the BREC-H DIY controller project
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  1. #1
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    Default the BREC-H DIY controller project

    Hello, I am new to this forum and also controllerism/DJ-ing. New in the sense that I've never played a set (unless you count helping a DJ at a family friends wedding, when I was 12). I have been fascinated by the scene for ages, but have never really done anything about it except download demos of DJ and audio production programs (deckadance, cue, tractor, fruity loops). Hopefully I'll be ready to perform soon, but first, I need some hardware. I stumbled upon this site a few weeks ago and as a mechanical engineering student, I figured I'd take the opportunity to make my own 2 deck mixer with the option of expandability. I could have started with the DJ 101 or something, but having some experience with electronics and such, I wanted to do a little more complex with more flexibility. So I've drawn up a rough draft of the controls I want and how to to implement them. In the coming weeks I'll share all I can and probably ask a lot of questions too!

    I'm calling the project the BREC-H, for BrainRush's Expandable Controller- HID.

    The design goals for this project are:
    -create and easy to use controller
    -have it be easily expandable
    -affordable to build
    -easy to build
    -robust and functional

    The price for materials is a "soft" $200, meaning that I can go over budget, but there shouldn't really be any reason to.

    I've already bought quite a few parts, most are in the mail, including 8 pots, 5 faders some arcade buttons, some material to build a case, and parts for my 2 decks.

    I am looking forward to the next few weeks!

  2. #2
    DJTT Infectious Moderator photojojo's Avatar
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    Welcome. make sure you check out thelpb's thread

    http://www.djtechtools.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16735
    Chris Jennings FHP

    Podcast - Soundcloud - Mixcloud - Beatport Charts - x

  3. #3
    Tech Convert wikkid1's Avatar
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    welcome to the forums brainrush.

    im looking forward to seeing your project. ive been considering doing something simple with HID myself, like rewiring a couple of joypads maybe, or something easy and cheap like that, just to see how it works and what comes out.

  4. #4
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    I've already got a rewired gamepad, I'm just waiting for some pots to come in, then add some acrylic and viola: adjustable dials for my dad's flight simulator rig. If you know the basics of soldering, and have access to a multi-meter (a helping hand helps too!) it's a fairly risk free project. You can usually pick up a gamepad pretty cheap at garage sales. I'd say go for it! It's only got 5v so it wont kill you even if you lick it!

    (please don't though)

  5. #5
    Mudo
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    ...

    Arduino is the key...



    ...

  6. #6
    Tech Guru Str8upDrew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mudo View Post
    ...

    Arduino is the key...



    ...
    +1000

    This is a great solution for anybody wanting to get into the world of micro-controllers. Lots of support from a great community of users, and they're readily available for a very reasonable price.

  7. #7
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    Arduino has always interested me, I've already got a U-HID in the pipe so I'm going to try and go with that first, maybe next time I'll make a BREC-M, using arduino that outputs in MIDI.

    Photojojo: I checked out that article, it looks pretty sweet, I decided on fiberboard instead of acrylic instead due to issues with workability (not a problem if you have patience, I don't) and flexibility (fiberboard is stiffer), along with price ($7 for a 2x4 sheet.

    I also picked up a sheet of 1/8 inch aluminum that's 6x12 to turn into disks (jog wheels). this weekend I'm building a jig to cut the aluminum into perfect circle. then they get sanded, polished, and machine turned (jeweled). this should give me good grip and a beautiful finish that won't need constant polishing.

    once the delivery trucks stop coming, I'll finalize layout and get to work

  8. #8
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    4x arcade buttons arrived yesterday (from this site), U-HID arrived today, I'm covered in aluminum dust from making the disks, so I won't be touching it until I finish the dirtiest parts of the disks. I've pretty much rounded one square, I just need to fine something that'll cut nice and aggressively through the aluminum, once I've got the first one nice and round, I'll be able to make the second one to match, if only I could get my hands on a waterjet or CNC router... but I guess that a file/dremel combo will do for now.

  9. #9
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    Default pics+ Q's

    Got a bit of a cold this weekend so i haven't gotten as much done as I'd like, I did rough out the jog wheels and am working on setup so I can expedite the assembly process when the parts from sparkfun and mouser arrive.

    Anyways, here's some pics of the jog wheels getting made:



    First I cut the billet in half then I drew lines across the corners to find the center. I then quickly checked with a tape measure before center punching.



    I clamped the billet to the table for safety, and stepped up in drill size before ending up with a 1/4" hole to fit my 1/4-20 bolt. It's always a good idea to step up in drill size because the center of the drill is very inefficient at cutting, so by stepping up you ensure you're only cutting with the nice sharp flutes.
    *pro-tips* When stepping up, use drill sizes you normally ignore such as a 5/64", they not your final size so you can keep your 1/16th bit nice and sharp! Also, always drill into something, a scrap piece of wood will do nicely, this prevents the back end from blowing out in wood and metal, and can keep brittle materials like acrylic from cracking.



    Here you can see that I threaded the bolt through the aluminum and through a piece of hardwood I found, allowing me to spin it freely, with it spinning I took the sharpie to it giving me concentric rings of different diameters so I find a rough size that I find most comfortable, i decided to go for the largest diameter. I used a vise-grip to clamp it for the next step. Sawzall time! I made a series of vertical cuts followed by horizontal cuts to get it sort of rough cut, I found that if you cut out a square first it keeps the cuts nice and short and prevents excess vibration. I then took a B.A.F. (Big A** File) that I found on the side of the road one day and smoothed it out a little bit.



    I mounted the wheels to my harbor freight mini-lathe to try and clean them up, but the pieces were too flimsy for a proper cut. Also the cross-slide doesn't back out far enough for me to use a left-hat tool, so I was trying to get the cut with a right-hand tool, but it just wasn't working. I used my BAF to slowly file away at it until it was within .020", good enough for home made, good enough for me.



    Here's a pic of the controls I've got envisioned so far, I'm sort of basing it off various bits of the Vestax line-up along with what functions I use in Traktor. I'd like to try and keep it under 8 analog inputs if at all possible and use modifiers and macros to get more controls out of it. For example, use the jog wheels to jog, change loop length, or filter/FX amount. The jog wheels use the quadrature inputs on the U-HID, which give me 8 analog inputs to play with, add a crossfader, A+B levels, A+B pitch, and that gives me 3 inputs left.

    Here's where I need your guys experience. I don't know how to prioritize controls because I've never played a set. So what 8 controls would you only allow to be analog? for example, if I programed +/- buttons for say... gain control, would I be shooting myself in the foot? What about selecting a filter, or using a rotary switch to choose between controlling pots for the lo-mid-hi of the A or B channels(using a macro to inversely affect the opposing channel), gain control, monitor pan and volume, or a slew of other controls. How necessary are pitch faders if you have the BPM's sorted enough to use the sync button and then just use the mouse or +/- buttons to control any necessary changes to tempo or pitch. Any insights would be more than helpful, especially those with plenty of club experience.

  10. #10
    Tech Wizard Hiro's Avatar
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    noooo another unfinished build log ='[
    2 x ST150's
    Pro Behringer DJX750
    Traktor Scratch Pro 2 - NI Audio 10
    Dnb - Dubstep -Fidget House

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