Building the Milkymist One

The Milklymist One is a basically a mini-computer which creates visuals similar to MilkDrop. You can also mix in live video and add effects in real time.

I’ve always wanted to own one but because it was produced in a small number back in 2011, it has been difficult to find any.

Luckily there is decent amount of information online, making it possible to build one… I’ve been working with circuit building for the last year and have been tackling projects with increasing difficulty in order to get better and better. Milkymist seems to be the most difficult. For example: the Milkymist’s 6-layer PCB has an excessive amount of SMD components and loading the System-On-Chip software onto the microprocessor is baffling to me.

Was hoping with the help of this community and possibly get some guidance in building this project.

If I feel confident in being able to build this project I will have extra PCBs created and if others wanted to help with the build I am sure we could arrange getting enough produced for everyone.

Let me know if you would like to help.

Here is a webpage which thoroughly describes the Milkymist One

There is a wiki type page with mostly all the information need to manufacture the hardware for the Milkymist One

And a GitHub with all the software

Also, some videos of the Milkymist in action

Wishing everyone the best in their visual creations.


It’s an interesting discovery.

My immediate reaction is that that would be a hard board to hand-solder. The difficulty of surface mount depends a lot on the density and package types and this is at the hard end. The FPGA has a Ball Gate Array (BGA) connection. Most of the other chips look dense. The resistors are 0402 size, which is tiny.

On a quick scan it doesn’t appear to contain a stand-alone microprocessor. The FPGA has a soft core loaded on it which runs the software.

Some practical things that might help you develop skills useful for this project:

  • Try and find a low-cost kit you can build that uses similar size components. If nothing else one of those “how small can you solder?” type challenges would help.
  • Do some simple projects on an off the shelf FPGA board like the Terasic DE10-Nano used in the “Mister” retro computer emulation projects. That will give you a feeling for the process and tool chain of using FPGAs and soft cores.

Good luck. It is a challenging project, but cool if you can make it work.

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