So I was in need of a MIDI controller for Pro Tools to help me when tracking guitar and bass when I'm alone in my studio room. I didn't want to spend a lot of money, and I already had some of the stuff lying around. So why not right?
First up, I cut some thin gauge aluminum sheet and bent the ends with a cheap bending break I got from Harbor Freight
Next up, bent another sheet for the top, front and back. And a little test fit. I also cut the triangular holes in the ribs to allow for wiring later. On the 2 ends, I epoxied a piece of Plexi glass. I was going to put some LEDs in there to glow and shit, but I got lazy.
Soldered up a Schmitt trigger circuit for each of the 5 buttons on a small square of perf board. I put some spade connectors between the board and the switches to help make the installation of the switches and boards easier. The Schmitt trigger isn't really necessary with the debouncing routine I ended up using, but I had already soldered it together before I finished writing/stealing the code.
At this point, I was using an Arduino UNO as the brains. Turns out that was a pain in the ass to try to flash the 8u2 chip on the UNO with new firmware to make the computer see it as a MIDI device over USB as opposed to emulated serial COM Port. I ended up using a Teensy 3.2 since MIDI over USB is just an easy checkbox in the IDE and it's good to go. Plus the Teensy is significantly smaller.
Next up, measured and drilled holes in the top plate then clamped the ribs in place and drilled the corresponding holes in the ribs. Then, out comes the riveting tool.
Next drilled the holes for the switches and installed them.
Teensy and USB cable put in place. Sugru makes a pretty handy grommet too.
My dumb ass drilled the holes for the standoffs too big. So out comes the Goop to save the day.
Now It's all wired up and ready to go!
Wait! forgot the most important part. A little paint. I actually made some stencils and tried to paint it with glow in the dark paint. The problem was that I was pretty impatient and didn't use any primer, so that didn't work out well when I pulled the stencils. So, I just put paint on the vinyl and stuck it to the top. It's not pretty, but it'll work.
So, there you have it. It took some time to find the CC numbers Pro Tools uses for the transport controls. Avid doesn't publish them because $$, so I had to dig pretty deep in the interwebz to find them. Also, for some reason, it only works with Pro Tools if you tell it that the pedal is an M Audio keyboard in the MIDI preferences.
This was a fun project once I got past some of the frustrating parts of the programming and trying to deal with the Arduino (which I think I jacked up trying to flash the 8u2 chip). Also, turns out that the Teensy required less lines of code to implement MIDI on it.