Chaos Nand Synth




Introduction: Chaos Nand Synth

About: Im 16 and love electronics! I love music; writing music and playing piano. I have fun with microcontrollers and playing with other stuff too. There's always new things to learn.
Hey there. A while back (almost a year ago) I bought a kit on I was eager to try out and explore the Nand 4093 oscillator chip. Because of where I live, I couldn't purchase the chip and other components separately, so I decided to order the PCB online with the chip and the components. When I received the kit, I put it away. And It got lost in time, until I found the kit hidden in my room. So I thought I'd make it and post it online. It's quite fun to make a project when you receive a kit, I mean, all you have to do is to put the components in the PCB, solder and make holes in a project box so I could house the synth.  The real challenge would be to make it from scratch, layout the components and solder respectably on a plain prototype board according to the schematic. Either way you get a fancy synth to play around with. 
There are two oscillators made with the Nand gates of the 4093. The 100K pot controls the pitch of the gated oscillators on IC 4093. The switches allow for; either pulse ore gated/osc mode, or channel on and off.
For more information on the Nand 4093 IC click here.
Credits on the creation of the PCB board go to

Here is a video demonstration of the synth:

Step 1: Tools and Materials

So the materials and tools you will need for this build are mainly electronic components, you might find everything close to where you live. You will probably be able to find everything online.

  • X1, 4093 IC Quad Oscillator Chip.
  • X1, 14-Pin Socket.
  • X1, LED: Which ever colour will do, although I do recommend a red coloured LED as it will be used to indicate if the synth is on.
  • X2, 1 Mega Ohm linear Variables resistors or potentiometers.
  • X1, 100K linear Variable resistor or potentiometer.
  • X1, 100K Audio Variable resistor or potentiometer.
  • X1, SPST Switch.
  • X2, SPDT Switch.
  • X1, 1 Kilo Ohm resistor.
  • X4, 100 Kil Ohm resistors.
  • X4, 100 nF Ceramic Capacitors.
  • X1,  2.2 uF Electrolytic Capacitor.
  • X1, 100 uF Electrolytic Capacitor.
  • X1, Quarter inch or Half an inch mono female jack.
  • X1, DC Jack or a 9V battery clip.
  • X1, Project box or enclosure of some sort.
  • X4, Knobs for the potentiometers, only if you wish so.
  • X1, 9V Battery or you could also have 4XAA running on less voltage. (I had AA's batteries laying around, so that's what I used) - These are optional if you are using the 9V battery Clip instead of a DC Jack.
  • Wire, probably about a meter and a half or so. (5ft)
  • A PCB, you can either buy a plain PCB or buy a pre-made one here.
  • Drill and some drill bits.
  • Screws of course.
  • Soldering Iron.
  • Solder.
  • Tweezers.
The usual tools.

Step 2: PCB Wiring and Schematic

At this point, there is two ways to go. One is to buy the PCB pre-made and the other one is making your own circuit on a naked prototype board. If you decide to buy the board you have to insert all the components in there respective spaces and solder. If you want to make your own circuit you will have to follow the schematic I made based on the PCB diagram from or directly follow the PCB schematic. I made the schematic in frirtzing to make it a little bit more clear. 

Step 3: Housing

Once you have all your components soldered to you board, I highly recommend housing your synth. I bought a little project box and then drilled different holes with the drill. I made 8 holes in the front of the box: four potentiometers, the red LED, two switches to turn on and off each oscillator and a switch to turn the synth on or off. And on the side of the box: the audio female jack and the dc jack. Once after making holes push everything inside. I had the battery pack which almost didn't fit inside, I actually had to use my dremel to cut pieces of plastic for everything to fit.

Step 4: Wrapping Up

There you have a basic synth you can make with the nand 4093, remember you can hack this in various different ways. Instead of using potentiometers you could use different variable resistors like light sensors or slide pots. You could also make different projects or synths involving the nand 4093. I highly recommend checking this site for more information:
I also found a really cool project based on the nand synth:

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    Billy Bennett
    Billy Bennett

    10 months ago on Step 2

    Hi - thanks for posting this fun project. I noticed on the schematic that the 4093 is listed with 16 pins instead of 14. Is that a mistake? As such, the schematic doesn't make much sense to me. Let me know if there is something I am missing!


    4 years ago

    Thank you for this Instructable! Is it possible to add a volume pot for one of the oscillators to dial it in with a slow attack. I am new to electronics, so I am not sure if this can be done. If it can be done, where should the potentiometer go, and what should the range be? Thanks you again for this post!


    5 years ago

    Built this today on a breadboard, haven't decided if I want a permanent version just yet since I got a lot of extraneous noise... but it was a real fun build. Maybe I add a simple effect or two between the output and the mixer input, to move the sound from fun to awesome :)

    Your schematics however give the 4093 two extra pins, you might want to correct that.

    Hi Tobias, this is pretty awesome. The sounds are great. You could put it into 123D Circuits (using schematic mode) and spin versions of your own board - or fork our version and personalize it for your liking. Ours is "CD4093 double buzzer"


    when you are using batteries you can add a "starve pot" , just add a 1k pot between the red battery wire and the printed circuit, by turning the knob you will decrease the battery value, resulting in strange sounds and distortion ;) i always add a starve pot to my machines, its pretty easy to do and sometimes very interesting :))


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    It's very true, thank you for the suggestion. I am using a low voltage: 6V compared to 9V. Also trying different batteries works well too. It's just more efficient adding the 1K pot.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Pretty cool! I think I'm going to have to make one of these. I just checked and I have the IC.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Great, you could always try replacing the pots with photocells. That might be cool.