About this project
Update 30/09/13 - Videos, Videos & Videos
Check out the CS X51 being used to make music, remix tracks, DJ and with hardware. Just CLICK HERE
Update 09/09/13 - Prototype v3:
Version 3 of the CS X51 was all about making the machine smaller, getting the finish right and applying the graphic design. Check here for full Gallery
The Machinewerks CS X51 was born out of the sheer frustration of not being able to find the Control Surface we wanted.
Everything was either too big, too heavy or didn’t have the controls we needed, often they would have a lot of things that nobody wanted. It seemed to us that the market place is flooded with control surfaces that set out to be everything to everyone and have ended up being no use to anyone!
The design of many existing Controllers also leaves us cold. Cheap lumps of plastic designed to keep the costs down, with no look or feel to them at all.
Time For A Change
We decided from the start to design something beautiful, something pure, something people would want to use and own.
With 30 years experience of playing live and in the studio we know what's needed for a working artist/DJ; This is why we’ve designed the Machinewerks CS X51.
Machinewerks CS X51 Spec
- 28 x Potentiometer Rotaries: All fully assignable
- 7 x 45mm Potentiometer Sliders: All fully assignable
- 16 assignable buttons in a 4x4 matrix, each with a cool blue assignable LED (LEDs can respond to clip status messages)
- USB and 5 pin DIN MIDI In & Out for full bi-directional MIDI support
- 9v DC power connector for computerless setups
- Plug & Play: USB Powered*, no drivers required
- 100% programmable midi mapping to any hardware or computer
- MacOS, Windows & Linux Compatible
- Works out of the box with Ableton, Traktor, Reason, Cubase, Logic and any other programmable DAW
- Aluminium Body
- Anodised Body with Powder Coated Base
- Portable: 390mm x 184mm x 57mm Weighs 1.4kg
- RoHS compliant
- Designed & Built In Sheffield, UK
The CS X51 has a beautiful form and is made from materials that will last. There are enough features to give you the power and artistic control over your performance as well as fitting perfectly in your hand luggage.
One of our other goals for this project is not only build the Machinewerks CS X51 in Sheffield, (UK) but also source and manufacture as much as possible in the UK. This may go against the grain for electronic equipment, but we believe there is a lot of talent in the UK. We are obsessed by quality and we believe the UK offers this.
working with The Designers Republic on the design of the logo and design for
the faceplate, so you know it’s going to be something special, a proper work of
As we mentioned in the video, we've tried every kind of control surface on the market but nothing really suited us. So after many discussions, we started creating some initial designs to define what controls were to be featured on the unit. The idea was to find a design that worked intuitively, placing the controls in natural positions with comfortable spacing, looking for something that we could test and use in the studio for long periods. At the same time we started to build the basic circuits, testing many different electronic components and ensuring the technology would work as expected. It was important to us to find quality components that felt good in use and were constructed to the highest possible standards.
The First Working Prototype
We started to prototype our initial designs using Perspex and MDF. We named the project Dogma and set about trying many different control variations. For the ones that we thought may work, we set about constructing fully functional prototypes, built completely by hand.
You can see in these early pictures that the arrangement of the controls still hadn’t been finalized. This version didn't feel right so we continued to refine the design.
After 4 weeks of testing different control configurations, we finally settled on a control array and built our main PCB (printed circuit board).
The First Aluminium Prototype
Once we were happy with the control layout and had a working PCB, we decide to make a case from Aluminum so we could take the unit on road. MDF and Perspex just wouldn’t hold up the stresses of life on the road. What we built next was a “tank” of a case! It certainly wouldn’t win any design awards but it did the trick and allowed us the fully test the layout and the PCBs in the environment the machine was designed for.
Redesigning the Aluminum Case
With everything fully tested and working it was time to hit the CAD and redesign the “tank” box into something beautiful. We wanted to create something we’d be really proud of and would want to own ourselves.
We now had the control surface we wanted. It was brilliant to use, looked great and we felt really proud of it. But as travelling artists we are always focused on how little todays airlines allow you to take onboard as hand luggage.
There are still improvements and refinements required to turn this prototype into the final CS X51 ready for production, so that’s why we wanted your help
The next version of the CS X51 will be smaller than the current one being used and displayed. The CAD drawings show how the profile has been reduced. The current version is at the top and the next version is on the bottom.
In the 8 months of developing the CS X51 we visited a lot of fabricators, investigating different ways to produce the unit in large numbers while maintaining the quality and design that we wanted. Often we would spend a full day in a factory to fully understand the way that the business worked. It’s been a long journey to find someone who can scale with us and meet our demands.
The case for the CS X51 will be cut, fabricated, screened and coated with one partner who already produces enclosures on a much larger scale than we actually require. After visiting the factory and meeting the team we knew that they were very capable of handling all of our needs without having to cut any corners. In fact, they are as obsessed as we are when it comes to fine detail.
Our PCBs have also been developed with one partner whose facilities again outstrip our needs. They know their stuff and have really helped us with the development of the boards to ensure that they’re perfect. They’ll be constructing and testing the PCBs using the finest quality components following our specification.
We chose to use only two partners to keep the process as simple as possible and to help eliminate any possible delays in the build process.
Once all the parts are manufactured they are shipped to Machinewerks here in SoYo™ to be constructed. We’ll install the PCBs inside the case, fit all the knobs and sliders, then fully test each unit. The finished units will then be boxed ready for shipping to you
Why We Need Your Help
We need your help complete the final stages of design, fabrication and manufacturing. We need to ensure the CAD designs are up to specification for producing the Machinewerks CS X51 on a large scale. We need to ensure our sources can supply all the parts with need and final we need to build the final PCB and test it both in the studio and live environment.
With your help we can make this project a reality and finally put a beautiful and functional Control Surface in the hands of all musicians and DJs everywhere.
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Many thanks for all your help.
Risks and challenges
1. We've already built several versions on the CS X51 prototype and we are very, very confident with the design and all the parts we've selected for the build.
2. We've already identified all the companies, parts and people that we are going to work with and the timeline needed for delivery. We are confident that we can deliver the CS X51 in a timely manner but we feel that our only risks are in the delivery times from other companies. However, we know they'll do their best to make sure everything happens on time.
3. We're good communicators as well as being resourceful. We are sure that we can keep all of our backers updated on everything on a very regular basis by post updates, videos and photographs.
4. We are very familiar with all stages of the manufacturing process. We have a wealth of experience making and distributing video games, DVDs, CDs and vinyl records. We’ve shipped millions of units in the past, so we are aware of the difficulties involved in securing parts, packing and shipping in large scales.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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