RGB Monome Clone

[Julien Bayle] has posted this great breakdown of building an RGB monome clone. He is a musical performer using Ableton Live. He wanted to do away with the need for a computer screen and found that the monome would have been perfect had it been RGB. So he decided to build his own.

The parts list for the entire project is as follows:

  • 1x Arduino board
  • 4x Sparkfun breakout PCB
  • 4x Sparkfun buttons pads (like our door lock)
  • 4x Sparkfun buttons bezel
  • 64x RGB LEDs common cathode
  • 64x Diodes Small Signal (1N4148)
  • 1x MAX7221 (LED Driver)
  • 1x 74HC164 (8-Bit Serial-In, Parallel-Out Shift Register)
  • 1x 74HC165 (8-Bit Parallel-In, Serial-Out Shift Register)

He also has files for the schematics and source code as well as information on how to assemble and test it.

The RGB aspect is still under development. He is using the LEDMatrix-Serial Interface-RGB from Sparkfun Electronics to run it. It is expensive, but is exactly what he was looking for.

There aren’t very many pictures of the project, and none of the working RGB unit. He makes up for it in sheer information. Many parts have links to manufacturers or support forums. Hopefully he’ll post some pictures and video of the final product soon.

9 thoughts on “RGB Monome Clone

  1. sweet, man! those monomes are hilariously overpriced, so kudos for sidestepping them and building an even better one! granted, those sparkfun button pads aren’t cheap, but this probably all came out under the monome’s price. hopefully DIY efforts like this will force the monome folks to be a little more realistic about their pricing (or their hardware choices).

  2. The monomes are hand made. And the Yamaha tenori-on is like the two fifty six monome and is only $200 less. The demand for monomes will keep the price high. I’m building my own single color arduinome (arduino based monome clone using the sparkfun baords and its gonna be about $200. THe 2 kits necessary to make a 40h kit are $250 combined, so mine will cost a little less. If the demand is big enough, then the monome is not overpriced.

  3. Add the labour and manufacturing costs of an aluminium faceplate and a high quality handmade wooden enclosure and you won’t even come close to $200.. Surely the boxes could be cheaper, mass produced in the far east by little children, working in hazardous environments… It’s all a matter of choice, you decide what to support..

  4. right, but what if someone doesn’t care about an aluminum faceplate and high quality handmade wooden blah blah blah? what if someone’s not shopping for a Bentley, they’re just an artist who wants to screw around? we’re not all Deadelus or Moby.

    i’m startled at some of the premium prices charged for creative tools (case in point: MAX). yes, economics of production can demand those prices, but few people seem to be in a hurry to make cool, production high-tech tools that are affordable. thus the beauty of this DIY project.

  5. @emilio,

    Yes, monomes from monome are expensive, and there are good reasons for that, as detailed by the others. Expensive? Yes. Overpriced? I don’t think so.

    You also should remember that their system is open source, which greatly helps those who find the price of one of their beautifully crafted objects to be a barrier to entry.

    So, I think that Monome deserve a great amount of credit for that.


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