Minneapolis/St. Paul Mini Maker Faire 2018!

By John, 29 August, 2019

My website was down for a while, and as a result there are a few things I never got a chance to post over here. One of them was my writeup for the 2018 Minneapolis Mini Maker Faire!

In 2018, my project was a deconstructed 16-step sequencer, based on a CD4029. By deconstructed, I mean I designed a 16-step sequencer that was split up into component parts. Each part would then have a little visualizer of what was going on inside that part. So the clock would have a single blinking LED, then the multiplexers would have a couple different visualizers based on what the sequencer was doing at the moment, and so on.

Well of course designing and debugging a number of new analog and digital circuits, plus a half dozen other crazy ideas I tried to tack on to it during the development process, wound up being extremely ambitious. I had a vision that was much bigger than I was able to pull off. But ultimately, with a little help from a friend, I did get the sequencer working.

Unfortunately it rained pretty badly that day so I think overall fair attendance was down, but I still got quite a few people stopping by. The kids liked the sequencer because they could crank the clock rate up and make all kinds of weird beeps and boops. But it was obvious when an actual musician stopped by because they'd dial in a beat and get people dancing in the space of about 15-20 seconds.

I recorded the video just before taking down the booth. I was totally exhausted recording this, and then I realized, while I was making the video, once I got to the circuit itself there was no way I had the intellectual capacity to explain what was going on. This lead to the immortal words:

It's a circuit
There's parts
I don't know how to explain it

Overall, it was great, I still have the sequencer (awaiting repairs) in my living room. The voltage controlled oscillator I used in this project is the same VCO I used in the keyboard synth I made for the 2017 Maker Faire.