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Cheap 'n Cheerful

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Cheap 'n Cheerful

Postby NickNelson » Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:04 am

Hello everyone, as a counterpoint to the lovely looking and evidently very high quality offerings that others have posted here, I offer my own work-in-progress as an example of an unlovely but functional approach.

Image

Approximate costs so far:

Keyboards £60 for all three
Pedalboard £50 (included a bench, not the one in the picture which is home made)
Midification of all above £70
Stops control £125
Foot pistons £20 for the whole assembly
Expression Pedals £10 each

The three keyboards are still recovering from having been stored in someone's damp garage for a long time before I acquired them. Since I'm basing this setup on the Hereford 46, I will probably replace the three 61 note manuals with 4x58 note ones that I have but are as yet unmidified. Sensing on the keyboards is optical and the pedals use reed switches and magnets. All the encoding/decoding hardware is of my own design and construction.

The foot pistons consist mainly of 22mm plumbing components.

The arcade switch based stops control system I will write up (as promised before) in the 'DIY consoles/MIDI' section once I'm reasonably sure that the code and hardware is bug-free (so far so good).

Of course, putting all this together has also cost a lot of time (probably many hundreds of hours in all) and a fair bit of un-costed development work in trying out different, and not always successful approaches to the mechanics of the keyboards (all were ex-tracker) and midification.

The other thing to bear in mind is that the system has been put together piecemeal over time, and quite evidently isn't finished yet.

Hopefully all this may offer some encouragement to those who don't want to spend (or can't afford) the money that would be needed for a top class bespoke system or are daunted (as I was initially) by the scale of the enterprise as a DIY venture.

Nick
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Re: Cheap 'n Cheerful

Postby Joris » Mon Jul 09, 2012 4:15 am

Hello Nick,

I totally agree with you that lighted push buttons give a good approximation of the looks of drawknobs. I am considering to use them to build a terraced console in Cavaillé-Coll style.

On this french website, there is an example of a similar project (although not included in an actual console):

http://classik.forumactif.com/t2438p140-vos-instruments-de-musique

So I am very curious to read how you assembled your stop control system.
Thank you for sharing and good luck with it!

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Re: Cheap 'n Cheerful

Postby sonar11 » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:41 am

I too would love more information on the stops; what components are involved and how they were wired into midi :)
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Re: Cheap 'n Cheerful

Postby dancingKitty » Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:47 am

The title drew me to your thread. The picture shows pretty much what I want to see when I'm done with my efforts. I have to applaud the costs list - I thought I was doing well but you've gone cheaper at every turn I think! :D

I also am interested in the stops. I planned a box much like yours with a series of push to make switches with a little LED above or below - but lighted switches does look good. I look forward to the upcoming DIY thread.

May I please ask about the toe stud boards. You mentioned plumbing component. Any chance of further photos/close ups of those please and a quick how to? I've seen doorknobs mentioned by others as good toe studs.

I moved my pedalboard and bench only from the garage into our lounge today, to prove the concept and see if it will be "wife allowable" by my other half. It's a big instrument and a not so big room, but I think I might get away with it. Hopefully it gets the green light and I can build the desk and keycheeks and bring the manuals in! lol

Many thanks for sharing. Please feel free to add lots more photos! :D

Mike
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Re: Cheap 'n Cheerful

Postby NickNelson » Tue Jul 10, 2012 11:40 am

Hi Mike,

I've updated the original thread on the toe studs, if anything needs further clarification feel free to ask there.

It is in the 'Audio/MIDI interfacing' section (which used to be the correct place) though I suspect it may be
moved to the relatively new and more appropriate 'DIY consoles/MIDI' section.

Nick
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Re: Cheap 'n Cheerful

Postby mdyde » Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:07 pm

Thanks, Nick.

I've moved the topic there now: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=3781
Best regards,
Martin.

[Please use email or the Contact page if you need to contact us privately, rather than private forum messages.]

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Re: Cheap 'n Cheerful

Postby minpin » Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:58 pm

like it a lot.
for a home set up who needs more?

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Re: Cheap 'n Cheerful

Postby laurentiusho » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:39 am

Hi Nick,

This looks great!! :D :D
I've long been looking for a way to have physical stops that look remotely like the conventional drawstops...

Cannot wait to read your DIY post on how to make these...
Meanwhile... can you post some close up photos of the stops panels (front & back)?? :mrgreen:

Thanks!!

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Re: Cheap 'n Cheerful

Postby deWaverley » Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:44 am

It looks absolutely wonderful - just my sort of setup! 8) Real character and ingenuity.

I love the plumbing studs, and thanks for the thread about how they were made. I think many people here would be very interested to see pictures/description of the expression pedals and stop assembly too, if you ever have time.

Love it!
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Re: Cheap 'n Cheerful

Postby dancingKitty » Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:51 am

Revisiting this thread, could you please take me through how to make a swell shoe for a tenner??? :mrgreen:

I'm evidently not as mechanically minded as I once believed I was - there's obviously the flat slab of wood that you put your foot on, and that's connected to a round pivot, to allow its usual movement. How does one "slow it down" so that it's not simply flapping in the wind? I see a tightening nut on the Kimber Allen offering - is it a tube within a tube? How did you generate the necessary friction, and stop it from falling back down with the foot removed?

I also read about gearing and the like. I assume you've connected yours to a fader style linear pot to get your variable voltage? I've read others' offerings in this area but am still unsure how to get the length of shoe travel to match (or be slightly less than) pot wiper travel?

Cheers

Mike
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Re: Cheap 'n Cheerful

Postby NickNelson » Tue Jun 25, 2013 4:45 am

Hi Mike,

Here's a view which shows one in all its shabby glory (I have to admit the swell shoes are currently the least developed element of my set up).

Image

I didn't actually buy anything for this part of the project (having a cellar full of handy bits and bobs that are the despair of SWMBO) but I'd be surprised if the costs were way out even if you needed to buy stuff in specially. The frame and shoe are made from 22mm ply plus some other bits of scrap timber, the metalwork is brass or aluminium strip depending on what came to hand. The hinge is a particularly heavy and well made item designed for fire doors, they can be bought off Ebay for a couple of pounds each. The friction is provided by the diagonal aluminium strip. I'm fairly sure a trip to B&Q would provide all that's required.

The link between the slider potentiometer and shoe is rather simple, obviously, and won't be particularly linear in the relationship between shoe rotation and slider movement. It works sufficiently well within my 'Cheap 'n Cheerful' philosophy. Also, the slider movement is a relatively small proportion of the overall travel (about 50%). This obviously reduces the precision to about half what it could be, but that's still about 60 points which seems plenty to me. I found it best to arrange that the travel on the slider didn't come close to either end. Eventually I'll probably linearize and re-scale the output in the (home made) encoder, but this isn't a high priority at the moment as for me the setup works well enough as it is.

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Re: Cheap 'n Cheerful

Postby RichardW » Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:05 am

Mike,

My idea for a friction provider is similar to Nick's but I was going to use a wider piece of aluminium strip (1" - 1.25") and to clamp it between two pieces of wood covered in felt pads. (B&Q etc sell felt pads to attach to chair legs etc).

Aluminium strip is quite dear from B&Q (IMHO). Perhaps a polished wood strip (old ruler?) might work as well. It all depends on what you have "in stock" and what the budget is.

You will help to linearise the voltage output if you have the space to attach the linkage to the potentiometer more perpendicularly to the angle of the pedal and by matching the travel with the physical size of the potentiometer.

Nick: Nice to see your copper toe pistons installed!
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Re: Cheap 'n Cheerful

Postby GrahamH » Tue Jun 25, 2013 3:41 pm

You will help to linearise the voltage output if you have the space to attach the linkage to the potentiometer more perpendicularly to the angle of the pedal and by matching the travel with the physical size of the potentiometer


I was able to achieve this by setting up a test-rig in which the slider potentiometer was fixed to a smallish rectangle of fairly stiff cardboard and the linkage consisted of a strip of the same cardboard. When I had determined the optimum position for the slider potentiometer and the optimum length for the linkage (so that full movement of the pedal gave full travel of the potentiometer), I replaced the cardboard rectangle with a piece of plywood and the cardboard linkage with a strip of metal.

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Re: Cheap 'n Cheerful

Postby G3 » Tue Jun 25, 2013 4:05 pm

A few photos would be great.

George (G3)
Owner/Builder of Hammond-Hauptwerks X-66 3-manual organ.
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Re: Cheap 'n Cheerful

Postby johnstump_organist » Wed Jun 26, 2013 7:58 am

I'd be most interested in how you did the optical sensing on the keyboards, which I think are great looking with lots of character. Old tracker keyboards re-purposed should actually give you very nice solid wood core keyboards.
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