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Building a Eurorack Mechanical Sequencer [video] (youtube.com)
32 points by michael_forrest 4 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 15 comments

I like passive engineering - allowing behaviour to emerge naturally rather than forcing it with reams of conditional code or complex mechanisms. This is why I am quite pleased with how this project turned out. Use the right architecture and you hardly need any code!

Anyone interested in this sort of thing would probably enjoy having a look at the Bastl brand Eurorack modules, which allow sensors, solenoids, and motors to be hooked up in directly to your Eurorack system, without bothering with intermediaries like the Arduino and whatnot.[1][2][3][4][5]

Also of interest may be just about any of the cute, quirky, Rube-Goldberg-like creations from Gieskes[6]: [7][8][9][10][11]

[1] - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybopzDfrZ08

[2] - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sA_IcICKxU

[3] - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpRYWuRCdLw

[4] - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53J1hEXsovg

[5] - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFX4WeXa21k

[6] - http://www.gieskes.nl/

[7] - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lf_rmr5Arbs

[8] - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Diix7VTdwdM

[9] - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsPBkBx3YpA

[10] - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTeNfms0lX4

[11] - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Laj57aAuZKw

This is very neat, but this video feels very much "draw the rest of the owl" to me.

Were there supposed to be links, e.g., to that website explaining how to drive stepper motors?

Yeah sorry I haven't quite got around to preparing all the materials (I spent 2 days this week just getting the project off the prototyping board and into something I could slot into my rack permanently).

I forced myself to complete this video without worrying too much about total accuracy (which I probably wouldn't have managed if I hadn't given myself such a hard deadline) but it did mean it resulted in a tighter story.

I was hoping anybody who might actually want to build one of these would start badgering me in the YouTube comments :)

Well, a lot of the the things like how to drive a stepper motor or how to program a microcontroller are pretty easy to find on the net-- there's a lot of documentation.

In this video, I think that the author did a pretty good job of giving a very high level overview while still hitting some of the technical details.

that's just my opinion, and maybe it is easier for me to feel that way because I'm already aware of (or have done) a lot of what the author is talking about, so seeing the thought process is enough for me to grok the rest of the project without more detail... if I knew less I might not feel that way. But then, at that point, I probably wouldn't be in a position to carry out a project like that, so detailed instructions wouldn't be super helpful anyhow.

Yeah, that's a good point. I didn't realize at first that the video was only two minutes, and I have no experience with any of this, so as soon as the wiring diagrams started firing off, I was immediately lost :P

This is great, love the pacing and the editing, the voice-over seems fluid and coherent.

Perhaps I'm not the target audience, but you seem to make the assumption that the viewer is familiar with the use case for this device. What I was able to gather from the video is that this device allows you to generate triggering audio/midi (?) in a more "organic" way than with something like a drum pad?

A lot of the cool parts of music making in modular systems comes from injecting complexities that you can't quite fully reason through.

So in this case, the disk is a bit more complex than just using a clock and some switches to send out a trigger signal, -- it's less reliable and less precise.

But those are positive traits because it's easy enough to get a reliable, precise sequencer.

For what it's worth, all this device is sending out is a trigger pulse, which can be hooked to anything that would find a pulse like that useful... that's what is cool about modular synths.

So you could use it to "trigger audio" by hooking that trigger pulse to an envelope generator, but you could just as easily hook it to the "reset" of another sequencer and have it start a sequence over with every pulse. Or you could hook it to a flip-flopping swithc and have it, say, turn on and off the reverb in time with whatever is on the disc...

it's a really fun (albeit expensive) way to make music.

Yeah, looks like every time the light sensor detects a bright color on the wheel, it triggers a drumbeat.

This seems like it would be a great project to build with a kid.

Any tutorial about creating a simple software one out there? at least the concepts. Been using flowstone lately, I wonder how hard it is to achieve.

Not a tutorial, but I've been building one. One version of the software is here: https://bitbucket.org/doughammond/simpleseq

You sequence the motor, get a pick up from the light sensor and then turn it into a note trigger. It'd be simpler to sequence an array rather than a motor and generate a trigger based on array content.

But sure. Art. It's a piece of kinetic sculpture....

True. But then you lose the ability to generate a new sequence by cutting out a piece of paper...!

Yeah the whole point is to make it loose and organic instead of rigid and quantized :)

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