Tim Trzepacz is the owner of SoftEgg and a computer games consultant in the Los Angeles area. Though he got his primary education from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in electrical engineering, his interests have led him elsewhere as his career progressed.
Trzepacz says it’s his fondness for music device designs such as synthesizers and sequencers, and various applications for stage shows from stage lights and video systems, which took him away from electrical engineering and pointed him more toward programming.
“I also do crafty stuff like display stands for my product and portable stages and such,” Trzepacz says. “I love performing, and will play music anywhere. I’m really active in the greater Los Angeles chiptune scene, and for that, I need to make interfaces to do stuff on Arduino and Propeller boards.”
Now with this multi-part design for a synthesizer controller keyboard, Trzepacz says he wanted to create a modular design which would allow designers to 3D print as many sections as they need.
He says that from an additional octave of keys to five modulation wheels, the design is flexible enough to provide a list of useful features for the DIY synthesizer designer.
There’s a grid embossed on the back of the project to make locating drill holes for knobs and sliders a simple, repeatable process, and the bottom includes mounting holes for screwing down circuit boards.
Each edge has grooves to prevent errors in part alignment, and the entire design can be fastened together via threaded rods.
The parts are currently designed at a very small scale, but Trzepacz says it’s a simple matter to scale up to any required size–and he adds that the file “keyboard6.stl” is an exploded view which can be used to guide assembly, including all the parts but not suitable for printing.
Trzepacz has built a keyboard synthesizer which is at once modular and 3D printable, and it may be the first of its kind in that regard.
The design files for this novel creation from Trzepacz can all be found on Pinshape should you wish to use his project as a jumping off point for your own design, and the controller is set up for compatibility with 555-based or SID synthesizers.
The designer adds that SoftEgg also makes the music creation software package “Rhythm Core Alpha 2” for Nintendo DSi, 3DS, and 2DS game consoles. This modular synthesizer keyboard also happens to be Trzepacz’s entry for the Hackaday Prize.