Custom Hardware

The Octapol, a Flower Conservatory, and WTF?

I came across this great DIY midi controller by Flickr user Mikest

In addition to having a great aesthetic appeal the prototype for the LED ring digital encoders is bitchin’. Hats’s off to Mikest.

Just as an additional observation, usually when i find a flickr user with some cool audio/midi/synth stuff i like to look at all their images. More often than not you can get an idea what the person is into, their hobbies, personality. While browsing Mikest’s pictures this is what I cam across. So I get it, I can see what the flowers resemble, and it appeals to me. But what I think is really awesome is that one image wasn’t enough… another, zoomed in version was necessary.

Jörgen Bergfors and the BERGFOTRON

The Bergfotron is the masterpiece of Jörgen Bergfors, an exceptionally gifted member of the Swedish Analogue Sympathists mailing list (SAS). Jörgen has been creating modules, enclosures, PCBs, and all things synth DIY for over thirty years and believe me it shows. I don’t think any description fits his skill set better than ‘Master’. He is simply one of the best.

The Bergfotron site has tons of pictures detailing every coceivable aspect of his process. He hand makes the actual panels with mounting studs and graphics… The attention to detail is truly above and beyond.

He covers theory and actual practice, has schematics, circuit board layouts, procedural details and covers just about every aspect of the process in his writings. One thing he doesn’t have though is a well laid out web-site so navigating and finding everything isn’t always that clear. But really, who cares.

Here are a couple examples of his work… they speak for themselves. I definitely encourage you to take a look at his site. I’m of the opinion that regardless of what you’re doing DIY related you can get some tips from him on how to master your craft. If his pictures of his work don’t convince you then what are you doing reading this?


Jürgen Haible – Tau Pipe Flanger

Jürgen Haible from Germany redesigned the Tau Pipe flanger and documented the test and build in great detail at his site

His site has more information than you could ask for when it comes to synth and audio effects DIY.  He includes schematics, block diagrams, design and test notes, high resolution pictures, mp3s, external links to resources, formula calculators, spreadsheets, etc.   He does this for over 25 projects.  It’s truly impressive.  Take a look at the images of his Tau Flanger/Phaser redesign…

Tau Flanger/Phaser Redesign by Jurgen Haible

Tau flanger/phaser redesign by Jurgen Haible

Ryan BoCook – Synth DIY and A Victoreen Geiger Counter

I happened across Ryan’s excellent DIY synth and immediately recognized the housing he used for it.  It’s a Victoreen Radiological Survey meter.  You can find these in abundance on eBay for pretty cheap (which is exactly what I did).  Hats off to Ryan on this really cool modification.  You can find images and more about Ryan on his site

Ryan Bocook - Victoreen Synth

Peruvian DIY Audio

I’ve been on a Flickr kick today and came across this fantastic shot of stacks of custom made audio equipment in Lima Peru.  Thanks to Flickr user s8 for the post!

Custom Audio in Lima Peru


Flickr user FoToopa just blew my mind.  Their DIY, laser triggered, multi-flash photo set-up for taking hi resolution macro photographs of water droplets is absolutely awesome.  I figured since they use a speaker to control the water droplet output it qualifies as DIY-audio related and deserves posting.  Take a look at the setup:

Waterfigures DIY Setup by FoToopa

FoToopa writes,

Setup for waterfigures. The upper speaker is the dropcontroller. This dropper give a second drop via an audio waveform on the speaker. Control of this timing via a second laser detector just under the dropper. Multiple flashes are used, 5 max for the forground, one for the background. Background can be changed via a colored A3 paper. Different tools can be added, a color injector stay more on the foreground and is controlled via a magnet drive system. This color injector can inject a few paint drops into a falling drop to merge and to form multiple gradiend colors on the splash. On the bottom a second speaker system is used for the waterfigures. Splashes and waterfigures and color injection can be merge together. On the leftside stay a projectiel tool to fire a small iron item through the falling droplet. Ofcourse all this parts are homemade including the hardware controller ( not to seen into this picture). The camera is the D200 nikon driven also by the controller. 2 lasers are used for detection to give the controller the information for all delay’s and timings. All timings are digital at a resolution of 1 to 100 usec at 4 digit/ delay unit. Delays are entred via the keyboard but preset by poweron at the best default time. Some values are drive by 2 rotary encorders to change fast the value.

And then take a look at the results…  Amazing.

Waterfigures by FoToopa

Anita’s Punk Console

From Flickr user Ruidotronics… the APC (Anita’s Punk Console):

Anita's Punk Console

USB Power For Your Car

My friend Larry referred me to this great idea on Instructables from user Rosenberger31… a DIY usb power outlet for your car.   There’s no need to repeat the details here as Instructables stands alone as one of the best DIY sites out there.   I will say this though, I’d love to see this in a Lotus Exige S 260 instead of a Prius.

A USB power outlet on it’s own may not make music but it will make it a lot easier to hook up a few of these and pipe them into your auxilary in.

Living VCO

I don’t know much about this one except what is written on Matrixsynth

Living VCO

This one in via John L. Rice. It’s a Living VCO made by Peter:

“I’m not a MOTMer & I make my own panels, so I don’t have much to add to this debate. I did however finish wiring my Living VCO module today. Its still on the bench being checked over and is not integrated into my system yet but is looking and sounding good so far.

I managed a FRAC format panel design that has all the stock features and fits pretty comfortably (for me) on a 5U frac panel.

Here’s a pic of the module taken some time ago before beginning wiring.

You can get the original post here:

Rare Beasts – Wicks Looper Acid Mix

Rare Beasts is out of Australia and they make a small unique selection of great handmade effects-processors/audio noise machines. Definitely take a look at their custom gear at their Etsy shop. The most recent release is a great little sampler/looper/noise generator called The Wicks Looper – Acid Mix.

From Rare Beasts’ Etsy site:

The Wicks Looper has 3 main controls; The frequency control adjusts the frequency of the noise, the first half of the range is tame, the 2nd half is uncut noise. The second control is Speed, which controls how fast the loop is played. The right hand side of this control plays the loop, forwards, turn the control to the left and the loop will play in reverse. Write the loop at a slow tempo then speed it up and reverse it, for a great effect. The third control is the write button, when pressed it writes a sound to memory which is then replayed next time the loop is run. With the Freq control knob adjusted anticlockwise, you can add a rest to the loop by pressing the Write button.

Wicks Looper Acid Mix

The video says it all… simple and cool.