Thursday, February 19, 2009

x0x Progress Step One

While putting Colossus aside temporarily while i wait for the panels, i started the x0x project, and am happy to report that the first section of building out the boards, the power section which converts from AC to DC power, was a success. i actually didn't think it would be given how beginner level i am and how tiny and specific a lot of the solder points and test junctures were. but it did work. tonight i start work on the VCO section.

baby steps.

and absolutely nothing of import to note on the panel work. the plasticare guys are fucking idiots, even after giving them the completely new and simple design - i regret getting involved with them. however, light at the end of the tunnel, the woodworking place sent me a message back saying they could do the cuts for pretty cheap, although they may have limited plexiglass materials from which to choose.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ep.4: A New Hope

a new idea has emerged to solve for the Colossus woes, make things cheaper, and negate the need for complicated countersinks.

the new idea is to take a "modular" approach to the control surfaces. in this spirit, i have designed 5 different 6"x9" plexi panels that combined in various quantities will still equal out to a large control surface, and i can choose any combination of them that i want.

additionally, with the smaller size, we can shrink the thickness of each panel because there will need to be a brace/support around the edges of each one. so, drop the thickness down to 1/8", and now we don't need countersinks.

the tradeoff of course is that if i want a large control area, i will have to build a very complicated latticework or matrix of wood or other type braces under the panels to support them. this also means that the interesting beauty of an all clear plexiglass enclosure is out of the question - it was exorbitantly expensive anyway (for what reason i could not determine frankly, but don't know enough to question the plastic fabrication folks).

a couple additional caveats: the buttons and controls need to be compressed inward a bit on each 6x9 panel, because we are assuming an inch around every edge on the underside to connect to the wood braces. that means that the extension of the pots, buttons, etc, cannot overlap with it on the underside. i will also lose another 2 channels to the space needed... and the number of UMC's needed for this one drops to 5 rather than 6. finally, if i want to do different colors (as below), i have to purchase a full 2'x4' panel for each color, so i might as well cut up panels enough to do two full boards.

After lining up different possibilities of the 6x9 panels, i come to a fairly interesting variation that is asymmetrical and also want to do a couple different colors.

thus, i give you Colossus version 3:

and sugegsted panel coloring:

of course this renders the likelihood of doing ethcing designs nearly impossible (sorry james), and also means there are new challenges with the rest of the box and frame to house the device.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


the quote came back today for the entire plastic enclosure.... it was absolutely and totally ridiculous. i knew it would not be cheap, and was preparing a budget to handle it, but let's just say i could start building on that modular collection below for the price it came back as. its not even much of an option to go with just the front panel and do the wood enclosure myself. the etching is actually not the issue - its primarily the ability to counter-sink the holes.

so after all this goddamn wait and assurances that they could countersink pretty easily, the answer is no. GRRRRRR.

their only suggestion was to find a woodwork place that had a "CNC" router, and i have already tracked down one of those places. i am sending them some basic info on the panel only ASAP. the other option was to countersink holes on the panel just large enough to get the nut onto and then screw it tight. the knobs would continue to mount above the plexi panel, not sink down into it at all. that way the countersinks would not have to be so exact as to ensure that the turning of the knob was not off centered.

they are looking into this, but suffice to say this is no longer an all clear enclosure, and i am not so sure about the etching anymore either.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Wish List

So since I am wasting time, i might as well outline my mega wish list.

there is a more thorough one on gear junkies, but my primary goals for god only knows how long is to procure a solid modular synth, or better yet, a synth collection.

the top among those is this from

and this one from analogue systems:

And after that, i am a huge fan of the current crop of "semi-modulars", such as the the analogue solutions red square:

The Vermona PerFourmer:

The Cwejman MK2:

the Metasonix Wretch Machine:

and the Future Retro XS:

The price tag for all of the above - a cool $30k or so. there has got to be some scheme or way to raise money for this other than a second job at McDonalds, theft, or mass credit debt. anyone have any ideas? the unfortunate thing is that these also rarely come up on ebay as used units....

Now Two Delayed Projects

so, still waiting on the MIDI enclsoure quote and completion.

and now, i picked up a x0xb0x kit from ebay for pretty cheap. all parts already selected and divided out, labeled, etc. i just have to spend the time building it. I'll let you know when it arrives, and from the instructions on it looks infinitely more complicated than the MIDI box. nonetheless, i am going to attack it ASAP, unless they both arrive and are ready for me to work simultaneously. then its hello Colossus and i'll get to the acid bass next. you can never get enough acid basslines....

Friday, February 6, 2009

Aaaand Still Waiting....

Getting kind of soured on the local place i took the enclosure to for building.... they still have not gotten back to me with even a quote. So, we continue in the holding pattern. all other gear ready to begin, and i even took the next week off back when i assumed the shit would be done now.

Can you tell i'm annoyed yet?