So I made another PCB and it’s awesome! It makes noises and looks like a mushroom :mushroom: I used svg2shenzhen, KiCad, and Inkscape. It’s just a USB MIDI controller wih lots of capacitive touch pads. Checkout the github repo for code and gerbers.

The Board

The Prototype

I started off by making a proof of concept out of the worlds greatest material, CARDBOARD! I used aluminium foil tape to make contacts and threaded rainbow cable through the back to an “Arduino” Pro Micro. This was quick to build but I felt a little limited by the number of pins available on the Pro Micro and through the arduino layer so decided to explore the world of bare metal programming!

The prototype

The Board

I ordered the PCBs from JLCPCB, They were super cheap and came within a week to my university halls. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for the components I ordered from TaoBao. They got lost somewhere between Shenzhen and Hong Kong. Fortunately, I also got my Chinese visa last week, So it was a perfect opportunity to go and visit the electronics markets at HQB and spend more money than I needed to on all sorts of exciting electronics! Anyway, I managed to source all the parts and soldered them up at Dimsum Labs in Hong Kong.

The Code

As mentioned above, I started off in the comfort of the Arduino environment but felt as though I was pushing the boundaries of what it should be used for. I decided it was time to graduate to real bare metal programming. I used the LUFA library to help me with all the USB stuff. Apart from working out all the DDRs, PINs and the PORTs it was fairly painless, and I look forward to working on some other more advanced embedded projects.

Programming

I built myself a little programmer with some pogo pins I picked up at HQB. It’s a little dodgy but it seems to do the trick. I would love to try out building some real programming jigs though. Maybe a future project…

Programmer

What’s Next?

I’m not sure really how to progress with this project. It was fun, but I feel making MIDI controllers is cheating a bit because it isn’t really that difficult. I really want to have a go at making some real synths. I’ve got a list of things to improve if there were to be a v2. More LEDs and maybe easier to use.