A project log for Zappotron Super-Sequencer

NES Zapper Controlled drum sequencer

Russell KramerRussell Kramer 03/22/2017 at 03:310 Comments

I couldn't find anything that matched the dimensions I needed so I built a case from scratch. I wanted the wooden box with metal faceplate look. My first stop was a scrap metal yard to get some sheet metal. I was really fortunate to find some panels with rectangles already cut out of them. They're 22.2cm wide, 36.6cm long, 1mm thick with inner rectangles 4.2cm by 5.5cm. My only metal cutting tool is a hacksaw which isn't capable of getting nice clean straight cuts like that. I can use the hacksaw to cut this down to smaller pieces and have nice straight lines because most of the cut is already there.

Next I went to a used building materials yard and got a 50cm x 100cm x 2cm "shelving board". I think it's made out of pine.

I did some rough sketches and chose the most aesthetic one. I was constrained by needing to fit the bulky cathode ray tube; the sizes I could easily cut the metal panel to; and the amount of wood I had to work with.

This is the plan for the side panel. It's based on the bottom left concept sketch. Length of each side was chosen to match what the metal panels could be easily cut to.

I used a jigsaw to cut out the side panels.

This is me cutting out a section of metal panel to provide an opening for one of the tape drives.

Metal panels cut.

The case starting to take shape.

I didn't have enough wood left to make the base a single solid piece so it consists of four separate pieces glued together. The battery holder is built into the base.

I used a hole saw and drill to make a hole for the TV speaker. Also in this picture you can see a screw and washer in the bottom left that forms a hinge holding the base and sides together. This lets the case open very easily. I want it to be easy to get at the circuit boards and batteries.

Here it is with the stain and varnish applied. I went to a paint recycling centre and bought an almost empty can of "Minwax red mahogany 2-in one stain and varnish". I also added a cabinet handle from the scrap metal yard to make it easier to carry. I really like the utilitarian look of equipment with a carrying handle.

I didn't want the batteries to come out of their holder while the unit was closed and being carried around. They could potentially hit the fragile glass at the back of the CRT. I added a piece of wood and foam pad to land on top of the batteries when the case was closed. The foam was part of the packaging from an order of electronic components. I made sure it wasn't the conductive foam used to protect chips from static. That would gradually drain the batteries.

This is the case closed with the batteries securely held in place.

Finally I used a couple random bits of metal from the scrap metal yard to build a holder for the zapper. Now I can carry the project with one hand.

This is a view of the case opened. The empty section in the top left is where the back of the CRT ends up when the case closes.