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3D vactrol enclosure
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY  
Author 3D vactrol enclosure
flab
so yeah , I saw Andrew's post at his block about diy vactrol enclosures that he found , http://nonlinearcircuits.blogspot.gr/2015/08/diy-vactrols.html , and I said i have to make a 3D model, so yeah here it is , all measurements are taken from datasheets and doublechecked with a caliper .

I ll try next week, that i will be close to a 3D printer to make some clones/prototypes !

SINGLE & DOUBLE-VACTROL enclosures

anyway , it is a bit bizzare , I know -
I will post some updates with a 3D model here in a week or two (I could print to people for a cost price when are going to be set) ,
so if any of you is interested can pm or just post here .


check 3d renders and drawings!


Download here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1H-8ylSdeVEUQexxnP0OT8sVGOxxDNqvQ/view  ?usp=drivesdk Rockin' Banana!
windspirit
I was actually planning on making some designs like this. Kudos for releasing them!
andrewF
They look great.

For anybody wondering, there is nothing more inside a vactrol than a LDR and LED.
Pricewise they are actually a complete rip-off; 5c worth of components and a glob of resin for over $10 d'oh!
These DIY versions work just as well. Of course you need to track down LDRs to suit your needs. Plenty on ebay for a few cents each.
nigel
andrewF wrote:
Of course you need to track down LDRs to suit your needs. Plenty on ebay for a few cents each.

Tayda have them. I used them for home-made dual vactrols for Fonik's mh21 triple vactrol resonator kit recently, they seemed to work OK.
Oh, and the enclosures look good! Nice work.
flab
GL5549,GL5516,GL5537 ,GL5528 depends on resistance of every type ,and color of the led. you can get hundreds from china
falafelbiels
Oooh and I was sitting between a bunch of printers today thinking what the hell useful can you make with these things seriously, i just don't get it


BRING THE STLs!!!

hyper
sammy123
Nice. I'm glad I didn't get in on that group buy. Vactrols are a ripoff. I'd order a bunch of these.
Sandrine
I've always made my vactrols, using a flat top 3.5mm LED and standard good quality CDS cell (LDR) which meets the off requirements.
Mate these with a touch of glue inside 2 layers of heat shrink tubing.

Recently I've been designing vactrols into 2 stacked boards which have black foam rubber with holes punched out between.
The LED is a flipped 603 SMD white,shining through a hole into the "hole" and the CDS Cell is on the other board facing it.


I've used as many as 16 on a tiny board 3.5" x 1.5" and they work great.
This one has 12. Note that the LEDS and holes must be covered with black paint so they can't reflect off stuff or stray light get in.


ac
Wow, what a board
av500
Sandrine which LDRs do you use?
TimoRozendal
great work flab!
Jarno
Looks pretty good, will need to give this a try myself.

With regard to pricing of vactrols, IMHO you're not so much paying for the assembly of the vactrol, but more for the binning of the LDR's. Especially the double ones.
They need to go through all of those LDR's to test them, and out of every say, 1000 they make they can use maybe a few hundred which are falling in the tolerance ranges for on AND off resistance AND reaction times. If it were up to me, I'd sell the rest on as loose parts. And given that these are often without, or with a very wide range, I think that's what happens.
The loose ones I bought nearly always are a lot slower than VTL5C3.

Sandrine, that's pretty nifty as well! Can you properly solder those top-looker SMT LED's? How did you mount the LDR's, simply bury them in the foam?
Isaiah
I'm curious to see how these turn out.
My previous attempt to make DIY optocouplers with some black goop were pretty messy, and this would allow me to save my Vactrols for circuits that required a specific part.
Reality Checkpoint
I would very much like some of these!
TimoRozendal
btw, maybe these are also a an option to use, you can get them for cheap in large quantities (keywords: cord lock stopper barrel)

SoundPool
I was thinking the other day about trying out Sugru for this- just mush it over everything but make sure you don't block the two parts from each other. But Sugru isn't exactly cheap either. What seems like it might work best is to take the 3d model and make a mold to make a bunch of these at once.
flab
Hey guys ,

I am glad you like them ,

I am not an expert in circuit design and electronics - but I am building your(thanks),
but spatial design is a part of my job(kind of).

I myself have some VTL in stock ,
but I couldnt resist in designing our own.
What I say is that is not acceptable to design synths and buy the vactrols!

well that is my contribution to your help.

I just want to verify the design, that everything works and fits together well and i will open source them .
-So if you like to print your own.
-if not i could print you some .
Sandrine
av500 wrote:
Sandrine which LDRs do you use?


I'm not at home but I think they're 5539CDS (5 meg dark, but go higher after a few seconds)

Those rope locks are an intersting idea. would still need to heatshrink over them though
Jarno
Looking at the files again, you could try to make some snap features so top and bottom just snap together, no glue required.
I know that for printing yourself you cannot add any smallish features, but if you have them made at a company like Shapeways, using SLS you could think of a bump and an indent to snap the parts together.

For FDM, if you are printing yourself, I think the edge around the cover is already pretty thin, what kind of accuracy can you get with a filament printer?
flab
cheers for input jarno - well would be nice not to required glue, i think would be a tight fit ,strong enought to stay together . the Edge is pretty thin indeed. i made three types of prototypes to print and compare !i think minimum accuracy possible 1.75mm if not mistaken
windspirit
As someone who just made 120 vactrols by hand I would be ecstatic if all the work that I had to do to finish the vactrol was glue them together.
jaidee
Nice one flab! The inventiveness and ingenuity of people on this forum never ceases to amaze me.

Perhaps you could incorporate something (a dot or whatever) to indicate polarity of the LED (although I appreciate that generally the LED leads should be sufficient for this purpose unless/until they are cut to size).

Definitely would like to buy a batch of these.
jazzmonster
I will definitely be interested if you're making a run of them.
SoundPool
ok… I have resisted the idea of rolling my own for long enough. Seeing a bag of 1000LDRs for around 25 bucks on aliexpress there is no reason not to. although it would be nice to have semi-accurate ranges. is it more the ldr/led combo that affects that, or should I expect differing functional ranges within a single batch of LDRs from one manufacturer? If so having these not snap but still require glue I think would be an advantage- you could test the response of each combo getting it within the desired range before gluing the enclosure permanently closed- a bit more effort but would save a lot of otherwise wasted parts, and with the VTL option ending/eventually drying up for those more picky about specs it seems worth the effort.

also once a design is tested/finalized I would think there would be enough demand within the DIY community that you could easily get the plastic shell mass-manufactured and have it cheap enough that people would buy it in lots. If I knew I could get desired response ranges by rolling my own I'd certainly buy the shells in bulk if the price was right.
Grumskiz
falafelbiels wrote:

BRING THE STLs!!!

hyper


Seconded grin

Can anyone point me to a source of useful LDRs in Europe?
flab
I ll give the STL but i have to make some changes before i do that (i want it open), so next week i think. Also I am taking some prices from fab houses , havent found a good offer yet.

As soundpool said , the enclosures will not require glue , they will snap so you can find your prefered led/ldr response or re-use it.
well at list that is the plan

Jaidee i added a polarity mark
falafelbiels
w00t w00t w00t w00t w00t w00t w00t w00t w00t w00t

Ooooow I'll be putting those printers TO WORK!
synchromesh
Definitely highlights the need for a simple microcontroller-based vactrol tester/profiler. I wish I had time to design & build one... MY ASS IS BLEEDING
windspirit
flab wrote:
I ll give the STL but i have to make some changes before i do that (i want it open), so next week i think. Also I am taking some prices from fab houses , havent found a good offer yet.

As soundpool said , the enclosures will not require glue , they will snap so you can find your prefered led/ldr response or re-use it.
well at list that is the plan

Jaidee i added a polarity mark


If these snap together does that mean they will still be 3D printable?
falafelbiels
why not?
windspirit
Several people have told me that "snap together" requires a certain amount of accuracy that 3D printers may not be able to accommodate.
lowacid
Enjoy the show!
Grumskiz
As a 3D printer owner:
Yes, it is true press-fit/slide-in/push-fit solutions require good accuracy, but really that's mostly down to properly calibrating and using your printer. Also depending on how your printer is built some axes might be more prone to wobble than others. For example my printer (Prusa i3) moves the printing surface in Y direction. This sucks, because the printing surface is very large and moves around a lot. I wish it would only move it in Z direction, but unfortunately this is not an easy modification.
You might want to use slower travel speed. Also you can still use a file or even a drill after printing to get the parts to fit. Watch out to let the parts slowly and evenly cool down or they might warp.
In my experience holes in printed objects are usually too small, not too large.
Don't give up, if the first print fails smile
SoundPool
synchromesh wrote:
Definitely highlights the need for a simple microcontroller-based vactrol tester/profiler. I wish I had time to design & build one... MY ASS IS BLEEDING


this would be great! someone…? pleeeease?
flab
after some prototyping ,
we are in final staage i think ,
dual and single-
what do you thing?interested ?

(i will upload some better pictures later)
Grumskiz
Very nice grin
Can't wait to print and build some! I was planning to just use black PLA, but your red prototypes gave me the idea to try various LED colors or LDRs and use various plastic colors to match.

I have been pondering about what kinds of LEDs to use. A lot of LDRs seem to react best at wavelengths of around 600nm. So this means red, orange and yellow LEDs would be best? I have found tables, that match wavelengths with colors, differ greatly confused

Also what would be the best LED form factor to use? Does 3mm vs 5mm make a big difference? What about different cases, like a flat top LED? I suppose one should go for a bright and not a diffused LED.

Does anyone know whether there is a writeup out there describing the process of matching "vactrols" (or similar)? Or can one of you describe it to me? Maybe I can work on a matching circuit/device with the help of a local hackerspace...(not making any promises Dead Banana )
Jarno
Silonex Vactrols are used in the DIY Hifi "lightspeed" attenuator.
This guy sells matched vactrols, and goes a little into the process:
http://diyaudioprojects.com/Solid/DIY-Lightspeed-Passive-Attenuator/

WRT to LED's, I'd go for a large surface area, so 5mm LED. And there are LED's with a flat top, most of those are rectangular though.
nigel
Grumskiz wrote:
I have been pondering about what kinds of LEDs to use. A lot of LDRs seem to react best at wavelengths of around 600nm. So this means red, orange and yellow LEDs would be best? I have found tables, that match wavelengths with colors, differ greatly confused


You have to look at the whole spectrum - LEDs emit a (narrow) range of frequencies, and LDRs are sensitive to a (wider) range of frequencies. What's important is the total amount of overlap between the two ranges. I looked at this a while ago, and decided that high intensity red LEDs were probably best to use (with the LDRs that Tayda sells, I don't know about any others). The overlap with the orange LED spectrum was a bit wider, but the red LEDs were brighter overall. But all this was just done by looking at the graphs, not by actual testing, so I could be wrong.
Grumskiz
Thank you for the insights nigel!
I have ordered some LDRs, red LEDs and also orange LEDs from tayda to do some tests myself. I am also looking for other LDRs which offer a wider resistance range.


Also thanks to you Jarno. I've read through the matching process described on the site you linked. It only mentions applying a few different current values to the LEDs and looking for close resistance values. Unfortunately it doesn't mention any tolerances. (What is a close pair?)
Also this method does not seem to work well for measuring rise and fall time of the resistance or am I missing something?

Ideally I would like to have a device that does not just take sample values, but instead accurately plots a mA - resistance curve. But is this possible/useful or would it fail because of the inherent "lag" of the LDRs?
tarandfeathers
Grumskiz wrote:
Also thanks to you Jarno. I've read through the matching process described on the site you linked. It only mentions applying a few different current values to the LEDs and looking for close resistance values. Unfortunately it doesn't mention any tolerances. (What is a close pair?)


Tolerance required depends on your application. If you're using the resistance as passive level control element for example, and you want to use two of them for two channels which should be within +/-0.25dB of each other, then you'd need the resistances to be within about +/- 3% of each other for any given current input to the LED. But the tolerance required will vary greatly

Quote:
Also this method does not seem to work well for measuring rise and fall time of the resistance or am I missing something?


In the linked example, the rise/fall time is inconsequential for the application. The level will be set by the user and not changed during normal operation. If you want to change it, you can afford to wait for a second or two for the level to stabilise, because once you have it where you want it, all you care about is that the two channels are closely matched, so there is no need to test the rise/fall time in that instance.

Quote:
Ideally I would like to have a device that does not just take sample values, but instead accurately plots a mA - resistance curve.


If the couplers are closely matched at several static points, it is likely that they will be matched between those points as well. If they're matched at one point and way out at another, the curves probably wont match. Still doesn't guarantee they will behave the same way through time. I'd be looking for a match at the top and bottom resistance cutoff point, 10% from either end, and 50%. If these match, the curves will be matched. If you want to match the time you need to apply known currents to the LEDs instantaneously and measure the time taken for the resistance to stabilise to a known value once that current has been applied/removed. Again, what value you're looking for will vary depending on your application.
flab
here here

flab
and here



one more

Isaiah
Very impressive!
sonicwarrior
flab wrote:
what do you thing?interested ?

Depends on the costs (including P&P) for me.
andrewF
flab wrote:
I ll give the STL but i have to make some changes before i do that (i want it open), so next week i think. Also I am taking some prices from fab houses , havent found a good offer yet.


Not sure if Seeed will suit, they are cheap and reliable for PCBs. Their 3D printing service offers a few good options and you can share the project so others can order directly from Seeed (if you want to of course)
Anyway you can load the file and select specs to get an online quote -
http://www.seeedstudio.com/service/index.php?r=st/3d
jamsk
Cool project, glad to see it progressing. Vactrols have been the bane of my ordering and bank balance for some time now! thumbs up
windspirit
flab wrote:
here here



Is there a small space in the bottom of the double vactrol to connect the middle legs of the 2 LDRs?
rosch
Alright very cool. Thread bookmarked.
Joonatin
I'll have to check the pricing at the local 3D printer cafe... These might come in handy...
flab
cheers for the good words boys and girls ,

andrewfthe seeed is not a good idea,and that is because has a fixed price , i think when i checked was sth like 2$ for each !!most of online fab houses have that ,which is ridiculous.the best way is for one to find a hackspace at his town and print some,

if there will be an interest i can look for a mold solution

sonicwarrior i can print you some and sent them to you for min cost postage/material, i ll ask tomorrow at the post office the cost to post to germany.

windspirit ifyou see at the photo you quoted,the lid with the two ldr has a double height.So yeah there is a enough space for soldering the legs

if one wants the .stl can send me a pm .

at the moment i can also print few dozen i think to send you
sergio__
flab
Greetings . You can share with me .stl ? I still can not write personal messages . Thank you in advance!
falafelbiels
Those are great!!

PMing...
fonik
flab wrote:


fuck, yes!

i am really interest on how they perform!
tarandfeathers
PM'd, got a friend up the road with a printer, be interesting to see what we can do with these...
oberkorn
PM'd!
planning a trip to my local hackerspace to make frontpanels
and print some thingies anyway so this is most welcome w00t
falafelbiels


They will be iVactrols
Grumskiz
Waiting for LDRs to arrive Dead Banana

flab
hot stuff!fresh fresh vactrols-

falafebiels i do not use the plate/tray under the 3d model-in that way the holes from the leds/ldr stay open
flab
grumskiz you are cutting off the negative "leg"
falafelbiels
flab wrote:
hot stuff!fresh fresh vactrols-

falafebiels i do not use the plate/tray under the 3d model-in that way the holes from the leds/ldr stay open


Yeah I know it came off really easy, good fit but no snapping. I glued them together. Now for a circuit to use them in...

Cool stuff Petros!
flab
yeah i couldnt get them snapping,sorry-oh well , i do not thing is a mega problem-good fun
andrewF
I think there is no need for snapping or glue, my DIY vactrols do not. When they are soldered in place the component leads bend around and hold them securely





edit - added 3rd pic
cleaninglady
This all looks great ! I'm very interested in how they work in circuit.

I would definitely like to get some.

Have anyone been able to get any measurements with comparisons to known values ? VTL5C3's for example ?
falafelbiels
I laid out a board yesterday to have something to put them in.
It is the Vactrol Chiptune Squarewave Osc designed by the venerable Tombola.
Made this noisy ass thing a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed using it.
In the mean time I will build up these optocompressor boards that I traded last weekend and see how that works. Really love how these turned out so far though. I printed them quite raw, in order to finish a bunch within an hour.



Looks like your printer is extremely well calibrated Andrew!
flab
i think the ones above ,that andrew posted are not from my stl.

Vactrol Chiptune Squarewave Osc !! sounds gooood!?

cleaninglady here you go
andrewF
falafelbiels wrote:


Looks like your printer is extremely well calibrated Andrew!


hihi I'd like to take credit, but no. I got a bucketful of these when cleaning out the workshop of a defunct audio electronics company. The guy who ran the company used to get various parts custom made, so I suspect he had these specially made for him.
I'd like to think I have a lifetime supply lol
falafelbiels
eek!
grilojoe
flab wrote:
and here



How did this work out? I've been watching this thread as a way to complete my PS3100 as well.
flab
it is just box- will work fine if you choose an ideal ldr/led, ps3100 wise i do not know have not built it yet with diy vactrols-but i used some for my lpg and i am happy with them
falafelbiels
Indeed it works fine!




silly little mistake in the PCB, easily fixed.
flab
ahhh nice! - looks like a really noise/fun osc project- you have any videos of it somewhere ?
falafelbiels
here you go

falafelbiels
And I cut a little panel...

falafelbiels
Here's the gerber files for that VCO:
falafelbiels
and the SVG file I used to cut that panel:
flab
that is really great man ,thanks for sharing- 4 of those chained together and some logi gates and switches and you are in cmos heaven This is fun!
falafelbiels
Where chips go after they puff puff and pass
Grumskiz
So I made some "vactrols" myself using this enclosure with LDRs and bright red 5mm LEDs from Tayda. I just tried them out in a Thomas White LPG module and they work great! I have a second LPG that uses a VTL5C4/2 and the response to it is very different but I would not go as far as saying one is better than the other.

Earlier in this thread I complained that the enclosure does not allow for press fit. Turns out I was wrong. After the LDRs are installed in the cap, it widens slightly and stays in place once pushed onto the can part. It is still possible to pry it off using a small flat head screw driver. Of course YMMV based on the accuracy of your 3D printer and the size of the LDRs you use.
falafelbiels
Hehe that white stuff is not very opaque really...



Looks HOT!
flab
great for the christmas tree.falafular mate- the drill gerber file for that vco is not working-or is it just me
falafelbiels
Hmmm errrrr....

Let me look into that
falafelbiels
I can't even unzip the zip files here...

zombie


edit:

okay works again. The drill file is the .txt file I presume. This always works for me, where do you want to order?




uploaded a newer version, there was a little error in there...
flab
i only used seeed studio - apparently the gerber preview, they have, wont show any drill point- should i send it anyway ?
falafelbiels
Hmmmmm I don'tknow man. But I do know this will work with itead and dirty pcbs.
smonkey
I really wanna hack up a Solstmass ornament that contains a bunch of 'em
so there's a wire running from the synth to the tree and it'll be all bling bling!

pretty and functional!
raveboyy
So I've found 2 of these at home and they work really great for the enclosure, they just snap together so I can experiment with different LED's ...and maybe with different LDR's after that very frustrating lol

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/100pcs-Cord-Lock-Stopper-Cylinder-Barre l-Plastic-Toggle-Clip-For-Garment-Accessories-Black/32255820693.html
sergio__
Now they are green


screaming goo yo
flab
nice nice sergio , i see you made few , you sorted with vactrols for some projects now !
paperCUT
Wow just saw this thread. I took another route and ordered 1mm FR4, SMD super bright green led and a variety of different LDRs. The encapsulation is done with small 5mm LED rings held in place by being sandwiched between 2 pcbs. I haven't got the boards yet but they are laid out to fit DIP8 footprint and are about the size of an opamp in a socket.

Will post pics when they arrive, total cost per unit is about 15 cents and matching is easy cool
notnews
I read through the thread and couldn't find any instructions or hard information about how to acquire these.. I'm super interested! This is a great simple and useful application of a 3D printer.

..countless times I've mated LDRs and LEDs, and I've tried everything to make it work.. electrical tape, a black bond-o type of puddy (people familiar with car-body repair will know this stuff), heatshrink tubing, little plastic boxes. All of these methods serve their purpose if you get it right, but they're not reliable and reproducable, especially in a blind way like these are. (i.e. you don't need to open up these 3D-printed units to know that the LED+LDR geometry inside the unit is arranged and spaced correctly). With puddy I never knew if any got between the LED and LDR, with electrical tape I never knew if any of the adhesive material rubbed off/got stuck onto either the LED or LDR surface, with the box I was always worried about ambient light creeping in through the bottom edge of the box.. plus the box itself is clunky AF.

Anyway.. sorry for the rant, I'm excited about these! I just came across this old thread for the first time and I'm glad I did. Any info about how I could obtain a bunch of these would be welcome =)
andrewF
just pm flab and ask for the files (nicely) razz
greeensmaaan
flab not sure if you saw my PM or just haven't been on the forums lately, but if it is OK for anyone else to PM me with files to print these I would really appreciate it! SlayerBadger!
flab
I was away for few weeks with no internet,sorry,i ll post the .stl files tomorrow
greeensmaaan
flab no problem! Looking forward to trying these out, thanks for your contribution! Guinness ftw!
kweiwen
thanks, i just use the cad file with 3dp, now i have diy vactrol now cool

flab
Sweet, you will be able to see them blinking
elmegil
flab wrote:
Sweet, you will be able to see them blinking


Doesn't that mean they'll also be able to "see" external light interference?
flab
Yes it does, if you but a tourch next to it,but that will be siting behind your module ,inside your case, personaly i have a strong back light in my case, but i had no interference,yet. Also would be better if one could use darker or even black material. For hardcore solution a black acrylic spray will do the trick
elmegil
Ok, now I'm confused....

I see several people printing these, but now that I would like to try for myself I don't see the CAD files? What am I missing?

(son has access to a 3D printer at school and was asking if there was anything I wanted printed....)
av500
elmegil wrote:
Ok, now I'm confused....

I see several people printing these, but now that I would like to try for myself I don't see the CAD files? What am I missing?

(son has access to a 3D printer at school and was asking if there was anything I wanted printed....)


flab sent them out via PM and wanted to post them here, so maybe just PM him....
jhulk
you have to pm him he will contact you at some point
elmegil
Yup, he requested my email, and I'm waiting with bated breath smile

Thanks
flab
Guinness ftw!
andlord
This is a great design...PM'ing you as we speak
Kosalos
inconsistent, messy, cheap, works great, parts at Tayda.

[/img]
andlord
Sure, it works but the 3d printed enclosure looks more professional
Fernando
I'd like to get some of the flab enclosures.

or print a few locally
But how? can't find the files...

.
NS4W
Fernando wrote:
I'd like to get some of the flab enclosures.

or print a few locally
But how? can't find the files...

.


I designed an enclosure and uploaded to Thingiverse. Check it out here: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3081361
Kosalos
Hi NS4W, your 3d printed enclosure looks great!
I am betting it is light-tight, and slides together easily.
Like to see how you design a dual vactrol enclosure..

When I needed a 16-way vactrol for the Multiphase I resorted to a paper enclosure.

NS4W
Kosalos wrote:
Hi NS4W, your 3d printed enclosure looks great!
I am betting it is light-tight, and slides together easily.
Like to see how you design a dual vactrol enclosure..

When I needed a 16-way vactrol for the Multiphase I resorted to a paper enclosure.



Thanks! It is very easy to do this kind of 3dmodelling in Tinkercad. I have no use for a dual one yet, but I'll upload it if I make one.
flab
Download here : https://drive.google.com/file/d/1H-8ylSdeVEUQexxnP0OT8sVGOxxDNqvQ/view  ?usp=drivesdk
Fernando
Thank you Petros!

Thank you NS4W!


I'll try to print a few locally,
but printing online, any advise about where is better when ordering from Europe? Which is cheaper incl. shipping?
"Print a Thing"? "Treatstock"? "Ninjaprototipe"? Shapeways?
selfdestroyer
Late to the party but I wanted to say thank you! These are awesome.
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