each VCA has 4-channels, so 4-rows that I had in the middle part of the panel all correspond to 1-Master Out.
-Not to sound like a smart ass, especially being the dumb ass who made a silly panel... I think this is how Mr.Bartongot the clever name for VCA/Mix - its 4-VCAs going to 1-Master mix out.

The redesigned panel will be a lot more compact, but instead of having 2-rows of 5 in the middle, it will have 10-rows of 4, or I might keep it horizontal... who knows!!

Hope this helps
AH! I see now. It's sortof like an extension of the idea behind the Doepfer A-135-1 Quad VCA/Mixer design.

Coincidentally, just last night I finished up wiring up some normaling "defeat" switches on my own A-135-1. The odd 7th switch provides the ability to remove any of the 4 VCAs from the "SUM out". Meaning, with the switch flipped UP all 4 VCAs are routed to the SUM output. With the switch DOWN, use of any of the individual VCA outputs removes them from the SUM out. So, plug a patch cable in to (let's say) VCA 3 output, then the SUM output will include VCA's 1, 2, and 4 ... removing VCA 3 from the SUM output. Pretty much how the MATHS 2013 works. Switch UP, and all four VCAs are routed to both their individual outs, as well as the SUM output regardless of any individual VCA outs that are being used.





The other six toggles defeat the factory normalisation between the SIGNAL inputs, as well as the CV inputs. This permits running each VCA as an isolated stand alone VCA, or including it with any of the VCAs that remain normalled to each other's inputs or CV inputs that control them.

Man, that's a mouthful. Versatility and options, it's The Way Of The Modular.

thumbs up

EDIT: Normalising, normalization, normalling (2 L's), normaling (1 L), EVERWHAT! I cannot seem to decide how I wish to misspell it! lol The only one that the built-in spell checker approves of is "normalizing". My grammar sucks.

Dead Banana
Eric the Red
Panel redesigned... just need to make everything lined up and add all the details. ended up being 1u longer than expected - ended up doing 1 big ass 21u panel instead of 2x10u. seriously, i just don't get it What's an extra U when working on a system that is 157 spaces?

Glad I planned on having random extra spaces throughout.

**Picture coming soon**
Rex Coil 7
I'm curious. You seem to be an adventurous thinker, that said, do you have any plans for creating some sortof "modulation sections", sortof akin to the modulators found on the likes of the Moog Sub 37, or the Korg MS-20?

Perhaps a kindof "MATHS" type module or section that provides a lot of madulation ... (that's a misspell, but I like it so much that I left it!). There's really no pre-designed modulators in the MU format that offer that type of versatility, at least not without patching several modules together first.

And another one here .... what of modulation mixing and distribution? EG; I've cooked up a combination of a Q113 8ch x 2 bus mixer with two Q147 Distributors (one distributor wired to each mixer bus output). This ~thang~ is to be repaneled into a single large-ish Euro panel to fit in the modulation cab that I chose to use. It will still use 15vdc power, I'm simply repaneling that stuff to fit in 3U rails. It has the ability to mix any number of modulation sources, while also having the ability to send those signals to any number of destinations, while also being able to invert some signals to given destinations (the Q147 uses attenuverters on each output channel, of which there are 3 per distributor).

I suppose I'm asking if you've schemed up any type of modulation stage or section that goes beyond just a simple collection of individual modules.

Your twisted mind seems as though it's from the same mold that mine was cast in. So that's why I ask (I figure you may have some unconventional ideas about that, just like the first thing here that you've shared with everyone ... your MEGA VCA!).

thumbs up
Eric the Red
Picture file

Here is the super sized panel... 21U.

This set of modules is meant to be the final destination before heading out to a mixer and then out of some speakers and into my ears.

Modular path for this will be: [Some sort of module] --> VCA Mix --> Patch Bay --> Mixer --> My Ears and my dogs ears.

It has a total of 10-Master Outs, and 40 inputs...
srsly never - I think I do, 40! in "one module"
Eric the Red
[/video]
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
I'm curious. You seem to be an adventurous thinker, that said, do you have any plans for creating some sortof "modulation sections", sortof akin to the modulators found on the likes of the Moog Sub 37, or the Korg MS-20?

Perhaps a kindof "MATHS" type module or section that provides a lot of madulation ... (that's a misspell, but I like it so much that I left it!). There's really no pre-designed modulators in the MU format that offer that type of versatility, at least not without patching several modules together first.

And another one here .... what of modulation mixing and distribution? EG; I've cooked up a combination of a Q113 8ch x 2 bus mixer with two Q147 Distributors (one distributor wired to each mixer bus output). This ~thang~ is to be repaneled into a single large-ish Euro panel to fit in the modulation cab that I chose to use. It will still use 15vdc power, I'm simply repaneling that stuff to fit in 3U rails. It has the ability to mix any number of modulation sources, while also having the ability to send those signals to any number of destinations, while also being able to invert some signals to given destinations (the Q147 uses attenuverters on each output channel, of which there are 3 per distributor).

I suppose I'm asking if you've schemed up any type of modulation stage or section that goes beyond just a simple collection of individual modules.

Your twisted mind seems as though it's from the same mold that mine was cast in. So that's why I ask (I figure you may have some unconventional ideas about that, just like the first thing here that you've shared with everyone ... your MEGA VCA!).

thumbs up


With DIY, I am not at a high level yet. My current skill set lies with "Look at parts list, insert part into designated slot on PCB". Anything else is pretty advanced for me at the current time. With these VCA's, what I would like to do for 8 of them - because I do not think there is room at the very bottom for #5 and #10 - is add a switch to to toggle on/off the input going into the final mix.

Here is the schematic/assembly guide / all of the information for this module - if you can figure it out and explain it like you would explain it to a toddler... I would like to make that mod. http://www.bartonmusicalcircuits.com/vcamix/documentation3.1.pdf

For your Combination q113 8ch x 3 bus mixers with 2 q147's, that you are turning into euro sized - check out this other Barton module: http://www.bartonmusicalcircuits.com/router/ - Its like the q147, but without the knobs. I'm sure they could be added, I just don't know how.

In terms of crazy modulation stages / or anything out of the ordinary, nothing really beyond "a collection of individual modules". The way I have them all grouped together is that they are all smaller systems collected as a whole:

2x Klee sequencer systems
1x Null A2 (Click this link for Andrew's write up of it - http://nonlinearcircuits.blogspot.com/2017/03/null-a2.html)


1x Stroh / J3rk Bit Station for some randomness and crazy light show
8x drums controlled by 4 sequencers
2x LFO Modules (or 8x LFO's depending on how you look at the modules...) for some weird ambient / crazy noises / fart factory effects.


When I eventually get into the Euro section I will probably get a lot of Nonlinear Circuits stuff because Andrew is cooking up a lot of off the wall stuff that no one else is doing, the Metasonix stuff that I wan't is probably out of the price range for me - especially as I love DIY, and I wan't to get 33 of pre-build modules to use with a keyboard - no sequencers, just standard keyboard modulation. The dot-com prices are within my budget for 1-module a month or so once I am done paying for DIY stuff.

Another project that is on the list for this, that will either go in the euro slot I have in the right cabinet, or I might build something special for it to live in its own house - haven't decided yet.. Its the NGF Vocoder, that Mr. Harald has cooked up in Germany. It's a small project - only about 80 boards to populate... and then build a mic to go with it.

On to the next panel. Thinking of doing the Null a2.
Rex Coil 7
No sweat, Eric. I'm no different than you, my mixer/distributor thingy is nothing but repaneled Dot Com circuits. All to easy to do ... plot the knobs and jacks on a panel, mount the PCBs taken from "a collection of modules", and then use the headers on the PCBs to connect said pots and jacks. Perhaps a bit of normaling between various jacks, maybe insert a switch or two in between things to give them on/off capability (or to re-route a signal without using a patch cord). Call it good.

With Dot Com stuff, it's just so easy .. there's even the occasional jumper link that may be replaced with a toggle ... like I did with that Doepfer VCA mixer.

Easy peasy.

I haven't taken the time to look over that circuit you suggested, I'm smack-ass in the middle of yet more normaling on my synth. Just took a break for a few moments to stand up and stretch and check subbed posts real quick ... alas, the soldering iron awaits me.

cool

EDIT: As for the "mega modulator" I asked about, all that needs to be is a VCO, a VCA or two, perhaps an EG or two. Normaled together in productive ways. Again, this may be done with "a collection of modules" taken apart and repaneled as I described above. All I meant by the "collection of modules" comment was that some folks will say to use just that .... patch some modules together with patch cords to create whatever modulations you require. That's all I meant .... using patch cords t otie together some "collection of modules" rather than creating something dedicated ... such as the way the Moog Sub 37 and the Sub Phatty do ... just some "collection" of circuits bundled together to create a modulation section. The "just some collection of modules" phrase was a poor choice of words on my part.
Eric the Red
@Rex - That makes sense about the "Collection of Modules" comment smile The panels that I am making are grouping the "Collections of Modules" together. Next week i'll be working on the Drum Sequencers, which are 10-modules all together in one panel, to make it look like "one module"

Tonight I made up a panel design for the Nonlinear Circuits Null A2. This one will be converted from Euro to 5U. It is a 12U module, and in the last section I had some extra space that I filled with 5-mults. I plan on using 4 of them with the clock divider and leaving the 5th one open for whatever clowning i feel like getting up to.

Once all of the panels for the whole system are designed, i'll be placing an aluminium order. Don't want to go and order the metal and then have a bunch of modules end up with different dimensions. I unfortunately do not have the skills nor the tools to cut metal, and I do not want to get into that for this project. Looked into joining the Detroit Maker Shop, but damn that's expensive.

Here is my version of the Null A2 panel - the only thing that I am missing are 3-LED's. I know the areas that they are going in, just not the exact spot or size. Left off for now...anyway, here it is:


Here is the original Euro version:



For the most part, all of the sections are in the exact same spot. Some parts of it needed to be moved around due to how I "tetrised" the parts together. I am not looking forward to all of the wiring on this manually. With it being a conversion from Euro to 5U, all of the connections will be manually wired.
Rex Coil 7
I like yours a boatload better! It's far easier on the eyes, and grouping various sections with vertical lines really helps define each stage.

Likey!!

And the stylish cuuuuurrrve of those jacks is a nice touch!
Eric the Red
The stylish curve is to fit an LED to the left hihi
Eric the Red
I am one Lucky Ducky. I was thinking that my Null A2 panel was very dense, and I might have placed the Pots/knobs to close together. Made some measurements, check the BOM, and I am super happy that it used the little 9mm pots, because the bigger ones will not fit.
Eric the Red
Haven't made much progress on anything recently as I've been sick in bed and school started - I really hope my students stop asking dumb questions this semester.. But, it won't happen.

Anyway... I did clean up the basement workshop a bit. The basement as a whole still needs a ton of work, but it's a start.

Here's the before and after.







Depending on how much free time I have after errands and prepping for class this week, I'll probably fill up,the middle cabinet with components that have been in a box for a few weeks.
Rex Coil 7
Ya' gotta start somewhere! thumbs up

Feel better soon. cool
Rex Coil 7
I've PM'd you ... please read it.
Eric the Red
Some progress has been made:
-Almost Done soldering up all of the Barton Boards, I think that makes up about 1/2 the modules in the system
-Prepping for the next mass invasion of parts. Going through the build guides/parts list for the Oakley Boards to see what I need. Going through the Vocoder build guides for the parts lists there...

Buying parts in massive bulk is the way to go - I have most of what I need already which is great, and for the stuff I don’t? Partsa list called for 10-resistors? I think I am going to order 150...

Also hooked up the workshop with a magnifying light thingy - working with a magnifier is very different, but very helpful.

-Eric
Dave Peck
Eric the Red wrote:

Is this all that I need to make them:
--Cable: https://www.performanceaudio.com/item/canare-gs-6-guitar-keyboard-and- instrument-cable-orange/54940/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIh5nKwtiB1gIVgTVpCh2-E AIsEAQYAiABEgK4O_D_BwE




You don't need to spend anywhere near that much on decent bulk shielded audio cable. You can get good bulk cable from Belden and ProCo and other manufacturers/ sources for about half that price.
Eric the Red
Thanks Dave!!
Rex Coil 7
Eric the Red wrote:
....Also hooked up the workshop with a magnifying light thingy - working with a magnifier is very different, but very helpful.

-Eric
I bought one of them thingages as well. For me, it's nearly useless. I went to high diopter reading glasses (like $10 bux at WalMart). I wouldn't be able to walk six steps without tipping over from the dizziness the high mag creates, but when in that tiny little ~world~ we get inside of when we're focusing on little bitty parts and tight working quarters maneuvering an 800f+ degree soldering pen around a tiny city of tiny buildings, them "Coke Bottle Bottom" readers work perfectly. I even double check my soldering joints by placing a 10x loupe right against the lens on the readers, which really lets me ~in~ to the tiny tiny world and any flaws. Can't recall how many times going to The Loupe has exposed problems that I otherwise would never have seen.

The shyte is, I used to have "fighter pilot's eyes" ... 20/10 (twenty/ten) visual acuity in both eyes. For the uninformed, that means what most people can read at 10 feet away, I was able to read at 20 feet away. Them days er gone! Any more (at 57 yrs old) it's probably more like 20/40 or worse.

DANG IT! you kids get off my lawn

getting old sucks
Eric the Red
Getting old... yeah.. I’m a bit younger (a spry 32). I had scoliosis surgery exactly 16 years and 8 days ago. There are 2-11inch rods holding my spine in place. It’s amazing how certain activities make me feel great or make me feel like shit.

Back to the soldering Iron...

-Eric
Eric the Red
With this project, it I should time to start spec’ing out the power supply!

Brian (Rex Coil 7) has been, and will be a huge help in this whole ordeal. I’ll be purchasing power supplies from mouser (whatever Roger uses as the QPS3 and QPS1) and setting up bus bars.

Overall, I’ll probsbly be hooking up 4-power supplies, 1-for each cabinet (5U) and one for the euro setup in the left cabinet.

Progress I’ve made on this so far: purchasae a massive pile of screws / washers / nuts. I think there are about 500 coming? Probably not enough, but it will get me started with the first set of modules.

Edit - just got confirmation that it all shipped. Fastener express is fast!
Eric the Red


Here is this weekends panel - what I am calling the "Hachi Trapezoidal Quantized Switched Shaper". A name like that just rolls off the tongue... There are several different modules that make up this panel, and I took a piece of each of their names to come up with a title that has a lot of large words in it.

Going from left to right:

-2x QTLFO - Hachi is Japanese for 8, and there are two of these "Quad Trapezoidal" Oscillators.... so we get the Hachi Trapezoid! Link to module: http://www.bartonmusicalcircuits.com/qtlfo/

-DNQ - If having one Dual Nice Quantizer is "nice" having four must make me Mr. Nice Guy. Instead of building to the standard "Barton" panel, I'll be taking the Dave Smith approach (http://modularsynthesis.com/modules/DJB-013/djb013.htm). This is going to be one dense panel with a lot of wire when it is done. I think I read somewhere that the Klee takes about 300ft. of wire to build. This one might need more. Link to module: http://www.bartonmusicalcircuits.com/dnq/

-Horstronic Waveslicer - Looking for the elusive Batman wave? The Horstronic Waveslicer has got you covered. Why stop at one batman, when you can have 2? Link to Module: https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=144678)

-Programmable Router - WIth so many outputs, why stick to the road always traveled? With this puppy, I can switch to the road less traveled with just the push of a button. 4-Ins, 4-Outs and many combinations of where to route everything. Link to module: http://www.bartonmusicalcircuits.com/router/

-4046 Shaper - Another waveshaper - this one converts everything to a swuare, and then does some wonky and funky stuff. Link to module: http://www.bartonmusicalcircuits.com/4046/

Once I get everything designed, i'll be making my Aluminum order to get these puppies made. That's all for this weekend, looks like i'll be doing the Mirrored Klee's next weekend.
Rex Coil 7
Holy Radioactive Coyotes, Batman! Geez, Eric .... and I get all proud because I drilled a few holes and tweeked a couple of Dot Com modules.

I'm building a shed in the woods, you're building a skyscraper in Manhattan! I'm building a kite, you ... a fighter jet.

At the end of the day, it's all just parts and wires. But I cannot help but feel a total sense of awe ... in the actual meaning of the word.

Carry on, good sir. Do, carry on.

Wavefolders are a blast. I had an Intellijel uFoldII, it did all of the waveshapes (Batman head, cat's head, and so on). Loved the sound! It was resource hungry though. Without pretty much devoting an entire synth's worth of peripheral modules to making it "go", it didn't offer much. It was highly productive when the input waves were modulated (their input levels). That said, each channel needed it's own VCO, with the VCO's output level controlled by a VCA (which in turn needed modulation itself to change the signal level of the VCO that was running through it). All of that .... x3! The VCOs needed to track something to make things musical as well. A sequencer, perhaps a keyboard ... everwhat.

So each VCO wanted it's own VCA .... and each VCA wanted it's own envelope, and LFO ... each with their own output signal levels modulated.

OY! d'oh!

Short story .... sold on eBay ... replaced with a Kurzweil PC3A6. Ha!

That's my (wavefolder) story and I'm sticking to it!

B.
Rex Coil 7
.... man .... we may want to talk about putting in a PSU just to power the LEDs in that thing!

lol
Eric the Red
This panel only has 28 LEDs for 10 modules, only 2.8 LEDs per panel. The other 2-Panels I posted, the Null A2 and the VCAs don’t have any.

Overall, for the 21 modules thee are a 30 LEDs, or 1.43 LEDs per Module. The real crazy blinkiness will come in with the Bit Station.



Rex Coil 7
Eric the Red wrote:
This panel only has 28 LEDs for 10 modules, only 2.8 LEDs per panel. The other 2-Panels I posted, the Null A2 and the VCAs don’t have any.

Overall, for the 21 modules thee are a 30 LEDs, or 1.43 LEDs per Module. The real crazy blinkiness will come in with the Bit Station....
You do realize I was kidding, right? lol lol

But now that you've added it all up, by comparison my 5U/MU system has seven LEDs. 4 on the VCOs (1 each VCO) and 3 of them on the power panel.

Then again, I don't have a sequencer.

Now, in my Euro cab things get weird. I have 2 Lightstrips (CV voltage sources that can record your movements). Each one of those has ELEVEN LEDs, and those things are only 4hp each! Eleven LEDs in 4HP. A Doepfer Quad LFO (4 more LEDs) .... 2 MATHS (there's another 16 LEDs between them) .... A DUAL ADSR (2 more LEDs) ... hmm ... it's becoming clear that I have no room to talk here!

Just in those alone I have 44 (fourty four) LEDs. Ok, yea, time to stop joking about your system and it's LED armada. Adding my entire Dot Com system plus what I have in Euro (*cough cough* ... ahem .. so far .. *cough) I'm looking at 13 LEDS plus 44 ... uh oh, this is becoming embarrassing .... FIFTY SEVEN LEDs!

(what the absolute .. 57? .. hold up .. eek! .. how'd that happen? hmmm..... geez!)

HAA! I can't help but think of that chef on Sesame Street that used to come out with those pies and sing out loud ... "TEN BANANA CREAM PIES!!" ..... so imagining him doing that with my system's LEDs .....

"FIFTY SEVEN LIGHT EMITTING DIODES!!".

meh ok, I'll stop now ....

Dead Banana
Eric the Red
The Count! I have an uncle that looks and talks like him. It’s kind of odd...

This wasn’t intentional, but my cabinets are set up to go from more blinky discotheque excitement to not much fun.

The left cabinet, almost all modules have crazy blinky lights. There will be a 6U segment with 30 lights!! (http://www.bartonmusicalcircuits.com/xor/)

Above that thee will be 2x Klee sequencers. Those have a few lights... about 21!

Where did I leave my sunglasses...


Edit:
Finally some non-soldering / design progress: next week, I’ll be ordering the aluminum for the bus bars and the panels. The fun part I should not telling my wife how’s much stuff I saw coming and then hearing about her struggling to bring it inside when the package is delivered smile
Eric the Red
Well... I went and did it. I ordered another PCB. But this is to get started on that 6U of Euro.

It is for the legendary Ming Mecca - my Euro side of the system is going to be dedicated to total weirdness. Maybe I’ll name it Naked Lunch? So far, I’ll be filling that up with Haralds NGF Vocoder and Video synthesis modules. With the remaining space, it will be for more ambient / background / noise modules and a “Format Jumbler” converter panel. Is it actually legendary? Who the fuck knows, and who cares!

Ming Mecca - http://www.specialstagesystems.com/world/

Back to the day job. And then gotta grade papers, write a lecture or two, and a midterm... and then back to Panel Design.

Hoping OnlineMetals.com emails out a coupon or something to help save a buck or two before I place the order... I’ll wait a few weeks before hitting the “ship me 100lbs of aluminum button” or whatever I am purchasing... (146U worth of aluminum sheets and 34 feet of aluminum for bus bars)
Flareless
That Ming Mecca is truly weird oh Red One!

What the hell do you plan to do with that? Generate and score video games on the fly with control voltages?
Rex Coil 7
Flareless wrote:
That Ming Mecca is truly weird oh Red One!

What the hell do you plan to do with that? Generate and score video games on the fly with control voltages?
(I highlighted) ... I thought you can do just the opposite with that thing?

I had this totally stoner idea a year or so back .... having "PONG" (remember that one?) used as a random gate and/or note sequencer. Just let the game bounce the ball around at random, with each contact with a paddle or boundary creating a cv event.

Meh ... seriously, i just don't get it ... ideas come and go.

thumbs up
Eric the Red
Flareless - exactly that! I have a few tiny relatives that will be around the age where they have control over their limbs by the time this thing is ready to be fired up (they should all be between 2-5).

When I have family over, it will give me an excuse to hid out in the studio when they are here. Also, Video Synthesis was on the list of things to add in the Euro section, and I had an opportunity to purchase a PCB for something that will probably never be available again.

Rex Coil 7 - from what it looks like, it kind of does that. It has some video game screens built in (SD Card) and you use the controller and voltages to control what the environment looks like while making unique sounds.

I need to read much, much more about that Module and it’s capabilities -and what to pair it with, but it I should going to be a good friend to me.

ALUMINUM has been ordered - 146u For panels and 34 ft. For bus bars!!!!![/u][/i][/b].

Edit - damn!!!! Online Metals.com is fast as hell. Ordered at about 8am, shipped out at 11:30am.
Rex Coil 7
Eric the Red wrote:
Flareless - exactly that! I have a few tiny relatives that will be around the age where they have control over their limbs by the time this thing is ready to be fired up (they should all be between 2-5).

When I have family over, it will give me an excuse to hid out in the studio when they are here. Also, Video Synthesis was on the list of things to add in the Euro section, and I had an opportunity to purchase a PCB for something that will probably never be available again.

Rex Coil 7 - from what it looks like, it kind of does that. It has some video game screens built in (SD Card) and you use the controller and voltages to control what the environment looks like while making unique sounds.

I need to read much, much more about that Module and it’s capabilities -and what to pair it with, but it I should going to be a good friend to me.

ALUMINUM has been ordered - 146u For panels and 34 ft. For bus bars!!!!![/u][/i][/b].

Edit - damn!!!! Online Metals.com is fast as hell. Ordered at about 8am, shipped out at 11:30am.
It's weird how fast that bus bar stuff gets eaten up. I had 20ft, last two nights I made 11 (eleven) bus bars and suddenly there's just a remnant left from the 20ft order left. I kept thinking that I had over-ordered ... but nope ... pretty much used it all up.

That was only for a 44sp 5U/MU and a 352HP (slightly larger than 12U) Euro rig.

You'll suck up that 34ft of bus bar quick as a wink.

As for your panels and the aluminum work involved ... I'd run like a thief from that job! I really admire your ambition on that one, I hope like HECK it all works out for you. You're bound to learn a truckload by the end of that task.

And you're right about OnLineMetals ... they don't play! I've found Fastener Express, OnLineMetals, Lightning Stainless, and Erthanvar to be top drawer folks, to the one.

Sky Geek can suck bugs from a windshield ... in fact, they pretty much do. I'm not happy with them one little bit. Once my pending order is complete that will be the very last time they get any of my money.

Hmmm... maybe I'm being unfair, perhaps the wheels just happened to fall off on this one transaction, it may not be their ~norm~. I may give them a 2nd shot, I suppose everyone deserves a 2nd chance.

You're moving ahead very nicely Eric! I'm glad I was of some help (thanks for the props you sent my way a few posts up ... I totally didn't see that before). Any time.

thumbs up
neandrewthal
Wow, I could never leave a long enough comment to do this thread justice so I'll just say that's one hell of an ambitious project!..and then some other stuff.

lol at the batman wave. I got a kick out of that one day when I was mixing different vco waveform and watching on a scope and Batman appeared! I hope it was Adam West Batman and none of this moody shit.

Anyway, how soon do you plan to finish this thing? I can't believe how much you planned right from the start. When I started building my goal was to have 5x24u by the time I was old and grey (I was 20 I think) but I only planned the first 24u from the start. By the time that was done I had so much fun (and extra accumulated PCBs that I got started on the next 24u right away. By the time that was done I had so much fun (and extra accumulated PCBs that I got started on the next 3x24u right away.

The next thing you know it was done (and not a single grey hair yet). I'm glad I did it in stages though because my panel design philosophy altered drastically from start to finish. Even the module selection kept changing until the last minute and after it's done there are still some modules I want to rip out and replace with other ones. If I was planning as much as you all at once I bet over half of it would get changed by the time I'm done.

I'll leave off with a pic of my baby for now. Can't wait to see how this thread progresses!

Eric the Red
neandrewthal - thanks! I am thinking it should take about a year or so to finish. The biggest obstacle I have is funding, I think with the power supply and remaining parts, I have about $3k left to go - that includes patch cables! I can’t imagine what the cost of this thing would be if I bought everything pre-built.

For panel designs, I’m just going with “Keep It Simple Stoopid”.

It took me about a year or so to fully plan everything out before I started building - listened to hundreds of sound samples, listened hundreds of hours of new music... trying to figure out “my sound”.

This is the culmination of all that research.


Weekend plans - go to Home Depot and the craft store to get the rest of the supplies needed to make “paperface panels”next weekend. Aluminum comes Monday and I’ll prbsbly be dropping off some files with a printer on Wednesday or Thursday.
Eric the Red



Damn!! They are fast. Standard shipping, ordered yesterday.
Rex Coil 7
How thick is that? ^^
Eric the Red
Rex Coil 7 - it’s .1” or 2.54mm.

I’m going to build my table to be 10ft long instead of 8. Between this (side by side, not a thing an aapngle) this is about 9 ft. Long.
Rex Coil 7
Eric the Red wrote:
Rex Coil 7 - it’s .1” or 2.54mm....
Ah! So 12 gauge then. Excellent choice!

Which alloy did you choose?
Eric the Red
5052-H32

http://www.onlinemetals.com/merchant.cfm?pid=17911&step=4&showunits=mm &id=240&top_cat=0
Eric the Red
Small amount of progress over the weekend - prepped one of my illustrator files for printing! Submitted it to the print shop online last night - hopefully it will be ready in a few days.

I got all my supplies ready to make PaperFace panels - or have a disaster on my hands. Stay tuned for the next installment of my modular journey.
Rex Coil 7
Back to aluminum issues for a moment, I found this page to be ... I don't know ... interesting?

http://www.onlinemetals.com/productguides/aluminumguide.cfm

It provides a nice, easily read summary of some of the alloys commonly available today.

smile

On your paper face panels. This intrigues me. I have so many questions about the entire thing, the whole situation is really interesting.

Do you have to tell the printers about the intention of using a spray-on clear coat so they select the most appropriate ink (so the ink won't run or be sensitive to the solvents in the clear coat)?

Is it a decades durable means of applying a finish to the modules?

Please understand that I'm not challenging your decision to use that form of finishing, I'm just curious about it. smile

I've seen some examples on some synth panels (comic book characters, manga characters, and so on). And they look really great!

OH! And what of changes? In other words, what if (months, years later) you decide to change the images to something totally different. Is the original paperface application somehow removable or are you stuck with your choices? Let's say you decided to add a switch or a new pot to the panel, is the previous ~face~ removable so you can put on another one with the new control(s) added?

See .... too many questions, per usual "me".

I will check all of this out, so please don't go out of your way just to find these answers. I'm just more or less thinking out loud ... uhm ... again.

Keep on truckin' Eric!

Damn I talk too much!
Eric the Red
Hey Brian!

About 10-years ago I had this idea of taking photos, making belt buckles and selling them.



I took the photos, slapped Mod Podge on both sides, clear coated them and then filled it with epoxy.

Clear coat will dye paper yellow over time. Mod Podge is kind of like wall paper glue, but it sticks to anything. Then spray a few coats of clear coat on, and blammo! I’ve got a panel.

In terms of removal and putting on a new paper, it would almost be easier just to start over with a new panel. It would just be sanding/grinding to clean the metal off.
Rex Coil 7
Hola, Pues! El Kabong! ("well, hello!")

I was just showing my wife what you were talking about (Mod Podge). Looked it up ..... man! That looks like some really useful stuff! Do people know about this? (haahaa!)

So now I'm really curious. I've been frettin' over how to do the graphics on my own Hill Billy Tech synth (the Super Death Ray or whatever). I mean, for the most part I can just (attempt to) remember everything, but it would be better if it were to have some function labels here and there.

I mean, the voice controllers I'm making ..... Holy Radioactive Coyotes, Batman ... there's a bit there .....



So now your project methods have me thinking (uh oh ... everybody run! ... he's been thinking again!). I've always liked the look of the Dymo labels, matter of fact Pittsburgh Modular has done and gone KILLED THE HELL OUT OF THAT format! It looks amazingly good. I wonder if I could somehow use the Mod Goop along with some type of protective clear coat to adhere some printed out fakey Dymo labels that I can make up in the computer.

I've even considered doing a bit of metal stamping (I know a guy who's pretty much nailed a method of doing that quite well .... ~ahem~ ....). but to be honest that method doesn't really transfer well to painted surfaces, it only REALLY looks good on polished aluminum surfaces, which I won't have very many of. Polished aluminum isn't optimal for live performance panels, it's far too reflective. If one of those quadbillion watt spot lights or really hot stage light hits that surface all I can see for a few minutes is a blue dot floating in front of me.

Do I plan on going on stage with the Synth Of Death? Odder things have been known to happen. I'm certainly designing it towards that end.

Anyhow (wandering off again) ... do you think that there's a process .. a DIY process ... that would serve my needs? Even if the Dymo thing isn't practical, just some large-ish typeface graphics (VCO1 ... V81 [I use "V8" for "1v/oct" ... as in "volt/octave"], FM2, and so on ... short descriptors) would do.

I've been thinking of using silver Sharpie too, with clear coat over top. But sometimes clear epoxy spray paint can make Sharpie ink do REALLY weird things.

What do you think? Is there a method or combo of methods that will allow me to apply graphics over bedliner?

If not, for panels like the Voice Controller (pic above) I'll probably just scribble the function descriptors on with black Sharpie and call it done.

Help me, oh mighty Roger Ramjet ... Dead Banana

EDIT: Or perhaps I should just go all-in with the paper face method of sorts, and design the custom panels in some complimentary color to black (it's useless to attempt to match an existing black, it never works out, looks like an obvious screw up, and is just a plane and simple FAIL). Perhaps some type of gun-metal grey panel color with black graphics. Go with mil-spec looking graphics to go along with the whole mil-spec themes I like. Mumbling out loud again.

Hmmm .. paper face .... thinking ... thinking ... graphics, black, TITAN II ICBM silo looks ... paper face ... black .... ok my hair hurts now. I think I blew a diode.
Rex Coil 7
The clear hard coat ....

https://plaidonline.com/products/mod-podge-hard-coat-8-oz

seriously, i just don't get it
Eric the Red
Haha they didn’t have the purple stuff at Target!! For now I’ll stick with Mod Podge and spraying on clear coat.
Eric the Red
Went and talked to the printer a few days ago, it was interesting.

-this place charges by the square foot for prints that use the Large Format Printer. So that’s interesting.

-it will be printed on 80lb paper, which will add .005” to the size of my panels. They will be slightly larger than a standard 5U height, by .01” (source: http://printing.ucr.edu/paper_thickness.html)

This weekend I’ll be taking the panels I have done and pepping them for print, in my .ai files, what that means is basically deleting the black/gray circles and replacing them with an x so I can just have my mark to drill a hole and panel graphics.

If all goes a small planned, I’ll start putting some modules behind panels next weekend.

One more baby step closer towards finishing.
Rex Coil 7
nanners Trampoline nanners headbang nanners Trampoline nanners

How exciting!! This is SO different from my own approach, and I just LOVE it!

thumbs up
Eric the Red
With how much you are modifying modules, why didn’t you just go with the the DIY approach?
Rex Coil 7
Eric the Red wrote:
.... -it will be printed on 80lb paper, which will add .005” to the size of my panels. They will be slightly larger than a standard 5U height, by .01” (source: http://printing.ucr.edu/paper_thickness.html)
I'm confused. Why does thicker paper make the the finished product 0.010" taller than the 5U panel? Or does 80lb paper come in fixed sizes that are actually 8.760" instead of what a 5U panel is (8.750"). The link you posted addresses only the thickness of the paper.

I feel as though I'm missing something completely obvious. Good chance I am!

OH WAIT! I think I get it (he said). When you say "height", do you mean that the paper will add some thickness to the aluminum itself? If that is what you're driving at, ten thou is nothing to worry about. I think that bedliner shmutz I use adds at least 10 thousandths (0.010") of thickness to the bare aluminum.

Hmm.. I still feel like I'm missing it somehow.

seriously, i just don't get it

Eric the Red wrote:
This weekend I’ll be taking the panels I have done and pepping them for print, in my .ai files, what that means is basically deleting the black/gray circles and replacing them with an x so I can just have my mark to drill a hole and panel graphics....
Now THAT, I totally dig!

Easily, the most difficult thing about the way I make/modify my own panels is doing the hole layouts before center punching. With everything already carefully plotted out in a computer program, then printing it and laying it on the aluminum, then simply center punching the "X" and drilling ....... is a LOT easier than hand layout/center punch/drill horror I put myself through.

And yes, I still center punch even though I use a drill press. It is how I am able to keep hole placement within 1mm of spec. I don't predrill a pilot hole, I just center punch and then plow through with the full sized bit. If I center punch it's no different than drilling a pilot hole for the full sized bit to follow. It's just a method I've become comfortable with using over the years (and literally the thousands of holes I've drilled so far).

Dang Eric .... I'm so excited for you! You're going to be able to actually hold one of your modules IN YOUR OWN HANDS soon! That is so cool!

nanners
Rex Coil 7
Eric the Red wrote:
With how much you are modifying modules, why didn’t you just go with the the DIY approach?
Well, some would say IT IS a DIY approach, just a different tack on it. I've thought about what you've said any number of times. But to be honest, most of the mods I'm doing are just normalizing things, I'm not really making new things. The few "new" things I am making are DIY'd (such as the Quad Ring Mod panel I did this week, or that weird panel that looks like 3 spark plugs with red plug wires).

Hmmm ... I suppose I think of my synth like a "street drag car". A professionally built purpose designed drag racing car starts out as a pile of steel tubing and a drawing. There's literally NOTHING from the original car left in the racing version. However, in "street outlaw" racing (or in AMA Superbike racing from the early 1980s) one must start with a stock vehicle that actually has a VIN plate. It must retain it's steel roof, rear quarter panels, and at least some of the stock frame. This is to keep the costs under control, and give even the garage born race car owner a fighting chance (same goes for the late 1970s/early 1980s AMA Production Superbikes class .. it had to start from a store bought street bike, not a pile of steel tubing and an engineering drawing).

It's what people do with their vehicles, they start with no real end-plan and slowly .... piece by piece ... weekend by weekend ... work up to higher and higher performance. That's sortof what I've been doing.

My synth adheres to that ethos. I want to use modified production modules, and simple hand built modules that use the "stock" circuits that anyone can buy as fully completed and working modules. It's a set of "rules" that I am adhering to, just cuz. I like seeing how far I can take modifying the stock Dot Com modules (those things BEG to be modified, I feel like Roger sortof baits the courageous user into doing mods).

It's the same philosophy as the Street Outlaw drag racer or the street legal road race car. How far can you take this street licensed vehicle that you bought before you knew you were going to get into all of this high performance stuff?

Same same with my synth. How far can I take a "production" Dot Com system with all if it's obvious places to improve on?

It would be too easy to just buy PCBs, parts, panels, and put it all together with a fully designed end in mind. I say "easy" because there's nearly no limitations, there's no "fences" that you have to stay within. And it would be nothing different than anyone else's "Pro Mod" (more racing vernacular ... a "Pro Mod" is that car that started as a pile of tubing with a fake fiberglass body, and a plan to make a racing car to start with).

In the end I could have simply purchased a Dave Smith Pro 2 (for half the money!) and had MORE than what the sum of the parts I have. But it would be exactly like everyone else's Pro 2 performance synth ... snooze.

I guess that's all I can say. I just like seeing how far I can push these stock modules into a synth of my design and my preferences. The circuits themselves are left untouched (the stock PCBs I suppose is more accurate). My synth started out as one single row, then I added the second row, then I stuck the two rows together into the weird cab I have now. I kept working with the VCOs and VCFs, changing configurations, goofing with this and that way of configuring 4 VCOs and 2 VCFs. Ultimately landing where I am now. There was no plan. Comes down to my lack of experience with modular synths, I suppose. I just kept trying different things until a picture began to develop in my peanut head of what I wanted in a modular synth. The process literally took years.

After that, I really don't have a good answer for you, Eric. seriously, i just don't get it

The next evolution of my vision of a performance synth is exactly as you are doing yours. Start with bare PCBs, custom designed one-off panels, and a single case (rather than the oddball 2-case method I ended up using in my "stock modded" synth).

Y'know ... a pile of tubing, a racing engine, and a fiberglass body ... with a plan.

thumbs up
Rex Coil 7
Eric the Red wrote:
With how much you are modifying modules, why didn’t you just go with the the DIY approach?

DAMMIT ERIC! The MSN Smack!

YOUR QUESTION HAUNTS ME!! hmmm.....

I DON'T HAVE A GOOD ANSWER!!! d'oh!

I'M BEGINNING TO RETHINK. dizzy FUUUCCKKKK!!!

ugh .... Dead Banana d'oh!

You've made a very valid point about the DIY approach, Eric.

Anytime it takes a 10K reply to ~explain~ one's self, the explanation is usually countering poor judgement made by the explainer (me) ... see my previous 10K post of me ~ahem~ "articulating" my choices.

(Oakley site tab open on my computer ....)
Eric the Red
It’s been a while.. life has been really kickin me in the taint pretty hard in terms of giving me free time to work on this beast...

Here is an update:
-Parts List: working on getting together a list of everything I need for Haralds big ass Vocoder, Oakley Modules and the Ming Mecca. This should be all the through hole components I need for the stuff I haven’t ordered parts for as well... I think there are close to 250 different components in the order.

-Panels: I worked about an hour on these.. pretty much no progress. Oh well, I’ll be getting a nice big break from work close to Christmas where I can dedicate time to this.

-Cabinets: Picked up a decent sized pile of lumber, your can surprisingly fit a lot of wood in a Fiat!

After talking with the wife about the look/feel of these cabinets.. instead of paint or stain, I’ll be covering them in Orange Vinyl with some stainless hardware for the corners.

Also picked up a roll of “Aluminum Window Screen” that I’ll be spraying White - will serve 2-functions:
1-Airflow / Ventillation
2-NEON LIGHTS!!! Well, LEDs, each row of the case is going to have LED light strips inside to shine through my blank panels and also out of the open jacks

Happy holidays to everyone - hope to have more pictures soon.
Rex Coil 7
ORANGE TOLEX? ... with ~white~? Holy SHIT, Eric ... that's going to look absolutely "mod"!

I'm picturing orange Tolex, like what Orange amplifiers and speaker cabs use.



Pretty cool. thumbs up
Eric the Red
Yes!! That’s the inspiration - we were at the used and abused musician shop on Friday (Music go Round) and saw one of these.
Eric the Red
Minor update... I went on a shopping spree:
-3xDotCom power supplies
-9 Yards of Orange Vinyal
-A bunch of components

Sticking to a small budget, I was able to get some random components and almost all of the resistors needed...

I’m off work from the 22nd - 2nd of next year, so here’s hoping for progress. Next post will include pictures!!
Rex Coil 7
Keep on truckin' ....

*(sig).
Eric the Red
Quick update because I’m proud of what I built... I got the outside of my 3-racks done and put the backside on one of them. This has been a very productive week off of work.

This rack will contain 2-5U rows, and 2-3U rows.

Here’s a sneaky peek of what’s been happening at Ol’ Eric the Reds House...



The circles on the back were made from the mesh wire for door/window screens... they are for both ventilation and internal LED lights!

The pile of stuffed animal carcasses was created by my dog. Her name is Pickles.
Rex Coil 7
See that stuff right there ^^ c'mon, you can see it, it's right there already! Just there beneath the moo cow's little stuffed head.

YES! That's it! That stuff right there ... that's called wood boys and girls. You can tell cause it has 'em knots in it! Knots are them dark brown areas what look like burnt tater chips.

Right on Eric! I love the smell of actual wooden plank over plywood (which smells so heavily of glue).

The orange rocks, excellent job on the finish work. Screens with the holes look really great ... tough and practical. That's gonna be one sick looking synth once the light show begins.

Take a look at what some gamers are into these days ... RGB wiring ... a lot of time the PC gamers that build their own gaming computers use this type of lit-cabling stuff hat can be pretty striking. Sometimes it's called just "RGB" as a general reference.

It may be something you can work into your rig in one manner or another. Inter-cab cabling trunks perhaps?

Carry on. nanners
Eric the Red
Can you guys guess how I spent my New Years?

Made a bit more progress...

From the front:


From the back:


Next steps:
1. cut/Vinyl the individual rows for the modules.
2. Add wood rails
3. Add LED strips
4. Add mounting brackets for bus bars
5. Install “shelves”

This will probably all happen between this week and next week, which realistically means 2-3 weeks..
JohnLRice
Eric the Red wrote:
Can you guys guess how I spent my New Years?

Made a bit more progress...
Good job! SlayerBadger! screaming goo yo Everyone knows the coolest kids stay home on New Year's Eve and work on modular synths! That's what I did! hihi thumbs up
Eric the Red
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
See that stuff right there ^^ c'mon, you can see it, it's right there already! Just there beneath the moo cow's little stuffed head.

YES! That's it! That stuff right there ... that's called wood boys and girls. You can tell cause it has 'em knots in it! Knots are them dark brown areas what look like burnt tater chips.

Right on Eric! I love the smell of actual wooden plank over plywood (which smells so heavily of glue).

Take a look at what some gamers are into these days ... RGB wiring ... a lot of time the PC gamers that build their own gaming computers use this type of lit-cabling stuff hat can be pretty striking. Sometimes it's called just "RGB" as a general reference.

Carry on. nanners


Thanks B!! Real wood is the only choice for this, WBT makes it easier, is these pieces just needed to be trimmed to length. I just picked up a bunch of 6Ft planks and cut them down. For the backs/shelves, I’m using 1/2 inch MDF. I hate that stuff - it creates so much dust and always smells like burning when it is being cut.

For brighter blinker PC builder cables, I used those when I built a few computers back in the day... but I think I’ll skip that one.

For the Euro Stuff, maybe I’ll get these: https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=111225&postdays=0&po storder=asc&start=0

Thanks John.. it’s nice that the wifey doesn’t mind having me take over the house as I worked on these.
Eric the Red
Haha skipped my whole “finish the cabinets” to-do list and started working on Bus Bars!

I’m making a total of 4-sets, 3x5U 1xEuro.

I drilled the holes in 1.5 Bars. 13.5 Bars to go!!
Eric the Red


More pics and details coming soon... off to my Baby shower!!
Rex Coil 7
Eric the Red wrote:


More pics and details coming soon...


Mmmmm ... colors ..... Drunken Homer Simpson


Eric the Red wrote:
.... off to my Baby shower!!
Her name is just beautiful, Eric. Absolutely beautiful. Congratulations!!!

thumbs up thumbs up thumbs up thumbs up thumbs up thumbs up thumbs up thumbs up thumbs up thumbs up
Eric the Red


The last 9 months have been a little crazy in Eric the Reds House. I would like to introduce you guys to Violet Moon. Future wiggler. Now that she is born, I get back into My DIY project.

The wife is excited for me to get on this thing and finish it so that she (and the baby) can both play it.

-Eric
Rex Coil 7
OH MY GOD ... SHE'S JUST BEAUTIFUL!!!!

Wow ... she's sure got the "red" goin' on! She looks to be "a ginger", along with the Viking red skin.

I'm so happy for you and your wife, Eric. Time to get your Daddy on!

(I can't WAIT to show her to Missi, my wife! ... She's outside tending to her colony of feral cats, she'll be back inside in just a few minutes).

thumbs up
Faustgeist
Hi Violet!

Super cool Eric. Congrats. hyper
~R
Rex Coil 7
When my wife saw the picture, she gasped "she's so pretty! ... how precious!".

Hug nodnod
Minimoog56
Congrats Violet's dad!
ericD13
Eric the Red wrote:
Now that she is born, I get back into My DIY project.

Hum, now that she is born, she will be the center of your life, no time for anything else.
Thalassa
Eric the Red wrote:

The last 9 months have been a little crazy in Eric the Reds House. I would like to introduce you guys to Violet Moon. Future wiggler. Now that she is born, I get back into My DIY project.



Congratulations Eric Champagne Champagne Champagne
Rex Coil 7
ericD13 wrote:
Eric the Red wrote:
Now that she is born, I get back into My DIY project.

Hum, now that she is born, she will be the center of your life, no time for anything else.
This has crossed my mind as well.
danishchairs
A Euro thread wiggler, enjoying reading about this 5U project.

Congrats Eric on the birth of your daughter and the building of your synth!
Chugging Beers
Eric the Red
Thank you everyone!

Progress has not stopped on this beast - I am currently waiting on a quote to get my panel graphics printed from a local vendor.

I just have one more panel to design for the main cab, and then we are ready to rock andr roll to finally finish some modules.

-Eric
Rex Coil 7
Eric the Red wrote:
Thank you everyone!

Progress has not stopped on this beast - I am currently waiting on a quote to get my panel graphics printed from a local vendor.

I just have one more panel to design for the main cab, and then we are ready to rock andr roll to finally finish some modules.

-Eric
headbang Trampoline Dancing Star Wow!

Eyes on the prize! ----> Checkered Flag

re; the tiny one ... check a Stevie Wonder hit song from the 70s called "isn't she lovely" ... it's about his newborn daughter.
Eric the Red
Love that song! We’ve been listening to a lot of Radiohead, Gorillaz and the newer, mellower NIN tracks a lot... the baby loves them and it relaxes her.

I heard back from the printer today, and they recommend printing on Vinyl... think those fancy car wraps. I’ll be placing my order early next week.

-Eric
Eric the Red
Knobs and vinyl printout for panel graphics should be arriving today/tomorrow!! It all really depends on when I get my car back from the shop to pick em up.

I’ll be finishing up some modules soon for this beast of a project soon.

-Eric
Rex Coil 7
Eric the Red wrote:
Knobs and vinyl printout for panel graphics should be arriving today/tomorrow!! It all really depends on when I get my car back from the shop to pick em up.

I’ll be finishing up some modules soon for this beast of a project soon.

-Eric


It's peanut butter jelly time!

Eric the Red
Made some progress on the first two filters - time to drop some photos!!

Lining up th knobs on the table:


Parts all lined up:


Glamour shots:








Lessons learned:
-Use the finish tip awl, not the chubby one. Some of my holes are a little uneven.

-drill a smaller pilot hole, again, some holes are slightly off.

-drill mounting holes... oops!!

But for a $10 panel, I would say it’s not to shabby.
—Aluminum panel from Online Metal, about 6.50
—Vinyl graphic from Unfolding Creative, here in Ferndale MI, about $3.50

This weekend I’ll be working in my 40-VCA bank, it’s about 22U!!

-signing off for now.

-Eric
JohnLRice
Good job! applause thumbs up
Rex Coil 7
Looking like one of those orange and vanilla "dreamsicle" ice cream bars.

The first modules are always ones that you wish you'd have done this or that differently. The great news is that things will continue to get easier and easier with each new construct.

And .... I spy with my little eye ... them bus bars and power cables. Right on Eric ... good job!! That synth is going to be one hell of a killer setup.

thumbs up
Eric the Red
Thanks Rex!! Those bus bars are a tedious thing to put together, but kind of relaxing... I just put a movie on, and cut, and crimp and screw, and repeat... like 100 times...

Now, I need to do the next step and finish off th em bus bars and make it so I can connect them to the modules!

What’s the dumb little tool called to jam the wire into the socket?

Rex Coil 7
Eric the Red wrote:
Thanks Rex!! Those bus bars are a tedious thing to put together, but kind of relaxing... I just put a movie on, and cut, and crimp and screw, and repeat... like 100 times...

Now, I need to do the next step and finish off th em bus bars and make it so I can connect them to the modules!

What’s the dumb little tool called to jam the wire into the socket?

The name of that tool is "Wussin' out and ordering premade cables from Graham Hinton" ... that's the official name of the tool I used.

hihi




I ended up getting 34 cables from him. Headers on one end (the module end) and bare wires on the bus bar end. I just had him make 18 inch long cables that I'll trim to length and crimp eyelets on myself. I've made up about 12 or so by now. I have my own way of installing eyelets .....



On my Dot Com modules I did the same as you, just cut up one of the 20 cable "squids", trimmed to length and installed eyelets. I actually had to use two of the 20 cable squids, since I ended up needing 38 cables. The first 20 ended up not being enough, so I have another 20 cable squid on order waiting on one back ordered item before they'll ship the whole rather large order.



My system is little.

cry waah sad banana
JohnLRice
Eric the Red wrote:
What’s the dumb little tool called to jam the wire into the socket?

There are two sizes that you might need for most modular synth use:
* MTA-100 (for DotCom type power headers and often PCB to panel control interconnects etc)
* MTA-156 (for MOTM/Modcan type power headers)
http://www.te.com/commerce/DocumentDelivery/DDEController?Action=srchr trv&DocNm=408-7907&DocType=SS&DocLang=EN

These days the tools are $30 to $35 each but Newark has the lowest price I found on a quick search just now for the MTA-100 tool ($25):
http://www.newark.com/te-connectivity-amp/59803-1/insertion-tool/dp/98 F2821

Note that the MTA-100 tool is symetrical and can be inserted either way but the MTA-156 tool is not.

Consider making a jig or use pliers to hold the connector because if you aren't paying close attention you might tip over the connector and pin your thumb to the bench top with the insertion tool making a nasty blood blister. cry (I did that a couple times meh d'oh! lol )

The fancy gun type insertion tools are much nicer but very expensive at $200 to $300 if you are only going to do one small job or only make a single cable occasionally. I thought I'd be smart and buy used guns on eBay but they were worn out. While I brought them back to life by replacing the springs, it was a difficult puzzle to figure out and maddening trying to get those micro springs in! very frustrating Dead Banana

I recommend using the strain relief dust caps.

Make sure you use the the correct connector size for the wire gauge you have to ensure the most reliable connection!


Forumcat #2 Take a read through this thread for additional informationz:
https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=16488
Eric the Red
Thanks guys!!
Rex Coil 7
I think if I had built every single module in my synth from the PCB on up, I would have abandoned the use of MTA connectors altogether. I'd have soldered short pigtails (3, maybe 4 inches long) and put 1/4" spade connectors on each wire that was soldered to the PCB (I mean power wires). Then I would have made wires that would connect to the modules' spade terminated wires with the correct mating spades. On the bus bar end would then have eyelets.

So said another way, directly solder short power wires to each module. At the end of those "power wires" put in-line connections that would permit connecting wires to them that would then connect to the bus bars.

This would completely eliminate the need for MTA type connections. The power wires would be soldered directly to the PCBs. Then "extensions" would connect to those wires which would then connect to the bus bars via eyelets.

That method would still permit the removal and installation of each module without having to deal with disconnecting the wires from the bus bars.

However .... the ultimate method would be to .... solder full length power wires directly to the modules, and terminate those wires with eyelets so there would only be one single mechanical termination between the modules and the bus bars, which would be the eyelets. I'm doing this exact thing to a number of modules I am making "from the PCB up" in my Euro cabinet. Those modules will have no removable power cables, they'll just have power cables soldered right to the PCBs with eyelets on the bus bar ends.

Less terminations = less resistance, less places for connections to fail, better performance ... and zero hassles with having to make power cables with special connectors requiring special tools.

In a fully custom synth there is no need to have removable power cables ... meaning the power cables could be permanently soldered directly to the PCBs, but still have eyelets on the bus bar ends to facilitate module removal in the event a repair or modification to the module is required. Especially in a custom modular that uses bus bars, since there are plenty enough holes in the bus bars to allow connecting a module anywhere in the cabinet and still have the power wires be able to reach a connection point on the bus bars.

In a fully custom modular, the modules are not made to "normal" size standards, so it's not like you might be able to sell those modules later, it's not like they'll fit in any place other than the location the builder designed them to fit. So no need for "standardized" power cable connections.

It's what "custom" means.

seriously, i just don't get it Just me carrying on .... again.
Eric the Red
This is also an option... the wire is there, the modules are going to be set in place. All my panels are all cut to a specific size to all be placed in a specific spot in the system...

If I want to move them, I could just take the wire off of the buss bar.

I also don’t have to buy a silly $20 tool
cornutt
I will say that if you are going to do a bunch of MTA-100 or 156 connectors, the expensive gun is well worth it. I make a lot of my own power cables, plus I sometimes use MTA-100 headers to connect boards to panel controls a la Dotcom. If you're doing a lot of that, life is a lot less frustrating with the gun. (Assuming you can remember which pin is pin 1... d'oh! )
Rex Coil 7
cornutt wrote:
I will say that if you are going to do a bunch of MTA-100 or 156 connectors, the expensive gun is well worth it. I make a lot of my own power cables, plus I sometimes use MTA-100 headers to connect boards to panel controls a la Dotcom. If you're doing a lot of that, life is a lot less frustrating with the gun. (Assuming you can remember which pin is pin 1... d'oh! )
Are your power cable wire gauges any different than the stock Dot Coms?

Actually, large gauge wires on module power cables aren't much of a help. UNLESS we're talking about using data cables for power (as in ribbon cables). But the stock Dot Com power cables are plenty large enough, especially if you keep them no longer than about a foot. Just buy one of the Dot Com "squids" and cut it apart. A 20 cable squid is $55.00 ... comes out to $2.75 per cable with the connector already installed. The 40 cable squid is $95.00 ... $2.38 per cable. Cut them to length, put eyelets on them, connect the eyelets to the bus bars.

The important part is paying attention to the distribution from the PSU to the module cables. This is why bus bars are the apex of methods. Try to use super short wires that are as large as possible between the PSU and the bars. As long as the module power cables are no longer than about 12 inches, and at least 26 gauge, using heavier module cables won't really get you much since the resistance of the modules (and/or input impedance of the modules) is already far more than the cables are. Each module cable is only feeding one single module so it doesn't need to be massive. Bus bars and the wires from the PSU to the bars need to be heavy because they are feeding EVERYTHING.

Having said all of that, is there any need to make cables with special connectors on them in a truly custom synth like Eric's?

No real need for uber heavy module cables. You'll actually reduce resistance MORE by eliminating the mutli-pin connector and soldering the power cables directly to the module's PCB than you will by making heavier gauge cables.

Bus bars just really change everything. For the better! But they can be a bit of work.

thumbs up
Dave Peck
Eric the Red wrote:
This is also an option... the wire is there, the modules are going to be set in place. All my panels are all cut to a specific size to all be placed in a specific spot in the system...

If I want to move them, I could just take the wire off of the buss bar.

I also don’t have to buy a silly $20 tool


Unless you are absolutely sure that there will always be easy access to the rear of the synth, plan your wire harness segments so they are long enough to allow you to unscrew any single module from the front and pull it out of the cabinet far enough to easily unplug the power connector from the front of the synth.

This also allows you to pull a module out of the cabinet and leave it powered up while you're holding it several inches away from the cabinet, which is important when you need to access trim pots on a module's PCB while the module is functioning, for occasional calibration procedures.
Rex Coil 7
Dave Peck wrote:
Eric the Red wrote:
This is also an option... the wire is there, the modules are going to be set in place. All my panels are all cut to a specific size to all be placed in a specific spot in the system...

If I want to move them, I could just take the wire off of the buss bar.

I also don’t have to buy a silly $20 tool


Unless you are absolutely sure that there will always be easy access to the rear of the synth, plan your wire harness segments so they are long enough to allow you to unscrew any single module from the front and pull it out of the cabinet far enough to easily unplug the power connector from the front of the synth.

This also allows you to pull a module out of the cabinet and leave it powered up while you're holding it several inches away from the cabinet, which is important when you need to access trim pots on a module's PCB while the module is functioning, for occasional calibration procedures.
Yeeeeyup. cool

But all of that is true whether the cables are soldered to the PCB or connectors are used.

cookie?!?
JohnLRice
I would NEVER go back to having power wires solder directly to the module PCBs! meh zombie

My first modular synth back in the day was a PAiA 4700. It had a power distribution system made up of terminal strips screwed to the back of the case with heavy buss wire (that didn't take solder well angry ) and the modules had power wires soldered directly to the PCBs. The was no access to the back so all work was done from the front.


First modules installed I used short wires but then as time went on I realized I needed longer and longer wires. And once the case got over half full I often had to remove several modules to install a new one so I could get my hands into the case to solder at the back, and if I needed to remove a module completely I had to either desolder the wires from the PCB if the power wires were long enough or if the wires were too short I had to pull out unmount a whole bunch of modules and have then hanging all over the place so I could unsolder at the buss. Dead Banana
Rex Coil 7
JohnLRice wrote:
I would NEVER go back to having power wires solder directly to the module PCBs! meh zombie

My first modular synth back in the day was a PAiA 4700. It had a power distribution system made up of terminal strips screwed to the back of the case with heavy buss wire (that didn't take solder well angry ) and the modules had power wires soldered directly to the PCBs. The was no access to the back so all work was done from the front.


First modules installed I used short wires but then as time went on I realized I needed longer and longer wires. And once the case got over half full I often had to remove several modules to install a new one so I could get my hands into the case to solder at the back, and if I needed to remove a module completely I had to either desolder the wires from the PCB if the power wires were long enough or if the wires were too short I had to pull out unmount a whole bunch of modules and have then hanging all over the place so I could unsolder at the buss. Dead Banana
BEST LAID PLANS: This is not the same as soldering power cables to the modules and using bus bars with holes for screws/nuts. Keep in mind Eric also has a number of fairly large holes (like 4 or 6 inches in diameter) in the back panels. Even if those weren't there you just have to make the power cables long enough to lean them outward (or allow them to dangle, or even turn them sideways and slip them inside of the cabinet) to gain access to their eyelet screws for removal. You have to do that anyhow sometimes even with connectors on the modules in some situations.

Context is important here. Eric's synth is totally custom. Custom module sizes with permanent placement of each separate module. So it's not like he can move the modules around to different locations even if he wanted too. The power cables won't be routinely connected and disconnected (pretty much like my rig, everything has a specific place). He may connect the modules to the bus bars with them laying inside of the cabinet, and mount them into their places after the cables are connected to the bus bars.

GOIN' IN-LINE:
Another idea is to use in-line "spade" connectors on each wire which would permit splitting the power cables in half (so to speak) when servicing the synth. In-line "bullet" connectors would probably even be better. Eyelets on one end of each wire, and an inline spade/bullet connector installed on each wire somewhere near the module (4 or so inches from the PCB). Then solder wires to the PCB, also with matching in-line connectors. This permits removing the module by disconnecting the power cable from the bus bars via the in-line connectors, while also eliminating the need for MTA or AMP headers and connectors (requiring specialized tooling) ... and creating a potential failure point or poor connection. Replacing a 1/4" spade or bullet connector is all too simple, and is oh-so DIY and more sortof "down home". Not to mention inexpensive, and crimp on bullets are available at auto supply stores, home improvement stores, hardware stores, or even eBay by the hundreds. To install them on the wires, either use solder and heat shrink tubing or just crimp them on. DIY as HELL baby!

And I'd bet there is far less of a learning curve for a good installation of spade or bullet connectors vs MTA connectors with far fewer "throw aways". Spades/Bullets also provide that "these are absolutely connected and solid, without any doubt" feeling ... where with MTAs I'd be second guessing their connection efficiency (where the wires are pressed into the MTA), even though the continuity meter said they were fine. But that's just me. There's also connection cycles to consider with multi-connectors, some are rated SHOCKINGLY low (even as low as ten connect/disconnect cycles ... no kidding here). However, if an in-line connector wears out, just snip off the one connector that went bad and replace it with your crimpers. One minute job, tops. If even just one pin or socket of an MTA connector shits the bed, the entire thing must be removed and replaced with a whole new connector, requiring all three or four wires to be stripped and crunched into place in the new MTA. In-line connectors place no stress on the PCB or the traces either. Many of us are aware of (or have been affected by) trace failures/cracked or broken traces caused by stress placed on the connection headers of MTA or other PCB mounted connectors.

Granted, this method is NOT for everyone. But in situations like Eric's where he is making ALL of the modules and ALL of the PCBs ... he has the opportunity to optimize the design and select which methods of connection will suit him the best. The person putting together a "standard" modular synth isn't afforded such an opportunity since the modules must comply with established design and construction methods.

Just because commercially made modules are constructed with MTA connectors does not mean it's the best way to go about providing power to a circuit board. As a philosophy, this is what has driven many of the goofball things I have done in my own project synth. In two words, "Screw convention".

It's all a matter of thoughtful design work, and careful execution. I would dare say your initial design wasn't very well thought out John (I think you already know that). A well intended noble effort, yes. But you clearly left yourself no way of future access or changes. I'd venture to guess that many of us made (perhaps silly) mistakes in our first efforts ... I know I certainly have!

Everyone has their own idea of ~good~.

These are just things that are my idea of ~good~
(at least in Eric's situation).

hihi
JohnLRice
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
I would dare say your initial design wasn't very well thought out John (I think you already know that). A well intended noble effort, yes. But you clearly left yourself no way of future access or changes. I'd venture to guess that many of us made (perhaps silly) mistakes in our first efforts ... I know I certainly have!
Well, to be clear it wasn't MY design, that was the way PAiA designed it and I just got the kit's and followed the instructions. Mr. Green
Eric the Red
You guys have given me a lot to think about! I think I’m going to go with th tool and make proper power cables.

I don’t know what my plans are for th Module 5-10-15 years from now, and I’d rather have more flexibility than less.
Rex Coil 7
Eric the Red wrote:
You guys have given me a lot to think about! I think I’m going to go with th tool and make proper power cables.

I don’t know what my plans are for th Module 5-10-15 years from now, and I’d rather have more flexibility than less.
Sounds like a solid plan. Go for it. I'm glad my long winded bla bla helped you to make a clear choice one way or another. Modulars are all about choices.

thumbs up
Rex Coil 7
JohnLRice wrote:
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
I would dare say your initial design wasn't very well thought out John (I think you already know that). A well intended noble effort, yes. But you clearly left yourself no way of future access or changes. I'd venture to guess that many of us made (perhaps silly) mistakes in our first efforts ... I know I certainly have!
Well, to be clear it wasn't MY design, that was the way PAiA designed it and I just got the kit's and followed the instructions. Mr. Green
Dang those guys! you kids get off my lawn


lol
Eric the Red
Slowly but surly chugging along. I started work on the super VCA Panel last weekend, and I plan on finishing it this weekend.

srsly never

This is a bank of 10x BMC 015’s.. so 40 VCS’s. http://www.bartonmusicalcircuits.com/vcamix/

As of right now it seems excessive, and I might have to many, but I built it for possible future expansion. What started off as a 3-cabinet System has now grown into a 4th. Once I clean up the basement a bit, I’ll post a pic of the 4th cabinet, and some details around what will go in it.

Also, I fired up the old Iron and got to work on my pair of Oakley Croglins, and the Stroh Bit Station!

One step at a time.. I think I estimate it will take about 2-years to fully finish all 4 of my cabinets.
Rex Coil 7
Just keep eatin' that elephant one bite at a time.

Driving headbang
Eric the Red
Eric the Red


Don’t know why I couldn’t do this as one post, but oh well... here is the super panel. 10xBMC015, 4xVCA/Mix. Or 40 VCAS.. I think I have enough. I just have a little bit more work to do on the PCBs, and I need to buy 130 jacks... but this is the bottom row of the middle cabinet.

Every day I am inching closer.
Eric the Red
Some of the PCBs for Cabinet 4 are on the way!
-BPM Generator
-2-4-6-8 Clock divider
-Prime number Clock divider
-3x buffered mults

These 6 modules are going to be built into a 3u strip and will function as the brain of the system. The master clock will shoot out of here, into the dividers, into the mults, and into the 14 different mini systems in the 3-main cabinets.

A few more modules from NLC will make up the est of this strip - a trio of triple sloths, and another Clock divider. Just need to wait for funds to order those.

And pictures - here is how Harald built these up, I’ll have them in my cream colored panels with orange knobs.






For those that haven’t seen his stuff: http://www.haraldswerk.de

Harald has been basing his Circuits off of the Elektor Formant modules. I also have his full Vocoder on the ToDo list.
Eric the Red
A tiny update... I am done buying PCBs. I am done buying PCBs... these things need to stop showing up at my house...

Anyway, I have created a master parts list of everything that I need for all of the PCBs that I have. I will soon be ordering 508 unique parts, and for all projects I will be soldering about 7835 components.

Between Mouser and Tayda, I’m going to have a lovely package coming smile
Eric the Red
Noobie wiring question... I’m about to start working my 10xBarton VCA/Mix super duper giant panel, and I need a l title bit of help.





The Switchcraft jack has 3-pins. Which one is the “tip” and which one is the “switch”. And what is the third one?



On the PCB, there is a “ground” in the top right corner - what do I wire that to? Is that what the third pin is on the jacks? Do they all get wired to this? Or do I send this to a chunk of metal in the corner of my case?

Thanks peeps!!

-Eric
JohnLRice
The connections are how they look inside, just insert a plug into the jack and it will all make sense! thumbs up The sleeve is commonly called the ground lug. I would connect all of the ground lugs together with bare wire (buss wire, just thread it through all the ground lugs before soldering) and attach one wire from one of the ground lugs to the ground point on the PCB. Some manufacturers don't do this though and rely on the jacks touching the metal panel or something else. I've never built any Barton modules, I'm just assuming some things.
Eric the Red
Thanks John!
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