Veteran synth and effect pedal builder Travis Johns, reviewed by Guitar Player, leads us through making a radically small, yet surprisingly complex little light-sensitive noise maker. $40, all materials are provided and no experience neccessary.
Reintroducing the Eyecillator, a small, yet surprisingly complex little light-sensitive noise maker from VF designed for weirdos, STEM evangelists, musicians and other folks who just aren’t all that into the weekend sports routine. So what is it? Let’s go the portmanteau route – eye + oscillator = Eyecillator. Clever, right? Or at least it was when I first started making this kind of thing back in 2012-ish as an excuse to use up left over pieces of faux fur from an art installation. That later evolved into a small, budget-friendly table-top synthesizer for the creative musician crowd that I built for a good second until my daughter’s naps became too few and far between to keep up steady production. Once I finally realized that, I decided to take a break from building to figure out how to make this design easier to produce while also navigating school activities, play dates, sports, violin lessons, a full-time job and the occasional weekend jaunts to various regions to build instruments with new friends and play a show or two – not to give too much insight into my personal life or anything. That might’ve been a run-on sentence. The good news for those who made it through that diatribe and/or skipped ahead is that I do believe I’ve come across a design that will allow all the previously-mentioned activities to occur unfettered. Not to mention that as an added bonus, once my kid is old enough to join some scout troop, I can wheel these out as some sort of STEM-inspired badge-giving project of sorts and forever cement my reputation among the other parents as that weird dad – like I needed any help with that.
So here it is – a small, Tom Bugs inspired 4-oscillator, cascaded NAND opto-synth with controls over pitch and voltage sag, as well as the modern addition of a third control over the frequency of a misappropriated telephone chip that acts as a somewhat strange filter of sorts. When used properly, it can chirp along with the best of them, as well as do its utmost to sound like that motorized garbage can robot from that one space movie…but with a drug problem. Not to mention that for this build, there are no wires. There is no case. Just a cool little light controlled circuit, some components and the guarantee that you’ll be able to spark at least two and half minutes of unbridled joy out of this thing before you have to pack up and get serious about the week ahead.
As usual, the logistics: the workshop will go from 2 PM – 4 PM and all materials will be provided. No prior electronics experience is needed and yes, you get to keep this synth at the end of the workshop. Price is $40 and since its an autonomous noisemaker, no guitar, etc is needed unless you really, really want to share something. As with previous VF workshops, we strive to keep the atmosphere casual, informative and friendly – so feel free to bring a snack and a story and hopefully we’ll all leave as buddies at the end of the day. For this workshop, attendance will be limited to 7 and a small VauxFlores pop-up shop will also be on-site for anyone interested in nabbing a box without having to solder it themselves.
Learn more about Travis Johns, and VauxFlores, at https://vauxflores.com
4 spaces available
Bookings are closed for this event.