Musical Pencil Synthesizer


Here’s another fun weekend project for the hacker younglings, a musical synthesizer that plays different musical tones based on the resistance of your conductive graphite drawing!

Like our recent post on a DIY Metal Detector, this project makes use of the ever relevant 555 timer. Except in this case they are using a more modern TLC555 timer which only requires 3V instead of the typical 4.5V. It’s a fairly simple project that you should be able to complete in just a few hours.

The circuit is quite basic. The 555 timer outputs in astable mode, which means there is a continuous stream of pulses from pin 3 which go right into the speaker circuit. The rest of the circuit monitors the resistance of whatever the pencil is touching, including you! Changes in resistance result in the variation of pulses outputted by the 555 timer.

As always, the video guide is after the break.

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Solderless Drawdio Terminally Implemented

So you’re stuck in a boring class and you can’t fight off the urge to hack something, even your pencil, to pass the time. Maybe you are performing a live electronics show and you drop your synth down a flight of stairs and all that you are left with is a handful of components, a screw terminal block and a pencil. There are thousands, perhaps millions of these kinds of situations and for each one the answer is the solderless drawdio clone by [Martin].

You may have seen the original Drawdio here before, a fun piece of technology that is simple enough to recreate. This latest approach would make an excellent introductory project for a hacking workshop seeing as the guide is straightforward and the lack of soldering would make logistics so much easier. The results are very similar to the original–check the video after the break. Continue reading “Solderless Drawdio Terminally Implemented”

La Guitare à Crayon


As with most electronic musical instruments, we saw this in the tip box and expected the usual random noises to show off the instruments range. Consider us pleasantly surprised. They cut strait to it and showed us what la Guitare à crayon really is. It is an instrument of both audio and visual art. You draw while you play.  The guitar appears to have a wacom attached to the front where you would normally strum. different areas of the wacom seem to effect the music much like a string being plucked. In one of the videos we see some fret board action as well. Watching the screen, we can see that she is drawing a picture, and we are in fact hearing that picture being drawn. The site has a section for source code, but states that it will only posted if there are requests. We are officially requesting it, we want one. May we suggest some improvements? Get some color variation, possibly opacity too. Gimp can do it with the wacom. We can’t wait to see how this project matures. How about another video? Watch it after the break.

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Stripboard Drawdio


When we posted about the Drawdio release, mentioned how simple the circuit was and that we wouldn’t be surprised if people adapted it. [Dylski] decided to build it using stripboard and parts he had laying around. He shows how he laid it out on paper so that it would fit on a 29×5 piece. It took some planning, but the end result is a perfectly functional as you can see in the video below. Continue reading “Stripboard Drawdio”

Drawdio Kit Lets You Make Music While You Draw

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Drawdio, designed by [Jay Silver], is a fun, simple toy that uses the conductive nature of pencil graphite to generate different sounds. When you use the Drawdio pencil to draw or write, you also simultaneously create music. The entire kit is available for sale at Adafruit Industries, or for the more adventurous, separate components and parts are listed. The circuit is fairly simple and we wonder what other devices people can come up with based on this theme.