My two main driving forces to invent and build things are music and education (teacher is my dayjob). Often, my projects are to some extend usable in both areas. The ElektroCatser is a perfect example of that.
I have spent much time in the past to hack guitars, adding robotic elements to them, messing with control interfaces and audio effects. But I allways did this in a non-destructive way, as I didn't wanted to do something to my babys I couldn't redo. One thing I always wanted to have, but never really achieved on this premise was an illuminated fretboard to display all kinds of information, like scales and sequencers. This problem gave me the kick to build a guitar all from scratch.
As I'm not a carpenter but more an allround maker with typical maker tools like a 3d-printer and a cnc-router, the main challenge was to commit to a concept of build this guitar with those tools I have.
(Hardware-)Features and Design Goals
Here are some specs and design goals I have/had in mind when building the ElekroCaster. This list will evolve.
- Maker friendly construction (3d-printer, CNC-Router, Vslots)
- Modular construction and easy access to the electronics to make it a smooth prototyping platform (You'll be in like Flynn!)
- Parametric OpenScad modelling (changable string count, scale, space between strings,...)
- Playable like a normal electric guitar
- Fully controllable RGB-Led-iluminated Fretboard (Only the first 17 frets for now, but easily exendable)
- Long scale (700mm) for low tunings
- Two micros, one for audio an one for everything else.
- Per string signal path
- hexaphonic pickup
- Teensy 3.6 microcontroller
Here are some short video Demos:
To learn more about this project and the design process, take a look at my project logs:
This project is fully open source. It uses only open source libraries and all the design files can be opened with open source design tools. A git repository is also on the way to make this project better to collaborate.