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Author Topic: MIDI Sprout Enclosure Designs  (Read 3122 times)

Offline sam

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MIDI Sprout Enclosure Designs
« on: April 10, 2016, 11:00:03 AM »
The MIDI Sprout has gone through a series Enclosure Design iterations over the course of the project.  I would like to present those designs and make them available below (see link at bottom of Post).  Please Note: the designs are not 'perfect', and a limited amount of functional testing has occurred with all but the final card-stock design. 
           *****Be wary dear adventure, if you choose to print/cut/buy one of these enclosure designs minor tweaks, drill outs, or adjustments may be needed!*****

The Journey begins with the original enclosure design by Stephanie Tarbous, which features smooth curved edges, illuminated logo, and a built in battery compartment.  I think that you will agree that it looks spectacular!


We explored a few variations on this design through 3D printing.   This is a 'family picture' of three iterations of the enclosure from different 3D printers.  The white model is the 'first print' made in PLA with brass tacks as 'touch points', a few tweaks internally and to the logo size are shown in the middle green model, and a final 'smooth' green 3D print from Shapeways on the right.


Manufactured in flexible PLA, the test models used a simple 'snap' closure mechanism which worked well but could be easily broken/worn.  Modifications were made to the design for a 'screw' closure.  The 'screw' design was never fully tested/tweaked/finalized, and will likely require some light drilling, counter sinking, and self tapping screws.  The Shapeways 'Snap' version in Blue looks quite nice.


Manufacture of this Design could be performed through: 3d Printing, Injection Molded Plastic, or Resin Casting. 
The costs associated with 'tooling' the molds for Injection Molding are very affordable when making 30,000 units, but for our short run of 300 Sprouts injection was out of the picture.  This costs/scope was a big challenge to manufacture this (or any) custom design.

Working with a mold maker, an attempt was made to use Casting Resin and silicone molds. Due to the thickness of the thin walls and small features, Casting would require some significant redesign.  It was one of those 'so close' moments, where fine features didn't quite work and finishing work would have been quite laborious.


I began to experiment with different types of laser cut plastics and other 'alternative' casings.  Below you can see the original Prototype, a rough white 'Casting', a Clear Acrylic cut box, and an experimental case made from a small biodegradable food container!


Although I tried a few different designs in laser cut using 'living hinges' and layered approaches, even looking into CNC milling wood, but without a laser cutter (or 3D printer) in my personal shop I found it cost a bit too much to 'test' my novice designs.

In order to successfully enclose and ship the sprout a new design and approach was needed.  I had already manufactured and assembled the circuit boards for the Sprouts based on the 'plastic' design, and any new enclosure would need to adhere to the constraints of the board (namely no mounting holes!).   

I started from scratch, holding onto a few key design aspects:


And then the realization - Cardboard!  Paper-Stock is durable, comes in many thickness and colors, cuts/scores/folds, and is biodegradable ...


That is when we reached out to our Kickstarter Supporters and asked for advice on designing a new enclosure.  Our (new) buddy Jeremy Helms jumped into action, and working with a few designers and teams came back to us with this:


And now you have your MIDI Sprout in your hands!

This is the design file for the final card-stock enclosure.

If you are interested in these designs or want to explore the various stages, please find a series of pdf's, sketchup skp's, and STL's at this link:  MIDI Sprout Enclosure Files Also you can find our 'Snap' and 'Screw' models in our MIDI Sprout Shapeways Store. - The 001 'Blue' Snap Model includes 3 pieces which must be ordered - the Top, Bottom, and Battery Door.  Same goes for the 002 'Screw' model with three parts.  If you choose to purchase a shapeways print, please be sure to choose the same version for each part!!!!  Users will need to provide a battery box or contacts: these are the battery connectors used on the 3D prints, they cost about $6 for a set .
« Last Edit: September 28, 2016, 04:40:36 PM by admin »

Offline cmyers

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Re: MIDI Sprout Enclosure Designs
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2016, 07:58:34 PM »
 Are there any tutorials for using these enclosures? I wish the enclosure directions were more clear... 

 I built my kit using the breadboard and it seems to work.

 The cardboard template won't fit the breadboard; I guess that is made for the circuit
board, but I didn't plan on making the circuit board version, and there doesn't
seem to be a tutorial for that and it's an extra expense I guess.

 What about the laser cut template, 003? Will that fit the breadboard and the battery holder? Could a on/off switch
be fitted on it somehow? I'd rather find out before I ask a friend to help me with a laser
cutter and make a box, will it work? Otherwise I guess I'll break down and buy the pretty box from shape ways.
But how do I know if the plastic 3d box will fit my breadboard version? Or is that also made just for the circuit board?

 Thanks for advice.

Charles Myers

Offline sam

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Re: MIDI Sprout Enclosure Designs
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2016, 08:29:44 PM »
Hello Charles, no the Kit and breadboard do not fit into any of the enclosures.  The Shapeways box itself is nice, but please note that it is an experimental unit.  If a user does choose to solder their own circuit board, the LEDs would need to be 'bent' in order to fit between the board and the top of the box (since i use SMD parts on the production model). 

It would be quite possible to modify a cardboard enclosure design to fit the breadboard and battery box, and one would need to add some sort of switch for power.  I hadn't really considered making an enclosure for the breadboard Kit, and it would be great if users could share their potential designs.

I have not made a tutorial for soldering a circuit board from the kit (perhaps i will if i can find a blank sprout circuit board) but I have provided links to the board design and an inexpensive 3 board pack from OSH park.  There is a bit of a jump in circuit dexterity when we get into soldering and allocating components, and I believe all of the needed information is available in the forum.

This device is in itself quite challenging, the user is required to understand MIDI data and be able to connect instruments, the sprout, and plants.  While users of all skill levels can build and use a MIDI Sprout, it takes knowledge and skill to use the tool to its potential.  I think this project is a great jumping off point for an electronics enthusiast, and while it takes a decent amount of effort to make everything work the end result is a powerful data translation system.


 

Offline cmyers

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Re: MIDI Sprout Enclosure Designs
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2016, 08:40:11 PM »
I have followed anxiously from the beginning, waiting for my sprout to arrive so
I could share it with my monthly discussion group. I could be mistaken, but the kickstarter
did not seem to mention that a novice would not be suited to buy the kit version, or that experienced electronic
hobbyists, who know a lot, are required to get it successfully completed. So for me it's a waste.

Given that, I am rather disappointed that I have spent a few bucks, and have a cute little breadboard, which is fragile, and likely
will do nothing for me without a lot of jerry rigging if at all. Great idea, love the sprout, however
it is a bit underwhelming to me at this point. Best of luck to MIDI sprout and congratulations on the successful project.

Charles

Offline sam

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Re: MIDI Sprout Enclosure Designs
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2016, 08:29:34 AM »
Charles, the kit can be easily constructed by a hobbiest of any skill level, it is as simple as building Legos and I have provided a series of video tutorials to assist in the construction.  I teach basic electronics, and I have tried to make this kit accessible for anyone.  This can be built and plugged in easily, but it will take thought and effort if you truly want to extract biological data from a plant and translate it into knowable music or sample playback.

You are correct, a solderless breadboard is fragile, that is why I have made all of the circuit board designs, code, and materials available.  I have successfully traveled and used Sprout Kits, while it takes some wiggling of the jumper wires.  The circuit boards are fairly inexpensive from the OSHpark link I provided, and soldering the kit together (while not trivial) is quite manageable.

Your messages sound like you are disinterested in learning about MIDI and electronics, this is a tough challenge for an electronics kit to overcome. 

What would make this not 'a waste' for you?  What is the key impediment for you to use this kit?  The topics you have raised about using a custom Linux box, data storage and analysis, and a sample playback engine show me that you are thinking on an advanced level, and had me very excited about your intended project.  Is your disappointment based on not receiving a soldering circuit board, or is it related to the hardware/software for making sounds using MIDI?

I very much appreciate your thoughts and feedback Charles, thank you for supporting our project and taking the time to discuss your experiences and impressions.


Offline cmyers

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Re: MIDI Sprout Enclosure Designs
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2016, 10:38:58 AM »
 It is a neat accomplishment and a great product, kudos to everyone. All I really want is a decent
box and then I can plug into my Mac, run Audacity or similar and get a few sounds. Free software
would be preferable, I don't have the money to buy Ableton. Maybe audition would work? I will get a
MIDI cable and set it up to try it. I guess the disappointment is in not having a housing and in not
knowing how to get the software, which software, without spending a lot more money.

 My main beef is that I thought a kit would be a way to save a little money, put it together myself,
and I would be on my way with a finished product with some economy. I have soldered before, and
put together a couple of things, so following your tutorials and assembling it was a breeze. I don't mind
researching cables, connecting it to my Mac and finding out what software to use. So my kit works, but it
does not seem like a complete item. So far it is a naked 2 pieces of electronics, not impressive. I'm not especially
interested in electronics, I just wanted to use a fun device.

( I think maybe you might be mixing up my post with someone else, I didn't mention Linux, data storage etc.
I am a Mac support person at a university, and enjoy all sorts of music, photography and meditation but not linux.)

My discussion group is a community group of the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) and we discuss/explore unique
states of consciousness, transformation, science, metaphysics, etc. and sprout could be a great experiment to explore at a meeting. Not from
an electronics standpoint, but from a unique communication device. We're more like 'woo woo' geeks, not
electronic geeks. Baltimore Friends of IONS: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BaltimoreIONS/
BTW we enjoy guest speakers and if you are in the Baltimore area, consider visiting us some month... or
maybe we could do a skype with you.
 
 What I dislike is that I spent 60.00 and do not have a finished product that I feel comfortable to take out
and use or let friends use. It might fall apart, and there appears to be no way to put it in a decent, safe housing
that I know of... maybe I can find something at Radio Shack, or at an electronics store, or maybe not.
Additionally, if I really want a finished product, then I have to spend a bunch more money now to buy a
circuit board, a box, an on/off switch and spend a lot of time and money all over again; so why did I pay for the breadboard kit.
We just wanted a fun device to plug into a Mac and start using it, but the kit as it is seems like only half way there.
The extra 30.00 to get a complete sprout would have been worth it; now I'm ending up spending a lot of extra
time to just find a decent housing, and that may not be possible. I don't want to solder a new kit, when I already paid
good money for the kit I received. Sorry to sound like a whiner. Thanks for your assistance.

Offline cmyers

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Re: MIDI Sprout Enclosure Designs
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2016, 04:52:55 PM »
Since I know the enclosure templates won't work, I'm thinking of measuring the breadboard & battery
box, then I can enlarge/stretch the template for the cardboard version using photoshop to get it to work.
Maybe construct it in heavy card stock or cardboard. I'll let you know if it works out.