Norns shield

a DIY circuit which extends a normal Raspberry Pi, turning it into a norns.

documentation/assembly at

  • no soldering required, easy to assemble in a few minutes
  • case design by @JHC printed high quality using SLS, includes rubber feet
  • less complex mechanicals, permanently soldered screen
  • new skirtless solid cap knobs
  • requires pi-3B or pi-3B+, sdcard, power supply (source your own, est. $55)

$240 available at, shipping starts december 1

the goal of the shield is to provide a low-cost option without a massive DIY hardware undertaking; to get directly to making sound and writing code.

to repost from the docs:

there are some differences between the norns and norns shield:

  • norns has a battery, 1/4” mono jacks, a separate headphone jack and driver, very high quality audio, serial connection over power port
  • norns shield has 3.5mm stereo jacks (headphones work on the output jack) and an ethernet port

software is fully compatible between the two.

working on an update right now which will refine the shield experience by tailoring the UI to make more sense (ie, don’t show a battery indicator, give better messages, remove meaningless errors). will be ready by shipping time.

thank you for your continued support and participation. norns has been an ever-surprising adventure.


Oh wow! This is a big development IMO, and will open the platform up to even more folks. Cool!


This is sooooo tempting… :exploding_head:


Hey @tehn

Once again wanna thank you for maintaining such an open platform and continually refining things (including the docs and assembly guides!)

I had planned to email you and the folks at monome hq but this is a great opportunity to share public congratulations and well wishes…tons of lines members have helped implement features and bug fixes for norns ecosystem.

All contributors should be really proud of this thing!

I can’t tell you how many artists reach out each week asking questions about norns

Two in particular only took the plunge themselves because of the lower price and diy aesthetic of the shield. As the user base broadens we’ll all benefit from the collective energy and diverse experiences of the group.

Thanks for making this dream a reality for more people!


^^i second this so wholeheartedly, @glia

thank you so much @tehn and extended community for all the insane good naturedness and willingness to collaborate and help out. the warmth of this community overwhelms me every time i visit this forum.
(being a complete novice, i was at such a loss when i came across host issues with my new 128 a few weeks ago and @dan_derks was so helpful and patient with sorting out the kinks, since then i’ve been having so much fun on mlrv2!)

and now you went ahead and dropped a pre-soldered shield at such an accessible price, i could hardly resist! – i put in the order a couple hours ago. :’) having no soldering/hardware assembly experience whatsoever, that was really the sincher for me. so exciting - big thanks to all involved!

i have one very noobish question/thing that i wanted to confirm: i’m looking to get this raspberry pi and power source, i just wanted to make sure that the one they offer as an add on accessory here would be the same one that i need? (the 5.1V 2.5A) also is that microSD “essential” or just use one of the regular ones i’m sure i have lying around?

again, massive thanks!



that power supply is good. any power supply recommended for the pi3 should work.

your existing sdcard will be fine given it’s high quality.


thanks much, can’t wait!

nice - really looking forward to this.
Only thing which keeps me overthinking this is the shipping costs to Switzerland of 60 USD… we’ll see if it gets more tempting over time :slight_smile:

I’ve ordered yesterday, and yes, the fact kit is soldered, encouraged me to buy, I can’t wait to put hands on :slight_smile: . Now I’m searching the pi, sd and adapter… and I wonder which is recommended size of microsd. And in the case, the size affects to the time you could looping/records scripts?


unfortunately this is modern reality, but there’s an upside. DHL delivers in 2-3 days, and i’ve almost never seen a hiccup. between the virus and the current administration actively sabotaging the USPS, that service is no longer reliable— we’ve lost tons of packages.

FYI shipping to most international locations should be closer to around $40.

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thanks for the immediate reply. maybe Sorry to hear you’ve lost tons of packages!
Maybe I’ll find someone to share the shipping costs and for you to sell another Norns shield :wink:

Getting closer and closer to buying one! Cheers

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very excited to get working on mine, greatly appreciative of all the efforts making it all work. will i need to purchase the mechanicals from mcmaster carr, or do they arrive in the kit?

many thanks!

all mechanicals included!

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excellent, thank you kindly.

Awaiting mine arriving in the UK, finally decided to jump on it and am really looking forward to getting on board with the adventure.


I’ve just received mine! I’m so excited :smiley: , but I still have to wait the arrived of rPi I’ve ordered few days ago.

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I’ve got a bunch of extra pi’s from making RPI video synths
so this was a quick purchase

I love programming with the shnth and have a couple ciat lonbardy things I’d like to make (one of which is my favorite shnth patch) happen for the norns.

It seems like there are plenty of delay/looper/sampler type things but I may revive an old pure data patch of mine called plibt. I think one of the programs already comes fairly close to what it was trying to do though so I may not need to.

So I’d like to be more involved with stand alone synths with non traditional interfaces (a lot of my shnth patches just use 8 buttons)

mine should be here saturday (FL)


Just placed an order :slightly_smiling_face:

Ordering the pi 3B+ now as well.
Does size of the SD card matter much? Or can I just use an old 8gb (micro SD; with adapter to normal) SD sandisk I have lying around?

@tehn FYI the link to the current image on the documentation page refers to a previous image. It needs to be updated for the 201202 release, or perhaps it should simply link to the releases page so the shield page doesn’t have to be updated with each release.

done! thanks for the heads up :slight_smile:
folks should also feel free to submit PR’s – docs are open and contributions are always appreciated :revolving_hearts:

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