Synthesize With A Hard Drive

If you’d like a pseudo-mechanical way of producing a droning synthesizer sound, [gijs] is your man. He made a small synthesizer¬†out of nothing but an old hard drive and a few components.

Whenever a disk platter is spun manually, the spindle motor inside the drive produces a few out of phase sine waves on its connections. [gijs]’ synthesizer compares and amplifies these sine waves and sends them out to a speaker. The result is a strange droning chiptune-esque arpeggio.

The circuit for the build is soldered directly to the hard drive enclosure Manhattan style. Because the output of the spindle motor produces out of phase sine waves, [gijs] thought it would be a good idea if he could capitalize on some phase interference to alter the timbre of his synth. The entire build is mounted to a wall with hinges to one side so the speaker can be moved around. It isn’t much of a change, but we can here some wave forms cancelling each other out.

Check out the video of the build after the break. There’s also a few audio samples available on the project page.

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CV Sequencer With A TV Out

[gijs] sent in the control voltage sequencer he’s been working on that uses the TVout Arduino library to provide a graphical interface.

The sequencer doesn’t produce any sound on its own. Instead, it outputs a Control Voltage so other synths can be sequenced with [gijs]’ TVSCV. Before MIDI came around, CV was the standard to connect synthesizers and drum machines together. Even today, a lot of boutique synths have at least one jack for CV. [gijs]’ build is really interesting because of the user interface – the TVout Arduino library was used in conjunction with a tiny CRT to change values, timing and speed of the CV output. The TVSCV is able to sequence two different channels of CV at 10 bit resolution with 16 steps per bank.

From the video after the break, the TVSCV sounds like it can produce what would be the trippiest soundtrack ever conceived for an Atari or NES game. It’s a great bit of kit, especially when connected to an Atari punk console or a TR-808 and a glitch delay.

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Arduino Video Sampler

[gijs] sent in an Arduino video sampler he’s been working on. The sampler is able to capture, pause and play a short video forwards and backwards.

The video capture circuit is based on the Nootropic Design video experimenter. We’ve seen a few project use this video experimenter board, but never with such smooth video. The sampler samples frames at a resolution of 128×96 and stores everything in a 256Kbit SRAM. A back-of-the-envelope calculation tells us that the sampler can hold a little under a second of video, more than enough to do something cool.

[gijs] says there is a 1 bit version and a 1.5 bit version of his video sampler. While we’re busy wrapping our minds around what half a bit is, he’ll be upgrading the 1.5 bit version to 2 bits. He’s also ordered some PCBs and expects to have a kit out by October. Check out a demo after the break.

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Hacking Game Boy For Sound

[Gijs] cracked open his Game Boy and added some parts to give him more sound synthesis control. He uses Little Sound Dj (LSDj), a popular Game Boy program used to pump out those classic 8-bit sounds. The unit seen above and heard in the clip after the break has an added potentiometer and circuit board. He’s got a few other hacked Game Boys on his site as well, including an Arduino generating random music on the handheld.

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Happy Halloween Extra


[Update: pumpkin carved by Team Hack-A-Day member mastershake916]

We’ve got plenty of tricks around here, and I’ve got a treat coming up – you’ll hear about it in the next podcast.

[Ronald Schaten] sent me his USB LED fader. ATMega, PWM lit LEDs, he uses it to indicate status on his pvr.

[computerguru365] sent in his cell phone car charger turned USB cable

[steve] sent in this over the top C64DTV mod.

[Everett] sent along his button activated PSP shoulder lighting.Nice tiny soldering work for that on.

[Jorge] sent in his friends latest junk art metal lathe. Not an easy thing to build – Nice!

[gijs] sent me this crazy bent Casio SK-1. We’ve had a few of these on Hackaday before.

[seniorcheez] sent in his iPod shuffle dock with integrated power and tunecast.

Record Cutter

record cutter

Here’s a pretty rough project for cutting records out of acrylic. It uses a standard turntable for the base. The carving head is a chisel shaped needle attached to a small speaker. Speaker movement is translated into needle vibrations. The head is hand cranked across the surface of the record. The final addition to the system is a vacuum hose to remove the acrylic threads. I wish they would have spent more time taking pictures of this thing than making flash animations.

[thanks vennox]

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Gameboy Linked Hardware Sequencer

sequencer

Thanks to Create Digital Music for pointing me to the awesome work of Gijs Geikes. This is his latest sequencer creation. It is designed to get its clock signal from Little Sound Dj running on a Gameboy. The sequencer controls plugin modules that are attached to a parallel port. Here’s a great sample of the output. He’s got schematics on his site, which are easy to comprehend when compared to his bizarro board etching. One of the plugins is an earlier project: The Tape Sequencer. Have a listen to that too.

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