Hardware build in progress


The Teenage Engineering OP-1 is lovely. The user interface is whimsical and minimal, making parameters with a technical opaqueness into a series of macro knobs to just change the sound. It becomes a simple and straightforward way to get involved with making noises without getting bogged down in the engineering aspect of it.

I've wanted an OP-1 for awhile. I could just buy one and have fun with it, sure. But I like getting lost in the engineering weeds. I'm a hacker, which means I'm wholly incapable of looking at a device and wondering if I could build one that can do more.

That question tends to stop being "if" and usually becomes "how."

At the end of the day, all electronic hardware is some confluence of components. Without considering anything about the processing going on under the hood of the OP-1, you can take a look at it and see that it consists of the following:

  • 4x knobs that endlessly spin (rotary encoders)
  • An OLED screen
  • A speaker
  • 54x buttons
  • One knob that has a maximum and mininmum (potentiometer)

All of this is wired in some way to a processor to translate what it means when you push a button or twist a knob. Simple enough.

To replicate that setup, we'll need to use similar components. I like things that light up with whatever color I want them to, so components that will let me do that are preferred.

I'm also very much interested in modular design - being able to swap things out and reconfigure them is always fun. But I want to keep the basic layout the same as the original OP-1 because I think it's a nice, compact design.

So for the buttons, I chose to use mechanical keyboard switches. This way, I can mount whatever key caps I want to them and can set up the button layout however I want.

Bill of Materials:

Done Qty Item
1 Raspi 4B 8GB
54 Cherry MX Switches
3 5x6 Neokey boards
1 2.8" DSI LCD Panel
4 RGB backlit rotary encoders
54 Assorted keycaps


✓ Design keyboard layout

✓ CNC mill a keyboard plate
✓ Mount switches in plate
✓ Mount RGB Encoders
✓ Mount Display

Controller Wiring

Solder full keyboard matrix
Solder RGB encoders