Rather excitingly, DrumKid has made it to the finals of the Hackaday Prize 2019! I got through to the semi-finals last year with my digital modular synthesizer, PolyMod, but really struggled to meet the criteria for the final - I was still using stripboard for all my projects at the time, and I didn't even know what a schematic was (I instead submitted a messy pencil sketch of a sort of flowchart).
In the past year, I've put a lot of effort into moving on from stripboard, wood, drills, and saws. I've acquired a 3D printer, learned to use KiCAD, designed and ordered my first PCBs, and generally moved a lot further towards my goal of designing something that looks professional (or at least less amateur). I've also belatedly learned what a schematic is, and produced some!
I'm really happy with DrumKid's progress so far, and luckily I've already fulfilled a lot of the criteria for the final round, but I'd still like to put in a big push to improve the project by October 1st, the deadline for the finals. I can't go into full production mode by then, but I can lay a lot of the groundwork. Here's my September to-do list:
- Source enough components to make a small initial run of DrumKid units for testing
- Find a local company with a laser cutter
- Explore possibility of moving to an enclosed case design, rather than the current open-sided, standoff-based design (this is based on early user feedback). I'm hoping to use recycled wood for this to reduce environmental impact
- Add a couple of minor features to the code - there are a still two free slots for controllable parameters, I'd like DrumKid to automatically load the last saved patch when powered on, and I'm also anticipating a few tweaks based on user feedback
- Research packaging
- Do a full cost analysis to determine how much I should sell the finished unit for - I've already got a pretty solid idea of this but I'd like to go over my numbers in more detail
- Make a final decision on aesthetics - I can easily vary the PCB colour, the LED colour, the laser-cut section colour and the laser-cut section material (plastic or wood)
- Design and order a fifth revision of the PCB
- Make an improved video for the final round