Introduction: Snowmanthesizer - Thing a Day - Day 2

About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author of t…
The other evening I was cutting endless sheets of robot stickers to make all the kids happy. Yes, just slicing away, minding my own business, and just then our fearless leader Eric walks in hands me three odd-looking plastic things. He informs me that they are electronic junk acquired at some schmoozing event and that if I open them up and poke around I could apparently get them to play some strange little tune.

Since I am not one to turn down free junk, I took them and did as instructed. Indeed, after some poking terminals with speaker wires, I did get it to play some strange little tune. In fact, it was a horrible screaching techno kind of thing.

And I now had three! Oh fortune!

And so, I resolved to wire them all together so that they could play out of synch and make some really strange and distorted digital instrument or the sorts.

I added some photocells and a snowman I had lying around and made my cell phone penguin a new seasonal appropriate friend.

Step 1: Go Get Stuff.

To do this you will need:


1 - stuffed snowman
3 - cheap techno noise-making circuits
3 - photocells
1- dpst switch
1 - 1/8" audio jack
1 - small speaker


- needle and thread
- soldering iron and solder
- some hookup wire
- electrical tape

Step 2: Prepare the Noise.

Open up your strange little plastic candle. Remove the circuit board.

You will notice that there is a glob of hot glue around the LED. This needs to be pried off with a utility knife since it is hiding one of the terminals that you need to solder to for the speaker.

Step 3: Attach Some Wires

You are going to want to attach a red an black wire to the surface of the board as seen in the picture below. These will be your audio cables.

Step 4: Start Building the Circuit and Test

Alright, connect each red audio wire to a photo cell and then connect the other leads on each photo cell together. Connect the three connected leads to the red wire on the speaker.

Connest all three black audio wires to the black wire on the speaker.

Connect the positive battery terminals together and connect the negative battery terminals together. This will allow you to power off a single battery.

Put in a single battery and turn on all the circuits and see if it works. They should all be playing through the speaker and you should be able to adjust the volume using the photocell.

Don't yet connect the toggle switch or the 1/8 inch mono jack.

Step 5: Get Wired

Cut open the snowman's back. Unstuff him and remove whatever mechanisms might already be inside.

Poke the photocells through his front as though they were buttons and so that the leads stick through to the back. Solder all of the leads on one side together.

Solder all of the leads on the other side to the red audio wires.

Solder all of the black audio wires together. Solder the black speaker wire to those as well.

Don't yet solder the red audio wire (like in the picture), that goes to the switch.

Step 6: Hole in the Head.

It turns out the strange plastic candle is both the perfect size to fit inside the snowman's hat and also, if you remove the fake flame, has the perfect size hole to fit the 1/8" mono audio jack.

Insert the audio jack into the hole and then pull the hookup wires attached to the jack through the switch hole in the back and screw it back shut.

Flip the head inside out, cut the center and unstuff it. Flip it back the right way once done.

Insert the round casing with the jack in it. Poke a hole in the center of top of the snowman's head an insert the jack through. Fasten the jack on by screwing a nut onto its treads.

Restuff the head as best you can.

Step 7: Finish Up the Circuit.

Finish wiring up the circuit as seen in the wiring diagram. That means connecting the switch to the red wire for the speaker and the red wire for the 1/8" jack. In the middle terminal on the switch you are going to want to connect to the photocells.

Also, connect the black wire from the 1/8" jack to all the other black wires.

Sew the 4 switches into the back of the head. Those being the three switches for the audio and the one to switch between output sources.

Put tape around the speaker so that it insulates it and keeps the front end from coming into contact with the photocells. Put the speaker face down into the bottom of the snowman. Also, tape the battery into place so that it doesn't fall out.

Step 8: Sew It Shut

When you're done and sure it is working, stuff it back up and sew the sucker shut.