Circuit Bending WorkshopIn this workshop:- Introduction- What is circuit bending?- Who discovered circuit bending?- Circuit bending safety- Tools- The best items to circuit bend- Laying of hands technique- Probe technique- Marking and choosing modifications- Kill Switches- Line out- Clocking items- Circuit diagrams / online resources- Recommended resources- Jamming (if we have enough time)- Contact details www.f7sound.com
IntroductionMy name is Dan Wilson.Electronics and laser systems technician.Masters in Environmental Sustainability and GreenTechnology.Circuit bending for over 10 years.Grew up as a new age traveller.Interested in sustainability, recycling and self sufficiency,as well as all forms of music.
What is Circuit Bending?Circuit bending is the art (or Randomness) of reusingelectronic products to produce an output that it wasn’tdesigned for.Circuit bending in its simplistic form is shorting out partsof the internal circuits to produce interestingresults, often drastically reducing the lifetime of thedevice in the process.Circuit modifying is the introduction of improvements tothe original circuit design, usually utilising circuitdiagrams and oscilloscopes.www.technabob.com www.laptopnoise.com
Who Discovered Circuit Bending?Reed Ghazala termed the coin in the 60’s.However, many people have experimented with circuitbending before this period.Including Serge Tcherepnin.www.anti-theory.com
Circuit Bending SafetyNever circuit bend equipment that connects directly tothe mains.Be careful of large capacitors, as they can hold largevoltages and they can recharge even when the circuit isdisconnected from the mains.If you are unsure measure voltages with a volt meter.Always connect your circuit bent item through a mixerand if available a limiter.
Tools and Components- Multimeter- Screwdrivers- Miniature screw drivers- Soldering iron- Wire cutters- Wire strippers- Drill and bits- Loads of batteries, wires and things to solder onto the circuitwww.escapepod.org cdn.ubergizmo.com
The Best Items to Circuit Bend- Battery powered- Cheap- Expendable- Older the better- Something that you have seen that has been circuit bent.- Items with large amounts of room on the casing, to attach components. Burnkit2600.com Makezineblog.files.wordpress.com
Laying of HandsThe simplistic technique, with the lowest chance ofdamaging the circuit.Your body is used to produce shorts across parts of thecircuit.Your body acts as a variable resistor. Try wetting yourfingers, or licking the circuit board.Alternatively push the circuit board harder. This reducesresistance, increasing the voltage flowing through yourbody.If the circuit crashes, turn off the item, or remove thebatteries. Turn on after a couple of seconds.Melodypanosian.info Thewire.co.uk
Probe TechniqueA much higher risk of irreparable damage to the circuit.As there is zero resistance through the wire, resulting inmaximum voltage achievable.Take a piece of wire and strip back 10mm of insulation ateach end.Using the wire, short out parts of the circuit.If it crashes, remove batteries and reset.
Marking and ModificationsWhen you have identified the areas you want to circuitbend.Label the circuit board and write down the effect/sound.Move on and complete the entire circuit.
Choosing Components to Install- Body contacts- Toggle switches (spst, dpdt)- Momentary switches- Variable resistors (potentiometers)- Light dependent resistors (LDR’s)- Patch baysUltimately it comes down to available time and funds.
Kill SwitchesMany items do not have a hard power switch, they rely onelectronic components.Crashing these items for long periods of time can destroythe integrated circuits.A simple toggle switch can be installed between thebattery and the circuit by cutting the positive wire fromthe batteries.
Line OutMost electronic toys were not designed to be pluggedinto headphones or mixers.A jack socket can be mounted onto the chassis andsolder onto the back of the speaker.Some sockets, will automatically cut-out the speakerwhen a jack is plugged in, well worth the extra 5p.
Clocking ItemsThe majority of electrical items have a master clock.This keeps the entire circuit in synchronisation. A simpleoscillator can be built to replace the master clock.Allowing the user to speed up or slow down the circuit.Producing interesting crashes and drones.
Circuit Diagrams and Online Resources Online guides can provide invaluable advice on safely circuit bending a device. Be careful when relying on online resources, as the items can look the same. However, there can be different versions of circuit boards, much like software versions. Circuit diagrams are very useful as they can give information on processes taking place, especially useful when combined with an oscilloscope.
Recommended ReadingHandmade Electronic Music: TheArt of Hardware Hacking. NicolasCollinshttp://www.anti-theory.com/ ReedGhazala the founder of circuitbendinghttp://circuitbending.com/http://www.gearwire.com/circuit-bending-101.html
My Online Presencehttp://www.slideshare.net/circitfied - tutorials and circuitdiagramshttp://www.youtube.com/user/circitfied - videos ofworkpieceshttp://soundcloud.com/circitfied - audio compositionsusing my own equipment