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Beginners Kit - getting into building
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Fractional Rack Modules  
Author Beginners Kit - getting into building
I've been thinking about trying my hand at building; thought I'd start with a Blacet kit or two and then move onto more DIY stuff.

Blacet recommend the Mixer/Splitters as a good starting point. I was also considering the Micro LFO just cos I could use an extra LFO...
I am also about to buy a Mixer/Processor... but I reckon that might be a bit steep for a first kit, so will prob go for the finished module.

Havent done much soldering since a small bout of circuit bending a few years back!

Any advice much appreciated. My current goal is to get good enough to build the tau pipe phaser from bridechamber in Frac format!
The Mixer Processor is easy. I am building it now and most of the other Blacets I have built were more difficult. Though the instructions make it all pretty straightforward. Once you get familiar with the Blacet style you will want to do all of them as kits. Or at least that is how I feel.
I also have a Tau board and parts on my "to be built" pile.
Jump right in and enjoy. Especially if you already have experience with circuit bending; this will be a walk in the park.
Don't be afraid of troubleshooting or asking questions.
Between John, the Blacet list, and this forum you have a ton of resources to help you out should you need it.
Here's a few tips

--> Common rookie mistake it to turn the temp of the iron to high. You should be at about 300 Celsius - 572 Fahrenheit. If the solder smokes when you touch it to the iron then the iron is too hot. The smoke is all of your flux burning.

--> You don't need separate flux. The solder you are using is either so old that it is poisonous (in which case you have better things to worry about) or has flux embedded in it.

--> The lead you are trying to solder, the solder and the iron tip should all meet when you solder. Do not try to blob solder onto the iron and then transfer the iron from the blob to the lead.

--> Use less solder - No idea how much you use but it is a common mistake to try to use solder as glue and pile it on. Solders not glue - don't focus on whether the part is stuck down. Make sure that the track is connected to the part and that there is no short circuits.

--> it's MUCH harder to remove stuff than to just get it right in the first place. Check, check and check again.

--> Keep you soldering iron's tip clean. A damp (not wet) sponge works well. If your tip has gone black and doesn't look like it's coming back push it into some soft wood. You are going to wreck the wood - so pick wisely.

And remember. Keep calm (maybe it's just me but I often feel like breaking my iron in half) - if something goes wrong, just walk away. It's going to be a LOT easier to fix tomorrow.
Thanks guys,

Just sent an email to order the Mixer/Proessor kit... !
I've been putting DIY stuff off as I'm already battling to find time for actually making music, but there is something constructing your instruments at a deeper level that is really appealing.. esp to get into modding/creating stuff to suit your needs and ideas.
i would've gone with mixer/splitter, mult, lfo or dual vca for the first build but i just recently blogged about building the M/X. i suggest you have a look see as the manual is a bit off imo: ocessor.html
Roycie Roller
Invest in quality tools, in particular a quality soldering iron such as the Weller WTCPT.
Check out forum member Kwote's build blog on his website. It has a list of tools of the trade & is really well written with some handy tips and troubleshooting.
It might be worth getting several Blacet kits in one go, ranging from the mix/split & micro lfo, through to more challenging ones like the EG1. Do them consecutively rather than one a month, & that way your skills won't go rusty.
There's heaps of people here who are DIY'ing modules, and would be more than happy to offer advice along the way.
you will certainly want to get a base set of quality tools which will make your life far, far easier. i basically took all of paul/synthtech's recommendations for tools (in the motm manual) and ive been very happy. my central kit is the weller WTCPT with 700 degree tips. i think kwote's pretty much got all the same equipment -- details are on his blog so you should check it out.

make sure you get a decent digital multimeter--i cant stress this enough. dont bother with an analog will need to make precise measurements in some cases. mine is not too fancy but ive managed to find a use for all of its functionality-- continuity checking, measuring resistance, measuring voltage (AC and DC), and it also has a little transistor tester up in the corner too (this was really helpful in optimally building the x0xb0x). the one thing my DMM does not have is a frequency counter, which might be useful but ive never needed it.

the only tool that i dont find myself using much is my panavise. it was good for a couple things but ultimately not as valuable as i thought it would be. i stuff my board with like-height parts, then put a piece of antistatic foam on top, flip it over (holds the parts in place), then solder.

the one thing i always wish i had but have never purchased is a desk-mount magnifying lamp. im always peering through a tiny 10x loupe to read those stupidly tiny letters/numbers on parts.
werd. i think my magnifying glass sucks worse than yours lol
Anyone tried building the I/O? I may build that one.
sgnhh wrote:
Anyone tried building the I/O? I may build that one.

nope but it seems simple enough. go for it. it's a cool module. one of the first i bought. way before i was diying things.
i just finished building an I/O a couple of hours ago. it wasn't too difficult to build. it took a few hours to stuff the board and wire everything up. don't know if i'd recommend it as a first build though.
johnnymad wrote:
i just finished building an I/O a couple of hours ago. it wasn't too difficult to build. it took a few hours to stuff the board and wire everything up. don't know if i'd recommend it as a first build though.

not a first build. but not far from it.
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