Introduction: Joystick-Synth Based on the Atari Punk Console
First of all, what's an Atari Punk Console? Well in a nutshell it's a simple noise making circuit with two knobs, one for the frequency of square wave pulses and one for the length of the pulses. When you turn the knobs it makes rad video game-like noises, which is how it got it's name, coined by Kaustic Machines. It was originally published in a Radio Shack Engineers Notebook booklet written by Forrest M. Mims III and was called a "Stepped Tone Generator." Since then it has become an extremely popular circuit for hobbyists. Many people add cool features or build them into coolthings.
So what makes ours unique? Joystick control!
Classic joysticks have two pots inside (variable resistors,) one for up and down, one for left and right. I made these control the APC circuit. Not only does this joystick have trim controls so you can tune the note you hear in the center, but the added switches change the range in tuned musical steps. This is an APC ready to play along with a band!
If this has been done before, I haven't found any with such capabilities. But in an effort to be open source I would like to guide you though what it took to build it, that you may possibly expand upon it and break further ground, and the whole human race can noisily benefit.
Behold: The Joey-Stick® by Wozn of Rooftop Ridicule
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Step 1: Find the Joystick
I bought mine when I was a kid, probably in the early nineties. Now the best place would probably be at a thrift store. try to find one with a lot of travel and range of motion. If there are trim controls even better. It's a good sign if the cable has a standard analog 15 pin PC joystick plug. Here's a good one.
Get creative and gut the analog stick from an old game controller like a PS1 or a Game Cube. Same deal inside. I once found a great joystick that stuck out the front of the radio on an '88 Chrysler LeBaron.
Step 2: Test the Circuit With Your Joystick
Step 3: Build It in There
As you can see from the pictures, there was too much to cram into just the joystick case. I have a horrible habit of choosing cases for projects that are much to small to fit everything into, which you will also see. I think it gives this project a certain bonus sci-fi feel. The shiny rectangle with the 1/4" jack in it was added later, it already had a 1/8" jack in the joystick body, but we were sick of using adapters. It has a external power supply jack too. I'm thorough.
I swear I planned this out before I built it, but I also wanted to challenge myself to use what I had and avoid buying new parts, I'm a fan of the charm of scavenged things. The upper box is from some military RF thing. All the wiring is point-to-point on perf-board, kinda like an old tube amp.
Step 4: Join a Band
That's how we did ours, show us how you did yours! Does that sound dirty?
This has been Wozn from the band Rooftop Ridicule. Here's a video of our song Head Rest with the intrepid Jon Martino playing the Joey Stick® as we call it. We often hand it off to someone in the audience to play for part of the song too.
and yes I did put blinking lights in my guitar.