Monday, 29 August 2011

Minature instruments again - synth redesign

Some more electronics goodies arrived in the post this weekend, so while the idea of making an X-Y CNC type framework is still very exciting, it's time to turn back to our miniature instruments idea. In in particular, we've been looking at our miniature synth.

Although we got a working keyboard up and running relatively quickly, when it comes to boxing it all up and putting it inside a nice neat enclosure, things have taken a turn for the worse. Using the existing key layout as a guide, we put together some designs for three different types of synth:
  • Mini-moog
  • Roland style keyboard
  • Yamaha keytar

The problem is, the actual keys part of a synthesizer keyboard are only a small part of the overall instrument. So while the keys look fine on their own, put them, inside an enclosure, and the whole thing looks enormous - especially when compared to the guitar and drums

Cutting out prototypes from cardboard is a much cheaper way to try out new ideas, without spending a fortune on laser cutting acrylic which could very well turn out to be useless!

So we've had to re-scale the keyboard part of our synth.
At first, we just scaled the plastic keys to about 80%, printed them out and tried to see how they'd fit in with the rest of the range. Of course, this didn't work - because the PCB will pretty much decide how big (or small) our keyboard can be. We've redesigned the PCB so that the pushbuttons for the keys are as close together as possible, and then used that as the basis for the new keys layout.

All in all, the final synth design is about 75% smaller than the first attempt.
But more importantly, it's a little more in-keeping with the rest of the instruments in the range.