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Diary Poem 12-19-08

December 20th, 2008
getting wristbanded
any longer the bouncers
I got a pink chose not to stay project
from places on two posters for the red
coming out of a 159.
with those parts
your body that were band
my marked up, stamped, or I bowled
a new hopping intention
and I mouth of an antler-be
where you gon that
verified by bingo dot, only
I also drew snake tongues
at the end of the night
you wouldn’t stay tag
club the animal of some sort

For more about this poetry format, look here, where it started.

Solder on PCB

June 5th, 2008

When I got home today, I went to get my mail and there was a blank circuit board in there from General Guitar Gadgets! (I built a looping pedal way back when, and decided to do the point-to-point soldering myself. Then the project didn’t work. So I ordered a printed board for it.)

Soldering can have quite a calming effect–watching as a board gets populated with components and forcing yourself to be patient. It was a nice surprise–I forgot that I ordered it!

I never want to build circuits on perfboard again! Of course for one-offs its practical, but it was so easy rebuilding the looper on the PCB. The solder just glides effortlessly onto the copper, and it didn’t fall apart every time I heated up a lead. I shouldn’t talk because I haven’t tested it yet…

My Cheap Rackmounting Idea

April 25th, 2008

One of the most expensive parts of any project is the case, often the most expensive. I read somewhere about using metal studs to make enclosures for pedals, and that got me thinking. I went and got some supplies today and threw this together. Its a new housing for my headphone splitter (which will eventually house other things too since there’s plenty of room.)

Cheap Rackmount
I bought a blank rackspace panel from Guitar Center for $6.49. They’re meant to just cover up empty spaces in your rack, but that’s kind of silly. I got some machine screws and nuts, and drilled the two holes in the panel, and two holes in a 17″ section of aluminum stud and bolted them together. Studs are a couple bucks per 8′ section, so this is totally the cheap way to go for simple projects.
Cheap Rackmount
Then I drilled more holes to mount the jacks and the switch. This got frustrating with my cordless drill because those panels are 1/8″ steel. I need a drill press. I also should have drilled all the holes and then bolted the panel to the stud, because a bunch of burr got caught in the middle.
Cheap Rackmount
I drilled a little too high for the input jack. I had to snip a little piece so the jack wouldn’t short out. The whole enclosure acts as ground for the circuit.
Cheap Rackmount
Installed. Nice blank mystery box. Obviously this only works for projects that don’t take up much space, and that aren’t heavy, but “real” rackmount enclosures start around $60 last I checked.

Another Looper Project

April 25th, 2008

I can’t get shit off my mind tonight. I entered that place in my head where I just start navigating the same paths over and over again, getting nowhere. I decided to start soldering. I found the project here. It’s a looper that uses these little voice recorder toys. You take them apart and wire them up to a simple mixer circuit and 5v power supply. I’m building a case out of a piece of aluminum 2×4 stud.

Here’s the board I made tonight, making up the power supply and mixer circuits. A 9v battery powers the mixer and a 5v regulator, which powers the toys. There will be all kinds of offboard wiring going from this board to the toys and all the pots and switches. I built the mixer on a breadboard this morning, and it works. I have some other ideas I want to try with it. One of them involved housing my old DOD distortion pedal in a new case along with a feedback loop device I built, and I could add the mixer circuit to it to blend in the dry signal.

This is one of the toys still in the packaging. They’re fun. Get them at Target for 6.99, even if you don’t circuit-bend. You can warp the speed of whatever you record. Currently this one makes a high squealy cat noise I made in the car after buying these.

DIY Headphone Splitter Project

March 24th, 2008

I completed a simple project today. I needed a headphone splitter, mainly because I use a set of headphones that are attached to a long home-made cable, so that I can record in the kitchen, or the other side of the room etc. It gets a little messy dragging that long cord with you when you go back to the board to do rough mixes and whatnot. With a splitter, I can keep one pair of phones by the board while the other is free to roam. Also, in case I ever record with another person it would be helpful if we could both hear the mix! So yesterday I found these simple instructions for a passive headphone splitter. Not a distribution amplifier, which I would like, but they’re more complicated. You don’t get any gain and there’s no volume controls or anything, but it’ll work. I went to RadioShack for the parts and threw it together this afternoon.

Front and Back with the components installed. I used a metal plate that I got at AxMan (Surplus store) when I realized that the box I bought was too small to house jacks and those huge resistors. Everything is just open in the back. The resistors are non-inductive 8-ohm 20W, and I used hot glue to hold them in place.

I used a switch to cut the ground coming from output 2, as an on/off. It doesn’t work, presumably because I didn’t fully insulate the jack from the metal plate. I think I need a DPDT switch to cut the signal from each channel rather than cutting the ground.

Here’s the wiring. Pretty simple. I still managed to fuck it up, however.

I installed the thing under a shelf, which is where my monitor will be when I get it.

There it is hooked up. I tried it out just checking into the mic, but have yet to record with it. It seems like it’ll do what it’s supposed to.

I have yet to finish any complicated projects, but I really enjoy drilling holes, soldering and designing the layout and housing and everything. For this I used regular old silver paint marker. I like it.

The other thing about this project is that if I need to (or want to) I can keep expanding it pretty easily if for more outputs. I have several of those black plates from AxMan!