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2x4s and Toys

After being on an electronics hiatus for a few months I am finally refocusing again. To get some momentum, or as a warm up of sorts, I decided to do a quick 1-2 day hack of a kids toy. The toy was a simple noise maker, generating some annoying beeps, siren sounds, and short melodies. In the end I found I could add a pitch bend to it as well as a loop function that could loop the sounds. I also added a 1/4 inch out and switched the batteries from those tiny button cells to normal AAs.

Here is the completed circuit.

When I was building the circuit I had a lot of issues trying to find a suitable enclosure for it. Without a proper place to do wood or metal work, and without anything suitable or cheap enough for this toy (I wasnt going to use any nice cigar boxes for this) I was at a loss for a bit about what to do with it. Then I decided FTS I will just use what I have lying around my house. I happen to have a lot of 2x4 blocks, screws, zip ties, and random bits of spare wire, so away I went.

The circuit itself is screwed into the block of the wood in the ripped up original enclosure it came in. Going against my past, I actually tried NOT to use hot glue. So to mount the pot I nailed 4 nails around it and bent them inward slightly. It holds really well.

I really like the look of the exposed wires and contacts. Its functional in that it allows me to fix breaks as well use the exposed points as body contacts. I also like how looks aesthetically. I actually tried to work the wires into a design element here but gave up halfway through just so this wouldnt take to much time. Next time I make a circuit like this, though, the wire is going to be a design or aesthetic element and Im excited for the possibilities it brings to mind.

This is the looping switch bay. I learned a neat trick at Bent Fest where if you connect the ground from the output of a cheap toy to its buttons it can make it loop. It worked for this toy and instead of wasting switches, which I wouldnt even know how to mount on a block of wood, I just used wire wrapped screws and an alligator clip.

The output jack is held into place with a screw in the back that you can see here, a nail in the front, and a zip tie. It is SUPER sturdy. I often worry with some circuits I make about the output jack coming loose after repeated use, but I will never have to worry about this one. Its going no where.

I was really happy about the zip tie method I used and will definitely use it again. I just drilled a whole straight down into the block and then one in the side making a tunnel for the zip tie to pass through. Worked great.

Zip ties and electronics dont hang out enough.

Here is a video (I added the delay effect on the amp):

2x4 Toy from All Over The Where on Vimeo.