monome grid clones!
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/
I also have a repo of code I’m working on to offer options supporting 8x8, 16x8 or 16x16 (untested) grids using either a Teensy or M0/M4 (ItsyBitsy or Feather) controller (still a work in progress).
At the time of writing, this code works as expected with the grid connected to a computer with Max running monome patches.
Unfortunately this code will not work with stock norns due to some USB device management stuff. There is a workaround, but it does require changes to the norns C code. I am hoping to get these changes for DIY devices integrated into a future norns release.
For Fates devices, I have a script in my repo which will run the fix. This could also be run on stock norns or the DIY shield devices.
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.
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)
- some kinda case
Either should get you started
I’ll update this post with additional information soon.