I build things from parts - sometimes repurposing dead synths

I’ve come here to learn.
I’ve been building synths out of microcontrollers + DAC and hacked into various toy keyboards and used more and more arduino software libraries or my own code until it was functional. So I built a series DIY synths and i’m building a whole set up out of them. Something about making them creates great satisfaction - I used to play guitar professionally. Now I’m learning to play keyboard … and I always liked stand-alone musical instruments more than everything getting virtualized into a computer. It seems like that makes sense to a lot of other people.

At one point I wanted to build a keyboard from scratch but - well its not easy at all. So I’m always looking for old parts, keyboards to use for parts or build around something that was a useless or broken toy keyboard and make it useful. I have about 4 synths so far - and I can make midi-controllers. I’m building one out of an old Casio that has no velocity sensitivity - there are a ton of buttons I will try to use to help switch functions or edit sounds.
I’ve written arpeggiator software - i mean such things are done a lot in various communities.
At one point I was giving up but then I found Syntaur on youtube and got all kinds of ideas how to push forward. I repaired broken traces. I fixed some carbon contacts with a pencil (i found that advice elsewhere). One part of this board was so corroded that the carbon was just gone. I had to drill holes and insert wires and use bits of wire to make metal contacts for the rubber keyboard contact to send the on/off voltage for a couple of keys. So far that is working.
Then I wondered about lubricating these old keys - first time I noticed how bad it was after keyboard contacts board was reinstalled. So … anyway, i’m on some mad journey of restoration/rebuild or making new things.
One thing I have wondered about suppliers make the spare keyboard and circuit-board that is order-able so you can build everything else - its not for repair but for something new. I could build it onto some wood and make my own Frankenstein synth or build something semi-commercial to sell or give to friends.


I checked out the Tone2 website - there is such a huge range of software it goes on forever. What I like are stand-alone objects you plug it in or flick a switch and you are away. No waiting for windows or other OS to boot. No sound driver delay and lag … but sure there is such a huge amount of power and possibility to create with the computer. I was a professional for a long time and i’ve written music that way. These days I just want instruments around and I can’t afford to pay 1000s for stuff. I’ll pay for a nice midi keyboard.
So what parts am I looking for … various kinds of controls. I built a hammond organ sounding module. I put 8 knobs on it - (there are 9 drawbars so … next one I make will have more controls). You can set up midi controllers to adjust those but I wanted the controls right there for someone who doesn’t have that so as soon as you use it - bang you get your organ. If you are performing, so long as it isn’t broken you get instant on, no lag sound and direct control. But I’d like to get drawbars … when I look at various products that have them. I saw a website selling them https://classichammonds.net/store/Hammond-Drawbar-Knobs-Engraved-Style/prod_250.html
I guess they are reconditioned salvage but you’d still need to make a whole complex set of slider multiple positions switching or a mechanical interface to a pot. So … what a mess that is. What about just the raw keyboard part - keys, the circuitboard that they tap to be converted to on/off or velocity calculation. Those are out there but really not designed as kits … that I’ve seen yet. More just overpriced spare parts. So i’m mostly trying to repair or recycle.