John Park's Walkmp3rson Is a CircuitPython-Based RP2040-Powered 3D-Printed Walkman Reinvention

Built as a throwback to the best of '80s portable music gadgets, this MP3 player packs an Adafruit Feather RP2040 at its heart.

Gareth Halfacree
17 days ago β€’ Music / 3D Printing / HW101

Maker John Park has put together a guide to building a CircuitPython-inspired portable music player inspired by the classic Sony Walkman form factor: the Walkmp3rson.

"Look the part while you walk around town listening to your favorite mixes. CircuitPython powers this personal music player, with a stylish 3D-printed case, TFT display, mech keyswitch controls and more," Park explains of the project. "Pop in a different 'mix tape' SD card when you're in the mood for some different tunes."

The Walkmp3rson is a CircuitPython-based portable music player, complete with mechanical keyswitch controls. (πŸ“Ή: John Park)

The heart of the project is an Adafruit Feather RP2040 development board, built around Raspberry Pi's popular yet surprisingly low-cost dual-core RP2040 microcontroller chip. There's a 2" 320Γ—240 color IPS display, an Adafruit NeoKey four-key RGB macro pad, a Stemma QT-connected rotary encoders, a battery, and a Class D amplifier connected to a headphone jack.

While everything listed could technically be put together on a breadboard, it's the housing that really makes the project stand out. The Walkmp3rson is, as the name suggests, inspired by the Sony Walkman and uses a 3D-printed housing mimicking the classic cassette player β€” though, Park warns, building it will require access to a printer with a suitably large build volume.

The software is written in CircuitPython, and provides the ability to load MP3s from a connected SD Card β€” while the the physical keys and rotary encoder to control file selection, playback, and volume, The current song is displayed on the color screen, mimicking a cassette tape to complete the aesthetics.

A full guide to building a Walkmp3rson, complete with STL files for 3D printing and the MIT-licensed source code, is available on the Adafruit Learn portal.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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