QUNEO hardware mod megapost

nym
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:56 am

QUNEO hardware mod megapost

Postby nym » Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:39 am

hello, nym here.

quick bit of background: the quneo + bidule/reaper has recently replaced my workstation of ~10 years, an MPC1000 running jjos. i use the quneo primarily as a drum pad controller, as well as a bank of CCs and modifier buttons that do cool stuff in bidule (transpose, arpeggio rate control, modwheel/pb etc). i perform live using a custom programmed combo of quneo, launchpad as autoharp-style arpeggiator, and handmade infrared gesture controller.

i have a lot of experience with pressure sensors, homemade/programmed midi controllers, and comparing/critiquing finger drumpad controllers. i love the quneo. generally, i really like the design, but these are some important points. i'll list my issues first, and then post what i've done to solve them.

first issue: upon taking apart the quneo, i noticed that the unit is glued together on the sides in addition to several screws holding it together. after putting it back together, i was never able to get as tight a unit, unless i re-glued the sides. this is a little disappointing, as "screws > glues." this discourages end user modification. generally speaking, this will never be a problem for most users...but i do wish there was a screw smack in the middle of the quneo to hold it tightly together without glue. the more "flex" in the frame/rubber pad layer, the less tightly the conductive material is held against the sensors -- this negatively impacts performance. it goes without saying that a metal frame would be the best option. potential accessory/upgrade?

second/third - this sucker is tiny!!! i love its compact, tablet sized design...but when i play, i sometimes bump the quneo and it skitters around a bit. this is a problem because of the microusb terminal. i understand that it was used due to its tiny size, but jeez, that sucker is unreliable. having the quneo go down mid performance can be a disaster - especially if it's used in a host that requires a restart to re-initialize the device before using it again. (aside: use bidule/loopbe for this, that way you can just restart bidule instead of your host!!!).

fourth, big one - the rubber/silicone material comprising the control surface. i have no complaints about the faders, rotaries, and buttons. however, the drumpad surfaces leave a lot to be desired in that there is not a lot of material in between the finger and the sensor itself. in a pressure sensor, the more soft material (rubber) in between finger and sensor, the wider the range of velocity sensitivity. the quneo pads stick up a bit from the frame, but should be at least 3 or 4 times thicker than they are -- as well as softer -- for the discerning finger drummer.

fifth: another possible issue: conductive fabric. the conductive material in between sensor and rubber pad. the quneo appears to use a sort of conductive fabric glued to the back of the pads, unlike most drumpad units which use a conductive rubber or a force sensing resistor. this is not necessarily a bad thing - due to the (normally) tightly-held-together form factor of the quneo, the fabric is held against the copper sensor coils and as such, there are no moving parts. in addition, there is no air gap between the sensor, fabric, and rubber -- great!! such a gap is terrible for finger performance. however, i wonder if pressure-transducing, carbon impregnated rubber might not have been a better choice instead of the fabric material.

so! that's a lot of complaining -- what have i done to solve these issues?

first/second/third: in order to both increase the size of the quneo, i used a hand router to route out a frame for the quneo. it now sits in a larger frame of dense composite material (surface of a school desk, no less). the surface of the plastic frame of the quneo is flush with the composite. i glued silicone feet to the underside of my frame so it doesn't flop around as much. i also sawed a channel for the microusb terminal and plan on creating a silicone mold around the microusb cord male terminal that will sit tightly in place so as not to risk disconnection. this still leaves me with the issue of the glued frame. originally i wanted to use washers in the frame i built, but the composite material doesn't hold screws well, so i'll probably opt to re-glue the quneo sides to get it as tight as possible again.

fourth: pad thickness/softness!! i'm in the middle of this one. i bought some 100% silicone from the hardware store in a big tube for 6 bucks. i put plastic wrap on a smooth surface and taped it taut, and then did the same to another smooth surface (top). i then squeezed out a glob of silicone and smushed it between the 2 smooth surfaces and let if cure for a couple days (this much silicone takes a LONG time). after peeling off the plastic wrap, i had a disk of soft, bouncy silicone. this i sliced up with a sharp knife into pad-shaped squares (not worried about the rounded edges). positioning these squares over the quneo pads makes a HUGE difference in pad performance -- i'm getting better feeling/response than i was with my MPC. my issue now is gluing them to the quneo pads. silicone doesn't bond well to silicone, and i don't want to have to reglue these at every turn. so, i will likely have to roughen up the surface of the quneo pads -- perhaps even drilling some shallow holes -- to make more texture to which the silicone can adhere and never come loose.

(bringing me to the question...can i buy a replacement rubber pad assembly if i completely screw this one up?)

last! the conductive fabric. with a little more searching, i hope to find (make?) some conductive rubber with which i can replace some of this conductive fabric, just to see if there's an appreciable difference.

i should have some pictures for you folks soon, but meanwhile this is where i am. please add your advice and comments, but if you're the type to discourage people from truly owning/modding their equipment, kindly find another thread.

best
Nym
http://music.ratsofnym.com
nym
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:56 am

Re: QUNEO hardware mod megapost

Postby nym » Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:10 pm

an update, still no pictures.

i've found that the carbon-fabric used in the quneo sensors is not very durable and loses its conductivity if handled. i have removed these circles and opted for my own triggering mechanism.

first i tried ordering conductive rubber from a seller on Ebay. this stuff is used for shielding and gaskets, and cost 6 bucks for a laptop sized sheet. it works, but is way too conductive. a multimeter across the surface reads extremely low resistivity across the entire sheet.

i took a strip of this rubber to a sander and roughed up the surface, removing the outer layer. this worked much better - the roughness allowed for a graduated resistivity that changes under pressure. however, it is still a little too sensitive, and though it responds to the lightest touch (unlike the fabric) it sometimes doesn't "release." there is also no obvious way to affix it to the pcb in a way that is sealed and wouldn't cause false triggers due to the weight of pads.

speaking of pads, i cut out the silicone pads that came with the quneo. they're just too hard and thin. i will be casting my own with "oogroo" -- silicone+cornstarch+mineral spirits. excellent soft moldmaking material that will feel subjectively better and hold the shape/conduct the LEDs

so the gasket material could work, but i want to do better, so i ordered some powdered graphite and went about casting my own pressure transducing rubber as per this instructable:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Conduct ... obot-Skin/

my first batch went better than expected. the sheet cast well, it holds up nicely, and looks pretty pro although i could have leveled it off better. however, it is also way way too conductive. i probably used more than 3x the graphite that i need. i want something that is almost totally insular when it is not under pressure, and very conductive when under pressure. this sheet, like the gasket material, is probably too conductive to use for this application. i'm a little nervous about it, because the resistivity doesn't seem to change under pressure (but it does by distance, which is a good sign).

TLDR: exploring new triggering mechanisms for the quneo sensors and making progress.

i bought another quneo to use in the meanwhile.
nym
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:56 am

Re: QUNEO hardware mod megapost

Postby nym » Sat Feb 15, 2014 9:27 am

happy correction - the PTR works great on the first try. the quneo scans the copper quick enough to distinguish lighter and softer taps on the surface. now, for a means to affix the rubber to the pcb.
TheSupport@KMI
Posts: 726
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:30 pm

Re: QUNEO hardware mod megapost

Postby TheSupport@KMI » Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:21 am

Sounds like quite an adventure.

To clarify, QuNeos are actually sonically welded together — they're not glued together.
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JimmyTheSaint
Posts: 17
Joined: Sun Feb 09, 2014 5:23 am

Re: QUNEO hardware mod megapost

Postby JimmyTheSaint » Sat Feb 22, 2014 2:52 am

Ever try a ZenDrum? It might persuade you that a totally non-soft touch is better for finger drumming because it's the most sensitive while providing a full range of dynamic response. Percussion software such as BFD exploits that kind of sensitivity and response.
da3v
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun May 25, 2014 2:13 pm

Re: QUNEO hardware mod megapost

Postby da3v » Sun May 25, 2014 2:34 pm

Out of curiosity, how did you go about breaking the sonic weld along the edges?
-and how accessible are the LEDs? Are they replaceable, or are they embedded in adhesive goo?

I love this controller, but the color combo in the sliders seems to be a migraine trigger for me. Before giving up on what would otherwise be my dream controller, I was hoping to try swapping out the yellow and possibly green LEDs.
TheSupport@KMI
Posts: 726
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:30 pm

Re: QUNEO hardware mod megapost

Postby TheSupport@KMI » Wed May 28, 2014 4:06 pm

I doubt you'll be able to access the LEDs for replacing. It's quite a compact, multi-layered board with surface mount components.
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jkroll
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2013 3:56 am

Re: QUNEO hardware mod megapost

Postby jkroll » Tue Jun 24, 2014 2:37 am

Very cool nym! The stuff you did with the conductive rubber makes me want to try creating my own touch sensors.
How does the lower part of the drumpad sensors look like? Is it basically just copper lines on a PCB below the conductive material, or something else?
nym
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:56 am

Re: QUNEO hardware mod megapost

Postby nym » Tue Jul 22, 2014 10:45 am

hey guys!!

back after some time touring and playing shows. unbelievable how fast this year is going by.

glad to see some posts on this thread.

Very cool nym! The stuff you did with the conductive rubber makes me want to try creating my own touch sensors.
How does the lower part of the drumpad sensors look like? Is it basically just copper lines on a PCB below the conductive material, or something else?


conductive rubber is absurdly easy to make. dialing in the right amount of graphite is the problem.

lower part, looks just like you described. an elegant circle of copper lines below the conductive material, broken into 4 quadrants as expected.

i'll be continuing this fun when my schedule opens up. meanwhile i'm using the 2nd quneo i bought as a stand in.

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