There’s been a few DIY grids over the years. Arduinome, etc… Some monome serial compatible and others not so much (midi grids like launchpad, etc.).
The Adafruit HELLA Untztrument Grid Controller Kit was a kit of the trellis boards and buttons which looked like a good “ready to use” solution, but was still a mono-bright grid and needed some hacking to make monome serial compatible.
Over the past year+ I’ve done some work based on szymon’s and others code, and then did some hardware hacking to make a prototype of a single color variable brightness grid using the Livid Instruments buttons and modified/re-designed Trellis boards. This actually works pretty well, although it’s quite a bit larger than a monome grid. That project has been on the back burner for a little while while working on a different project.
Now we might have something a little easier…
what’s new - NeoTrellis
Adafruit has these NeoTrellis RGB driver boards which offer a bit more flexiblilty and the ability to do varibale brightness (and different colors if you like). Pair that with a modern microcontroller like a Teensy or an Adafruit M0 or M4 and you’re in a pretty good place. Add some updated code and we’ve got a nice monome compatible grid.
With some creative case design (laser cut acrylic, etc), I’ve managed to get something with the same footprint as the 128 monome grid, and only a few millimeters thicker overall.
There’s also some pix/vids on my instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/B6FbyzohJOA/
My code repo supports 8x8 (64), 16x8 (128) or 16x16 (256) grids using either a Teensy or M0/M4 (ItsyBitsy or Feather) controller (M0/M4 need some additional work - see below).
Max or other computer-based applications
At the time of writing, my code works as expected with the grid connected to a computer with Max running monome patches.
ansible/ trilogy modules
Does not work. Don’t ask (unless you know C well and can help me make changes to libavr32).
Officially unsupported. Hacking required. Proceed at your own risk. May void your warranty. Prohibited in some states.
Unfortunately this code will not work right off the shelf with the stock norns codebase (norns and norns shield) due to some USB device management stuff.
But… there is a hack workaround, but it does require changes to the norns C code. It’s not hard, but steps will need to be repeated after updates, etc. See github for instructions.
For Fates devices, I have a script in my repo which will run the fix.
Teensy offers the easiest implementation because it allows you to quickly change the USB device information so you can impersonate a monome grid without having to muck about with FTDI shenanigans. The M0/M4 devices need a bit of hacking on core libraries to make that the device recognition stuff work properly.
Post a message here if you have a Feather M4 or Itsybitsy M0 and I can send you a compiled firmware for those devices.
what do i need to make one?
It’s pretty much all off-the-shelf parts from Adafruit
- 4 or 8 Adafruit NeoTrellis driver boards
- 4 or 8 button keypads
- a Teensy 3.2 (or Teensy 4)
- a JST-PH 4 pin cable/STEMMA connector (optional)
- maybe the Adafruit USB Micro-B Breakout Board (optional but helpful)
- some kinda case
Read the NeoTrellis Guide / Tutorial from Adafruit to learn more about putting the boards together.
Then for the teensy wiring, etc. - I have some pictures and basic docs on my github - with reference to a case design which is also in the repo. Second generation version coming soon.
Either should get you started