Recently I have been using a collection of Eurorack format synthesizer modules to experiment in my electronic music production process. As the hobby consumed more and more of my time, I began collaborating with Michael Yenik, an electrical + software engineer who shares my same music technology interests. We have been tinkering away nights and weekends to develop our own brand of modules, Acid Rain Technology, and our first commercial product, the Switchblade.
Branding // Hardware UX // PCB Design // Manufacturing // Photo + Video
Switchblade is a multi-function utility module, combining different modes of switching and mixing signals with manual and voltage control. This module is meant to be a clever companion to many other sources of voltage and audio in a modular synthesizer rack.
After developing the initial UX concept for the Switchblade, I learned some Eagle CAD and took on the design of the PCB that holds the user-facing components (buttons, LEDs and jacks). This set the functional parameters of the module, providing a framework for Michael to develop the schematic and second PCB. By sourcing milled aluminum panels from a vendor in Germany, my aim was to use the material fit and finish of the user facing side of the module to communicate the quality and precision of the electronic components inside. PCB population and final assembly were carried out at a small music electronics vendor in Portland, OR. Michael and I worked together to refine the functionality, manufacturability and market readiness of the module - close collaboration with other disciplines is my favorite part of being a product designer!
Developing and manufacturing a low volume technology product has been an incredible learning experience - expanding my technical skills as a designer and navigating the unique world of domestic electronics manufacturing. Bringing a concept through production to the hands of friends and enthusiasts is incredibly rewarding, especially when I know my work will help others make music!