Euroshield adds Arduino + Teensy to Eurorack Modular Synthesizer

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I’ve been diving into the world of Eurorack format modular synthesizers for a little while now. A terrific, fun, and versatile addition to my rack has been the euroshield 1 by 1010music, a module that brings Arduino and Teensy to Eurorack.

One of the things that attracted me to the Eurorack format is the terrific blend of analog and digital synthesis, control, and processing going on. As I put together my first small rack of equipment — a VCO (voltage controlled oscillator) for generating pitched audible-rate waveforms, VCA (voltage controlled amplifier), envelope generator, filter, and LFO (low frequency oscillator), I started to yearn for a way to inject other modulations, effects, and signal processing experimentally, without necessarily committing to the cost and size of more individual modules. The euroshield does just that.
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I met Aaron Higgins at a modular event at Perfect Circuit Audio while he was in beta stages with the euroshield, and he kindly offered for me to test one out and give feedback. I added the euroshield to my rack, plugged in a Teensy 3.2, and installed the latest Teensyduino and excellent PJRC Teensy Audio Library, and the 1010music Euroshield example files.

The euroshield and Teensy are powered by the 5V supply line inside the rack. The demo code let me fire up the four LEDs on the module, test the two trim pots and pushbutton to make sure everything was working. Then, its onto the good stuff — software defined module building! I created low pass filters, bit crushers, saw waves, LFO signals, arpeggios and note sequences, and more to interact over the signal inputs and outputs with the rest of my modules.
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The euroshield (or a Teensy + Audio Shield) really shines when you start using the Audio System Design Tool for Teensy Audio Library https://www.pjrc.com/teensy/gui/ which is a visual node-graph GUI for designing audio signal processing code. I had a lot of fun going through the tutorials from the Microcontroller Audio Workshop.
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Then, I started cooking up my own bits of code to do things like generate semi-random sequences (turn the knobs to adjust the randomness and note ranges). I used the euroshield with a Teensy 3.6 as a class compliant USB MIDI host to send clock signals to an Arturia Beatstep, my modules, a Pocket Operator drum machine, and other MIDI devices.

I also made a little reverb unit out of it. A friend of mine, Jim Bumgardner, is also using a euroshield in his rack, and wrote a very nice Turing Machine to generate random melodies that are pitch quantized.
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Before I got the euroshield I had been experimenting with using a Circuit Playground Express and a Metro M0 with my Eurorack, which also have lots of promise for interfacing with synthesizers, particularly using CircuitPython. My solutions for interfacing these currently involve a lot of alligator clip wires, so I’m very impressed at how nice and neat the euroshield is for tying together all of the wiring and circuits needed to have a microcontroller play nicely with -10V to +10V Eurorack control voltages.
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If you’re into Eurorack and microcontrollers, have a look at the 1010music euroshield.
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John Park, Full-Time Maker for Adafruit

 

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I’m thrilled to announce that after a decade of moonlighting in the maker movement, I’m now officially a full-time maker and content creator! Starting this week, I’ll be working from my Southern California workshop, designing and building projects and videos for Adafruit Industries.

Adafruit is an open source hardware and electronics company founded by the awe-inspiring engineer Limor “Lady Ada” Fried, and co-run by the highest energy element on the the periodic table, Phil Torrone. I’ve know these wonderful people since the beginning of the maker movement, working together on Make: magazine, Maker Faires, and the Emmy-nominated Make: Television show on American Public Television. I’m proud to be joining them and the rest of the incredible team in our shared goal to encourage and enable anybody to build anything.

There are so many projects I’m excited to start building and sharing in videos and online tutorials. I’ll be making things to appeal to people with wide ranging passions, including cosplayers, home brewers, gamers, magicians, rock climbers, hot rodders, modernist chefs, lock pickers, kids, musicians, mixologists, Burners, escape room designers, aerialists, cyclists, teachers, animators, and coffee fiends, to name a few.

If you’ve got an idea for something you’d like to see me make, please drop me a note in the comments or on my Twitter @johnedgarpark.

You’ll be able to watch my Adafruit videos here, my Learning System tutorials here, my posts on the Adafruit blog. I look forward to meeting you in the Adafruit online hangouts. I’ll also be doing collaborations, speaking, teaching, and other maker activities, please follow my blog for updates — you can subscribe in the sidebar over there on the right.

Burbank yard sale report – 11/8/15 edition

Three dollars spent this weekend at various yard sales.

First up: four welding plier clamps. $1.50. Original owner was a Lockheed aviation machinist.

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Two of them are unmarked, the other two are Knu-Vise brand model P-400-1. They still sell this model today, for around $18 a piece.

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Two go carts. $0.00, a.k.a. free. What?! Not technically a yard sale item. I was dropping my son off at school and somebody had set these out on the curb with a FREE sign. They work pretty well, but looking into replacing/upgrading the batteries…

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Which leads to: Snap-on/Blue Point MT130 Charging System Analyzer for testing car batteries and alternators.  $0.50. Could be helpful in working on the go carts.

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Finally, a deck of Magic Castle playing cards — the cards inside are still sealed. $1.00. I’ll be gifting this to a friend who’s pretty into cards and magic.

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Estate Sale Report

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Bolt cutters in collapsed mode

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Bolt cutters ready for action

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Lovely screwdriver

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Broken wrench? Somebody doesn’t take no for an answer. Weld that back up.

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Vlchek open end wrench

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Regular screwdriver, giant hand

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Sweet tape measure

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I will buy every Estwing hammer I run across. This is a 12oz.

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Repaired ballpeen

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Mason hammer

 

What’s In My Bag?

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(Note: this is a repost of my  article on Kevin Kelly’s Cool Tools site.)

Curious to know what’s in my daily work/travel bag? Please, have a look (click the images for an even closer look). I carry this bag and gear for my daily work routine, as well as when I take trips. Note: I do carry some worrisome, pointy things that I place in checked baggage or leave behind when flying. More on that below.

For context, I work in CG animation at DisneyToon Studios, am a maker of robot-y, Arduino-ish things, and write about it for Make: magazine, BoingBoing and other places in print and online. I travel between locations in Los Angeles and overseas for work, so my bag is a bit of a mobile office. (Thanks for the suggestion, Justin.)

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The bag: I carry a Filson bag, made in Seattle, WA ($335, Filson 72 Hour Briefcase). I’ve taken many other bags all over the world — from Papua New Guinea to Belarus, Pakistan to Singapore, Poughkeepsie to Mumbai — this one has quickly become my favorite. Just the right carry-on size with proper, minimal organizational features for my needs. It’s rugged, weather resistant, and made of waxed cotton, bridle leather, and heritage awesomeness. Plus, it makes me feel more outdoorsy than I currently am, so that’s a psychological bonus.

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Let’s have a look in the left outer pocket.

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Sunglasses, writing, fixing, lighting:  I have somehow managed to not yet lose these lovely polarized Ray-Ban sunglasses. I carry a Sharpie marker, a wonderful little $4 technician’s screwdriver (see my review), a solid pen that takes Fisher Space Pen refills ($55 and up), a small AAA flashlight, and a Wörther mechanical pencil ($35 from Hand-Eye Supply).

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Snacks and meds: I stash snacks and pill capsules in this old army ammo pouch from my dad. He gave it to me when I was a kid to play soldier. (You’ll have to get one at a surplus store, because my dad is fresh out.) I usually have one or two snack bars and some nuts or granola in there. Also, lip balm  and instant coffee packs. Lastly, I use these great little waterproof Delrin pill capsules ($6 and up depending on size) to carry antacid, Tylenol, Advil, pseudoephedrine, industrial strength Immodium (helpful for travel to places with unsafe water), and Tic-Tacs. Because I love them. (Also: fresh breath.)

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Sharp things: This is the grouping I put in my checked luggage (alongside my double-edged safety razor) when flying is involved. At the top, the best groomsman gift I’ve ever gotten, the Leatherman Micra multitool ($25, or free if you are in the right wedding party). Next, my beloved Victorinox Swiss Army knife, which I’ve carried into the woods, the city, and around the world on adventures since my parents gave it to me for my fourteenth birthday. Note: sometimes I swap out the knife for my full sized Leatherman SuperTool or Leatherman Juice CS4 so I’ve got good pliers on hand. Connected to my knife is a seriously effective pair of government issue tweezers ($7). At the bottom, is an innocuous-looking capsule.

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Grappling hook: Not so innocuous now, are we? The micro grappling hook ($27 from Maratac). This item is absurd. I really shouldn’t carry it. But I must, due to a pact I made with my teenaged self to always be super freaking awesome as an adult. I have used it legitimately three times – in all cases to retrieve things from rooftops and trees. (It is not intended to support the swinging bodyweight of the foolish/optimistic.) The three spikes are stored inside the capsule and then thread into place when needed. As seen below, I also carry a long length of paracord to be deployed with my ridiculous grappling hook.
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