Introduction: Sublax - Stuffed Sub-Octave Guitar Pedal
How to turn a stuffed animal into a guitar pedal...
For what seems like forever I had a stuffed Snorlax sitting on a shelf somewhere. I always knew he was destined for greater things than just being a cuddly decorative friend.
1 - Stuffed Animal
4 - Eyelets
- 2 - For Input & Output jacks
- 1 - For Bypass switch
- 1 - For DC jack
1 - Mono Jacks
1 - Stereo Jack
1 - DC Jack/Wired jack
1 - Enclosure for circuit It’s important that your enclosure fits in the plush just so that it doesn’t distort the shape but still fits snuggly against the edges for the jacks.
* - Supplies for circuit
Exacto with fresh blades
Needle & Thread
Drill & bits
Soldering Iron, Solder, & the skills to use them
Cost - Low
The only money spent specifically on this project was for the eyelets from my local craft store for a few dollars a pack. Electronics were salvaged from devices that have outlived their usefulness or sourced from stores of components purchased in bulk for pennies, and you read where the Snorlax came from so...
Note: This is not a circuit soldering, or pedal building tutorial. There are many fine ones all over the internet that do a better job than I would at this time.
I wanted something that would sound sort of like a Snorlax. This is how I came upon the idea of a sub-octave. Going through several schematics and breadboarding a few versions I settled on the Shocktave by Joe Davisson. Making a few adjustments for fixed values it gave me the octave range I was looking for with just a bit of dirt, even decaying my tone into the 8-bit realm reflecting the GameBoy origins of the creature. I’m big on maintaining themes throughout a project.
Step 1: Surgery
I recommend setting up the enclosure, drilling for the jacks and switches, and being as close to done with the circuit as possible before opening the little guy up.
Remove enough stuffing to accommodate the enclosure so it fits snuggly but without any considerable distortion to the plush's shape. Pictured is the enclosure loaded with the jacks and switch. Remove these, fit the enclosure into the plush and draw the cutting guides for the eyelets.
Using a black china marker, I roughly outlined where the holes go. Not having an eyelet punching tool I just used a fresh exacto blade to make the cuts.
Step 2: Affix the Eyelets
There's a few notes about using the eyelets. The interiors were longer than required and impeded locking the components snuggly into place, these needed to be filed down flush with the interior depth of the enclosure. The holes drilled into the enclosure are slightly larger than required for the components to accommodate for this part of the eyelets. When assembled the stacking order from the outside in goes: component nut, exterior eyelet, fabric, locking part of the eyelet, the center of the exterior eyelet locks in, and the component comes out from the enclosure. This ensures a nice tight fit for all the elements. Load all the components into the enclosure and get ready to mount the circuit.
Step 3: Rebuild
If you haven't by this point, finish the circuit and prepare to solder the connections to the components.
With such a limit on space I had to come up with a different solution for the DC jack. I use a daisy chain 9v adapter for most of my effects (as should you since batteries kill the planet) but the standard 1/2" jack wouldn't fit anywhere. One of the battery clip adapters from my 1spot set had broken so I cut off the clip end and soldered it directly to the PCB, securing it to the enclosure with a tiny eyelet. Watch the polarity!
Wrap the circuit board in electric tape to keep things from jostling or shorting against other components.
Step 4: Close Up Our Patient
I tried to use velcro so that I had zipper-like access, and still plan to adapt it at some point, but ran out of slack in the fabric.