DJ software is fun to use -- who doesn't like to get the crowd bumping? -- but controlling it from a laptop keyboard isn't. So, DJ software is often controlled with a peripheral device that has buttons, knobs, sliders, and turntables for a more natural feel. But you don't need to invest in one, you can build your own: the Circuit Playground PZ-1!
You can build your own DJ controller using any microcontroller that speaks MIDI, including the Circuit Playground. All of the buttons and sensors on the Circuit Playground can be used to trigger MIDI signals that will tell your DJ software what to do. In this project uses the two buttons and eight capacacitive pads, but you could easily modify it to also utilize the accelerometer, temperature sensor, light sensor, and microphone if you like!
The Circuit Playground sending MIDI commands is the brains of the operation, but you'll also want an intuitive interface. So design your own using conductive paint! You can paint any pattern you like, running a different conductive paint circuit trace from each capacitive pad on the Circuit Playground. If you want to create precise designs, mask with tape, or create a stencil.
- Cardboard 12" pizza box (prefereably new, non-greasy)
- Mylar stencil blank sheets, 12"x12", 7 mil thick
- Painter's tape
- Spray adhesive (optional)
- Utility knife
- Stencil brush (any size from 2 - 6)
You can use your Circuit Playground PZ-1 with nearly any DJ software. Here are some popular choices:
- Mixxx (OSX, Windows, & Linux) [Note: Free and open source]
- Traktor (OSX, & Windows)
- Serato DJ (OSX, & Windows)
DJ software will usually include an interface for mapping MIDI commands. It can also be helpful to diagnose your MIDI stream with a utility such as: