Drum Pads



Four drum pads ready to go.

All made of old mate­r­ial found in the Alt/Lab instal­la­tions, and a very spe­cial big thankxxx for Mónica who brought the cas­ings (we are going back to that in a moment) for the drum pads.

So the idea was to make drum pads that we could hook up to a sound card(or what­ever) and them make sweet music, this is a very nice com­bi­na­tion between piezo­elec­tric com­po­nents and a few lay­ers of some absorbent sound  mate­r­ial like rub­ber or cork foil (that’s what we use because there was noth­ing more) and a piece of alu­minum foil for a greater drum area .

We use an old can (20l) of paint, four piezo­elec­tric found in elec­tronic junk like old modems and old tele­phones, wire for con­nect­ing the piezos, cork foil for insu­la­tion the drum pad area and Mónica sup­ply the cas­ings (square rub­ber cd´s stands), and glue for putting every­thing nice and tight .

First we cut a piece of the can (cir­cu­lar about 10cm radius)and we glued the piezo into it, then we drilled one hole into the rub­ber cas­ing for the wires to came out, them we cut two square cork foil parts (the first in the bot­tom of the cas­ing and the other for the top) a bit of glue and that’s it drum pads ready to rock.

Now we got some audio com­ing out of the pads but thats just bor­ing because its always the same and we want to go fur­ther like trans­form­ing audio into midi mes­sages, and we found the right tool for it, its called  “KTDrumTrig­ger” and he trans­forms the audio sig­nal into midi notes, we can use this midi notes inside a sequencer pro­gram to con­trol any kind of instru­ment (either VSTI or some other stuff), in our case we use the drum pads to con­trol “Bat­tery” and thats it instant fun.

There are some other links and some other ideas for drum pads. This “one“uses ardunio as a source for the imput sig­nal.


Circuit Bending

Hello “intrenets” people(s)

This post today reflects a lit­tle about  what cir­cuit bend­ing and diy are.

I have many friends and col­leagues  ask­ing me “-So what is cir­cuit bend­ing?”, well here goes the awser and a bit of the his­tory behind cir­cuit bend­ing.

Seems that a guy called Reed Ghaz­ala, was mak­ing exper­i­ments with some syn­the­siz­ers, try­ing to get some more sounds out of the elec­tronic instru­ments, so he decided to open one and poke the guts of the beast .

He soon  finds out that the core of an elec­tronic instru­ment its a lot of fun and this could be excit­ing dis­cover.

Now…have you ever heard of the Savant syn­drome ?  a per­son who as Savant Syn­drome have the abil­ity of mix­ing emo­tions, like see­ing num­bers in a wide vari­ety of col­ors or the alpha­bet in shapes and forms, the cause of this, its sim­ply the brain and some short fuses in some areas, and this its exactly what Cir­cuit bend­ing is.

So, when Reed decided to explore the pos­si­bil­ity of the short cir­cuit he open a big door for exper­i­men­tal music and a new form of see­ing elec­tronic devices, the idea its sim­ply bril­liant, lets open some toys, synths, ped­als (what­ever) and lets start to take some really cool sounds out of it, and the bril­liant part is : you don’t need to know about elec­tron­ics or be a geek who spent all day in the garage (myself included), because cir­cuit bend­ing its like a a brain in short fuse.

What you need to cir­cuit bend­ing some stuff ?  This is another ques­tion and an impor­tant one. Hummm lets see:

First, you will need some kind of device that pro­duces sound, like a toy, a dis­tor­tion pedal, an old synth just to name a few.

Sec­ond, this is the impor­tant part DON’T USE ANYTHING THAT CONNECTS DIRECTLY TO THE AC/DC POWER, this means DEATH, instead use bat­ter­ies, all kinds of bat­ter­ies and even trans­form­ers as long you don’t touch that evil 220 V you are in busi­ness .

Third, open your device and choose your method of oper­a­tion, this could be done in a vari­ety of ways, you could use your fin­gers with a lit­tle of saliva (ughhh), or two screw dri­vers con­nected by an alli­ga­tor clip.

Four, explore and see if the device reacts to your touch pok­ing some cir­cuits, i often get some great results pok­ing the chips legs and con­nect­ing them together, find­ing the cool points its fun so don’t give up if you don’t find some­thing in the first 5 min­utes.

Five, ohh the “intrenets” yes there’s a lot in here just search a bit and you will find your­self in a brand new world, of course the cir­cuit bend­ing com­mu­nity its open minded and friendly, so don’t be shy and ask ques­tions (most of us don’t know what are doing so join the club).

Now you know were Beck, Madonna, Mike Pat­ton and many oth­ers are get­ting they inspi­ra­tion (yeah that’s right Madonna), the musi­cal pos­si­bil­ity are immense, just think  is you, who  are dis­cov­er­ing your own sounds and mak­ing it at the same time (not like a patch in a syn­the­sizer ) some­thing really new and fresh made entirely  by you.

So,  what is Cir­cuit Bend­ing  ?

Paper and cardboard circuits

A cou­ple of years ago i found out on the “inter­nets” that you don’t really need a pro­to­board or a cir­cuit board to make your cir­cuits come to life, the idea was to fold a piece of paper with the cir­cuit design in it (com­po­nent side and cir­cuit dia­gram side) and then insert­ing a piece of card­board in the mid­dle.

The main idea was the eco, recy­cled “thingy” since cir­cuit boards are not so eco friendly and take a bunch of time to get recy­cled by our mother earth, also the eco­nomic side (paper and card­board are almost free), instead cir­cuit board­ing takes a long time and it’s haz­ardous for the envi­ron­ment.

So here’s what i do :

1- print the schematic you want (be sure to include on the sheet of paper both sides of the schematic (com­po­nent side and schematic)

2-fold it (the idea is to fold where the com­po­nent side meets the schematic)

3-cut a piece of card­board and insert it in the mid­dle of the sheet of paper

4-glue both sides on to the card­board (now you must have a beau­ti­full cir­cuit board made of card­board)

5-with a nee­dle pierce (com­po­nent side) all drilling holes into schematic side

6-insert the com­po­nents (resis­tors, ic, capac­i­ta­tor etc..)

7-turn it back (schematic side) and start to sol­der (be sure to folow the traces on the paper), the best way to do this is to sim­ply bend the leads of the com­po­nents and sol­der them together, if you have a large area were the lead is not long enough just use a wire or some­thing sim­i­lar.

8-have fun