Electronics: 2019 in Review
For a little over a year, I’ve been going pretty steadily at electronic devices: trying to understand them, create them, and deconstruct them. I now know so much more than when I started, though I have exponentially more yet to comprehend. Here’s a selective review of the things I’ve been doing. It’s fun to look back before continuing forward.
Around this time last year, I had just figured out how to make Schmitt Trigger-based square wave oscillators. I was also beginning to see raw materials in the form of discarded everyday objects. Repurposing other things quickly became almost as much fun as making interesting noises.
I was also trying to come up with keyboard mechanisms like this one (above), which contains a minimal voltage divider circuit.
This led, eventually, to my own take on a modular system.
By February, I felt confident enough to try sending out Gerber files for fabrication. This remains one of the absolutely most fun parts of designing electronic things. It makes a hobby-level project feel real.
While working on one after another project, I was blessed with a huge collection of vintage parts and components from my Dad. He also helped me get a Lowrey organ into my tiny little house. I’ve taken almost everything apart by now – to study the designs and to scrap for useful components.
By August, I was refining everything I’d been learning and starting to make ever-increasingly sophisticated devices, like this (above), which became a self-contained multi-oscillator synthesizer with a 4-channel mixer and a few rudimentary built-in effect options.
As Fall approached, I was capturing samples and creating ambient audio, music, and this (pictured) soundfont.
Through November, I returned to the keyboard challenge… How best to control DIY noisemakers? This, alongside some preliminary “branding” ideas. Much of the work begun in the late Fall continues at the time of this writing.
My projects continue to evolve, though I am waiting until the holiday fun settles down before starting a new notebook and trying to settle on my next electronics focus.