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 Forum index » DIY Hardware and Software » Musical Interfaces
A ZipEx jammer kit
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seraph
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Joined: Jun 21, 2003
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 10:03 am    Post subject: A ZipEx jammer kit Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

MSG wrote:
I've just realized that I could totally eliminate the sawing step in converting an M-Audio 88es keyboard controller to "ZipEx" (extended Wicki-Hayden or Janko) design by having replacement keys made up.

In other words, I could create a simple kit to do the conversion (better yet, sub-contract it to some friends in India or Hong Kong), and the conversion would then take a single weekend and the change would be reversible. Do you think there's enough interest? I have yet to get a quote, so have no idea of the price.


Ken
could you elaborate on that?

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seraph
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

links for isomorphic keyboards:

arrow Wicki-Hayden keyboard

arrow Janko keyboard

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MusicScienceGuy



Joined: Jun 22, 2007
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Location: Vancouver, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:34 pm    Post subject: Re: A ZipEx jammer kit Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

seraph wrote:

Ken
could you elaborate on that?

Sure Thing, seraph.

No need to go it alone building your jammer. Cutting the keyboard up, and fastening it to a board, and building a box around it is easy, as I have a small workshop. I can easily make a few more - once the saw is set for a cut, I can make multiple pieces.

The painful part was cutting up the keys, gluing little posts on them, and worst of all making 130 caps - each one has 6 sides to be cut and shaped by hand!
So, looking around, I have a friend, Kevin Knox, who has a 3D laser scanner and a laser printer business.

It would not be hard to make the ideal replacement key out of plastic as a prototype, and then get a few thousand (enough for say 25 jammers) stamped out here in Vancouver or Hong Kong . Costs appear to be about $1500-2000. If I can get even 5 people interested, their per-person cost is $300-400 for the keys. I already have several people that are interested, so I'm nearing the threshold.

I'm not interested in making money at this. My goal: to get 10 people to build one. With this magic number then there is solid proof of a market. Market Proof is gold.

"Market Proof" makes venture capitalists whip out pocketbooks, which is what aspiringThumtronics needs.
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fluxmonkey



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I remember the midi-concertina from way back... seems like there are other similar projects out there as well, related to generalized keyboard:

http://www.c-thru-music.com/cgi/?page=intro
http://www.starrlabs.com/keyboards.html#UATH
http://technabob.com/blog/2007/08/09/chromatone-312-key-synth-laughs-in-the-face-of-88-keys/

What are the differences of your approach?

bbob
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MusicScienceGuy



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bbob wrote:

What are the differences of your approach?
bbob

Thanks for the question.

Only in that the keyboard described here can be made by anyone, inexpensively, with a modest amount of time and a standard handyman's workshop. For those without a workshop, I propose we divvy up the work - one person build say the shell, another the keys, another do the programming. A "many hands make light and fun work" approach.

Each of the generalized keyboards you've linked to above, as well as the Thummer are excellent units, but they are expensive commitments.
They are not pricey per se, but until one knows that they are your ideal instrument, they are an expensive gamble.

The ZipEx design is programmable, and gives 4 active rows of notes that are independently assignable to notes, so that one can (when we get the programming done, not hard at all - just a note mapping table) you can try out each layout, decide which one is your preference, and then spring for the big bucks to buy the specialized keyboard you'll commit years to mastering.

Not clear what I mean? The unit I describe can be programmed to any note lay-out, and will have movable key-caps. Thus, it can be piano-key mapping (useful for demonstrating what you don't like in a piano), Janko, Wicki-Hayden (Thummer), C-Thru's Axis design, microtuned or anything else.

Of course, no instrument stands on its own. It needs much more: ways to easily learn it, friends to help and encourage ... and it's got to be fun!

Ken, M.S.G.
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