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Midi Fighter Spectra “Top Billin'” Design Contest

Happy Friday! We’re excited to announce a brand new contest on DJ TechTools that features our Midi Fighter Spectra with the extremely popular wood top. We’re giving our readers (you!) a chance to customize a DJTT product, as not only will the winner get their own custom Spectra, but we’ll be making 25 more to sell in the DJTT store. Read on for details and how to enter!

This example design entry produced the below pictured laser cut top!

Midi Fighter Spectra Top Billin’ Design Contest

The “Top Billin’ Design Contest” is a concept created and curated by DJTT’s fabrication head, Mitch Manchild. The idea in and of itself is quite simple; provide the public with a blank Midi Fighter Spectra top template for Adobe Illustrator and give free reign for expression utilizing outline style art and if desired – the supplied DJTT logo vector [usage of logo is not necessary to enter contest].

Keeping the use of images and text out of the contest allows for clean and crisp designs, which will translate very well into the second phase of the contest. Once the winner has been chosen, the design will then be laser etched into 25 premium maple tops and sold on a first come first serve basis to the public for $229 in the DJTT webstore.


The Prize

The winner will be chosen at the end of two weeks (April 12th 2013). The top 5 liked [or voted] entries will then be voted on by DJTT staff and one winner will be selected (rules revised see note below).

WINNING CRITERIA UPDATE: The communities’ voice has been heard! After careful deliberation, it has been decided that the criteria for winning the Top Billin’ contest must be changed. To avoid cheating, we will not be choosing from the five entries with the most Facebook likes; we will however be taking that number of likes into account, among other things, in our selection process.

Our solution to keeping the contest as fair as possible, since everyone is already doing such an amazing job, is for DJTT staff to outright pick five winning designs – yes, five! This translates into the second phase of the contest via a yet to be decided ordering of scattered release dates of the five winners. All five winners will receive a Midi Fighter Spectra with their design, and $100 in DJTT store credit – warm fuzzy feelings still included!

This new system of staff selection evens things out for later entries and contestants who may not have huge Facebook followings. We know it is impossible to keep everyone happy, but this style should stave off any claims of skewed results!

Finally, since there have been so many well-designed entries from the community that won’t win (although we wish we could make all of them!) – each contestant will receive a coupon code for $15 off a Midi Fighter Spectra via a Facebook message once the contest has ended.

Similar Articles on DJTT

Contest Rules & Regulations:

Download the assets here to get started!

  • Outline art only; no images, text, gradients, etc.
  • You have to use the provided template (at right!)
  • No copyrighted designs or patterns allowed in contest entries.
  • Stroke weight must be between .5 pixels minimum and 3 pixels maximum (To keep the laser process clean and crispy)
  • Limit of 3 entries per contestant
  • Failure to respond to notification of winning within 48 hours will result in a new winner being chosen.
  • The winning design will become property of DJTT and if we see fit to run it again, no further compensation, other than credit given to the winner for the design, will be provided.
  • Once the winner is chosen, notified, and supplied DJTT with their winning design file, please allow two weeks for the units to be made and hit the store.
  • DJTT reserves the right to disqualify and delete any entries not following the rules and also the right to change the contest rules at any given time without notice.
  • DJTT reserves the right to delete images and ban contestants from the contest that may be deemed offensive to the general public.

Other Stuff

Everyone’s encouraged to fill-in their age and occupation, just so the rest of the community can know something about you – but it is by no means a requirement. However, we do need your name so that we can more easily get in touch with you if you win!

To submit an entry, you’ll have to upload a completed .jpeg image of a completed entry to the Midi Fighter Facebook wall (see screenshot at right) by 12:01 AM PST on April 12th. The winner will be chosen and notified by 8 PM PST on April 12th.

The final wood grain selection is different from what’s in the main contest picture. The wood in that picture is ash with a walnut stain and satin clear coat, while the winning design will be etched into satin clear coated maple (available for the first time in this contest – see example below!)

The Maple texture that the winning design will be etched onto.

Everyone and anyone can enter. This is a public opinion-based contest and it is up to you as the designers to wow us! We love interaction with the community and when you think about it, this contest gives you the opportunity to actually design a product for DJ TechTools.

Get on up and get into it – if you have questions, let us know below and Mitch will respond! 

  • DreBluntz

    i only found out last night… couldnt pull it off in time :/

  • Rocky

    I dont have a facebook, but my girlfriend does. can I enter using her’s? thanks!

    • Surely.

      • Rocky

        awesome, thanks for the uber quick response

  • Asier

    Can I use handmade text ? To insert some words?

    • No text, via the guidelines.

      • Asier

        Ok, thank for your time!

  • you guys are awesome

  • The new update is awesome! Wonderful contest DJTT 🙂 I’ve been reading for years now, and I’m still amazed at how much you guys listen to your readers! Much respect.

  • 32Digits

    What can one do with a coupon code of 15$ for a MF spectra if one has already a spectra :p – i’m not complaining it’s a great deal !

  • Please people! stop asking so many questions haha. Or at least read through and make sure it hasn’t been answered already first.

    I wish these contest would be staff chosen exclusively. Design is one of those things that tends to get worse the more it’s democratized.
    That said, I’ll do my best! and good luck to everyone!


    • Agreed, thanks! In regards to the decision process, see my response to CHAS3R below.

  • 32Digits

    i hate like contests :s

    • Me too… that is why the final decision comes down to a staff vote among the top 5.

      • CHAS3R

        It’s still just a get all your friend to like it and you have a 20 % chance of winning. Shouldn’t be a Facebook like component at all IMHO.

        • I respect your opinion, and do in fact agree with it. After much consideration this was the best option I had available due to the fact that I still have my normal job and am managing this contest in my own time. Over 50 entires already with 10+ days remaining… would have been near impossible to get a concise staff pick. See where I’m coming from?

          • type_omega

            you can already see a huge skew in the votes based on the current winning criteria. i would say the a single elimination tournament bracket voted on by staff would be the way to go.

          • I like this concept… elaborate a bit more on how your system would work. I expressly reserved the right to change the contest rules at any time, simply because I was struggling with the idea of “likes” being the top qualifier. Its still early enough in the contest that I would be comfortable implementing a new selection structure.

          • type_omega

            get DJTT staff in a room. then take the entries and select them randomly, two at a time, everyone votes on entry a or entry b, the winners go in one pile the losers go in another. when all entries have been sorted take the winning pile and repeat. each time narrowing the selection till you have your top 5. you could even continue till you had the winner. but i think going all the way to the top this way could be hap-hazard as you may want to test burn the top 5 to see how they cut on the laser burner before announcing a winner that wont work well on the medium and hurt the final product over all.

          • CHAS3R

            I like this. Idk what the resources are with burning 5 plates but would make a nice 2nd 3rd 4th 5th place prize.

            You can go buy 2000 likes on Facebook and select the speed you can receive them for like $20. You could still have a top 5 liked on FB make the top ten and choose from there. That would still promote the FB page for the Spectra and make it possible to win the contest fairly.

          • Updated the winning criteria, thanks for your suggestions.

          • type_omega

            no problem im a idea guy that’s what i do. and just uploaded a remake of my first submission now that i know how to use all the tools in illustrator. hope I win. and good luck to all the other submissions. i have my top 5 picked, cant wait to see how they match up to the winners.

          • type_omega

            i just read the rule changes for a second time and just wanted to put it out there that i think one more adjustment should be made to any prior rules i advised. this change is based on the number of winners as it has gone from one winner to five. the rules i outlaid have one inherent flaw for multiple winners. no worry’s though as i have a solution. first the flaw. with the system previously outlaid two of what may have been final five winners could be matched in the first rounds, now with one winner this is not a problem because the winner would have the most votes regardless of when it was matched, weather in the first round or the last. however with multiple winners one really grate submission may not make it to the finals just because of its matching in the first round. so now onward to the solution. the wild card rule. the way this system works is the top five will have to be taken one at a time and compared one on one with the submissions from the losing pile one last time with any winning submissions that are outvoted by a submission from the losing pile replaced by the better. this would ensure that the top 5 contenders are truly the best submissions.

        • Anonymous

          Hi to all

          Ok I want to say something about it. I also do not like “like” contests, but… it is what it is. Why? Why, because “likes” are advertising, right? The “likes” also speak that kind of database you have of active people, for example the fan base of a musician who support it. The “likes” somehow express how much you want or deserve the MIDI Fighter.

          Now about the design is that, in my case, I have worked very hard to get “likes” and I have loaded all the votes to a single design, I put two. If I wanted to do another design, even better than the other two, It would be extremely difficult to convince again to all my contacts to vote for the other design and meet or exceed the previous. So I have to support the design with the most votes is and go to the end with, no matter what. I guess many are in the same situation. So in my opinion the rules should remain as before, to be equal for all.

          Best wishes to the Forum!

    • Guest

      • 32Digits

        + 🙂

  • FatScout

    Can a vector of the MIDI Fighter (that Mf logo thing) logo be used in your submission?
    Ya know, this?

    • I would like to keep DJTT logo usage down to the one supplied in the download pack, but essentially there is nothing stopping you from using that.

  • Trystin

    Can we use the SPECTRA and Pause Play Logos?

  • doclvly

    You guys say there is only a certain width allowed for the line work.
    Understandable, now leads me to a few questions then.
    Is it more costly or impossible to make segments that are solid? I’ve
    owned a pair of lazer etched sneakers back in the day and there were
    soild shapes which i assumed were just made by multiple lazer passes
    side by side.
    A separate question. Can the image have staggered or broken
    lines, like the sketch below. I plan to make all the line weight
    within the stroke guidelines in illustrator, but want to know if an object like this can be
    reproduced for this contest.

    • doclvly

      hmm no image. I’m attaching it again just in case

    • 1. The cost comes in the form of time. I still have my regular work of assembling all DJTT products and making the regular wood tops to do… this is something I’ll most likely be working on after work hours… thus, a shorter span of laser etching time on non-solid objects is more to my liking.
      2. Still can’t see the image. Without knowing exactly what it would look like, I’ll say yeah, while reserving the ability to reverse my answer when I see it.

      • doclvly

        lol. for some reason i cant attach a simple small jpeg to these post, but I’ll just go on ahead. I think I have a good idea based on some of the other submissions and questions. Thank you for your help

  • replicness


  • Beatsdrone


  • Replicness

    There are some pretty pro art liners or they used brushes and images…

    • Replicness

      + It’d be more fair if everything was black on white,.. now people think the ones with color and all look better,..

    • My vocabulary may have been misleading. Essentially it does not have to be “line art” … simply no fills, gradients, textures, images [that aren’t outline style], etc…

      • 32Digits

        so photoshop brushes etc are allowed??

    • Owe

      There appears to be some people using patterns and vectors from places like and etc…..

      It’s totally missing the point as anyone can copy and paste…

      • I imagined this would happen, and as such… that is why the final decision comes down to a staff vote [which will naturally take in to account problematic submissions such as what you mentioned.]

        • Owe

          Good to hear the final decision is down to the staff and isn’t just going to be decided by who has the most facebook friends. I remember entering a creative competition on Beatport a few years ago and it turned out the winner actually worked for Beatport previously. I will get my submissions done asap! Really love the idea of this competition!

        • 32Digits

          yes good to hear that too!

        • UoPoko

          Please check out my concept for a TOUCH SENSOR-based MF.

      • 32Digits

        I made clockwork myself =D that’s why it doesn’t look that good :p I realised after I saw other works I should’ve done it with vectors :s

  • Dee

    Is it ok to uk the logo in the design?

    • The one in the download pack is definitely usable.

      • Dee


  • Mc_Fiszt

    witch program?

  • can we use dotted lines? and are pixels same as points in stroke size in adobe illustrator?

    • Dotted lines – sure. Yes, points… my bad on the wording!

  • Nick

    Do you want a “busy” design or kind of minimal?

    • It’s up to you… but I remember hearing Jeremy Ellis once say… “Be the pocket.” Simplicity often wins in my mind… but it’s up to the public… and you have 3 possibilities to enter. Scale them from minimal to busy, perhaps.

  • synthet1c

    Is illustrator CS6 fine or do you need it backwards compatible with older versions?

  • Doclvly

    Do the lines need to maintain a consistent with

    • Doclvly

      Correction width.

      • No… but they must be within the provided stroke weight range.

        • Does that mean that the lines can taper off?

          • Sure… but, simple is better. Keep in mind the second phase of the contest… Clean and crisp lines will translate best.

  • So this isn’t where I submit the idea of disco trackballs as replacements for buttons? No images?I think I could make Octopus tentacles or Spider Eyes fit on this template… but no. I’ll work on a Celtic Knot and Bullet Hole pattern… which then reminds me of a nail board I had to make for squibs on a movie one time… out of wood and wires… and a 9 volt battery.

  • like the wood grain, hate the embedded lines.

  • mcurran456

    Do we have to use illustrator?

    • No… sorry about the mix-up… as I’ve replied to another, I will change this in the article soon.

  • synthet1c

    do you need to use the standard “uniform” brush or can you use different ones in the design? if you can’t use different brushes can you use multiple lines layered over one another?
    also can the laser print solid shapes or only lines as the above example shows

    • It’d be best to use the uniform brush or anything with hard outlines, and as far as layering goes… the point I was trying to convey is that simplicity is best, but you can do what you’d like.

  • djelevation

    DJTT: It seems like you guys want OUTLINE style art only. Is that correct? That is not the same as line art (which could have a fill or stroke). Also, the file posted opens fine for me, but it would be nice to save this as an EPS for folks that don’t use Illustrator only, or have older versions of the software. If you do a “Save As” in Illustrator and pick EPS format you can still save everything in the same format/proportions as this file but with a lot more flexability for users.

    Cool contest idea, I’ll be working on mine now.

    • djelevation – thanks! Dan updated the article to say outline style art [I’m no graphic designer, hence the mixup] and I updated the downloadable pack with .eps files and a .jpeg template as well.

  • Awesome, defiantly going to be getting down on this!

  • BassWalker

    May I use Photoshop instead of Adobe Illustrator?

  • cool man

  • Does it have to be an .ai-file? Or is an .svg (scalable vector graphics) one also fine? Since not everyone has an expensive Adobe Illustrator license it would be nice to be able to use some open-source alternatives such as Inkscape. (Which I normally use for lasercutting)

    • Eoghain

      You can download a trial of adobe illustrator from the adobe website. I agree the creative suite license is monumentally expensive even if you pay monthly and are a student it is still very very expensive but it is the industry standard at the end of the day.

      • TwItCh

        I would have to assume here that an .eps or .svg would be fine as they open and are directly compatible/editable with Illustrator.

        • Yes.

          • Would a Vectorworks file be OK? Also interested if the LEDs blink in such a pattern that they look like they’re orbiting the button (in a chase pattern).

          • As long as I can open thew file in a properly sized format in AI… it’ll do. Essentially it could be as simple as a .jpeg image that I would then live trace to create the vector paths for translation to etching. I would prefer the simplest route possible due to having tons upon tons of other work to do… hence the desire to keep it to .ai or .eps files… but do you man, and we’ll see how it ends up!

    • No it does not have to be an .ai file… I will make an edit to the article in the next hour reflecting this. Thanks for pointing out this discrepancy.

  • Sim.L

    How can you read the files downloaded… whats an AI file?

    • Eoghain

      You use adobe illustrator software similar to photoshop. Its used to make vector graphics etc… an AI file is the format adobe illustrator uses. You can download a free trial of adobe illustrator from the adobe website

  • One addendum to the process that I will have Dan add in the morning. Once contestants have uploaded their entry onto the Midi Fighter Facebook wall, I will then be compiling them into an album: <- using this link for sharing and the album for organizing will make this a lot more efficient. Fine print: if you do not see your entry in the album right away, have no fear… it will make it… I have to sleep sometimes.

  • Chandler

    wheres the dj tech tools vector?

    • Link is now available… thanks again.

      • Chandler

        awesome. thanks, man. time to get to work.

  • This is awesome! Definitely gonna give this a go! 🙂

  • TwItCh

    Why cant we post to google+?

    • Our chosen method also creates awareness of the existence of the Midi Fighter FB page, and adds some cool interaction in that realm. I’ll keep this in mind for the future.

      • Dan White

        Plus you want everyone to vote for you in one place : )

        • Leslie Jones

          Mitch isn’t DJTT Staff, Dan? 😉

          • TwItCh

            Awww well I already have a MF3D I guess I don’t *need* a spectra. I refuse to join Facebook for any reason.

          • TwItCh

            btw cool contest anyways and good luck to those who enter!

          • Have a less discerning friend post it up for you! Much respect!

          • TwItCh

            HAHA good idea! Because I do NEED a spectra I have decided. Yup good idea indeed!

          • TwItCh

            Also one more question, will the etching come out as black in the demo pic? Or could it be even blacker?

          • The etching in the demo pic was a single pass at medium power… simply because I didn’t have much time. The final etching will be in lighter wood and at a higher power… as such, it will come out even blacker I’m assuming.

          • TwItCh

            Oh wow thats going to look super sharp. Are we going to be able to order customs etched tops after the contest? I would guess you couldn’t do the plastic or metal tops though. The clear top etched into opaque would look awesome as well.

          • I would like to make it an eventual reality… but at the moment, time is much too scarce to offer that as an option.

          • TwItCh

            Well thats no fun, sounds like like I need to brush up on cmc and mechanical layout and take a trip SF and bust out some tops!

          • Dustin Crisman

            *CNC grrr

          • Dan White

            For some reason his badge isn’t showing up. On it!

          • Leslie Jones

            Ahhhh, there it is!

        • UoPoko

          Please check out my concept for a touch-sensor based Midi Fighter.

          The Midi Fighter “Touch” would use sensors similar to those found on most Laptops (the mouse section), these would be ideal because they would be flush with the unit and not succumb to gumming up with dirt or animal hair (as I have experienced with the arcade buttons), the unit would have 3 modes… a Full Level Mode where the hits are all 127 (like an Akai MPD18 set to Full Level), an Expressive Mode where the hits vary in velocity depending on the distance from the center (farther out = lower velocity, center = high velocity) and Kaos Mode, where the touch pads have X / Y tracking and function like a Korg Kaos pad.

          Please consider my concept!