Yes, sometimes the greatest DIY projects are built not from scratch but from the cannibalized bits of other, less-brilliant controllers. Together, these pieces become greater as a whole, from bland and boring to bizarre and fantastic.

Case in point: Devin aka “mzo” writes us with his Cyrillic-emblazoned custom controller creation for VJ control. The project was built by the talented Craig Komega (more on his work coming soon — he’s the maker of the awesome Komegatone).

The controller is built from modifying 3 off the shelf controllers (M-Audio Trigger Finger, Belkin Nostromo n52 gamepad and the old Mixman Dm2) into a custom made, laser etched box with a cold-war soviet space station theme (hence the name Def-con, also Definable-controller because of its flexibility in programming). The computer still sees the thing as 3 seperate and unmodified devices and I program them for my vj’ing using the respective software for each (although the dm2 to midi software isn’t from the manufacturer). This also makes the controller suitable for a wide variety of applications including dj’ing.

I currently use this controller with Vjamm, Resolume, Live and Traktor with custom control setups for each.

I was curious about more details of how the controller mappings were used in action, so Devin sent more.

Full-size image download of above

No videos, but he did write up some other impressions:

The dm2 is unfortunately pretty janky so the joystick is a little unreliable and the scratch wheel needs some fine tuning. The n52 is definitely my favorite controller ever, i’ve dj’d tons of parties using just the n52 and vr goggles with no computer in sight to bust out whole sets.

I’ve attached the diagram of my current resolume def-con setup (I actually reference the printout of it when playing still since its pretty newish) so that you and the readers can get an idea of how it’s actually used.

God I can’t wait for resolume 3 so I can use resolume for avj’ing instead of having to switch between vjamm and resolume mappings!

If readers were interested for whatever reason I could also package up my mapping files for the devices and resolume.

So, what do you think? Would those mappings be useful?

(And yeah, we’re excited about Resolume 3, too!)

Def-Con Picture Gallery [Picasa]

If anyone else has gone Dr. Frankenstein on their own controller, we’d love to hear about it.

  • mzo

    Just to be clear on credit for this device. This controller was created by myself and Komega, creators of the Livepad/Kromatron.

    Komega is a mechanical engineer who did the physical work on the controller as well as helped design it. I did more of the conceptual design and software stuff.

    We had both devices out at the recent SF Maker Faire as well as some other devices Komega has done recently such as the cigar box optical thermin and the komegatone suitcase synth.

    Expect to see more cool stuff in the future. Maybe even some stuff for sale ;)

  • mzo

    Also a quick explaination about the clip triggering. As you can see on the trigger finger pads they are both color coded and labeled with a letter. Those letters correspond to the vjamm clip slots (for resolume I just map them to a similar grid, leaving the far right 4 slots per deck open for recordings). Also the color coding corresponds to the keys on the nostromo so that when you are in the green state you trigger the same clips that the trigger finger does but this allows you to trigger clips with either device for 2 handed madness (also the nostromo is sent as keystrokes and the trigger finger is midi, so if you have midi latency issues you can use the keystrokes!).

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  • http://www.tweakingknobs.com TweakingKnobs

    Did you inspire yourself in the windows vista logo for the last pictures XD ?

    Cool stuff man !!!

  • mazn

    dude wtf is the nostromo state button do lol. Will the controller morph into the alien's spaceship? laff. all and all though nice work, everything youd ever need from a controller.

  • mzo

    The nostromo has 4 "states" (normal, red, blue, green) that have seperate mappings so that you can have 4 times as many possible controls. When its in the red state for example it is setup to turn on various effects. You can see in the diagram what each state is for. :)

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