Memory Palace Dev Blog July/August 2018

memorypalace
lzx

#1

I thought I’d take use of this new space to do some journal writing about the day-to-day here in the LZX lab as we enter our sprint towards the release of the Orion Series modules.

Right now amidst a hectic production schedule with restocks and Vidiot, @eyesnoface , Ed and I are working on the first rev of the production boards for Memory Palace. This is the point in which we take what we’ve been doing with various prototypes and development boards, and implement the full vision for the first time. We need to be production ready by September, and we want to make sure there’s time for a couple revisions of the circuit boards if need be, without effecting the schedule.


Photo by Zach Michels, who we were happy to receive a visit from on Monday.

It’s an especially tedious phase of module design and production, as not only do we need to design the circuit boards and frontpanel CAD files, but every part in the assembly needs at least one reliable source/supplier, and all the variables of stocking levels, lead times, and costing can quickly become dizzying. This is one reason we like to do product series – they share a lot of the same parts, and some of the liability and cost is spread across several products rather than one. Without this strategy it would be difficult to make it all work!

The first module in a series, with lots of new parts and circuitry, is always the most work. In this case that’s Memory Palace. The assembly has three PCBs – Jonah is working on the main control PCB while I work on the display and interface PCBs. Here are some quick renders of where I’m at with the first two boards.

We’ve still got some polishing and review to do but I am very happy with how it’s all coming together at this stage. It looks like we’ll be ordering boards to build up this first revision by the end of this week. Hopefully it will be the units we show at KnobCon!

@dave has been polishing the frontpanel silkscreen graphics and also working on pixel art UI graphics for the display. We’ll be able to show you some of that next week.

Feel free to ask questions and be part of this with us!

Over and out,
Lars


#2

Love seeing the development process. It helps me understand better how to use these wonderful tools as I can see the design goals, the issues, and the solutions that lead to the final product.


#3

I’m paying attention to the people behind the curtain! Thanks for peeling it back a bit for an insiders look. So excited for this next phase of Orion! :star_struck:


#4

Thank you both! I’ll keep posting these. You know earlier this year we were talking a lot about the type of promotional content we wanted to be part of our company. And it all came back to all the early inspiration we used to get from Behind The Scenes features on old VHS tapes, or educational specials. The Reading Rainbow episode where Levar Burton takes us to the set of Star Trek: The Next Generation being a huge one for me personally. For @eyesnoface I know it was a love for practical effects, mask making, horror fan magazines, etc. We feel like marketing can be a little forced sometimes, but showing what we’re actually doing – nothing could be more honest than that.


#5

Today I’m continuing to refine the interface PCB, optimizing traces and polygon pours.

Here’s a screenshot of something you don’t normally see, one of the internal layers of the PCB! (This PCB has 4 total layers, two internal and then top and bottom facing.)

The colored polygons are different power planes that distribute power to various points on the board. Planes like this have very low impedance and help with controlling noise/crosstalk.


#6

It also looks pretty! :slight_smile:


#7


Prototype frontpanel arrived for silkscreen testing. The final powdercoat will be a dark charcoal as opposed to this flat black.


#8

Lookin’ good!! All 52 HP of it! Can’t wait to see it with those buttons lit up and the gorgeous sliders in place.


#9

OH BABY BABY

so nice.


#10

this is a thing of beauty

looking good


#11


#12


First test print of the panel. No closeups because we had to wipe this one! :slight_smile: A different ink has been ordered.


#13

Couldn’t choose a better marketing strategy than showing off what goes on in that HQ. Ace work, loving the updates and behind the scenes looksie.

Those 3d modeling type shots are so hot, I remember seeing my first CAD drawing in 3d… So exciting. Useful as all hell too, glad there’s something similar with PCB’s.

Hats off!


#14

Proud to say that after a rigorous review, all 4x Memory Palace boards and all 2x Escher Sketch boards are complete and have been ordered! The countdown to KnobCon has begun.


#15

YESSSSSSSS
congratulations
how deep are you expecting memory palace to be?


#16

Very shallow. Same as Marble Index & Polar Fringe, which are two stacked boards but on very low profile headers. Keeping the power header and any RCA jacks on the lower board means the mounting clearance is the same as a single board module. In addition to the stacked boards, there’s a display board that sits very close to the panel (it has the DVI connector and display+buttons on it) and a tiny adapter PCB for the USB OTG Mini AB connector.

After nearly (or more than?) 50 designs, we’re getting the hang of this EuroRack thing!


#17

pancakes behind the panel and pancakes within

so it has been written


#18

First look at packaging.


#19

An exhausting week over here so far. The pre-production prototype boards arrived and we’ve almost got them built up. At this stage, everything we can verify is an item checked off a long list of things we may need to correct before the production version – so far, we’re looking good!


#20

Assuming those few unpopulated things (U3, S2, R35, R36, etc) are intentional?

Otherwise, I think I figured out why it won’t turn on! :grin:

(In all seriousness, though, I love the dev blogs!)