DIY Electronics/circuit bending... (1 Viewer)

train in vain

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I guess I will give a little backstory before getting into the projects... Ive been a musician since I was a kid in 93 and FINALLY got a guitar which i haf wanted for several years but my parents werent into it. I started experimenting right off the bat. Altered tunings and just weird sounds in general. I wouldnt use the internet for 4 or 5 years so there was no reference really i was wingin it all the way. Discovering feedback loops making tape loops on my reel to reel holding assorted electronic devices up to my pickups( drills radios remote controls...any/everything). Constantly recording all this on multiple tape decks chained together to make a crude lofi multitrack recorder by bouncing back and forth between them while playing along. I always wanted to build stuff but had no clue how electronics worked. Id open things and look around but fear of electrocution kept me from poking around..which is probably good haha. So i did this for years slowly accumulating pedals and more cheap guitars as i got older and had a job(ie MONEY TO SPEND) and just kept experimenting with sound. Eventually i focused more on guitar and recording songs and then playing with other people sometimes and the experimenting kind of stopped as i had lost a bunch of gear moving around a lot. Eventually not even playing guitar much for years once i started riding trains. Fast forward to more recent years and the itch to experiment hit me again when i saw a guy playing with tape loops and remembered all my weird bedroom recordings. So i started poking around online and discovered schematics for basically any effects pedal i could think of. so i built some pedals for friends still not having a clue as to how these things worked but i could solder and schematics arent that hard to read for the most part. So sometime around december/january i decided to start learning what all this stuff was. How things actually worked. A friend was in town and he had been asking me if i knew anything about circuit bending. It was something i had dabbled with years ago but didnt get any good results so i didnt dive in all the way. We decided to go to goodwill and find some toys to bend and make some recordings. well he gave up on the idea before we even opened any of the toys but i was all in. So i started circuit bending stuff and reading forums and watching youtube videos and learned a lot. BUT...it got kind of boring for me because as much as i like noise and weird sounds i wanted to make my own devices. I just had no idea how..or what i even wanted to make. I stumbled across a video of a guy making an oscillator from a transistor and i was like..AHA I HAVE ALL THIS STUFF
I had lots of components left over from years before building pedals. So i got out the breadboard and thus began my frustrating adventure with making my own circuits haha. Since february or so its just been SO MUCH trial and error..mostly error. I still do circuit bending (i have 7 or 8 boxes of toys/electronics bent/to bend courtesy of the bins) but lately Ive really been focused on learning to build my own instruments. Some analog some based off cmos chips. Im a really fast learner when i get deeply involved with something and ive gone from not knowing ANYTHING at all to having a few of my own designs for pretty unique effects pedals on paper waiting to be made and building weird instruments..and actually making a few bucks selling them. I figured i cant be the only person on here into this stuff but also..MAYBE I AM. Its not really a thing you can do on the move. Im sure some of you will at least be interested in seeing/hearing some stuff youve never seen before and maybe motivate someone to build something of their own.

If any of you are involved in any electronics or diy instruments/noise makers feel free to post stuff on here I love seeing new ideas...or old ideas done well. So Ill shut the fuck up and post some recent doodads...

20190801_190759.jpg20190801_190918.jpg20190801_190930.jpg20190806_090335.jpg20190806_094436.jpg20190828_173108.jpg20190828_174650.jpg20190830_135702.jpgIMG_20190910_121004.jpgIMG_20190909_020231.jpg20190912_051937.jpg20190916_101507.jpg




A guy I know messaged me on instagram asking if i could build him something using a phone someone left at his tattoo shop. OF COURSE I CAN. This is probably the most extensive thing I have built for someone so far. If anyone is interested I can go in depth about whats going on under the hood. I approach these things from a circuit benders point of view. I build a circuit and then figure out where I can add things to fuck it up in interesting ways. It took me a week to make but i fucked around with ideas for probably 2 weeks before commiting to anything. The phone is also a mic with a built in fuzz circuit with a control for gain and a feedback loop for maximum fuckery. It turns on/off when you pick it up/put it down. Id have to make a 90 minute video to even start to show all the sounds this thing is capable of. Everything from melodies on the keys to broken modem noises to low end thunder that will shake the walls. Or a combination of any of those and who knows what else...maybe droning noise walls of static screeching electronic desth crickets ready to drag you to hell?
 
We sell all kinds of other stuff in our Etsy store!

Older Than Dirt

Wanderer
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OMFG, so cool. I have spent a lot of my life making horrible electronic noise.

I would love to hear more about the Phone of Death, which sounds pretty good as noise instruments go. You could sell these.
 

Engineer J Lupo

Increasingly aggressive bro
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That's pretty fuckin dope! I don't have a lot to add to this but I wanted to at least make sure you're in-the-know on music store dumpsters. I imagine you definitely are but shit maybe you overlooked it. In any case, I've found tons of switches, pedals, cables, boards, etc.. in the Guitar Center dumpster I'd frequent. Also guitar strings by the pound, some people seem to get em replaced very frequently they'd be in really good shape often times. I found a mint condition guitar case once that some employee musta stashed in the can to retrieve later and I nabbed it beforehand. They throw away a lot of useful shit, especially in regards to the things you like to tear apart and re-purpose.
 

MolotovMocktail

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Hot damn, it's my time to shine! Never thought I'd see circuit bending mentioned on StP. :D

That phone is rad as hell. I've never been great at scratch-building circuits but have done a few little projects like battery-powered amplifiers and simple noisemakers.

I've been circuit bending for almost 10 years. I've made a lot of gear and broken a lot more. It's a fun way to make some crazy noises. At first I was mostly into it just to make stuff but in recent years I've been trying to do more music stuff with the gear I still have (lots has broken, some has gotten taken apart for other projects).

Here's some pics of a couple keyboards I've bent:
dscn4973-jpg.52860_DIY Electronics/circuit bending..._Your Projects & Websites_Squat the Planet_5:27 PM
cowboy-jpg.52859_DIY Electronics/circuit bending..._Your Projects & Websites_Squat the Planet_5:27 PM


And a circuit bent doorbell I was commissioned by a friend to make:
dscn7934-jpg.52861_DIY Electronics/circuit bending..._Your Projects & Websites_Squat the Planet_5:27 PM


And finally, a little jam I recorded a while ago with some bent gear and a cassette player:

 
OP
train in vain

train in vain

Rambler
Joined
Nov 15, 2009
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386
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Out there
Thanks for the compliments duuudes...i put a lot of work into that sucker im pretty proud of it!

I would love to hear more about the Phone of Death, which sounds pretty good as noise instruments go. You could sell these.
Ive been trying to drum up some interesr in my electronics lately as far as selling things goes. This one was a commision and im hoping it helps get things moving. I really just want to have a consistent flow so i can continue to make more devices its not really about making a lot of money. But im also not opposed to making a lot of money doing something i love haha.
As far as whats going on inside... 3 audio range oscillators summed together into 1 input of a cd4070. 1 lfo into the other input so those modulate each other doing the ring mod-ish thing XOR's do. There is another lfo that basically pulls current which affects all 4 of those oscillators. Voltage starve knob that interacts with that current draining lfo a lot. The output of the 4070 is split into a cd4040 for a 2 octave down sound and that has a blend knob to adjust between octave and normal sound. All the switches and the little contacts above the keypad are basically circuit bends that have very different effects depending how everything else is set. All the controls are very interactive with each other especially when you use the starve to mess with the voltage. The 3 audio osc are each connected to 1 column of keys on the keypad with a resistor ladder so pressing each key in a column seperately produces 1 pitch but as you press another you get combined resistence so each column is..i actually havent done the math on how many tones you get in each column. You get a lot of variation with just 4 buttons..BUT.. since those oscillators are connected if you press any buttons from another column they modulate each other in different ways. The keys are also somewhat pressure sensitive mostly in the top 2 rows with the least resistance. The phone is more straight forward..just the earpiece used as a mic(the mouthpiece is a carbon mic and i didnt wanna fuck with that). Mic runs into a simple 2 transistor fuzz circuit reminiscent of a fuzzface but using the "wrong" resistors to bias the transistors so it sounds really bad..in a good way. The feedback button just runs the output back to the input in a loop with the gain knob controlling ..gain/fuzz whatever ya want to call it. Its all wired through the normal phone cord and the hook is the power switch so you lift it and its on out it back down its off. Theyre both supplied by 9v batteries with seperate output jacks so each thing can be run into different amps/mixer/pa channels/effects etc...
I definitely built it with harsher noise in mind but you can play melodies on the keys. Ive built a few other similar instruments and i keep forgetting to add a cv in so you can plug another voltage source into it and control it.



That's pretty fuckin dope! I don't have a lot to add to this but I wanted to at least make sure you're in-the-know on music store dumpsters. I imagine you definitely are but shit maybe you overlooked it. In any case, I've found tons of switches, pedals, cables, boards, etc.. in the Guitar Center dumpster I'd frequent.
Ive wanted to check out guitar center forever and just did for the first time last week hah. Didnt find anything useful but i will be going back. Im definitely a scavenger for any kind of parts i can get off something. Recently took apart a 7ps wurlitzer electric organ and wow i got a ton of cool shit. Old delay chips opamps WIRE the keyboards buttons sliders bkah blah blah haha. Bummed i didnt get the foot pedals though!

Hot damn, it's my time to shine! Never thought I'd see circuit bending mentioned on StP. :D
haha thats basically where ive been. Thinking..ok..someone will think this is neat sure but does anyone else here actually DO THIS? Feel free to post more stuff. I might be down to do a trade sometime i only have stuff ive bent.


I'll be posting some more things here shortly just digging thru videos and photos to find the right stuff.
Welcome to the soon to be nerdiest thread on stp hahaha
 

MetalBryan

Pilgrim
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Hey that's great. I make "guitars" from spare parts and found objects. I've been exploring small-shop pedals trying to find something radically unique. I'm really into Earthquaker pedals but looking at the schematics I just don't have the ambition to replicate their designs. However, I am almost certainly interested in purchasing a really weird pedal or two from a fellow rambler. Send me a private message and we'll talk more.
 
OP
train in vain

train in vain

Rambler
Joined
Nov 15, 2009
Messages
386
Current Location
Out there
Hey that's great. I make "guitars" from spare parts and found objects. I've been exploring small-shop pedals trying to find something radically unique. I'm really into Earthquaker pedals but looking at the schematics I just don't have the ambition to replicate their designs. However, I am almost certainly interested in purchasing a really weird pedal or two from a fellow rambler. Send me a private message and we'll talk more.
Will do! Im actually really close to wrapping up prototype #1.
 
OP
train in vain

train in vain

Rambler
Joined
Nov 15, 2009
Messages
386
Current Location
Out there
Good lord I suck at soldering so I can't do any of this.
I figured out after years of having a hard time wiith soldering that im actually not bad but ive always had cheapo POS soldering irons. Home depot graciously "donated" me a weller station and now its a breeze haha.
 
OP
train in vain

train in vain

Rambler
Joined
Nov 15, 2009
Messages
386
Current Location
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I circuit bent this little soothing sounds machine and to my ears it is MUCH MORE SOOTHING now. Its more of a two hander..those two strips to either side are conacts to mess with the pitch so when you hold it your thumbs are perfectly positioned to go crazy and you can still mess with the knobs with your other fingers if you want. Added 3 leds from a broken string of xmas lights. Im all aboit reusing broken stuff whenever i can. They even come with a holder AND built in resistor. Lovely. Added a 1/4 output for maximum LOUD. Left to right the knobs are: pitch, filter or tone, feedback loop, distortion, master volume. The toggle switch is for high/super low pitch range on the knob and the middle position cuts the knob and you can just use the contacts to warp the sound and its silent if youre not making contact. The original volume knob works great in conjunction with the feedback and distortion. With the distortion cranked and the volume lowered it just fucks up the sound completely making it stutter and sound like its about to cut out and die. I added the master volume because when you turn up the distortion knob it also increases the overall volume which is ok through the built in speaker but if you use the output jack into an amp it gets LOUD. I tried for days to find a way to get this thing to glitch out and repeat button presses but i couldnt. Its one of my favorite bends when it works. You can turn anything into a tuneable sound.
This is probably the latest circuit bent device ive completed and it was months ago. I have BOXES of stuff to bend but my own circuits have taken over for now. 20190925_144705.jpg20190925_144708.jpg20190925_144718.jpg20190925_144735.jpg

Wont attach the video for some reason 🤷‍♂️
 

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