Tag Archives: mod

More MicroMoorg

I got a new saw for Christmas, and I don’t mean the waveform. After a break of a few months as I figured out what I was going to do, I have been able to add another chapter to the story of my continuing efforts to mod my microKORG to look more like a MiniMoog, imparting an already awesome little synth with even more awesomeness.

As I said in the last update, I had decided on a design I was fairly sure would work as long as I could pull it off right. With measurements and plans in mind, I hit up the local hardware store and picked up some red oak stock to work with. I knew the basic design that I wanted, but I wasn’t sure how to make a strong joint between the boards. I’m a computer programmer, not a carpenter, after all. But the internet wasn’t about to let me down, and through many webpages and a handful of YouTube videos I was able to teach myself how to make something called “finger joints” which are all the rage in fancypants cabinetry. My first attempts were fairly pathetic, but after finally getting the correct router bit and clamps that were actually the right size, I started to see something with promise. Quite a few hours of work and several tries later, I had a version of the joints I thought had some promise. I clamped it up, let it dry for a couple hours, and hoped for the best.

When I came back, much to my delight, things had stuck. Not only that, but the pieces of the microKORG’s shell actually fit into it perfectly! The next day, I measured and repeated the process for the shell for the bottom section. When I finally got them all together, I was a bit shocked with how well it worked. You can see here the two main case pieces in what will be the laid-flat position, for storage and travel. Unlike other MicroMoorg mods that I’ve seen on the web, I wanted mine to be able to transform between an open playable position and a closed storage position without sacrificing usefulness or stability in either.

With the two pieces in hand, I very carefully measured and cut the piano hinge I’d bought for the project and mounted the two together. As you can see from the picture here, it actually works! You can lay it down completely flat or bring it up all the way past vertical. It feels quite solid and I think it will do very well when the whole thing’s put together.

I still have quite a long way to go on this project. Tomorrow, I’m going to be measuring and cutting the holes for the cables to pass through between the two halves. I’ve already picked up the wire to extend all of the cables, but that’s going to be a whole weekend project unto itself, at least, as I’m not really all that good at soldering. Then of course I need to build the base and finish all of the wood pieces.

I’ll be sure to keep posting progress as it’s made. Really, I can’t wait to have it put together so that I can play it again. I love this little keyboard, and I miss having it in my arsenal. It turns out that you can in fact use it without the case or keys attached, but it’s somehow not quite the same.

A slice of MicroKorg

Inspired by the MicroMoorg project, I’ve decided to try and mod my own MicroKorg into a folding synthesizer. The control panel on the mK has always been a bit awkward to use, as you really do need to lean over it to read everything in the edit matrix. Plus, I thought it would just look awesome to have this little guy fold up like that.

As you can see, the first part of the project is taking the thing apart. Sorry for the terrible picture, but it’s all I have right now. Once we got everything out, we carefully measured where the components fit and found, as others have, that you can slice the chassis apart pretty cleanly between the keyboard and the editor panel. We used a dremel to make the cut, which worked fairly well except for some melting underneath the arpeggiator switches. There’s really just not much plastic there to hold things up once you cut away the bottom portion, so we’re going to have to figure out how to reinforce that when this all goes back together.

You might notice that last sentence is in the future tense.

Once we had everything apart, we tried to fit the hinges we had onto the remaining case only to discover that nothing quite fit the way we wanted it to. After mocking up a few different ideas, we decided to call it quits and put the basic unit back together. Needless to say, this was quite disappointing, but better to take this project a little bit slow and have better results than a quick hack job that nobody would be happy with. And most importantly of all, the MicroKorg needs to still work when it’s all done.

So the next step is going to be figuring out exactly how to reattach the two pieces so as to allow freedom of movement but maintain some level of structural integrity. I’ve got some ideas, but only time will tell what’s going to work in the end. We’ll be updating the blog here with progress, so stay tuned.

(I say “stay tuned” a lot, don’t I?)

The MicroMoorg

I ran across this awesome little project the other day: The MicroMoorg. It’s an awesome little mod to the venerable (and versatile) microKorg synthesizer to make it look a bit more like the classic analogue synths from Moog, such as the Minimoog. I am so jealous of this that I’m very strongly considering pulling together something similar for my own microKorg. However, I think that I’d want the hinge to still allow it to collapse, so I could keep lugging it around in the same case I’ve been using for it. Still though, very sweet little setup, that.