Reader asked a question and its been a while since I thought about circuit bending guitar pedals, but here is some general knowledge that may be useful for someone to take the mystery out of this process.
“Usually most modern pedals are completely digital with 1 or 2 chips making the whole thing go. So if you start poking around you will simply crash it because you interrupt the CPU frequency crystal timing. Not much there except maybe adding the LTC Precision oscillator to pitch the whole thing up and down.
There are OP amps here and there to amplify the signal and that will give you some feedback bends.
The glitchy bends in digital equipment come from messing with the ROM chips where waveforms are stored or RAM chips where the input audio gets held up for delay effects and loops etc. However in modern electronics those are extremely small and hard to work with.
A reasonable way to get interesting sounds out of modern guitar pedals is to have a signal feedback mixer and also explore adding some LFO variations to the knob parameters or CV inputs and Gates controlled by an external Modular Synthesizer.
I think that’s about all you can really do with that aside from reprogramming the flash of the chip which is basically impossible. “
0:00 Introduction, Shapeoko 2 from Inventables now X-carve
0:15 unpacking the heavy box!
0:30 Nice to have a large work area, a table for staging the parts and a table for the assembly. Also a computer to use for looking at the guide. The parts list is nice a long with a personal letter from Zach Kaplan the president of Inventables. I liked the quality control, all parts were separated in baggies and clearly labeled. Definitelly a top knotch kit. There were no missing parts. My only suggestion would be to pair the components into the groups by the assemblies.
0:45 The idler wheels! Yes these you have to assembly by hand and it is time consuming. Luckally I have a bottle cap press which I modified to just press the bearings into the shape. Drill press might also work too, anything with lots of downward pressure.
1:00 Putting together the bolts throught the idler wheels is also time consuming, for this step I used a cordless driver with hex head.
1:30 Its really nice to have all the handtools and wrenches also included in the kit. Power tools do make the assembly much quicker.
1:45 Mounting things on the assembly plates was time consuming, but thats how it has to be. No not try to skip ahead and attempt to make this look like a CNC machine. Extra care must be taken to make sure there is no disassembly that you have to do, if something is mis installed. For this step the 3 steppers should be out, we can mount them.
2:15 The spacer frules can be somewhat confusing because there are multiple sizes.
2:30 When mounting something for permanence, make sure to use the Lock-tite provided, or when that runs out super glue will also work. The hardware included in the kit is top quality, I did not break a single bolt or strip anything. This helped things to be extra tight and snug
2:45 the belt tensioner wheels are also installed in this step along with the belt drive gear.
3:00 At this point nothing looks like a CNC yet but its ok, because its really important to assemble the main parts with care and precision, fixing a problem down the line will be impossible. The Z-axis is one of the most important pieces.
3:30 The mounting of the screw driver is somewhat troublesome, there is a bearing that must be installed in between the 2 plates plus a few plastic spaces. This was completelly redesigned in the x-carve for more clearance and with fewer components.
3:45 Tapping of the makerslide rails is probably the worst part of this, doing this by hand will be painful. Here it pays to have a nice set of cordless tools my drill was used with the included tapper and after a few back and forth reams the thread was ready. Bolts also will tap somewhat and the driver I use prevents stripping. So use a clamp a drill, some oil, and a can of compressed air to clear the hole. Also this should be done outside where you do not mind a bunch of tiny metal shavings. There are alot of slides and they all need to be tapped, so just do it all at once. Luckily for us the new x-carve features self tapping screws.
4:30 not the z-axis can be slid onto the short makerslide, again this step is quite time consuming if you are not using power tools, just grip the end of the shack in the chuck and spin, the gantry will move. The plates now have to be installed, and its a bit confusing because for some reason they have adjustable holes, eventhough if manufactured correctly there is no need for truing them up. The designers were just trying to reuse so many parts and making them multi purpouse.
5:00 Finally we can mount the main maker slides now. The ridges have to go on the outside. The eccentric nuts have to be adjusted for widest position. Oh and the belt tensioners, do not miss installing them at this point. You need just 2 for the x axis.
6:00 The wasteboard gave me some trouble, those screws are way too short so best way to attach the nuts is first by threasing them through, and only then slideing under the frame.
6:30 finally the rest of the rails are installed and once again, 2 sets of belt nuts must be slid in place to hold the crimps.
7:00 The whole thing at this point is pretty off center, so truing must be done making sure its parallel and perpendicular.
7:15 The belts are the final piece of before the electronics, instructions are prety good for this step and there should be no problems unless you cut the belts too short, or forget the nuts that slide in the maker slide. There is no other way to attach the bents.
7:30 Wires must be threaded through the assemblies and here is where I went different route than the instructions, they recomment installing terminal strips, however I noticed there is plenty of wire on the steppers so I just to twisted them together. The included mesh for the wires seemed to be a huge hassle to thread through, so I didnt bother, heat shrink tubing was used where the wires went into the steppers and for auesthetic look. Then I used the standard wire cover from hardware stores to hide it all.
8:30 All the electronics are included in the kit, so just follow all the instructions when connecting. It was ancie touch that the Arduino is already programmed. When I use terminal strips I always like to tin the wire first. So my idea was to keep the arduino right on the gantry of the machine and just have the power and usb cables running to it, seemingly that saved me a few steps of extending the wires and having separate box for the electronics.
9:00 once it all was plugged in and no magic smoke came out I was confident enough to run the Universal g-code sender to test the machine! and it worked! First try. nothing had to be reqired. I also installed the Easel Local software to the machine with shapes. The instll went smooth it took a few tries to get the website to recognice the port however.
9:15 it took a while to figure out how to attach a pencil to my gantry, in retrospect this step is not necessary, just go strait for the mill.
9:30 to my suprise all the steps seemed to be perfectly calibrated, just needed to give the steppers some extra current through the trim pots. The machine was ready! Certainly I would not use it inside expecially with the included dremel tool, too lound and dusty.
9:45 I want to thank the Inventables for giving me the opportunity to put together this machine and make a video of it. Looking forward to showing you guys all the cool new projects I’ve been working on that use the Shapeoko 2.
5:00 – Belt Holders putting together the gantry rail
Testing my mobile wp
It’s been a longtime since I have done any Circuit Bending, can’t promise anything but I think at some point I will. In the meantime this page hosts my YouTube tape conversions, any some DIY projects that I need a place to keep when I go between devices such as my phone and computer. Dropbox is too expensive and doesn’t work on some older computers that I have. So back to the simple html.
This project is a Halloween sign that I saw at Home Depot, it’s printed on some cheap MDF and will definitely fall apart if left outside. His will be plywood and I will use laser printer to paper to wood transfer with acetone. The trick to try is diluting acetone with rubbing alcohol.
Image has been processed on the iPhone to have max contrast. Print with Scaling in MS Paint to make it as large as the piece of wood. About 24″ in my case.
Photos of project to follow.