Norns shield case designs

Download the GitHub zip

Thank you! I figured it was something I missed.


I’m going to tell my kids this was the first Xbox.


Hi all.

I have a norns shield on the way - very excited.

I have an idea for a case, I wondered if anyone had done this, and, if it looked like a good idea.

The idea is for a larger case (heavier as well so it doesn’t slide around on the desk!) with a battery inside and a breakout cable from the 1/8 in to split to 2x 1/4" inputs.

I imagine it looking more like the production Norns - or like a guitar pedal - all enclosed in an aluminium box with appropriate ventilation.

  1. Does this look like it would work?
  2. Is this a good idea?!

Can’t speak for the ins/outs, but I thought about doing something similar a while back and, unless you plan on just using a battery pack (in which case, why put it all in one case? Just carry the battery pack around) you will need a way to charge the battery itself. Charging li-ion/lipo batteries is not immediately straightforward, but small circuits are sold to accomplish this.

Also is the issue of powering on/off. The shield doesn’t have soft on/off like mainline norns, i.e. putting shield to sleep doesn’t stop supplying power to it—that is handled by the pi. You’d have to introduce some type of switch between the battery and the pi.

I believe tom whitwell has a post in the fates thread about doing this to a fates, and you could look at that, but there will be differences between fates and shield.

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trying to get @infovore 's case design cut at razorlab, and they seem a pretty nice bunch. they are trying to confirm the scale with this diagram on their side. i.e. ~ 88x93mm).
just wanted to double check if it looked right with you before pressing the button (£29 for 2 sets…seems reasonable?)
many thanks!

Nope, that’s too big.

My CAD file has it at 88.106 on the wide edge:

and 83.018 on the short edge.

Obviously you won’t get those tolerances with a lasercutter, but that’s what it comes out at in the diagram, and what I cut to get the thing on my desk that fits. There’s decent tolerance in the knob/button holes, though they were designed for the particular skirted knobs I was using, for instance.

thanks for the reply and the diagrams! that is proper sophisticated! i would love to know how you generated the them, but maybe that’s for another thread.

so, scaling down a little bit as you suggest should hopefully still allow room for my knobs, which are 13mm in diameter. also, am i right in thinking that you used the same mechanicals/standoffs as the monome repo?

thanks again!

I believe the plastic panels in the Norns repo are based on my design, so yeah, should be a similar stackup. The standoffs are still the same as in my design.

I honestly don’t know if I use precisely the same parts, though. I definitely use bigger button caps for my push buttons than in the official repo, and I’m don’t think my encoder knobs are Sifam. So no, I don’t use quite the same button hardware.

The hole cut for the encoder knobs is 15.5mm. So if you set up the panel in Illustrator at the right size, you could bring that cutout down to 13.2ish for your knobs.

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I built my Fates kit a year ago and then took my sweet time making a case. Basically, I know nothing about woodworking and don’t have a solid workbench in my apartment, so it was a struggle. But I’m moderately pleased with the result. (Birch plywood, 3mm for top and front, 9mm for bottom and sides.) Now to build my shield kit and come up with a better way to do a case for that one. (Will probably get a laser-cut wood faceplate, because cutting the holes in this one using a drill and assorted hand-tools was a real pain.)



So nice. Hand dremmeled?

Yes. I’ve become moderately good at cutting straight lines.


very cool! what knobs are those? i like them a lot!!

That’s gorgeous. Are the sides 3d printed?

No, it’s a Hammond 1590 aluminum guitar pedal enclosure.


Hey how did you get on with the razorlab panels with @infovore 's measurements? I’m in the UK and looking at getting the same kind of metal panel.

worked really well! the razorlab guys also very helpful and responsive. think i got the panels two days after i order them…


Hey I dig your case design! I’m currently playing with the idea of integrating a norns to my pedalboard. Would be very interested to see more about your wiring ideas. Did you just replaced the push buttons with momentary footswitches? Are you replacing the mini jacks with 1/4 jacks?

For footswitches you’d definitely want them mounted to the case and wired loosely to the circuit board otherwise the stress on the button could damage the PCB.

I think there is a great use-case for a Norns fork specifically for pedal-board friendly live-looping/sampling/effects but I don’t know how useful the current iteration would be if controlled by your feet unless you can map out a midi-controller to work with the Norns.