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MeeBlip Micro Case (Picture Heavy)

orangebugorangebug Posts: 81
edited January 2013 in MeeBlip

Hey guys,

Finally getting around to making an awesome case for my MeeBlip Micro. Here's the front panel plan in it's current iteration: alt picture

I'm calling it the M3 or "MeeBlip-Mega-Micro" as it's using a piece of steel plate 8.5"x13" from an old guitar effects pedal as the front panel.

I'm using a mix of rotary pots, linear pots, and a collection of toggle switches I found in my workshop. I'm planning on using the 4x4 switch matrix array (don't worry I won't forget about the diodes), as well as an internal speaker with auto-switch-off when you plug it into something else. As well as 9v battery power. I'm planning on making a small case for the panel out of wood. Also, the switch colors are for reference, they show the original meeblip's switch matrixing.



  • peterpeter Posts: 468 admin

    Ha! That thing's crazy looking. Can't wait to see it in the flesh.

  • ArvidArvid Posts: 25

    Nice. I'm really curious on your reasons for adding the speaker?

  • orangebugorangebug Posts: 81

    I added it for ease of use, since my meeblip already has battery power. I'm going to be removing the 1/8" audio jack from the board, and wiring it into a 1/4" jack with a normally-closed switch to switch between the internal speaker and whatever you plug it into. I'll use a simple op-amp amplifier for the speaker.

  • orangebugorangebug Posts: 81
    edited January 2013

    WIP Layout of the case: alt picture

    I'm thinking of using chestnut wood (depending on the price) because it stains a nice deep red.

    The red line is the approx. maximum component height. Oddly enough the micro toggle switches have the highest height, so I shifted the PCB over to the right so it's under the potentiometers (which have the lowest height).

    I've also changed the top panel size to 8.5" x 6.5" roughly half the width of the first design. I used up about 4 and a half cutoff wheels cutting the steel panel in half with my dremal. :P

    I'll upload the newer panel design when I can.

  • orangebugorangebug Posts: 81
    edited January 2013

    alt picture

    I've been working in "Front Panel Designer" for the panel, I was thinking of using the service, but it was going to be too expensive. Since I already had the parts in the program, I won't be moving back to illustrator for the front panel.

    The overlay of the front panel is just for reference, I had to do a live trace of the image for it to show up, so it's no longer accurate.

  • andrew.harperandrew.harper Posts: 97
    edited August 2012

    you could allways use printable vinyl i got some for a project i am making i used it for my Blip project you can get also transparent printable vinyl also the PVC laminate Transparent film i used that also do for both printer types ..

    here what i did

    just some ideas ..

  • orangebugorangebug Posts: 81
    edited January 2013

    alt picture

    Finalized the case design, added an extra inch to the height so I can fit this in: A 9v battery slot, that way I don't have to crack the case open when the battery dies.

    Also figured out a clever logo for it. ;)

    I've already started on the case, I'll finalize the front panel soon, then start on the panel graphics. I'm using Red Pine for the case, but the bottom panel will be 1/4" plywood since the pine didn't come in anything wider than 4". I'm planning on staining it and sealing it with a couple coats of sanding sealer so it's nice and smooth.

    Thanks for the suggestion andrew.harper, I saw your other post and was thinking the same thing. The front panel is 8"x6.5" so I should be able to easily fit it on an 8.5x11 page.

  • peterpeter Posts: 468 admin

    Looking really nice! Keep those pics coming.

  • orangebugorangebug Posts: 81
    edited January 2013

    Front panel graphic:

    alt picture

    I'll use the "front panel designer" graphic for drilling holes, and this graphic for the overlay.

    So I guess using a printable vinyl sheet for the overlay would be a good backup method. But since I'll be overlaying it on bare steel, I'm worried that the glue on the vinyl would show. I've been looking at maybe a water slide/baking method instead.

    For instance this paper: bake on water slide decal paper.html

    Or this: waterslide decal transfer paper media.html

    Ultimately I'll need to spray an enamel on after applying the overlay, so it doesn't come off later.

  • andrew.harperandrew.harper Posts: 97

    looking good one thing make shure you got all the knobs and sliders before you print make shure it works with your design and also if its metal then i would paint (Rust) also this film is the same film which is used for sign writers on vans and cars and takes 24 hours before you can drill the box , i did not get any glue show when i used the film but i am using a lazer printer. i did look at Papilio paper but was going to cost a lot in the end ...

  • ArvidArvid Posts: 25

    Another option would be find a local laser etching/cutting facility (or fablab). It might cost a bit more then a decal, but if you're using a nice wood, it will look really, really fancy, and no problem with decals rubbing of.

  • orangebugorangebug Posts: 81

    Thanks Andrew, I actually designed this whole project around components I had lying around the workshop, so no worries there. I do plan on coating the steel with an enamel or something, mostly to keep the decal from coming off, but rusting is a good point.

    Arvid, Thanks! I looked into local etching facilities and found one, I'm looking into getting a quote from them, but I suspect I'll be going with the decal.

    The steel plate was originally from a broken guitar effects pedal I got from a friend to scrap for parts. The plate itself is actually the bottom plate, it's galvanized on one side, and has a black coating on the other. It's got quite a few scraps, and a bit of rust. I was planning on sanding everything off and polishing it before applying the decal. But if the laser etching quote isn't bad I may leave the black coating on, for the laser to etch through to give contrast.

  • orangebugorangebug Posts: 81
    edited August 2012

    I decided to go with water-slide decals, I ordered 5 sheets and they just arrived. I've also simplified the case slightly, removing the sleek 45 cuts on the edges (I'm running out of time, I'm leaving for college in September), and replaced them with straight cuts. It doesn't set me back much, I have to re-cut the parts since I changed the dimensions earlier.

    Here's a question, do you think I should wait until after applying the decal to start cutting the wholes for the controls? Or can I get away with applying the decal after? My main concern is ruining the decal after applying it and coating it with a clear coat.

  • andrew.harperandrew.harper Posts: 97

    i drill when the film was on the case so did not get the holes wrong you could allways do holes for the speakers

  • orangebugorangebug Posts: 81

    Ok thanks,

    Actually I cut the speaker today. ;) (Hrmm, that's confusing statement, I meant I removed it from the plan)

    I'm working on a new graphic layout at the moment, somewhat inspired by Permut8, from one of the latest CDM articles. I'll post it when I'm done (should be soonish).

  • orangebugorangebug Posts: 81
    edited January 2013

    alt picture

    Here's as far as I got this evening, the switches to the right are pretty much how I like them.

    And to clarify, Permut8's style isn't an original one, I just was inspired to do a retro-esk style, and used Permut8 as a reference.

  • orangebugorangebug Posts: 81
    edited January 2013

    alt picture

    updated graphic, added the midi status LED, (mostly) finished the new layout. Hopefully I'll start preparing the steel panel this afternoon (belt-sanding the paint off). Also need to cut the wood for the case, basically I need to get started. ;)

  • orangebugorangebug Posts: 81
    edited August 2012

    Ok, check my logic here,

    I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing anything before starting on matrixing the switches. As I mentioned before my plan was to wire up the switches like on the SE, so I could just load the SE firmware and everything would work normally.

    I was just comparing the micro and SE schematics and I'm afraid, that's impossible. At least with the atmega pins provided on the micro.

    Here's a chart of the relationship between the pins on the atmega, and the pins labeled on the micro:

    atmega pin - micro pin

    1 - 1
    2 - 2
    3 - 3
    4 - 5
    5 - 4
    18 - 6
    19 - 7
    20 - 8
    21 - 9 (not connected on micro)

    And here's the matrixing I've found on the SE's schematic (actually it was the v2 schematic, but there should be any wiring difference):

    I'm using the pin numbers for the micro, including pin 9, which was left unconnected from the atmega.

    matrix: (diode on 2nd pin)

    swA     swB     swC     swD  
    4,9     4,8     4,7     4,6  
    sw1     sw2     sw3     sw4  
    5,9     5,8     5,7     5,6  
    sw5     sw6     sw7     sw8  
    3,9     3,8     3,7     3,6  
    sw9     sw10    sw11    sw12  
    2,9     2,8     2,7     2,6  
    sw13    sw14    sw15    sw16  
    1,9     1,8     1,7     1,6  

    Switches A-D are the patch storage buttons.

    Unless I'm missing something, switches 1,5,9,13 and the Patch load button require a pin that was left unconnected on the micro.
    Luckily this isn't a problem for me, I recognized that pin 21 on the atmega was left unconnected pretty much right after I put the board together. I can run a green wire directly to that pin on the board (it's the bottom-left most pin if your looking down from the top of the micro).

    Am I missing something? Or is this really how it's all connected?

  • orangebugorangebug Posts: 81

    Here's the steel plate, all sanded and ready for a coat of clear paint. Unfortunately I went at it with a belt sander first before realizing it was leaving those nasty lines all over the place, so I switched to an orbital sander instead.
    picture alt

    Here's the wood pieces cut out and ready for glue. alt picture

    Here's a mockup of the layout, the 9v battery tray on the left, followed by the MeeBlip Micro. Since this no longer has a speaker inside, I removed the 1/4" output. The small board is an early version of the matrixing board. alt picture

    This is the finished wiring for the MeeBlip and it's matrixing daughter board.
    Originally I had planned on making the daughter board nest on-top of or below the meeblip, but since I didn't have a double sided proto board, I went with hookup wires instead.
    alt picture
    The 3 pin cable connected to pins 6-8 on the meeblip are 3 of the 4 columns. The 4th column comes from the unconnected pin on the atmega, I connected it to the matrixing board via a hookup wire. You can see how I connected it in the next image:
    alt picture

    The 4 5-pin cables on the matrixing board are for the 5 rows of switches to connect to the 4 columns, with diode protection. The final 5-pin cable connected to the meeblip is the 5 rows of switches.

    Hopefully that all makes sense.

    If not here's what I was referencing: alt picture This was taken from the schematic of the non-SE full size meeblip. I swapped out the dip-switches for regular switches, and connected them to a 9-pin header. The first 8 pins on the header correspond with the 8 pins on the meeblip, and the 9th is the (overly) aforementioned unconnected pin.

    Once I get the panel finished and the components installed, I plan on wiring them up with male header pins, that way in the event that I would need to take the top panel off, I can just unplug the cables, and pull it off.

    More to come...

  • ArvidArvid Posts: 25

    Good stuff! I'm really looking forward to see the finished case!

  • orangebugorangebug Posts: 81

    Hey guys, long time no update,
    I got distracted with some other projects, and then I ran out of time to work on the case. I'll be leaving for Savannah GA for my last year in college in the morning. The fall quarter is only 10 weeks long so I'll be back in November.

    So the project is boxed, and I'll finish it this winter.

    I've got some photos of my progress up to this point, but I'll upload them once I'm settled back in my apartment in Savannah on Saturday

  • orangebugorangebug Posts: 81
    edited December 2012

    Hello again, back from college,

    While I was at school my Dad put me in contact with a friend of his who has a laser etcher and CNC router. He normally makes nameplates for desks and doors, using 2-color plastic laminate. He offered to help me make the front panel for my meeblip. So I've shifted my multi-color concept over to a strictly monochromatic format:

    alt picture

    You can see that I've added the speaker back in. I added it because I decided to remove the midi save/load switches, they would have been a pain to use because the switch locations are all mixed up.

    The "Speaker Volume" knob is going to be a pot with a built-in switch. The switch will toggle the internal speaker amp so it can be turned off when not in use to save battery.

    Here's a photo of some of the hardware I'm using, set on top of the layout:

    alt picture

    The knobs are salvaged from a Lafayette PA-40 mobile amplifier I found. The On/Off switch is basically the same as the Filter mode, Anti-Alias, and Sustain switches. They are also salvaged from the Lafayette amp. I found the micro toggle switches while helping someone clean out their basement. And I already had the Linear faders, unfortunately I don't have knobs for them.

    The speaker is salvaged from a small audio amp, it's got a surprisingly wide frequency response for such a small speaker (~1.5").

  • orangebugorangebug Posts: 81

    Also, the Midi status LED is in the center of the Open Source Hardware logo. :P

  • orangebugorangebug Posts: 81

    Met with my Dad's friend, he had a test piece for me to look at:

    alt picture

    I got most of the hardware mounting holes right, a couple of them needed to be expanded slightly. And the speaker grill slots are too narrow.

    I've also finished prepping the wiring on my matrixing board. I've labeled every wire, so it should be a little easier when I start putting this thing together.

    alt picture

    I've also finished the simple op-amp audio amplifier, I managed to fit it onto the small matrixing board, hopefully there won't be any cross-talk issues. All I've got left on the wood case is to finish cutting out the back panel, glue it together, sand it, and seal it. Then it's just a matter of having the front panel engraved, and mount/solder all the switches and pots.

  • orangebugorangebug Posts: 81

    alt picture

    This is a reference picture for my Dad's friend, in case there are any artifacts on his end.

    The Red lines are for the holes in the support material (1/4" epoxy sheet).

    The Cyan lines are going to be milled halfway (1/8") into the support material for some of the parts that can't go through 1/4" of material.

    I updated some of the graphics, as well as the "Filter Amount" text. I only just realized it's incorrectly said "LFO Amount" since nearly the beginning of the project. I noticed it when I went back to the MeeBlip SE schematics to figure out the wiring for the pots.

    I've only got 2 weeks left before I leave for college again, so I'm really hoping to finish this project!

  • orangebugorangebug Posts: 81
    edited December 2012

    I've been finishing up the case while waiting for the panel to be done.

    alt picture Gluing the side pieces on, I glued the front and back to the base first, since they had square stock reinforcements.

    alt picture Here's the case all glued together, on top is a printout of the top panel, with some of my notes for wiring the switches and pots.

    alt picture The back end of the case. featuring the 9v battery holder that can be replaced without removing the top panel.

    alt picture And the prep I've done so far for the pots. Pot "P0" has to have its shaft trimmed, so I haven't soldered the wires on yet. You can see the wiring harnesses for the switch matrix to the top right, as well as the wires for the audio amplifier. I suspect I may have to redo the audio amp, but thats fairly simple and I can do that while I'm away at college.

  • orangebugorangebug Posts: 81

    It's Finished!!

    Well, mostly... Turns out I didn't have nearly enough gain on the little audio amplifier for the speaker, so I'll have to redesign that at some point. Also one of the linear pots is acting up, I may have to replace it, so for the moment you don't really have control over the Filter Decay and LFO Rate. ;)

    Here's a MeeBlip version of a song I wrote recently (obviously the drums are not from the meeblip). It was sooooooo much nicer to use the meeblip with a tactile control surface.

    I'm working on getting some nice photos of the internals. But for now, enjoy some nice beauty shots of my MeeBlip case: alt picture alt picture alt picture alt picture

    I'm also working on cleaning up the illustrator file and putting together some eagle schematics of my matrixing board to share with you all.

  • ArvidArvid Posts: 25

    wow this is great, it makes the meeblip look more analog than most analogs out there!

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