StyloBuzz - Synthesizer




About: Inventor, musician, and gadget freak. Contributor to Make Magazine. Maker of electronic musical instruments and lots of noise.
The StyloBuzz is a small super lofi stylus synth that allows you to play one octave of notes, you can also modify the waveform in 5 different ways using the mode control.

It's really just an easy to build instrument that is lots of fun to play and can gives endless chip style sounds when you mess about with all the different modes.

You will need some basic tools, basic components, a circuit board, and the ability to program an 8pin PicAxe.

If you would like to buy a kit of parts including the PCB and programmed PicAxe you can find one here: Rarebeasts

Happy noise making.

Step 1: Parts

1 x 100nF Capacitor (C5)

1x 10nF Capacitor (C6)

1x 10k Pot(PCB mount) (VR2)

1x 100r Resistor (1/4W) (R5)

1x 220r Resistor (1/4W) (R9)

1x 330r Resistor (1/4W) (R11)

1x 560r Resistor (1/4W) (R12)

1x 820r Resistor (1/4W) (R13)

3x 1K Resistor (1/4W) (R8, R10, R14)

1x 2.2K Resistor (1/4W) (R15)

1x 4.7K Resistor (1/4W) (R16)

1x 8.2K Resistor (1/4W) (R17)

6x 10K Resistor (1/4W) (R2, R3, R4 , R6, R7, R18)

2x 22K Resistor (1/4W) (R1, R19)

1x 100K Resistor (1/4W) (R20)

1x 220K Resistor (1/4W) (R21)

1x Regulator 78L05 (5V) (IC3)

1x Ic Holder 8Pin

1x Toggle switch(miniature PCB mount) (S1)

1x Momentary switch (Small tactile) (S2)

1x Picaxe 08M2 (IC2)

1x 3.5mm Socket(stereo switched) (SPKR)

2x LED (Red) (LED1 LED2)

1x Battery connector(9v)

1x Project box with mounting screws(105mm x 70mm x 30mm)

1x Circuit board

1x Wire Multi strand 20cm (Pad1)

1x heat shrink (40mm)

1x 9volt battery

You will also need the ability to program an 8pin PicAxe. Programmer, program cable etc.


Step 2: Fit: Resistors, Capacitors, the Audio Connector and the IC Socket

  In this step we fit the resistors, capacitors, the audio connector and the IC socket.
  • Solder the 100r (R5) resistor to the PCB.

  • Solder the 220r (R9) resistor to the PCB.

  • Solder the 330r (R11) resistor to the PCB.

  • Solder the 560r (R12) resistor to the PCB.

  • Solder the 820r (R13) resistor to the PCB.

  • Solder the 3 1K (R8, R10, R14) resistors to the PCB.

  • Solder the 2.2K (R15) resistor to the PCB.

  • Solder the 4.7K (R16) resistor to the PCB.

  • Solder the 8.2K (R17) resistor to the PCB.

  • Solder the 6 10K (R2, R3, R4, RR6, R7, R18) resistors to the PCB.

  • Solder the 2 22K (R1, R19) resistors to the PCB.

  • Solder the 100K (R20) resistor to the PCB.

  • Solder the 220K (R21) resistor to the PCB.

  • Solder the capacitors 100nF(C5) 10nF(C6) to the PCB.

  • Solder the 8pin IC socket to the PCB in the IC2 position.

  • Solder the 3.5mm audio connector to the PCB in the SPKR position.

Step 3: Fit: LEDs, Switches, Battery Connector, Potentiometer and Regulator

  In this step we will be fitting the LEDs, switches, battery connector, potentiometer and regulator.
  • Solder the LEDs to the LED1 and LED2 position on the PCB. Note: the the long lead of the LED is positive.

  • Solder the voltage regulator(IC3) to the PCB. *Note the flat side of the Voltage regulator needs to be fitted on the same side as the white bar(left side) on the PCB.

  • Solder the Momentary switch the S2 position on the PCB.

  • Solder the Toggle switch to the S1 position on the PCB.

  • Solder the potentiometer(10k) to the VR2 position, it's not marked but it's to the left of R5.

  • Solder the 9v battery connector to the bottom of the pads marked PWR, red to + and black to -. *Note the battery connector is soldered to the bottom of the PCB because the battery will be inside the enclosure.

Step 4: Fit: Stylus, PCB to Enclosure

  In this step we will be fitting the stylus to the PCB and fitting the PCB with the battery to the enclosure.
  • Program the PicAxe 08M2 with the file StyloBuzz.bas
  • Fit the Picaxe 08M2 to the ic socket on the PCB. *Note the Picaxe needs to be fitted with the dot indent to the top left.

  • Strip both ends of the multi strand wire and tin one end and shrink the heat shrink over the tinned end of the wire.

  • Solder the wire to the PCB at the Pad1 position.

  • Fit a 9volt battery to the battery clip.

  • Sit the PCB on top of the enclosure making sure that the battery is sitting inside.

  • Secure the enclosure to the PCB by fitting the 4 screws.

Step 5: How to Play the StyloBuzz

Now your now ready to play; Plug in some earphones or an amp, switch the StyloBuzz on and have a play.

Stylus: The stylus is pressed on one of the 13 keyboard pads to play a note.

Mode select: The mode is changed by pressing the S2 button and cycles through the 5 modes back to 1. The mode levels are adjusted using the vr2 potentiometer.


  1. Frequency: Shifts the frequency up or down.

  2. Sweep Size: Controls the amount the frequency will shift up and down.

  3. Sweep intensity: Controls how quickly the sweep frequency will change.

  4. Chopper intensity: Changes how quickly the note is strobed.

  5. Note Length: Change the length of the note.

The output is via a 3.5mm stereo socket which can be plugged into earphones, a computer sound card, mixer or amplifier.

Step 6: Mod the StyloBuzz

This is the most important step, I want you to mod this sucker. Change the code to make different sounds, change the enclosure for a mad synth look or remake the entire project using an arduino. Be creative and I'm always happy to help out with your modding.



    • Trash to Treasure

      Trash to Treasure
    • Tape Contest

      Tape Contest
    • Arduino Contest 2019

      Arduino Contest 2019

    33 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Nice instrument!
    Anybody know if is around one instructable or know how to do something similar with an arduino?


    7 years ago on Step 6

    No circuit diagram or code. Is this nothing more than straight advertising for your own shop????

    6 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Circuit diagram, board layout and code are all provided? Every thing you need to build this. If you are having trouble downloading then let me know and I'll reupload ASAP.


    Can you save the circuit diagram as a jpeg or as an image because on Linux, to download EAGLE takes some extreme configuring.



    I've just upload a jpg of the circuit diagram for you. I had to zip it and upload as a file. It's at the bottom of step 1.
    I hope that helps.


    Reply 7 years ago on Step 6

    As pointed out by Randofo, I have now found the files I thought were not there. Good job on this project. :-)


    Reply 7 years ago on Step 6

    I see the the circuit diagram as a download on step 1 and the code as a download on Step 4

    Sorry to say this appears to be a mayor ripofff of a instructable of 2009, tic tac tunes:

    11 replies

    Are you nuts? Do you seriously think so, or are you trollin? One goes beep beep beep to the tune that's programmed into it - the other is a freestyle waveform generator. I can't believe you're making such a useless accusation. Do you find yourself having trouble keeping up with people in regular conversation? Do you often mean to eat an apple, but end up eating a banana by mistake?

    Wow, no need to get your panties all tangled up, if you've learned to read at school you would have spotted the 'appears to be' part, to me, a person that has made neither, they look like the exact same thing, hence my reply.

    But yea, sorry, forgot that the world revolves around you.

    Once again, learn to read, i clearly said your panties.

    But i am just going to stop replying, since this is utterly useless, and i like instructables to much to get booted over some silly flame discussion. cya.

    Exactly man. Exactly. You probably should have just said "Hey yeah, they look the same, but they don't sound the same! You're right!" in the first place. You know, had the balls to do that... without worrying that it means you can't fight, or don't have cred or some other BS. We all make snap judgements. We're all incorrect sometimes. It's nothing.

    Just have to add a final remark since you appear to label yourself as some sort of winner;
    I still say the instructable to me appears to be a mayor ripoff, your replys didnt really change that, hence my remark about dropping the discussion.
    Besides if anybody is trolling it must be you, i made 1 reasonable reply, your the one to introduce drama, i just wanted to see a reply from the instructable poster, proving me wrong or not, simple.

    But yea, reply whatever you want, ill just check back ina while to see if theres a reply from the actual poster.

    I don't understand why you are calling this a ripoff, It's like saying that any Instructable that shows you how to bake a cake is a ripoff even if the flavor or look is totally different.
    My Instructable has many similarities to the one you linked to, but the sound and look are verry different in my opinion, I respect your opinion and criticism is fine but, it just hurts to be called a ripoff when you put lots and lots of work into something.

    Anyway, what's most important is that people keep making awesome Instructables and that we have this amazing community of makers.

    I'm not going to bother. Clearly you don't have ears, and the ability to push play on both the videos supplied. Also clearly; you're a very small person (who thinks the internet is about winners and losers). Charlie Sheen supporter maybe? :P


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Someone needs to obey his own pseudonym and keep quiet...Thomas. An accusation can be said to be unfounded but not useless by the way.

    While I agree the two projects are different enough to warrant this one's inclusion here I can't help but think that I saw a similar project in Popular Electronics magazine somewhere around 1979.