Simple DIY Guitar Stompbox Demo: Seeing is Believing; Be Hear Now (pun!)

A reader recently asked for audio samples of a few projects from my first book, so I made this quick lil video:

(Daaaaamn does that fuzz tone wail—and it’s literally ~$5 in parts!)

You might need headphones to hear the detail on the straight tremolo, but the throb becomes really pronounced at the end when I chain the two effects together.

In the process of uploading that demo video, I stumbled across this guy’s build of the Single-Chip Space Invader synth from my most recent book.  Oh, man, do I love that Star Wars lunchbox he used as a case! So rad!

Any of this look rad?  You can download a “jam pack” of complete projects drawn from both books. Click here now to get your free Junkyard Jam Pack PDF!

Rule the Season: Make Fancy Booze to Give to Your Friends!

Once again it’s that very special2012-11-14-12.10.49-768x583 time of year when I remind you that it’s hella easy to make your own booze, appropriate for gift-giving or general drunkification. (That link goes to my time-tested E-Z DIY Limoncello recipe; make it now, give it during Xmas/Xanukah week, get super-popular in the Dark Days of the Unconquered Son/Sun)

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Print-n-Snip Boomerang Template

boomerangs-sm.pngThis PDF includes templates for three boomerangs: a scaled down version of the quad-blade fast-catch boomerang in Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred, plus two new tri-bladers). Each fits on a single sheet of standard 8.5-by-11 paper (and, as a bonus, each of these designs scales pretty well; if you have access to a printer that can handle bigger paper, then you can scale these up and make bigger boomerangs).

To use the Print-n-Snip Boomerang Template:

  1. Print out the boomerang that catches your eye (slightly heavier paper—like resume stock—makes for a slightly easier to trace template)
  2. Trace the design onto light-weight cardboard (such as poster board, a cereal box, a Krispy Kreme donut box, etc.)
  3. Carefully cut it out
  4. Crimp the quarter-line on each blade (as described in step 7 of Project 18 in the book)
  5. Tune and throw!

If you come up with a boomerang design you like and want to add it to the template, drop me a line! (My email is in the “About the Author” box.)

“Circuit Snippets” by T. Escobedo

If you have a little soldering experience–including building any of the electonics projects in Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred–then you’re ready for T. Escobedo’s “Circuit Snippets.” This document includes several dozen sound circuits (largely guitar effects, although they work with any sort of instrument you can plug into an amp), which range from the relatively common (e.g., distortion pedals, phasers, envelope followers, pre-amps, auto-wahs) to uncategorizable strangenesses. In terms of quality, many of these sound as good as mass-market stompboxes at one-tenth the price.
(The Synthstick entry has a bit more about Escobedo’s FolkUrban website, but the short story is that it was really cool, had lots of great designs for different instruments, and disappeared with GeoCities in October 2009. I saved PDFs of “Circuit Snippets” and the Synthstick, but many other Escobedo fans have done a much better job of archiving than I did, scooping up all of the audio samples, too. The “Circuit Snippets” mirror at Guitar HQ UK is one such faithful recreation of the old GeoCities page.)
“Circuit Snippets” by T. Escobedo

“The Synthstick” by T. Escobedo

For years, Tim Escobedo maintained the excellent FolkUrban website, which featured a wide array of instruments–both traditional and electronic–cunningly made from cheap, common supplies (lots of PVC and tupperware, grocery sacks, etc.) His projects were a huge influence, and served as invaluable templates to my tinkering; the synthstick was the first synth I ever built, and its VCO (the core noise-making circuit) found its way into many of my projects, as well as those built by my students (sharp eyes will see something very similar nestled at the heart of the Cigar Box Synth, Project 17).
GeoCities evaporated in October 2009, and Escobedo’s entire site with it. I archived the Synthstick and his collection of Circuit Snippets as PDFs, but these don’t include any of the audio examples. Happily, I’ve discovered that many other tinkerers loved Escobedo’s site as much as I did, and archived various chunks; Googling for “T. Escobedo” is a good place to start.
“The Synthstick” by T. Escobedo

“Making PVC Didgeridoos” by Steven L. Sachs

For years, Steven L. Sachs maintained a great page on didgeridoos. It largely concerned making PVC didges like the Electro-Didgeridoo (Project 11 in the book), but also offered info on modifying lower-cost store-bought bamboo and teak didges into instruments that, sonically, could often pass for their genuine (and expensive) eucalyptus cousins. When GeoCities folded in October 2009, it took Steven’s site with it. I’ve archived a PDF of his page, and humbly offer it here:
“Making PVC Didgeridoos” by Steven L. Sachs

FREE SAMPLE: Build, tune, and throw cardboard boomerangs

Learn to make, tune, throw, and catch two different cardboard boomerangs in this FREE SAMPLE from Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred:


PROJECT 18: Cardboard Boomerangs

Generations of American children wrongly grow to believe that building and throwing boomerangs is very difficult. This flies in the face of reason: Using less-than-ideal materials, human beings have been building, throwing, and catching returning boomerangs for more than 11,600 years. . . . They are, in fact, among humanity’s longest-standing ways of showing off. . . .

Boomerangs are absurdly easy to make; the real trick is in tuning and throwing them (all of which I cover in detail in this free sample). With the aid of the Print-n-Snip Templates (link below; includes two new tri-blade designs!) this is a great all-ages project: I’ve had a blast running boomerang workshops with teens and adults at sci-fi conventions, middle-aged family guys drinking beer, and dozens of elementary schoolers on the verge of Snow Day Insanity.

Dave-o Demoing the $10 Electric Guitar at Maker Faire Detroit

David | Flickr – Photo Sharing!
(Warning, I flub the riff pretty terribly when I play it the second time, with the fuzztone engaged.)

You can build one of these, too; it’s Project 13 in Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred: Seriously Geeky Stuff to Make with Your Kids (save 35% if you use the coupon code MAKEMORE when you order; good ’til Xmas).

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