Well I've been busy on this project in the background working on a shortcut key controller so I don't have to use the Wacom buttons on the I4 or my keyboard. Mostly this has been just tinkering with ideas and purchasing small components so I don't have anything really to report here at the moment.
I can say that the plan is to have a single large aluminium knob as the main control with a tactile switch built into the z-axis of the knob (push down), and 4 additional tactile switches inbuilt at the north,east, south, and west positions (in x and y axis). Surrounding the knob will be an array of NeoPixel LEDS to show relative position information and configuration status based on LED colour - Just waiting on the NeoPixel ring to show up. In addition to the knob I also intend to have keyboard style keys (Cherry Black switches) in easy reach of the little, ring, and middle fingers of my left hand, and all crafted lovingly from some nice wood (perhaps Oak, not sure yet).
With regards to my screen search I have been inspired by Bumhee34's beautiful build based around the Ipad3 Retina screen and decided to drop my plans for using the LP156WF4 (which I just can't find) and push the boat out and use the Macbook Pro Retina A1398 15.4" panel; Given the price of these things I'm going to need to save up for a bit first though. As I'm sure a lot of you probably already know Apple tend to make there products very difficult to take apart - with the Retina panel being no exception - beyond this though Apple decided not to give this panel a chassis of its own at all and instead build the screen into the chassis of the Macbook lid. Essentially what this means is that you have two options with this screen: 1.Buy the complete Macbook lid/screen combo for megabucks, or 2.Buy just the TFT (ie no backlight, diffusers, light guide, no reflectors) - still quite expensive. I have opted for the second option meaning that I will need to make my own backlight setup for this panel further complicating things.
On a plus note though, at my new job there is a compound where old electronics go to die, and in said compound I discovered that someone had chucked out an Samsung LTN154AT10-T01 with a smashed beyond smashed screen on it. I picked up the screen, removed the tft and inside was an immaculate set of diffuser/reflector films and a mint light guide - Fate? I think so. It was obvious on inspection that this panel was a ccfl panel and infact (somewhat surprisingly given the state of the panel chassis) the ccfl was in one piece! The great thing about this amazing find was that the CCFL was mounted on the top edge of the panel (where the TCON circuitry resides) which by happy coincidence is exactly where the WLEDs of the Pro Retina screen also reside, Awesome!!!
The next problem was to find somewhere to get hold of the WLEDs for the Retina panel. Eventually I stumbled across a guy on ebay based in Taiwan selling Macbook Pro parts who, I discovered to my delight, was selling the A1398 WLEDs, so I bought a set from him for a very reasonable £15; Should be here in a couple of weeks I think, Nice! So I now have the backlight assembly and the WLEDs for the actual retina screen.
But, how does one control such a panel? Well there's this genius guy called Daniel (and his team of people?) over at http://dp2mbpr.rozsnyo.com/
that have worked on, and successfully produced, a controller that can drive the screen via a display port connection (ie Display Port 2 Mac Book Pro Retina - DP2MBPR get it!). Anyway, they have a batch of these things in production, of which I have registered my interest in purchasing one. They cost a pretty hefty $149 (£90ish) but given the effort that must have gone into this and the general passion for the project (check out the website) I think it's probably just about worth it.
As an alternative, if you fancied sending of the gerber files and having the boards manufactured yourself, there is another guy called Mike over at Mike Mods (http://mikesmods.com/mm-wp/?page_id=11
) who had done the same thing open sourcing the technical details of the controller board with all required files provided; He's another freaking genius. P.s His blogs make for a great read.
All being well with this project, the intention is therefore to have a screamingly hot 2880x1800 resolution 15.4" IPS panel at the heart of my Intuos 4 with a (hopefully) well configured bespoke shortcut key controller. I just love building things! Wish me luck!!