Macchiato Mini Synth STEM Pack


The Macchiato Mini Synth STEM Pack is a 6-pack of our popular synthesizer kit, tailored for educational uses. The Macchiato is a fun, great-sounding, easy-to-build and use digital synthesizer that fits in the palm of your hand.

  • Suitable for ages 13+
  • Middle school science class project
  • High school physics, science, electronics or programming class project
  • STEM workshop or summer program project
  • Colorful, detailed online assembly instructions
  • Online curriculum resources; see below
  • Includes printed “How To Solder” and “Quick Start” booklets
  • Includes template to make a cabinet from a cereal box
  • Optional cardstock assortment for making a cabinet
  • Optional acrylic cabinet kit
  • Optional 110-240V AC to 9V DC power supply
  • Custom packs available.
SKU: MMS-STEM Categories: , Tags: , ,


What is it?

The Macchiato Mini Synth STEM* Pack is a 6-pack bundle of synthesizer kits suitable for grades 7-12 (ages 13 and up; requires soldering).  The Macchiato is an affordable, well-supported electronics project kit that results in a fully functional synthesizer with keyboard. The Macchiato produces a wide variety of sounds and effects; it is far more functional than most project kits in its price range.

Who is it for?
  • Science educators looking for science project kits, electronics kits, Arduino programming projects, or STEM project kits.
  • Science educators teaching 7-12 grade classes in general science, physics, electronics, programming, Arduino, or music
  • Students age 13+
What’s included?
  • A printed circuit board and all the parts necessary to build a fully-functioning synthesizer
  • A paper template for cutting out a cardboard cabinet from a cereal box or other cardstock
  • One printed “Soldering Is Easy!” booklet
  • One printed “Macchiato STEM Manual” booklet
  • A 6-pack of stiff cardstock in fabulous pearlescent colors is available as an add-on
  • A kit to build a black acrylic cabinet is available as an add-on
  • A plug-in 110-240V AC to 9V DC power supply, which eliminates the need for batteries, is available as an add-on
  • Extensive online documentation and support — see the Resources tab
What’s not included?

There is a complete list of tools and supplies that you will need to provide on the “What You Will Need” tab.

How long does it take?

The Macchiato is pretty easy, but of course build time is a function of age and experience.

  • The synthesizer takes 1 – 2 hours to complete
  • The cardstock case takes 1 – 2 hours to complete
  • The acrylic cabinet kit takes about 1.5 hours to complete.
What are some appropriate applications?
  • 1-week Class project for middle school general science class
  • 3-day Class project for high school science, physics, or electronics classes — or possibly art or music classes!
  • Term project for high school programming and Arduino classes
  • 2-4 hour STEM workshop, summer camp, or special event
  • Parent – child project, either at home or in the context of a school event
  • STEM college recruitment events, as a project or door prize

* STEM = Science / Technology / Engineering / Mathematics

What You Will Need

Here’s everything you will need to build The Macchiato Mini Synth kit:
  • Digital multimeter, able to measure resistance
  • #2 Philips screw driver
  • Ruler
  • Soldering iron, 15-50 watt
  • Wire strippers
  • Flush cutters or small diagonal cutters
  • Clamp or vise to hold the printed circuit board while soldering (optional, but handy)
  • Solder sucker or solder braid – optional, but very handy
  • Solder, 60/40 rosin core
  • 9V battery or any 9V DC center-negative power supply
To make your own cabinet using the provided template, you will need the following:
  • Cereal Box or stiff craft cardstock
  • Steel Ruler or Straight edge
  • X-Acto knife or other sharp hobby knife
  • Several push pins or thumbtacks
  • Scissors
  • Butter knife or other scoring tool
  • A few small binder clips or large paper clips
  • Rubber cement
To build the plastic cabinet kit, you will need the following:
  • X-Acto knife or other sharp hobby knife
  • Steel straight edge
  • Scissors
  • Some medium and fine sandpapers (180, 240 and 320 grit)
  • Plastic cement
  • Super Glue
  • A few binder clips


  • Detailed instructions for assembling the synth kit, making a cardstock cabinet, or building the plastic cabinet kit. Download and print, or view online, or cast to your fancy digital blackboard.
Soldering Is Easy booklet (8 pp, 1 MB PDF Download)
  • One print copy is included in each STEM pack.
Macchiato STEM Manual (8 pp, 1.4 MB PDF Download)
  • One print copy is included in each STEM pack.
  • Much-expanded version of the printed booklet included in the STEM Pack
  • Detailed reference material explaining every control -- for the over-achievers and nerds in your class
You may find these excellent tutorials helpful for developing a more comprehensive curriculum.
Programming the Macchiato can present a satisfying project for Arduino programmers. While the software was developed in the Arduino IDE, the Macchiato hardware is NOT from an Arduino kit. Therefore, some setup is required to get your IDE to talk to the chip in the Macchiato. Using Arduino versions 1.8.x, it's pretty easy.  You may want to complete this setup first, outside of class, to see what is involved and to work out the bugs. Class time is best spent reviewing the code and developing modifications. All the files and instructions needed to set up the IDE are located in our Github repository.  Be sure to download the "latest release." In July 2017 we published a significant upgrade to the original Macchiato code. The README contains detailed instructions on how to:
  • Download the setup files needed for your Arduino installation to compile for the Macchiato's ATmega644PA microcontroller
  • Download the latest Arduino sketch (file suffix .ino) and modify it to your heart's content.
  • Download the latest binary, or "hex" file (extension .ino.hex). This is the code that we flash onto your Macchiato  before we ship it. Use this file to restore the Macchiato in case your hacks are unsuccessful.