Query: Monome-esque keypad manufacture

I’m interested in trying to construct a hexagonal MIDI controller along the lines of the discontinued C-Thru Axis 49. It has a button mechanism that has been compared to a velocity-sensitive monome…


I’m wondering how/where these kinds of button layouts are manufactured, and who I could approach to try and create this kind of hexagonal pattern…?

Here’s the blog post that image came from, if folks who are reading would like more context:

I suspect those keys were custom designed by C-Thru and are manufactured to their specifications. Since this is done in low numbers, to an exacting specification, it should be pretty obvious why C-Thru controllers are rather costly.

I use an Axis-49 which is my primary midi controller at the moment. The small 49 key version feels kind of like a cheap computer keyboard. The velocity sensitivity okay be very non-linear. I haven’t taken the thing apart to see if any of the components are identifiable.

No idea if the larger 64 key version used the same or better key mechanisms.

Looking at the above image of the key construction I see that it is likely that velocity sensing done by calculating the delay between the outer contact losing and the inner contact closing.

This project is not the same as the axis but possibly of interest:


…so, I bit the bullet and picked up an Axis-49. I’m a sucker for isomorphism. But I’m thinking, someone must have got tooled up for those ingenious two-layer velocity-sensitive buttons. Just wondering how one would go about manufacturing something like that. The world and his wife are making grid layouts; the future is honeycomb-shaped.

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