Category Archives: New Products

New Products to aid benders

NES Chip Maestro MIDI Synthesizer Cart

Currently in development an NES cartridge that you can link to any MIDI device. Any order over 50 dollars is a pre-order of the cartridge. For 125 dollars get a “developer” cartridge with access to the internal chips.

It has already reached it’s funded point so you can feel pretty confident this will happen. Lot’s of Love!

Editor’s note: This project has reached the funding goal so its bound to happen, really nice concept. From the video it appears that the MIDI lag times are minimal. Looking forward to the finished product.

Beeping it

by Michael Una.

It’s been a little bit since I posted here, and the reason is that I’ve been working on a big project. I thought I’d share my progress and hopefully inspire a few readers to take on a similar project.

At Bent Festival 2008 in Minneapolis I got a chance to check out Loud Objects and their noise toys.

This noise toy got me thinking. I had been building my own instruments for a while and I had tried selling a few of my bent devices, but every one was different and required a ton of labor. Every time you bend a new instrument there’s a huge learning curve, and then you end up making a lot of creative choices based on what you find.

What I wanted to do was figure out something to build and sell that would be repeatable, not too tough to build, and still fun to play with. A while back I had built a little device for my nephew’s birthday and he frickin’ loved it, so I figured I’d start there. This is what the first couple of Beep-its looked like:

I sold the first 25 pretty quickly and I had fun building them and sending them off into the world. But, there were problems. I ran out of the petri dishes I had used as the cases. The cases tended to crack. The insides were sometimes big messes of hot glue. So I worked on a redesign:

That worked great for a while, but soon enough I had built 250 of these by hand. I started looking for ways to save time- Alex from GetLofi made me some custom circuit boards. I started hiring my sister-in-law to drill the cases and some local benders to build the circuit boards for me. But I was still not satisfied with the quality and there were some design flaws. For instance, there was no separate battery compartment- you had to disassemble the case with an X-acto to replace the battery.

This past summer I attended the Maker Faire in Detroit and got to talk with Mitch Altman of TV-B-Gone and Trip Glasses fame. He gave me some good advice about manufacturing and later referred me to his overseas manufacturer. That started a long process of prototype creation, materials selection, and pricing that resulted in this:

I took a bit of a personal risk to have a bunch of these manufactured, but I’m extremely happy with how they turned out. Here’s a little video demo I shot this past weekend:

More info is at http://thebeepit.com

So now that’s where I’m at. It’s been a good couple of years to this point, and I still feel like I’m just getting started. And I’ve essentially exchanged one set of problems for another- my old problem was that I spent all my time building these things and I never had time to work on anything else. Now, my problem is that I spent all my money on these things and now I have to sell them to get my money back. But, now I have time and I have a product I feel very happy about. So I feel like I made out okay in the deal. Time will tell whether or not it was good decision financially, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

What have you been working on? Anyone thinking of making kits or a finished product?

GetLoFi Kit Assembly Just Got Faster and Easier

Have you ever cringed before the daunting task of  striping dozens of wires in order to modify a device or build a kit? Well here at GetLoFi we are making your life a little easier. Introducing the pre-cut, stripped, and tinned multicolor hookup wires. The high quality wire was made to our specifications by a wonderful company in Oregon, USA. There are two varieties Stranded 26 Gauge 5.5 inch for general hookup and Kynar solid core 28 Gauge 6.0 inch for precision work.

All our kits from this point on will include this wire and you may also purchase extra bundles in the Parts section of the Shop.

GetLoFi Patches

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GetLoFi just added a White 4400 Embroidery Machine! This beauty became a reality after a lucky find at my local thrift store called Stuff, ETC. Normally these computer controlled robots can cost in upwards of several hundred dollars, this one was a fraction of the cost. The price obviously depends on features like hoop size, USB connectivity, torque power, etc.

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The coolest part about this machine is the software that allows you to take any Bitmap graphic and turn it into a pattern that is ready for stitching. Colors can be added via a thread change during a programmed pause in a sequence. Thanks to this marvelous wonder the GetLoFi Shop now contains patches to cover up those soldering iron burn holes with style! If you have an idea or a design in mind feel free to comment.

*Update 9/17/09 *

Per suggestion here are some oscillator patches.

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USB Soldering Iron now in the GetLoFi.com/Shop

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The New USB Precision Soldering Irons have finally arrived in the GetLoFi.com/Shop. Some may remember my previous attempt in making a USB soldering Iron from a battery powered Weller. Unlike that hack, this tool is professionally: made, packaged, tested, and comes with all the accessories needed to start soldering. Its been my dream to be able to work freely without dependence on a power outlet or a bulky extension cord, now this dream can be a reality for anyone with a laptop or a rechargeable USB battery pack.

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With Surface mount components and miniaturization of electronics this soldering Iron is precise and small enough to do the job.

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This new version now includes an On-Off switch and also a 9 Volt Battery Connector with a retractable USB cord. Certainly you DO NOT want to plug this cord into any standard USB devices because it will fry them! By contrast this soldering iron is safe to operate from any standard USB port thanks to its advanced on-board electronics. A built-in white LED also helps when working in dark conditions. Heat-up times are extremely fast compared to a standard soldering iron and the power consumption from the USB port is minimal.

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The USB Soldering Iron is now on sale from the GetLoFi.com/Shop for only $25.00 including free First Class USPS shipping.