Dallas Makerspace Openhouse

The Dallas Makerspace had an open house on Saturday. It was really fun and I had a chance to show off a couple of my projects. I took the trash guitar I built using an old speaker cone and an axe handle, the Baxboard, the Arduino Midi Sythesizer, a homemade amp, homemade tube screamer clone pedal, and a Raspberry Pi running the JAMS app which was setup with my keyboard and Baxboard.

There was also a pinball room set up with many of the pinball tables some of the member have restored. This was definitely a hit.

My DMS Openhouse Table

My DMS Open House Table

JAMS – Java Awesome Midi Sequencer


This is a demo video of a new Java App I have been working on, I call it JAMS or Java Awesome Midi Sequencer. It is a hardware centric Midi Sequencer written in Java and intended for a Raspberry Pi. However, being written in Java means it can run in a lot of places and be easily developed on my main pc.

This video demonstrates some early features like separate controllers and instruments, and simple stepping and looping mechanisms.

All of the Sequencer controls can be mapped to a midi device and channel which can be used as the sequencer controller, while others can used as inputs and outputs. They can be the same device as in the video, or output to a different synthesizer. The built in Java synthesizer is even available, but it is not my first choice.

If a device has configurable channels, like the baxboard, it could be used for both control and as an instrument by changing the channel.

Currently, JAMS is intended to be run headless, without a monitor. It can be setup using only keyboard commands and will load preconfigured settings on startup, and will even connect to the preconfigured devices and start the sequencer loop.

Recording mode can be toggled on and off so that you can create your own loops to play over.

I intend to make at least a simple GUI targetted for low res touch screens as they are common addons for Raspberry Pis, maybe even a regular gui in the future. I hope this will be a much cooler way to play electronic music live instead of just watching some dude play on his imac.

The code will be available on Github soon.

SynthTest3 – Midi Out from Arduino to Synthesizer

This is a test running the Midi out example code that is included with the Arduino IDE. It can be found under File – Examples – 04. Communication – MIDI.

Details on how to connect the Midi connector are here.

I like the versatility of having separate components, the Midi producing Arduino, the Midi synth, and then the amp. I want to keep the parts interchangeable. I can hook my Synthesizer up to the PC and run midi to it, but I could also hook up the other arduino to a different synthesizer or the pc.

I want to make a box of buttons to use for midi input to the synthesizer. I am thinking of an 8×8 matrix of light up buttons, and then at least 4 knobs. I want it to be able to do standard midi out so I could try connecting to different things. I’m thinking I want to mess with the knobs, then hit a set button and map the current settings to one of the buttons in the matrix, but this could change if I come up with a better idea.

RFID Interlock at DMS

Last December I joined the Dallas Makerspace. It is an awesome place where people are welcome to work on a variety of projects. The space also owns many tools that most people would not normally have access to; some of these require training.

In order to enforce this, we have been working on an RFID based power interlock that we can build and use to only connect the power for approved users.

I have made some progress in writing the code in Java for a BeagleBone Black board running Angstrom Linux, and created a demo video.