Maps, Electronics and Air Horns

I’ve been collaborating on a project due for launch very soon which involves MapBox and friends, I’m very excited to be able to share this publicly and will log an entry in this journal as soon as I can for sure.

I’ve been working with Klokantech’s MapBox GL tileserver, which I’m very hopeful to deploy via Docker on a scalable platform in the future. For now the project will be using MapTiler due to time constraints and ease of setup.

I’ve also used Express.js for the first time today and am very impressed with the ease of setup. I’ll be testing this out in a Node environment today with aims to get NGSPICE running on the command line. I talked about this project briefly in last weeks journal entry, I’ve been attempting to get a WASM version of SPICE to compile and work in the browser, so far without success, but I’m confident that I can do this, this particular library looks promising. For now I’ll be making this a desktop application as a proof of concept, I can worry about compiling a WASM version for a web application in the future if this project takes off. SPICE has a very well established standard protocol so making the switch should be easy as and when the time comes.

I’ve also done some casual research into a project I’ve been wanting to get into for some time now, this particular project is personal and just for fun – it will involve a Raspberry Pi (or similar), a MIDI interface and 18 chromatically tuned air horns.

Those of you who know me can see where this is going.

It’s a relatively easy thing to make involving hooking up a Pi based MIDI controller to an array of 5V / 12V relays which will operate solenoids to control air flow from a compressor and tank to each of the individual horns.

The only obstacle up til now has been to get a set of chromatically tuned air horns. I don’t want to be restricted to the five-tone Dixie horn sets, I’d like at least one octave with the entire chromatic scale, ideally eighteen notes to allow a bit of flexibility in terms of keys and voicings.

I have a friend, incidentally also involved in digital work, who has recently got into 3D printing who I will be asking to print the actual horns for me soon. I’ve got a good understanding of how to make the diaphragms, at least for a prototype, so I’m hopeful to move forwards with this project just as soon as I have some time in my personal life to do so.

Armed with video tutorial above, I think what I’m going to do is make a twelve-note prototype and see how it goes, then scale this up to have more durable reeds, and possibly metal horns in the future.

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