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Poll: Virtual DIY Workshop - Any Interest?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]

Do you think you would sign up, pay up, and participate?
I'd love to!! Would do my best to be involved
 47%  [ 9 ]
It really depends on the project. I've got lots of cool shit already.
 26%  [ 5 ]
Cool idea, but not really interested.
 21%  [ 4 ]
I don't know why you need to organize a big deal. Just build something people.
 0%  [ 0 ]
 5%  [ 1 ]
Total Votes : 19

Author Poll: Virtual DIY Workshop - Any Interest?
Muff Wiggler
So I've had this idea bouncing around, and it's got some logistical and philosophical hurdles to sort out, so I figured I would see what you guys think about this and maybe get your opinions on a few of the more difficult questions...

I've been thinking of trying to pull off something like a "Virtual DIY Workshop" here at the forum.

The way I figure it would work would be like this -

We would need a certain number of people committed, and willing to kick in the cost for their kit up front.

We work with some DIY Kit developer/enthusiast/promoter sort of person. I have a few people in mind to approach about this, I'm thinking people like Tom Bugs or maybe the Thingamagoop people would be really good.

(In fact, I hope he won't mind me mentioning it here, but Tom and I have discussed this idea, somewhat briefly... no commitments or anything, just tossing a couple of ideas around. I know Tom is a really busy guy and I don't want to pressure him or distract him from his excellent work)

So, our partner/leader in this comes up with a kit. I'm thinking this is a good opportunity to get people who normally do NOT pick up a soldering iron, to try their hand and see how fun it is. So the kit would have to be fairly simple for a beginner to tackle, and a somewhat fun and rewarding result. I really like seeing things like (again, Tom Bugs....) the guys who setup beginner workshops and make simple, getting started kits. The master builders don't need any help. Anyway....

Once the kits are ready, they get shipped to all the people in the workshop - to save our fearless leader the hassle, I would be willing to re-mail them to all the participants, so the kit developer only needs to send one big box to one place.

Once we know when the kits will be received, we all agree on a date. Perhaps a 2-day period, a weekend or something. Some time that we all set aside, and agree to do our builds during this period.

During this time, we can post on the forum about how our sessions are going, or perhaps we can do an IRC channel and meet there for realtime chat. Our kit developer/leader would be available to answer questions and provide guidance. Perhaps not full time, but if they could check in once in a while in case anyone gets stuck, that would sort of be the main point to the whole excercise...

of course we can all help each other, and of course if something happens so that one of our participants can't make it at the agreed date, at least there would be an archive of everyone's session, photos, questions, etc. available to help - and a bunch of people who had all built the same thing, who could answer questions.

I think it would be cool to have it a bare board kit, that was some sort of standalone thingy, with no enclosure. Then everyone could get creative to come up with different enclosures for the project, and it would be fun to see all the pics.

Finally, I don't think it would have to be some 'pro' type person like Tom to lead this - we have some guys here with amazing DIY skills and experience who could lead this. The big thing would be selecting a project, getting together kit bags with parts, etc. I think for that sort of logistical part it makes more sense for someone who has boards and parts and experience kitting people for their very first project.

And I think the project choice would pose some tricky problems - that's the main area I'd like feedback on. It has to be simple enough a beginner won't be scared to participate, but cool enough that there will be appeal for lots of people to want to build one, even if it isn't the toughest project for the more experienced guys. And something standalone like a Weevil or a Thingamagoop or Atari Punk Console are probably all good choices, being farily simple and pretty damn fun.

Just some ideas. What do you guys think?
If it's a BugBrand design and it isn't too much money, I'm definitely in.
I'm in. In fact, I think we could even up the ante a bit here. The Mims 555/556 circuit is such a classic, and so simple, that we could even make a rack-mountable version to go in our modulars - we all have a +12 or +15 volt power source, right? SlayerBadger!

I would be willing to do the parts sourcing - something small that can be breadboarded and we're up and running.

In fact, I welcome the opportunity to perhaps even do some panel work!
It really comes down to the complexity and function of the project. I've built & repaired tons of stuff so beginner stuff would not interest me unless it involved some theory and true Electrical Engineering buggery.

If the project is more complex and/or very friggin' cool (Klee Seq., X0XB0X, or more) then I'd be interested. I like the theory and decision making process as well. Why certain things were chosen; values of parts, etc.
I am more into the design aspects of it. I am *not* a diy champ, in fact, I would call myself a n00b, since all my bending expertise is several years in the past.

How about a joint venture to actually *design* something, perhaps?
I think it is a great idea, and would definitely want to do it.
BUT it does depend on the project.

Designing something new for this would kick ass, but I am not skilled enough to be of any help in that area. Something that is only available through this forum would really make it special.

We could also do something that is already available as a pcb and component kit. Maybe one of Ian Fritz's designs?
Maybe a component kit for the SN Voice?

Or maybe one of our manufacturers could chime in and offer something up as a kit. FSS - decade counter?
Polivoks filter clone? Wasp filter clone? Something with tubes? Cthulhu twisted MY ASS IS BLEEDING
Muff Wiggler
thanks for the replies so far, all really good! something with tubes would be really fun, but would up the complexity for power sources...

while the idea of doing an XoXb0x or something serious like that would be great..... i think the complexity and time requirements of that would make it impossible to attract absolute beginners. I don't think x0xbox is a good idea as a 'first project' for someone! same with designing a circuit - that's an amazing idea, that didn't occur to me - but like the xoxb0x it is something requiring enough skill that i don't think anyone would take their first stab at soldering. i really think the people that can build stuff like that, for the most part already do. i'm really thinking of something that could be completed in a few hours, best for the beginner...

a module would be cool....but would automatically remove anyone without a modular, or the wrong format modular...or unwilling to pay up for a front panel to be produced etc..

555 timer projects are probably a perfect starting place.

anyway just my thoughts - of course if the majority of people want to do something else and up the complexity, maybe that's how it'll end up going!

thanks guys
bugbrand sounds like a fun idea, it would be great to have something that runs on 12v so it can be integrated in to the modular, or at least have some kind of cv control...

another retailer i can recommend from my experience as being a part of VICMOD. one of the cool things there is if peeps want to go different formats then he usually has the panther series kits (euro) and also sells full component kits for a lot of the CGS boards.

for beginners the panther series are great- starting with the utility LFO or something easy, another is
but any of the suggestions above are super!

this'll be fun fun fun hyper
Yeah I'm down, I really like the idea of some kind of real-time chat as well.

Am I high, or do I vaguely remember a phpBB plugin that allowed for embedded chat? It's friday and my fried brain might be just making that up.

I think it would be important, as you mentioned, that the chat be archived for those that missed it.

This sounds like a lot of fun! Excellent idea Muff!
I think this is cool, but I have niether the time or the money at the moment.
And I won't for an undeterminable amount of time confused

So I would have to vote, "I am interested, but can't commit to anything in the near future."
I'd love to but i'm afraid I may have trouble having time at the specified build time.

Between all the commitments I have and some of them I can't control the time, It may be hard. But, if not being at the session isn't that big of a deal i'd likely be in. w00t
i think it's a good idea. cost is an important issue though.
sounds good.

that bug crusher would be cool
Cat-A-Tonic wrote:
Designing something new for this would kick ass, but I am not skilled enough to be of any help in that area. Something that is only available through this forum would really make it special.
I think a 555-based mini-kit would be lovely, however I would not want to pay to include a "developer" in this, especially if we'd be paying someone for a 555 timer project, which is as close to open source as you're gonna get.

I just checked, and the 556 is just 0.40€ - making the most expensive thing on one of these 555/556 critters the pots, at 0.67€.

Front panels don't need to be expensive. In fact, they can be made from scrap aluminium, or bought as blanking panels for 2.60€ at Reichelt.
I just checked, and the 556 is just 0.40€ - making the most expensive thing on one of these 555/556 critters the pots, at 0.67€.

Eyehue, don't you have a Thomas Henry 556 Oscillator that you built?
What's the skinny on that?
I'm down! I say we do this... would be the bomb! I'm casting my vote for a module tho. Euro or Frac.
Cat-A-Tonic wrote:
Eyehue, don't you have a Thomas Henry 556 Oscillator that you built?
What's the skinny on that?

it's the 566 VCO. A 566 is pretty rare, but definitely sounds WAY better than a 556 which is simply two 555s in one chip.

566 is one of the "great" synth chips. no longer made and usually about $8-11 USD.

the Thomas Henry 566 VCO is once of the coolest VCOs i have used, has its own noise source and square divisions in the design.
we could also flip this thing on its head, and do a joint Danelectro Fab Echo bend+modular mount!

The Fab Echo is just about the cheapest guitar pedal available (it's around 20 euro here, new) yet it's ripe with good bends. And we could all use some more effects, right?
Huh...this would be quite interesting actually...making it rackmount would be very cool.

wetterberg wrote:
we could also flip this thing on its head, and do a joint Danelectro Fab Echo bend+modular mount!

The Fab Echo is just about the cheapest guitar pedal available (it's around 20 euro here, new) yet it's ripe with good bends. And we could all use some more effects, right?
here is a noise box kit>>
(go to 'emd', then 'malfunctionator').

This was my first kit build of any kind. It's a good kit, and a fun noise box. really fun as a mod source in your modular. runs off 9V battery or adapter. 3 square osc, 3 lfo, 3 volume. each osc amp-modulates each other.....or something.

He is a nice guy. Probably couldn't do huuge numbers of kits though.

also check the VCM page for modular kits. I just completed his first filter. I can only compare it to the blacet dual filter though. It's not as raw as the dual. it's certainly useful in my limited setup, but I'm not blown away by it. lots of cv options (3 for freq, one for res) LP,BP,HP outs.

seriously considering the borg or boogie frac...
Soy Sos
I'd like to try and build something that wouldn't be too hard.
Buuuut.......would be something super cool that I don't have
and could put in my modular. How's that for specific?
Chuck E. Jesus
i'm into the idea, voted "depends" problem is the encloser, i really have no idea where to start with that...i'd like to have something for modular as well, couldn't the power differences be handled with a couple resistors or something? instead of a pro front panel i'd be happy mounting it on a blank and labeling it however...

either way i'm interested...
Chuck E. Jesus
oh, one other thing: parts procurement... would all parts be included, or would we be on our own?
The kit I've discussed with Muff is detailed a bit here:

I'll be putting out a few complete kits in the next few weeks - I've just received a stack of boards but need to gather together all the components (quite a time consuming job! and I'm off for a week shortly).

Its often quite good to get a complete parts kit, especially for a first project - just finding where and what to get can be a massive struggle when starting out - some big companies offer so many variants of components that it can be hard to figure which bit may be right (which leads to $$loss and disappointment!).

So, these kits, which I've used now for a couple of workshops (4 hour sessions where everyone has successfully finished their own one within the time - mostly people with zero electronics/soldering experience and getting their machines working first time!). I begin with a quite quick ride through the parts of the circuit + there's a handout with details of each part of the circuit.

Each part? - that's three oscs (shows how to build the simple 40106 oscs) + sync, three channel mixer and comparator, cmos overdrive and output on line or with onboard mini-amp. Oh, plus circuit bends - 13 touch points and power starvation for the oscs.

- note that this one has 'deluxe' dials while the kits come with ones like on my little PWeevils
- note2 - the new boards have silk-screen on them making parts placement easier

As far as designing other things goes - well, time is a constraint for one..
But - some general thoughts:

One-board-synth -- doing away with the enclosure and getting everything mounted on the board was an absolute must for this (for making a quick and easy workshop) - it is usual in building for the enclosure and mounting to take loads longer than the actual circuit soldering. One major reason I haven't done any other kits is that of enclosures - my designs have tended to be very specific to what parts/cases I can get - specifically so that I can make things with minimal off-board wiring.

Modular stuff -- well, who knows at the moment... It'd be hard to know where to start. Design for my own needs takes ages, so designing something for more general consumption could take forever!! Would be interesting to hear though. Sheesh, there are so many different 'standards' about!

Are people more interested in modular stuff or things standalone?

(enough babble!)
I'm really keen on getting something that can integrate into a modular system.

that means - for me:

1) cv inputs. needs them, otherwise it's just another noisebox (which we love too)

2) mountable. Otherwise it's just another fancy case to lug around. This also means a power input that can be fashioned to accept our +12v/+15v
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