Custom Arcade Controllers Galore!

As Dj TechTools has grown so has our office and the staff required to keep this place running. In my attempt to keep out the dreaded cubicle culture, every week the group does some fun and interesting things together. They include: miniature golf (in the office!), fus ball, and this week- building custom controllers. Everyone designed and built their very own performance  controller for the software of their choice.  Continue reading for more photos and a full video on the project plus an explanation of how I use one of mine. Hint- there are some mad mapping tricks you can use in there!


Some very cool artists have asked techtools to make them a custom midi controller axe. Here is Amplive from Zion I with a prototype of the new controller he will be using on tour this year.

Arcade Buttonscustom controllerdjknobsMidi Fighter
Comments (53)
Add Comment
  • Dan

    I was wondering if you guys could release this version of the beatmasher map because I purchased that version of the midi fighter and the midifighter pro maps don’t work with it.

  • Colin McGonagill

    Hey guys you can get some acrylic laser cut for cheap at ponoko.com. They are a really good diy place. You can hack it up pretty well. Also look into an Arduino with a midi shield. You could make all the midi u want with an arduino and serial expansion interfaces.

  • Dj Windz One

    [quote post=”7853″]Would be interesting to see a mod to use the various illuminated Sanwa buttons available…[/quote]
    I thought about that, but the problem with those (specifically the Low Profile ons I found on Digikey), were the the lights themselves. You’d have to get the LED versions, rather than the lamps. And with that many lamps, I think the USB might not be able to power the entire unit. I could be wrong though.

    I looked into it for a solid 6-8 months before I let that project go :/

  • DJ Master P

    I wan one of thoose. I NEED IT

  • kVitamin

    Some of those controllers have more than 4 extra knobs, are you guys using two midi fighter kits or is there a way to add more than 4 inputs to a midi fighter board?

  • Dj Windz One

    @ Beatsnatcher
    ElectRon is right. . .why spend the money on an MPC style controller when an MPD18 is $100? Or if you want more controls, you can get the MPD26/32. The thing is fully midi anyway

  • DJElektRon

    @ Beatsnatcher:

    Why not just get an MPD18 then?

  • Beatsnatcher

    I’m dying for a MPC style button DJ midi controller.

  • duerr

    those things are dope!

  • James Garcia

    haha, ean build a monome with clear arcade buttons and led’s under them, i bet deadmau5 and pretty lights wud pick one up, much easier said than done

  • wikkid1

    [quote comment=”36847″]How do you make your fader do that !? (beatmasher & trasform fader)
    Can you map that to any fader of any controller ? Or is this because of the firmware or do you have to use something like Bomez Midi Translator ?[/quote]

    with midi you can map any feature to any control, thats the beauty of having a midi set up, totally customized for MY needs, not what somebody else thinks my needs are 🙂

  • MrSteve81

    [quote post=”7853″]Would it be frowned upon to use a turtle shell to make a controller?[/quote]
    I think you would have to make sure the turtle was dead first.

    Gremlin solutions sell sanwa’s in any combination of colours. Unfortunately there are 132 combinations to choose from. Which makes my decisions very difficult indeed.

  • becomingdj

    How do you make your fader do that !? (beatmasher & trasform fader)
    Can you map that to any fader of any controller ? Or is this because of the firmware or do you have to use something like Bomez Midi Translator ?

  • Cabdoctor

    Ean, would you mind doing another video elaborating on how you use the other custom midifighter? I know some of us are rather interested in what the additional four buttons do along with the two sliders and two pots. Thank you

  • djfrogstar

    Would it be frowned upon to use a turtle shell to make a controller?

  • Sasha Solo

    Sweet,

    Props to Djtechtools staff, well done guys keep it coming!

  • Armando

    i see a mono “flyby” 2 piece backpack sitting in the back of the first photo…. what’s going on over there? 😉

  • meh

    very cool! that white controller makes a whole lot more sense now Phil.

    And I must say those Colored plungers with the black rings on the black plastic looks really sexy… and probably helps with aim if u have difficulty not hitting button rims in the dark

  • Phil R

    [quote comment=”36826″]those are EZ as SH!T to make if anyones actually looked at the expansion leads on the DIY board…. All u need is 10$ in pots faders w/e.

    I geuss whats stopping most of you from mod’ing your MF is the Case right??
    ALL u need is a 2 new pieces of acrylic if you have the ability to cut your own holes properly (drill press, CAD etc), If not they do make very generic electronics cases with “Ez mill” plastic plates (ez-mill = ez-drill)
    I personally used an old piece of 1/8inch alloy scrap I had laying around and had it Chromed. bling bling.

    A Decked out midi fighter w/ buttons color and case is almost $200 now as is. I hope the custom controllers are not extremely overpriced for the extra very cheap parts and labor. I geuss we’re gonna see what these guys really value there time at…. and being DJ’s.. I can only imagine..

    Maybe new MF models based off popular custom designs in the future could replace the custom thing and drive costs down??

    Anyway… Cool buttons… Anyone know the stats on the buttons?[/quote]
    Snandard acrade buttons but you take the plungers out of the black buttons and place them into the colored ring housing. Only really works if you have a bunch of extra arcade buttons laying around to mix/match. 🙂

  • SkipTown

    @DJ Kilown

    Ableton and Logic are both great programs but it really depends on what he’s using it for because the workflow of the two is so different.

    To put it briefly: Logic and pro tools are the industry standards for production and mixing where ableton is the industry standard for live performance software. If he’s aiming to create some tracks, I would suggest Logic because its a little more flexible with its signal routing and definitely more user friendly when it comes to mixing.

    …but then again I cant say I’m completely unbiased : )

  • DJ Kilown

    Hey this is sweet , i like how we loyal DJ’s and even new DJs are ready to go with the next step !

    i have been trolling your forums and want to help a friend out , can you tell me if there is or was a thread or even a article

    Abelton VS Logic !

    i dont use either , but want to educate this guy with what i can , he is not a DJ at all , so a more in depth article might be what can teach this young star what is up !

    * no its not me *
    ** i love my scratch live **

  • athtsak

    Availability?

  • meh

    those are EZ as SH!T to make if anyones actually looked at the expansion leads on the DIY board…. All u need is 10$ in pots faders w/e. I geuss whats stopping most of you from mod’ing your MF is the Case right??
    ALL u need is a 2 new pieces of acrylic if you have the ability to cut your own holes properly (drill press, CAD etc), If not they do make very generic electronics cases with “Ez mill” plastic plates (ez-mill = ez-drill)
    I personally used an old piece of 1/8inch alloy scrap I had laying around and had it Chromed. bling bling.

    A Decked out midi fighter w/ buttons color and case is almost $200 now as is. I hope the custom controllers are not extremely overpriced for the extra very cheap parts and labor. I geuss we’re gonna see what these guys really value there time at…. and being DJ’s.. I can only imagine..

    Maybe new MF models based off popular custom designs in the future could replace the custom thing and drive costs down??

    Anyway… Cool buttons… Anyone know the stats on the buttons?

  • Cowboy Haze

    P.S. Zed’s Dead, very crunchy remix

  • Cowboy Haze

    Good Lord this is such a teeease

  • Dj 3Mo

    That’s DOPE!! I want one!

  • Dj Windz One

    I said it on YT, I’ll say it here. . .

    “JEEBUS!”

    I think I’ve officially? quit Djing seeing this!!!
    =(

  • DJElektRon

    Wicked! Love those superfaders. Mmm custom midi fighters FTW

  • Dual Citizen

    Really impressive work guys!

  • Pilot

    Hey Ean, is there one that can be mapped out with Serato itch with the vci 300???

  • rotcodnatas

    Those two tone buttons are sweet. I think lighted arcade buttons should be the next step. Maybe XY pads, that’s much more doable ATM. Or *gasp* touch screen LCD. Anyways keep up the good work guys.

  • wasapa

    track is Rolling Stones – Gimme shelter (zeds dead remix)

    i just upgraded my firmware too so i have my work cut out for me adding faders and knobs

  • DJ Baby Bok Choi

    Hot. Hot. Hot.

    Do want.

  • MxAlmond

    hey guys, where can i order the individual faders and knobs ? im going to use an old stainless steal lunch box, any recommendations for a joy stick as well lol 🙂

  • Double DutchDj

    While twisting knobs will always have it place, I love using faders to control fx, there’s simply so much that is possible

  • Eastcoastams

    Awesome!!

  • Anonymous

    [quote comment=”36795″]Where do you guys get your casings done? I don’t mind working with wires and parts, but that is the one thing that is beyond me. Can anyone give some recommendations?[/quote]

    Yeah, I’m wondering this too.
    The cases look pristine.

  • Tyfurious

    Where do you guys get your casings done? I don’t mind working with wires and parts, but that is the one thing that is beyond me. Can anyone give some recommendations?

  • Okänd

    That “beatmasher+transform” statement confused me at first, is this some effect that’s added in the S4 software or something(?); but then I figured out that it’s probably just transpose stretch because with the 4 FX units on it’s shortened to just trans.

    Maybe that should be clarified.

  • Rockson

    Love the remix of Gimme Shelter, i will have to use it!

    Ean you so know how to pick a TUNE!!

  • J450N N4ME

    This is pretty trick Ean. I has myself this APC40, and wouldn’t you know that thanks to the Xsession Pro that I use as a mixer the Xfader is completely unassigned. I also have this odd slider hanging out for the master that isn’t mapped either. I’m probably not the only cat in this situation now that I think about it. That video just sent a solid jolt to my brain. Thanks again for all the innovation you guys do over there.

  • Zac Kyoti

    Hot Damn! I see a CLEAR version of the button rings on one of those controllers. Does that mean that full-on clear sanwa buttons are hiding out somewhere? 😉

  • Mr Draxx

    Theres nothing like having your own custom control….It just makes you feel that much more bad @ss! Big ups on the different designs

  • Str8upDrew

    I’m lovin’ the effects settings in the video. I think i might try to fit that in my mapping.

  • Yooha

    haha 1st 😀

    Wow Awesomeeeeeeeeeee

  • Vinicius Hoffmann

    first!

  • Vinicius Hoffmann

    The arcades buttons are so damn sexy!
    I want one 😀