andymanone

RetroCade Professional Case

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Hi Jack, 

 

 

I´ve there a very simple question :) :

 

is there anytime in the future a commercial housing available for the Retrocade Synth

and orderable via your GF shop?

 

(Maybe with a flexible cable kit for placing the display to another point and cool was a joystick extension too ;)?)

 

BR,

andY

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Funny you bring this up, I have actually been looking into this and thinking about it. I recently saw this project and it occurred to me that a case like that would be perfect for the RetroCade. I started researching options and found a couple to use. The big question though, is what kind of interface would we want? I was thinking of making a couple of different cases, maybe one that was sequencer oriented and would utilize the GPIO and ADC on the Retrocade board. Was also thinking a sequencer based case could embed a SPI controlled LED array or something...

 

Was also thinking about a standard case that just breaks out the LCD and an arcade style joystick.

 

Another could be like the piano setup used by the pianocade.

 

Any other ideas?

 

Jack.

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Hi Jack,

 

Pianocade  is an nice Idea and an inspiration,  but - not sure, what other ones think about - in my opinion 

its a little bit too "old schoolish"  :rolleyes:

 

I would imagine maybe more a design like this one: ( it comes from Synthrotek.com and its built for an DIY Stepsequencer) 

 

16_step_case_3.jpg

 

 

 

My own project at the moment is, to use and modify one of the really inexpensive MIDI-Controllers from the FAME Tweak series,
insert there the Retocade hardware and swap the Display (rewiring of knobs, buttons and sliders are not neccessary (accept the joystick), because I´m able to route the MIDI controlling internal to the Retrocade hardware (there is also a software available to set up the proper control changes for each button)


An original TWEAK 25 looks like this one (below) (there is also a 49 key and a 61 key version available)

DA190947-19D2-4C28-A8C1-DF2E41B1E418.JPE

 

 Any additional inspirations are welcome ;)
 

BR, andY

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Well, I tracked down the source for that enclosure you posted above, Serpac, and ordered a sample to take a look at.

 

Not sure it is going to work well though without redesigning the circuit board.

 

If anyone else has case ideas I'd love to hear them.

 

Jack.

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Interesting, I like that keybox, one of the things that I really like is to replace the joystick in the enclosure with an arcade joystick. That digital joystick on the pcb is the biggest problem we have, its going to be easier to route another one to the case then try to expose it somehow.

 

Not sure if the keybox is deep enough for a arcade joystick, but looks promising.

 

Jack.

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The sheet metal style case is good for low volume production, I think.  Nice too. The sheet approach could also be taken with acrylic or abs (heat bend), this might be more cost effective.  The acylic might even be the cheapest because it could be laser cut.  Then just get one of the guys that's making the wooden synth cheeks already to churn some out for you.

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I'm working on a printable enclosure for the Retrocade/Pro combo.  The question that remains, at least for me is to figure out how I will be using mine.  If I just make a box, to hold everything protected, it does not have much value in the way of adding sliders/buttons, etc.

 

I can make the case modular, so things can be attached to the sides in a clean manner.  One idea was to put the board into a ukulele-shaped enclosure, and wire up the frets and strings to the digital inputs.

 

Please send me your ideas!

 

If you want to see some of the cases I've done in the past, have a look at my thingiverse pages.

 

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:38643

 

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:36914

 

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:33567

 

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:22949

 

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:8935

 

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:8453

 

 

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A case is something that I keep coming back to but never seem to make progress on. I was looking at enclosure designs on thingiverse and I think I recall seeing some of your designs, so its cool to see you here now. :)

 

I had a couple ideas for approaches for a RetroCade case:

 

1) Make a case that is much larger then the RetroCade board and use an arcade style joystick and arcade style buttons that would be wired up inside the enclosure.

2) Make a case that fits the RetroCade tightly and leaves the Analog and digital headers exposed so a control board can be connected.

3) Make a third "Control" board that would sit on top of the analog and digital headers that provides a custom interface with sliders, buttons, and LED's. I've been thinking of basically shrinking this module down and implementing it three times on a "Control" add on board. Each of three control channels would have a 7 segment display, 8 RGB LED's, 8+ pushbuttons, and a couple analog sliders. There would also need to be some kind of joystick implemented.

 

The biggest challenge so far has been to somehow make the joystick accessible, seems like the easiest thing is to "bury" the existing joystick and implement a new one for the enclosure.

 

Jack.

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The joystick.  It would be nice to have a spot on the board where some headers could be soldered on.  As it is right now, I can design a floating pad that fits over the existing joystick knob, and extends it upward to the height of the LCD display.  I'm starting with a tight fitting, compact case, with a cover, and removable openings for the analog and digital lines to be exposed.  I'll post a rendering later today if I get that far.

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The case is almost ready.  This is a picture of the second attempt.  The only real problem with this one is that the microSD card is recessed way deep, so I need to put a divot in the frame around the opening, so a human can get their finger in there.

 

The first rev of the lid is printing now.  Hopefully no issues there.

 

You can find the STL files on thingiverse

 

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:128377

 

 

post-36763-0-15569200-1375810504_thumb.j

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The price can range from free at your local hackerspace, to $20 bucks or so from some lug like me.  Material costs in 3D printing are fairly small, compared to energy and time costs.  The current case, with all it's parts, can take three to five hours to print, depending on the desired quality of the output (slower is better).  Very slow compared to methods like injection molding.  Good for small runs.

 

The benefit over injection molding is that you don't have to front $30K for the mold designs, and then hope to make it all back, and still turn a profit.

 

A laser-cut acrylic case would be good too.  Much faster than printing.  My small laser cutter is currently down, but I might give it a try on the CNC router.

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Wow, looks great!

so, does anyone know, what would I need to do to get one of these printed here in Germany? Are there any online ordering shops for this already?

Cheers,

Toby

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Hi Toby,

 

The design's STL files for printing can be downloaded from http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:128377

 

The files are released for public use, so feel free to share them.

 

If you don't already know someone that has a 3D printer, you can probably meet several at your closest hackerspace.

 

http://hackerspaces.org/wiki/List_of_Hacker_Spaces

 

In Germany there are more than 30, so there may be one or two near you.

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Is the case design still work in progress or do you deem it ready to be used?

I really want to have such a case. However, no matter where I look, the prices for 3D-printing the case seem pretty high - I submitted the STLs from thingiverse to various online 3D printing websites (i.materialise.com, fabberhouse.de, etc.) and the prices where between 150-300 Euro (>$200) even for cheap materials, which is way more than the actual RetroCade synth hardware cost. Also no success with hackerspaces here, they want a monthly membership free that is too high for me. If there is anyone willing to print and ship this to me in Germany for $20-$30 or can recommend me anywhere I could do this locally, I would be very happy!

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Wildseyed was kind enough to send me a case and it is really great! I would say from what I can see that it is ready to be used, but we should wait for wildseyed to give the official thumbs up.

 

If there is some affordable way to get a batch of these manufactured I would make them available in the store.

 

On a related note, I had the pleasure of meeting Alex, aka "FuzzyWobble" at the Open Source Hardware convention a couple weeks ago. He has an amazing controller that he was showing. I inquired about one for the RetroCade but the cost of producing them is extremely expensive so I don't think that is going to work out. But he was kind enough to point me to an awesome Instructable about making affordable control interfaces that he made. I'm thinking this is a very viable approach for making a controller/enclosure for the RetroCade, and the best part is that it would be easy to manufacture. Not sure when I would get time to work on this, but it is on the radar, I ordered a bunch of parts from his tutorial to check out.

 

Jack.

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I think it's ready.  The only thing I have not addressed is a good way to access the five position joystick button thing.  I'm not happy with just having a hole there, but there are not many options.

 

If there is any demand for the cases, let's get a head count, and I'll do a short run for Jack to put up on the site.

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I still had no success getting it 3D-printed here in Germany. :-(

 

So a friend of mine recommended shapeways.com as one of the best and affordable online 3D printing services.

I submitted the 2 STLs to them and after several days and validation processes they told me they had sent it to the printer.

But right now I got a mail from them saying "After taking a closer look, we cannot print your models. Reason: 4mm minimum wall thickness".

Attached are two pictures they sent me. Does anyone have an idea if that makes sense with thicker walls (and can provide me with an updated model) or should I just forget it?

 

Thanks in advance for your answer!

 

 

post-36475-0-02159200-1383230347_thumb.j

post-36475-0-78476000-1383230351_thumb.j

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