I’ve added actually not one, but several products to the shop, all related to the miniRack -here it is! 😀
Back in late 2017 I demoed the modules at several events, and to that effect I designed a couple solutions to bundle them together. I built a 3-module rack with an oscillator, filter and noise modules to show sound effects (sea waves, helicopter blades), and a 6-module rack to show a more conventional synthesizer setup, with a MIDI-in module (the program is still unpublished), two oscillators, ADSR, filter, and delay modules.
Just like when I designed the original miniMO, the prototypes worked fine for me, but they were far from a product; I needed to figure out a simple, scalable power distribution system that allowed for programming the modules in-place, and improve on the case design.
On the first point, I came up with the idea of “power rails”, small units that attach to the modules’ programming header and extend it to allow for easy access when the module is part of a rack setup. The rails also feature a power line that goes from side to side with open pins at both ends; that way, one can easily connect them side to side with jumpers, or bridge them with cables. Finally I also designed a power adapter circuit as a convenient way of distributing the right voltage to groups of modules.
Once I had the power sorted, I spent quite some time thinking and rethinking designs and solutions for the case. eventually I decided to use a 3D printed approach, as at this point it is the best option for me to fabricate and refine. The current design is based on one or more frames for the modules, enclosed by a rigid case where all the parts are snap-on, with no screws.
Lastly there were also the tasks of deciding what options to offer in the shop, designing packaging for them, setting prices, etc -the 10% of the work that ends up taking much more than its fair share of time. I’m currently offering the miniRacks as a complete set, the case+power circuits for people wanting to build a rack form modules they already own, and also the power circuits alone, for those who want to build their own cases. That’s quite a lot of things to keep track of and design packaging for, so at the moment I’m not offering kit versions of the power circuits.
All in all, the miniRack is out, and miniMO is now not only a modular system, but one that looks the part, too! there are still plenty of things to work on, but this is quite the milestone 🙂
PS. I will be uploading all the related files to github in the following days -stay tuned!.