This 3D-Printed Electronic Wind Instrument MIDI Controller Puts Four Octaves in One Hand
Designed for maximum flexibility in a small size, this EWI controller uses five buttons to offer a four-octave range.
Semi-anonymous maker and musician "Alex" has built a 3D-printed electronic wind controller (EWI) which offers a "binary-style" note selection system and an easy way to move through scales — as, the maker explains, an aid to composition.
"Not sure if I will keep the 'binary' style, but it is interesting, range wise," Alex explains. "Basically, if you blow with no buttons pressed, you get the root rote of the scale/mode that it's in; if you press the first button, it will be a note higher; the second button is two notes higher; the third button is four notes higher. Combinations add together. The fourth button just adds an octave for simplicity, and the top button on the underside adds two octaves."
Designed to replicate the operation of a wind instrument but feeding data to a MIDI system, the 3D-printed device looks not unlike a child's toy — but offers impressive flexibility, with a four-octave range across just five buttons and with one-hand control. An additional 12-position switch at the base of the device allows the user to rotate through the circle of fifths, with an additional button switching between musical modes.
Inside the 3D-printed housing of the instrument is a Teensy 3.2 microcontroller, with a compact OLED display facing the user as they play to provide feedback on currently-selected modes. "I'm considering changing from a Teensy 3.2 to the Adafruit Feather S3 Reverse TFT," Alex says, "to get a bigger screen, and Bluetooth MIDI plus bat[tery support]."
More information is available on Alex's Hackaday.io page; the source code and design files had not been made publicly available at the time of writing.