Introduction: Circuit Necromancy I

About: Synth Builder Record Digger Social Worker Educator Musician

I built a series of circuit bent synthesizers that repurposed 3 broken tape decks into new usable instruments. I wanted to show that you can create a dense and fun instrument using disposed and repurposed goods. All these tape decks were found on bike rides and junk piles either off in the TL or off of Bayshore Blvd.

This first Machine is a repurposed portable mini tape deck and portable belt driven turntable. It is dubbed the CN1 in a series of 3 instruments. In the end, it was great seeing these dead media players find life by making their own music instead of playing other peoples music through them.

Try this project out ! ! If you have any further questions feel free to email me

Step 1: Finding the Items

This is the Turn Table I found: Crosley Turntable Here

This is the Cassette player: Panasonic RQL309 Rq-l309 (it was not quite this one, but in the family)

Step 2: Breaking Open/Proto Typing

The concept:

I basically circuit bent a tape deck. Its a concept thats already been done, but I love the allure of hacking a machine so it can make other worldly noises.

I took everything out of the tape deck other than the circuit. The machine was broken already because someone plugged in the wrong power supply. I replaced some components with in the power line and viola got it working again!!!

After taking out the speaker and motors (which i'm gonna use for another project!) i remounted it in the encasement. I then found multiple bends off of op amp lines and some other capacitor goodness. If you have any questions of what the bend are feel free to get a hold of me.

I then took all the bends and extended them. As you can see in the crude photos I taped everything in a circular fashion around the turntable and taped arching points in the middle of the table using thin copper wire.

I like sequencers and building sequencers. I wanted to push myself to think of how can I make touch sequencers that doesn't use linear sequencing techniques.

I like the feel and the organic speed of turntables. Its something that is not really clocked by a timer chip and uses physical engineering more than digital engineering. it has a human feel to it.

I wanted to capture this human feel and make some of the most futuristic sounds from archaic devices.

You can see in the videos how one wire can change the groove and funk of the circuit.

Step 3: Making It Look Nice

As you can see in the previous video's, I finally found a means of getting everything stable for the sequencer.

the encasement:

-I found an old dog parameter shocker collar case in a pile of junk on Bayshore. I gutted all the foam and drilled in an anchoring wire on the right so i can have it so the case is always upright.

-with in the case I put a couple of risers made of old tape cassette cases, duct tape and velcro. I then found a circular mount at the local lowes. The circular mount ended up being a pvc piece for plumbing applications

-I then laid it all out to my taste and then began to drill holes to securely lock down the motor and the turntable plate. once those were all secured I began the wiring

The wiring:

I took long pieces of thin copper wire and soldered them to the bend lugs. I then measured them to evenly fit within the diameter of the circle. Once i got that planned, I began to string and wrap the wire. I ended up mounting the wires on twist ties that I taped to the outer parameter of the circle to get the wires taught and so that they would not catch on the rotating wires. I then wrapped the wire so all the end taps equally reached into the center.

The table:

I basically broke open the turntable and took out the motor components and powering components. From there I remounted the motor and table on mounts made from common day plastic goods from Lowes. For the patch bay, I ended up breaking up a bread board that I had lying around and double sided taped them to the table. I basically did this so the wire could be more modular and easier to switch and maintain the wires. Its waaaaay better than using tape.

Step 4: The Tools Used

  1. -Solder
  2. -Soldering gun/pen
  3. -Twist Ties
  4. -Duct Tape
  5. -Double sided tape
  6. -Copper wire
  7. -Drill
  8. -Various bolts and screws for mounting
  9. -4 Cassette tape cases
  10. -PCV circular plastic plumbing element
  11. -Portable Cassette walkman
  12. -Portable/useless belt driven turntable

Step 5: Final Video

Audio Contest 2017

Participated in the
Audio Contest 2017