Wednesday, December 19, 2012

More Theremins....

This is probably one of the last posts of this year.A year that I will end with finishing a new theremin.My latest theremin is one that also has a Joule Thief in it.Three green LEDs light up the Theremin from within(interestingly enough the JT also makes a high pitching noise when turned on.)
The Theremin is made using the front panel of a deceased oscilloscope.Very convenient are the holes which are already in there.Especially since I made the Theremin with a variable resistor for pitch control and another variable resistor for volume control(I'm using a 9 Volt battery with a large loud speaker).
Following this project will be one where I'll use two other front panels to make two theremins.

Friday, December 07, 2012


Some quick updates:I've taken a part the bicycle windmill because it wasn't functioning properly and also started squeaking.So now I have come up with something else for the Instructables Make it Glow contest.
The Theremin collecting is growing,a new one is almost finished.Also almost finished is yet another lamp,featuring a bare clear light bulb..
A new project in the making,and probably the first one of the new year is one that has various circuits in it.The base is an old wooden clock case,now painted green by some barbarian in the past,but I will hopefully restore it to its wooden colour.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Lamps,lights and lanterns

The last days I have been taking things from the S.O.U.P. (Shelf Of Unfinished Projects) department and trying to finally finish them.Quite a few of them are lamps,lights and lanterns.One of them has a Joule Thief circuit in it with a white LED and the other one has a light bulb and cord.That one is made with a ceramic insulator,copper plated conduit pipe,a brass flower pot and marble base.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Bicycle wheel wind mill

I'm working on a windmill made with a bicycle wheel right now,amidst all the robot projects.
This will use a Joule Thief to make the LED(s) light up.I also will use this project as an entry in the Instructables Make it Glow contest.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Glass Robot

For a long time I wanted to make a robot mostly out of glass parts.And finally it seems that I will do so.
At this time I don't know what kind of circuit it will have:Joule Thief or Theremin or maybe Pummer.
Speaking of Joule Thief I have almost finished another project,made with embossed tin sheets.Embossing is something I want to use more in some of my projects.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

New Joule Thief and more

Finished another joule thief project,the last few days I'm busy looking at some of my unfinished builds.I'll try to at least complete some of them,most will be used for lighting projects I think.
More news:Queen Wilhelmina's Theremin was featured on Instructables and earned me a 3 month pro-membership,the third Instructable I wrote to do so.
I've been trying to drive a servo with a 555 circuit,but it is not really working to well.So I will probably hack the servo's I have and use them for direct drive.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Works in progress...

I have plenty of works in progress,all seem have to do with lighting:there about 5 lamps that I'm working on.Some of them will have Joule Thief circuits.
Lately I'm very interested in magic lanterns,so it will come as no surprise that I'll be making one or more.Maybe one of them will be for the Make it glow contest on

Monday, October 22, 2012

Queen Wilhelmina's Light Theremin

I finally finished my project for the Instructables DIY Audio contest which can be seen here:

And here is a video of how it sounds:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Acrylic Joule Thief

This is a Joule Thief I've finished a while back.It uses the common JT circuit with a green LED.

AllSaints Spitalfields clothing store Chicago

I'm not very keen on going shopping for clothes but if there's one store I'll voluntarily go to it's AllSaints Spitalfields on Chicago's North Michigan Avenue.
Not for the clothes but for all the great machines they there.
All related to the making of clothes of course.
You are greeted by a display of hundreds of sewing machines and in the shop itself many,bigger,machines are scattered.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Artists that I admire :Bella Feldman



While staying in Palm Springs I visited the art museum there and had a first look at the art of Bella Feldman.Three pieces from her series "War toys redux" are on display.These are made with glass and metal
Her site can be visited here

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Light Theremin III

I have just finished the robot theremin which was a kind of complicated project because I decided halfway through the build to add a Joule Thief.My philosophy is :a project can always use some light.
A quick run through the used materials:the head is a brass part for a lamp,the hat I think came from a motor housing,the neck is a piece of copper tubing,the arms are copper elbows with parts of bullet shells,the body is the motor housing from an old sewing machine motor,the legs are copper plated heating tubes.
I tried to build the solar theremin on the breadboard but couldn't get it to work.
The next project will be another theremin which I will enter for the DIY audio contest.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Light theremin II

I have now built two theremins,one is completely finished,the other needs some finishing touches and I'm already working on a few others.One will be build in the shape of a robot(no surprise there),another is a solar theremin(but still being tested on the breadboard),and yet another will be using an hard disk drive as front.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Light theremin

It is no surprise that I like noise makers and especially ones that respond to light.So I was very happy to discover the Light Theremin project by Make.It is a very simple 555 circuit with only 6 components.
This also gives me the opportunity to use the loudspeakers I salvaged from the bandrecorders I took apart awhile ago.
The first Light Theremin I'm building uses a clock housing which has just enough room for the speaker I'm using.
I also found a circuit that uses two 555's and two photo resistors,that one will be tested next.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It's been awhile

......since I posted.I have been busy sorting out my fathers hardware collection,so now I'm sorted for life  I think..I've finished building a Joule Thief light in the shape of a Dervish,and am now making another Joule Thief light which lights up an acrylic rod.
Also the robot building series is still being continued .......

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Mr.Long Man,not made in China..

I finally finished another noise-maker,Mr.Long-Man(Not made in China).Although I was wondering if I should add a moustache and ponytail .I used a very simple circuit for this:
But instead of 9 Volt,I used a 3V coin cell,a 150K resistor instead of the 100K one,and a 1000 uF capacitor instead of the 100 uF one.
This circuit is from the book 200 transistor circuits by Colin Mitchell and can be found here.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Free samples.....

A great way of getting cheap(read:free)electronic components and other parts is asking manufacturers and suppliers for samples.I did this in the past and got some nice free things like LEDs and switches.Now I have started again and also made a new page about it on my website.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

A new member of the robot family

The robot building boom continues,the newest one is also a pummer.I have two robot pummers already,neither one of them are very efficient.Hopefully this one is better,it is a dual pummer with avery bright red LED and a very bright blue LED.It has a somewhat Wall.E look about it,with two large eyes.
The name will be "627-34" simply because that is what it says on the aluminium housing that is the body

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Yet more loot and a new robot

To keep with the subject of the last post,here are the things I bought on a flea-market last Sunday.I will use some of them for new magbot pendulums:the brass ball on the left,the copper thing on the right ,and the glass knob under the brass ball.

The new robot I'm making is another noise maker under the title ;Mr.Long Man:not made in China.Its body is a Chinese tea caddy,and its hat is also made out of a piece of metal from a Chinese tea caddy.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Emmaus loot

Yesterday I went to the local Emmaus(something like The Salvation Army,but smaller)which had their annual festive market.I got the following things:3 metal cans,little wooden box,glass stopper,two tea spoons,brass oil lamp,four glass knife holders(?),some kind of bell assembly,three moroccan tea glasses and an A & J eggbeater(patented Oct 9 1923 ).

Thursday, May 17, 2012

New series of robots

To continue with the Robot building streak I'm on now,I'm building three with a light detecting circuit.They are very similar in that they have a large capacitor as a body(although I think it is not a functioning component in the circuit).The piezo buzzer is very loud with a 3V coin cell,but also works with a 1.5 V battery.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012


Mr.Philips is another robot with a Joule Thief circuit,this one uses the common one,with 3 red LEDS in parallel.Two of those are on top of the head and the other one is inside the robot.The head comes from an old Philishave,hence the name of the robot.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Frau Rosenthal

Frau Rosenthal is the latest in the series of robots I'm building.I already talked about it (her?)in the previous post.
Her name comes from the two 1.3 K Ohm resistors which make up her arms and were produced by Rosenthal.In my original plan I also wanted a LED on top of her hat but that didn't seem to work.As I wrote in the previous post:the eyes are two AC187 transistors,the mouth is a coil,the "necklace" is a 1 K resistor and the handbag a 0,05 uF capacitor.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Joule thieves......

The latest robot I'm building is one that has a Joule thief circuit in it.There are basically two types of JT circuits I think:the simple one :
And the more complex one which uses more components but also allows you to use a coil with two ends:
For this particular project I choose the more complex one,because I wanted to use the components as parts for the robot.So,two resistors became arms,the two transistors eyes(with eyelashes!),the coil a mouth,the capacitor a handbag and another resistor a necklace.I also used two extra green LEDs for the eyes.All in all a pretty complex build with lots of wires going around...

Monday, April 09, 2012

Robots II

 I finally finished the first of,what should become,a series of robots which have some kind of simple electronic circuit in them.This one has a 555 dark detecting circuit in it with a speaker and a variable resistor which allows you to set the sensitivity.It operates on a 3V coin cell and is not that loud.With 6 V it would probably sound a lot louder.
This is the circuit I used.It came from the free e-book:50 555 circuits by Colin Mitchell.
It can be found here.

Monday, March 26, 2012


I always liked them,and I don't mean those modern,humanoid ones.No,the tinplate ones from the 1940's until the 1960's are the real thing for me.For example this one,a Japanese robot from the 1940's.
So,inspired by these vintage treasures I've started to build some.Mine will have some kind of simple electronic circuit in them,a LED flasher or dark detector with cds cell.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Catching up

In the couple of weeks I've been working on some little projects that are a bit different from what I usually do.I made some earrings and prayer beads.
But,of course,I haven't left the electronics path altogether.I'm now working on a LED chaser circuit with a 74HCT14 chip instead of the usual 555 timer.

Friday, February 24, 2012

My latest lamp is finished,this time not made with coloured,but textured acrylic.Once again I used flattened coins for decorations(for those who want to know:they are Spanish Peseta pieces).The bulb I used is a energy saving Megaman Zenia.On the top and bottom I attached Aluminium sheet for maximum reflection.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Robin Steamboat

While browsing in one of my favourite antique shops I found this pop-pop boat from the 1960's made by Anand Toys in India.It is in decent condition but misses the little figure which sits on the burner.But it came with the original box and was only 4 euro (about $5,25).

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New projects in the making.....

After taking apart all those tape recorders it is time to make something again.First thing is another lamp,not made with coloured acrylic this time but with some other kind of plastic.I also ran into a very interesting circuit on Hack a week .It is a three transistor voltage detector,and very easy to make.
Next up will be some project that will involve tin plate since I have a new supply now.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Salvaging parts from the Philips band recorders

This past week I've been very busy with taking apart the 16 tape recorders I have and writing about the useful parts to be found.Without going into detail to much(I do that on my site)about which parts can be found in which model of recorder,I'll list the parts.
Many of the models have wooden side panels(one model has panels made of teak wood)which could be useful,all of them have heavy aluminium fly wheels,there are nuts and bolts,screws and spacers.Almost all of the models have potentiometers(some of the models have the sliding kind),transistors,capacitors(usually  lower than 1000 uF),and resistors.Tape recorders have counters,VU meters and speakers.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Philips N4416 taperecorder disassembly

One of the 16 tape recorders I got from the Radio and TV design museum in Haarlem(The Netherlands)is a Philips N4416 from the 1970's.Plenty of useful electronic components in here:a nice big 4700 uF capacitor and 7 sliding variable resistors to name just two.Also 3 motors,two of which are the same and two solenoids.Some useful aluminium sheet metal and,of course,screws and spacers.The two wooden side panels could also come in handy in feature projects.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Akai VC X2-E disassembly

One of the video recorders I got from the Radio and Tv design museums depot clearance is an Akai VC X2-E from September 1982.Taking it apart doesn't reveal too many useful parts,the electronic components of course,the aluminium chassis but most useful are the two gear motor assemblies.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

New loot

Today I went to a depot clearance from the Radio and TV design museum in Haarlem(The Netherlands).Plenty of things to get there but I was after the free stuff(well,they needed to get rid off it right?)I had a pleasant few hours there,which included a quick tour through the museum(a visit is needed in the future).The things I took away included:16 tape recorders,3 video recorders,3 answering machines,a phone,a car radio and a clock in parts,but with a very nice sound to it.Many hours of disassembling lay ahead!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


I'm working (still)on the large coil magbot but need some good sun to test it and that has been scarce lately,at least when I'm home.Fingers crossed for next weekend then.
Also work has started on the Newtons Cradle,it'll be made with brass ,wooden dowels,copper and Oak wood.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

A new year......with new projects

A new year has it's time to think about new projects.....and finish some old ones from the last year.The first projects will be the magbot pendulum with the large coil and a new lamp.I want to do more sheet metal work and of course there will be pummers.A Newtons cradle is on the list,probably more than one.Parts for another rolling ball machine are slowly being gathered,that one will involve some sheet metal work too.I'm also thinking on trying to sell one or two pieces,see if there's an interest in them.