N1-Kontroller DIY Project

Wanted to kind of keep all my project stuff on a topic because I’m only 15% in on the project and there is already lots to share. I’m building everything I’m putting in here, designing custom pcb’s, cutting panels, and the works. I have most of the hardware and experience I would need to take on such a project from my time playing with guitar pedals. Honestly, it’s cheaper (WAY CHEAPER) than buying new or even used stuff, so why not.

I’ve dubbed this synth the N1-Kontroller (referring to the scrapped N1 Russian Lunar Rocket) as my aesthetic of choice lies in the side of soviet era space equipment. Building this thing from the ground up, meaning the case, power, modules, etc. I’ll put as much documentation on it as I can without being annoying, as I’ve said there is already a ton to cover.


I decided to use the eurorack format. Not because it’s popular, but because it’s small enough to fit in my limited space. I’m trying to build this on an extremely limited budget, so buying rails was out of the question. Luckily there is plenty of online documentation on dimensions, panel sizes, and etc.

I picked up a few free pallets from behind a local store because… well… free wood. I decided that instead of super precise rails, I was just going to use wood! As long as I made the panels correctly I would have no problem should I want to upgrade to another case later on. With how the case turned out, I now severely doubt I’d want to part with it…

The “original” plan was to make a single 3U x 84hp case. When I started measuring the cuts, I realized… this was tiny. So I made it bigger. A lot bigger actually. I forget the dimensions off top of my head, but the final case came out to be a total of 7U x 110HP with an additional 2.5U portion (there was supposed to be another 3U but my slanted measurements didn’t work out so well).

That 2.5U section may be an accident, but instead of finding more wood to cut a new front piece and go through the trouble of repainting it, I’m turning it into a utility space. More on that to come later!

Overall cost to build this was, lets see: $8 for drywall screws, $12 in spraypaint, and $4 for two hardware store wooden yardsticks (because they are cheaper than finding 1/4" thick wood.) A whopping total of $24 woah! This doesn’t factor in saw blades, sanding paper, or other tools though, but even then, much cheaper than buying and paying for shipping >.>


This is the part I actually designed first. Staying in the eurorack format, I am running with 12v/-12v system, and also trying to stay on the budget.

I built the bus bars first. Realizing that these trend at about $30-$50 per bus on places like ebay or Reverb, I made my own. Really set the tone for the project too. I designed my own to have two screw terminals so I can hook multiples up in series, built in 5v regulator, indicator LEDS, and smoothening caps.

I went with two 12v 98W Meanwell PSU’s, more than enough for my system (I believe). I made a handy diagram for a friend as to how they are meant to be wired up. Working with AC, of course it’s properly fused.

So the final product looks:

Now to put stuff in it!


I did much the same with my Kosmogenesis case, it sits between Eurorack and Kosmo rows:

Worked out very nicely! Though it depleted my jacks…


This is lovely. My dream is to make a modular with a ‘soviet era control room’ aesthetic. Pale green with cream panels and bakelite style knobs


Woah that is a lot of jacks! It atleast keeps them off the more usable racks.

My plan is to add an onboard speaker system with some salvaged speakers I happen to have, maybe a pocket oscilloscope to look at waveforms, tuner, etc. Want to make use of as much space as I can down there.

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I’m kind of going for the same thing, The modules I have made so far are brushed aluminium that I gave a rough treatment of weathering with modeling paint. It’s what I god on hand. However, I used some special USSR LEDS in the modules I have made. Got a nice lot of them a few years back and they are the most rugged LED’s I’ve ever seen. I have yet to accidentally kill one.

I’d be excited to see how yours turns out! The bakelite look should be rad.


Hah I’m a long way off but I’ll share when I get there! Do you have pictures of yours?


I do! I have at this point finished the VCO’s and am in between modules. Putting together the documentation to update the post as well soon!