Saturday 30 May 2020

Using an Arduino to display Sequential/DSI OB-6 patch names

The Sequential/DSI OB-6 doesn't have a display capable of showing patch names, though the patches are named (for when using a computer based patch editor). I like patch names. They help with categorisation and can be a source of inspiration or ideas.

Vintage style aluminium sign using marquee lights

My interest in vintage technology includes things like signs and lighting displays. This is a quick prototype investigating the best approach to making such things.

I think this type of sign is potentially an interesting platform for exploring different shapes, materials and even interaction with lighting sequences controlled by sensors or incorporating atmospheric sound elements.

I used the amazing RazorLAB for the fascia, an online laser cutting & engraving platform.

Flickr album here.

Vintage Wilding Company electronic calculator screenprint

At the end of 2019 I did an introductory screenprinting course at Ink Spot Press and naturally I experimented with vintage technology as my subject.

This vintage electronic calculator manufactured by The Wilding Company was printed using a four colour separation process. The black, cyan, magenta and yellow screens can be seen in this Flickr album.

The Buff. A buffered multiple for Eurorack

During my brief journey down the rabbit hole that is Eurorack (from which I bailed; too expensive, too fiddly, too complex for me) I toyed with the idea of designing and manufacturing modules. A buffered multiple is a simple utility module and the design I chose to explore the process of bringing a product to market.

At the time Eurorack was the very embodiment of DIY that still had a 'cottage industry' vibe to it. I decided Eurorack wasn't for me but sold a few handmade modules on eBay all fabricated in my own maker space including CNC milled acrylic panels and hand-etched circuit boards.

The stripboard Roland TR808

Way back at the beginning of the last decade, based on some work by Eric Archer (designer of the much respected Grendel Drone Commander, now Rare Waves LLC), forum contributor -minus- began posting Roland TR808 voice circuits layed out for stripboard.

"That looks like fun!" I thought. "I could do just the kick, snare and hats."

What began as a casual weekend project snowballed into an ambitious attempt to do an entire TR808 on stripboard driven by an Arduino-based sequencer all housed in a retro Roland System-100 era enclosure imagining a counterfactual history where the aesthetic of 70s Roland synthesisers and 80s Roland drum machines collided.

Not surprisingly the project proved too ambitious and was abandoned.

Flickr album here including video.

The Tempest - a synthesiser based on RA Penfold's designs in 'Electronic Synthesiser Construction' (1986)

In 2012 I spent three months in Brooklyn taking the Tech Mentoring Program at The Analog Lab, NYC. The Tempest was a mono synth based on the designs in RA Penfold's 1986 book, 'Electronic Synthesiser Construction'. It was completed for my final project. Hurricane Sandy hit New York during my stay hence the name.

The faceplate was lasercut at the Hack Manhattan maker space. The enclosure is an old ammo box, sand-blasted and resprayed at the now defunct 3rd Ward artist and maker community; where the knobs were also made which are cast resin. I was going for a 'lab test equipment' or a 50s 'atom punk' aesthetic.

Unfortunately The Tempest never survived the journey back to the UK and I have no audio recordings or video footage of it in use.