I’ve recently been privileged to get to know and work with John from Highly Liquid. He specializes in retrofitting pre- or sans-MIDI gear, and produces original MIDI hardware for standalone projects created by musicians, technicians, artists, and hobbyists. Working out of the Columbus Idea Foundry, John used the laser cutter there to repurpose a cigar box as a unique MIDI controller. I was asked to prototype a demo in Max/MSP to demonstrate its functionality. Details on the build, and instructions on developing your own can be found at the Highly Liquid blog. I highly recommend checking it out. And while you’re there, check out the MIDI wall he created at the Foundry.