Mobile VJ Cart – Step 1

walker-firstsketches

Mobile VJ Cart – Step 1

walker-on-grass
The idea of a mobile VJ setup has been swirling in the recesses of my mind for a while, inspired by VJ Fader’s mobile rig (based on a stroller, I believe), the rig descriptions in Live Graphics Nightly (review coming soon, I swear), and a suggestion to VJ-Bomb the Last Thursday Art Walks here in the Alberta Arts district of Portland.

For the first step, I went to Goodwill, figuring I’d get one of those cheap silver walkers as a base. They had one of those, but this one immediately caught my eye – it’s a Nova “Cruiser Deluxe”, and it just yearned to be made into a mobile video rig. Have I mentioned how awesome Goodwill is here compared to LA?

Next, I need to actually design the thing. My current requirements:

  • All pieces should be easy to attach/remove from the walker for portability/modularity.
  • It needs to be able to house my laptop, Oxygen 8 MIDI Keyboard, one or two Korg nanoKontrols, my Monome 128, a Keyboard and Trackball, Power Conditioner and Deep-Cycle Battery.
  • The cords should all be neatly enclosed and tucked out of harms reach.
  • The unit should be able to be closed up quickly in case of rain (and be water resistant enough to make it a few blocks to a car/shelter).
  • It should look awesome.

Is that too much to ask for? We’ll find out. I’ve got a membership to TechShop Portland, which should help mightily in building this thing. I can laser-cut wood, acryclic and plexiglass – so if I can figure out how to make it from those materials, I can precision-design it in Adobe Illustrator and print it out of final materials. I expect I’ll be doing a lot of cardboard-lasering to test sizes and whatnot, first.

walker-firstsketches

Here’s my first idea, thanks to Google SketchUp (hot dang does it make this sort of thing easy). Basically, I’ve got shelves that hold my various devices at easily-playable angles (creating an overall sweep). The Keyboard and Mouse are tucked away underneath the Oxygen 8 – I should only need these every once in a while, but I’ll want to have them easily reachable when I do. There’s a lot not pictured here – the Battery and Power Conditioner would be housed lower on the cart, I’ll worry about those later. Also, I’m planning that the shelves would be a bit wider, and I’d have a faceplate of sorts (probably multiple pieces) that would create a unified sweeping level on top of everything, and help hide the cords. This box was created to scale, and currently fits very nicely on the ‘seat’ of the walker.

Have you seen any mobile rigs like this? Got any tips?

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