Monday, May 3, 2010

Gordophone Slide Handle

After trying to place the overtone selector switches on the left hand, I've decided that's no good - it's too hard to hold the instrument with the left hand and also actuate the switches. So I've decided to copy the general layout of Thomas Henrique's Double Slide Controller and put the overtone selectors on the right hand.

To accomplish that, I'll need some sort of a handle I can put tactile switches on. After I thought about it for a while, I realized what I needed would look an awful lot like a joystick handle. So, after a quick trip to Weird Stuff Warehouse, I had two old joysticks ($8 total). Time for disassembly!

I picked up two different joysticks, both of which have a large surface area on the right where I should be able to mount buttons. Also, the joysticks have some existing buttons that could be used for other functions, like patch changing.

I started with the simpler, two-button joystick. Off with the bottom plate...

And expose the inside of the handle, to see what's in there. Pretty simple, really - two switches, and 3 wires out the bottom.

The base housed the X-Y potentiometers. I won't be needing them, so out they came, which released the handle.

Verifying the wiring of the switches - as expected, green is ground.

So that handle is ready to try out. I'll need to attach it to the new slide I'm building. More on that in a later post.

I also bought a Wingman joystick. This one is more complicated - there's a trigger, three pushbuttons, and a small thumb-actuated joystick. Those all could be interesting to use.

Getting the handle out required some... surgery. Let's just say the warranty is definitely voided now.

There are seven wires coming out the bottom. I tried a little "black box reverse engineering" to see what leads corresponded to what switch, but that proved inconclusive.

So I opened up the handle. And all the switches promptly fell out. Everything is held in place by the two halves of the handle. I eventually got everything back together, but it wasn't easy.

Next up: order some sample tactile switches from Mouser and find just the right one. I'll use the joystick's trigger for the index finger, so I'll need three additional switches for the other three fingers.