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Old 02-11-2013, 12:35 PM
AudioAlchemist21 AudioAlchemist21 is offline
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Default Newbie Looking For Some Help From Ya Guys!

Hey guys!

Official newb to the DIY community and am beyond excited to take on the challenge of creating my own custom MIDI controller! While I'm catching up on all the necessary reading to become as knowledgeable as possible on what I'm doing, I've put together a small list of questions that I'm hoping some of you would be willing to take the time to share your knowledge on. Any help on any of these would be VERY appreciated as I'm trying to put together my starter notes as well as make a final decision as to whether or not this is something that I have the time and money to do!

Basically, what I'm trying to do is make a futuristic looking version of the Akai APC40 Ableton Live MIDI controller (in which I'm currently using). If you're not familiar with the APC40, the link is below..

http://www.akaipro.com/apc40

So with all that said and apart from the basics of DIY 101 that I'm currently reading, I have these questions for anyone willing to help me..

1. I'd like to use an Acrylic see-through type enclosure like the NTH Synth ( http://nthsynth.wordpress.com ). I guess this is a two part question in A) Is a material such as acrylic plastic such as this any less reliable than something like aluminum? Also, any recommendations on how many mm thick the plastic for the enclosure should be?

2. On the subject of the NTH Synth, if you look at the top you'll see that the letters "NTH" as well as many other parts of the faceplate (ie. the faders numbered 1-8) are painted on... come to think of it the Akai APC40 has the logo/values painted on there as well. How would I go about getting that done on the faceplate of my unit upon completion? When I scratch at the numbers on the APC40 I can tell it's definitely not some type of vinyl overlay or anything like that.

3. I use Ableton in a very basic way. The Akai I'm currently using works perfectly for me needs (I don't need it to step sequence or be compatible with M4L). So I'm assuming I'll need a basic script for my controller. Is getting someone to write a basic script for my controller going to end up costing me an arm and a leg?

That's all I've got for now. Again, I'm very new to this and I know it's not going to be as easy and fun as just attaching knobs, faders, assembling an enclosure and powering it up. While I take the step by step learning process of all this, I'm just trying to piece together parts of the end game with these questions. It really helps when you can start to picture the "end result" when you're doing the work.. well at least for me =).

Thanks in advance for any help with these questions and if there's anything else you think I should be aware of as I start this process please feel free to let me know. I know I'm asking for your time and knowledge and my skin is thick so no need to sugar coat anything.

THANK YOU so much!

Last edited by John; 02-12-2013 at 01:53 PM. Reason: spammish link removed.
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:46 PM
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John John is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AudioAlchemist21 View Post
Hey guys!

Official newb to the DIY community and am beyond excited to take on the challenge of creating my own custom MIDI controller! While I'm catching up on all the necessary reading to become as knowledgeable as possible on what I'm doing, I've put together a small list of questions that I'm hoping some of you would be willing to take the time to share your knowledge on. Any help on any of these would be VERY appreciated as I'm trying to put together my starter notes as well as make a final decision as to whether or not this is something that I have the time and money to do!

Basically, what I'm trying to do is make a futuristic looking version of the Akai APC40 Ableton Live MIDI controller (in which I'm currently using). If you're not familiar with the APC40, the link is below..

http://www.akaipro.com/apc40

So with all that said and apart from the basics of DIY 101 that I'm currently reading, I have these questions for anyone willing to help me..

1. I'd like to use an Acrylic see-through type enclosure like the NTH Synth ( http://nthsynth.wordpress.com ). I guess this is a two part question in A) Is a material such as acrylic plastic such as this any less reliable than something like aluminum? Also, any recommendations on how many mm thick the plastic for the enclosure should be?
We used 3mm acrylic for the NTH enclosure and have been very happy with the reliability.

Yes, aluminum is stronger in general, but it has drawbacks, like the cost of machining.

Enclosure design is a large topic. Choice of materials has limited meaning outside of a larger discussion about the style of enclosure and cost considerations.

Quote:
2. On the subject of the NTH Synth, if you look at the top you'll see that the letters "NTH" as well as many other parts of the faceplate (ie. the faders numbered 1-8) are painted on... come to think of it the Akai APC40 has the logo/values painted on there as well. How would I go about getting that done on the faceplate of my unit upon completion? When I scratch at the numbers on the APC40 I can tell it's definitely not some type of vinyl overlay or anything like that.
The legend on the NTH is laser etched. If you are using laser cut acrylic, the etching is done at the same time as the cutting.

Aluminum can be laser etched too, but it is usually a different step than the cutting (which is more often done with other types of machining). You can also cut and engrave aluminum using a service like Front Panel Express.

Quote:
3. I use Ableton in a very basic way. The Akai I'm currently using works perfectly for me needs (I don't need it to step sequence or be compatible with M4L). So I'm assuming I'll need a basic script for my controller. Is getting someone to write a basic script for my controller going to end up costing me an arm and a leg?
I'm not sure what you mean by "script". But yes, one-off custom coding is probably going to be expensive.

There have been several posts here at the forum that look like attempts at SEO optimization for competing products. So I am deleting one of your links.

I don't have too much to say about competing DIY MIDI controller products, but can heartily recommend the MIDI CPU for things like potentiometer, encoders, and buttons. But it's not going to help you with things like RGB LEDs.

Based on the complexity and large amount of I/O in your plan, the best option is probably a from-scratch custom controller. If you don't want to build it yourself, you might try 60works for that.

Last edited by John; 02-12-2013 at 01:52 PM.
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