Sunday, November 8, 2015

Friday, October 9, 2015

reverse boosting

Working on the fuzzwar and there have been some issues with transistors.  So i've been messing around with the reverse booster and came up with something that works pretty stable for the 2n5089s that I have.

I think the 51K is alright so far, I think that a 10k instead of the 51k is better for impedance, but 51k is a lot louder at this point and gets close to the sound of the 7 transistor fuzz war.

I'll have to see how they stack together though, with both the 10k or 15k the bass frequencies clip more. But obviously not as much as the 51k.  At 100k, theres some gating and the start of that velcro sound, 180 is entirely gated and velro-esque... 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Getting back into screen printing

Well its been a while since i screen printed anything.  I've been working on a design for quite some time and trying to get the circuit to match. I know I know, I really should figure out the circuit first before making artwork for pedals, but this time I'm going to do the right amount of planning!

So this is my heavily modified big muff design with different clipping options.

Its not my finest, I goofed on the upper right hand corner.  The screen had a lot of holes in it and I just left it.  It looks OK enough and I'm just trying out some ideas at the moment.  I'm going to put the 9V and INPUT and BYPASS in red , and I'm going to try to put an image on the side to take it a step further than I usually do.  But this will require a large amount of back and forth in terms of clearcoating, drying and screen printing.  Ah well hopefully its worth it.  I'll keep you guys posted in terms of what the result slowly develops into.

The circuit was previously housed in this

But I kind of botched that enclosure and right now a friend is borrowing it, and since I had another enclosure that I've just been sitting on for a year, I wanted to try some more artwork out..
Here was an earlier version with the red knobs...

Monday, September 28, 2015

Bringing it all home: the reason for blackcraft

When I was first learning about pedals I was intrigued by Oliver Ackermann's Armageddon.  No doubt you could tell because of my cloning of his artwork. Over the course of my time messing around populating other people's PCBs i've taken some time to try and breadboard various designs all thanks to my good friend Micah over at Glass Hero.  To him i owe very much as he has been patient with me and dropped tidbits of information for me to learn from.

So after thinking about it for a long time, I've decided to try and build the original 7 transistor fuzz war.  this has reportedly given many people problems. Without knowing what they've done wrong I've decided to take a stab at building one myself.

I've got the schematic in hand and I've got some experience playing around with reverse transistor setups and have figured what the heck...

Here is the infamous 7 transistor schematic most people have probable seen. The starting point...
I've seen both this and the armageddon v1 pedal and they are based around the same circuit but have a couple notable differences.

Here is what I've re-drafted to identify stages and a more suitable looking schematic for me to follow.
And here it is on the breadboard...

Ahh but then there is the issue of variability, using some OEM motorola 2n5089s and the boost stage has huge sputtering issues...
This is probably the issue that others have run into.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Filter filterrrr

Working on a filter from another pedal and trying to figure out just how it works. Here is the schematic,
ANd here is my attempt to use the tone stack calculator

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Prototype planning for my Amp in a box "solution"

I believe I have picked out two of the circuits which I'd like to serve as channels for my "Amp in a box Solution".  The Thunderbird and the Brittania from Runoffgroove as provided by 1776 Effects.
I accidentally ordered a large Hammond Enclosure, but would like to test out the functionality and placement of the effects.

A while back i purchased a plastic enclosure from radioshack and i'm thinking of using it as a testing box of sorts. I thought I read something about having a grounding issue with it on Beavis Audio a while back, but since it has been taken down I can't see it.  I have the templates ready to drill the box, but I still think I need to do a bit more planning.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sunking II

Alrighty folks, here is some sort of Klone from Madbean.  If I understand correctly, it is based on the Klon, but it has been upgraded with some modifications.

I thought I would challenge myself and try the "I'm a glutton for punishment" modification.  Which allows for the choice between buffered and true bypass switching.  I don't have enough pedals or cable length to really be able to hear the difference at this point.  But perhaps it is good that I can't hear the difference :).

It sounds pretty cool, I have another Klon circuit that i need to try and build.  Once again I've gone with the Black/White/Red color scheme.   The White paint is kind of runny, and i believe that some of the blemishes on the glass i use to hold down the image on the screen during the photo emulsion process.  I need to refine that part of the process...

Friday, June 5, 2015

Process Pictures from the Forever Zero

There has been interest in how I created this enclosure.  I think next time I might try THREE LAYERS MWAHAHA.  I'm not sure if that is warranted or not though.  Anyways, below are two snapshots of the initial power point files and how I worked with them.  This first issue highlights one of the critical flaws I made.  The yellow and green highlighted ares are that of the actual PCB.  I just used a crude shape for the ZP Mini since the actual PCB has more indentations in it at the top, but it was just to get an idea. So this worked out excellently for viewing the horizontal spacing and where I would need to put the knobs, however you can see that I didn't include the dimensions of the input and output jacks.  Just looking at the yellow area, you can tell that it is too close to the top of the encosure.

The next step after the design was completed was to separate the "color layers".  On the far right is the finalized product, but i separated the two layers on the right hand side.  This is just making whichever colors you want "BLACK" so that they aren't effected by the light sensitive emulsion.  I usually try to make the image the colors I want first to get an idea and then convert it back to Black and Clear.  In this case, since the gold is the perimeter of the Reverb Knob, and looks to be on top of the white bands on the left hand side, I logistically decided that it would be layer 1.
Layer 1 also included the horizontal bar at the top so it made it a little bit easier for me to lineup with the enclosure, although sometimes it can still be tricky.

And here is the messy screen.  I was nervous about how it would come out at first, it is damn well near the worst "at-a-glance" looking screen I've made, but I can't argue with the end result.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

My first multi-pedal::Forever Zero

Forever Zero...same color scheme as the moaj.  It is two madbean pedals in one, a delay with modulation and then a nice reverb.  Together they make a nice combination.  later on I'd consider adding an effect loop, but for the time being i just left it as is.  I used a white dc jack and a white baseplate to make the enclosure really pop.  I'm not sure about the gold knob, but I have a white knob coming along the way.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Double Channel...maybe. Oh and updates

Alright so furthering the quest for an "All-in-one" amp in a box solution.  I thought about incorporating the 100W Marshall Superlead (ROG Thunderbird) and the Vox AC-30 (ROG Britannia) amp simulation circuits into a single box with a footswitchable channel switch.  This is what I'm thinking of at the moment.

I built the Thunderbird and the have the Britannia next in queue, but I've been wondering the best way to go about it.  Should I have an A/B channel box with both amp circuits in it, Or should I dedicate each to an enclosure and then build an AB looper pedal. I'm trying to reduce the number of pedals that I'd need to pull out in front of me to play.

If possible I'd even like to incorporate the speaker cabinet simulator into the pedal as well as.
For all intents and purposes I'd like to get both amp emulators, an effects loop with blend control, and cabinet simulator/DI box as well.  But we'll see, one logical step at a time :)

I'm working on another multi-effect unit.  Unlike the Rat/Cocked Wah project that was seen in an earlier post which never made it to an enclosure.  This one I'd like to combine a delay and a reverb pedal into one, with the delay before the reverb.  Maybe an effects loop in there too.  I'm under the current impression that reverb would almost always come last in my effects loop, but that is subject to change I suppose.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Speaker simulator Project

Alright, so one of the next things on my list now is to create an ampless solution to the oh-so-common apartment complex situation.

I purchased the THC Balanced Line Driver DI off of the BST section of the Madbean Forum, and have been waiting to try and implement it. I've also ordered a JMK headphone amp and am going to try and incorporate it into the box.  I found someone else's BASS DI box and tried to take a page out of that book and figured the general setup could work.

I'm thinking of using the Runoffgroove Condor Cab Simulator as the cab simulator and having it true bypass toggle switchable, where the output is split to an output jack and a selector switch for going to the Line Driver and XLR output, and the other side going to the Headphone Amplifier.

This is the setup I'm working with at the moment.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Screaming Firebat

Hi Team,
   In order to reduce some of my problems with offboard wiring, I tried to put both footswitches onto a pcb for a modified big muff circuit.  There is a footwitchable Filter circuit and a toggle switch to go between big muff and supa tonebender. I think it sounds pretty awesome but I could still work out some of the issues with the filters.

This is called the "Screaming Firebat" and is for my Mary!
You can't tell so much from the other pictures, but I tried to keep it going with the red and black theme.  I bought the Red DC powerjack, spray painted the bottom plate red and used red acrylics for the screenprinting.

Friday, May 15, 2015


Hi Team!!
      So after playing back and forth with the clipping options, I think i've narrowed it down to no clipping and silicon clipping. To my ear I really couldn't hear that much of a difference between different options of symmetrical clipping for Ge vs LED vs Si vs Open.  Am I wrong? Probably so, but either way these are pedals for my friends which I think they'll enjoy if they only had a limited number of options and they could hear the difference.

    Heh but with that being said, there is a problem when you design  your art work before you test your pedal.  But ahh well, it'll have my friends scratching their heads thinking something is one way or another.

    Anyway many thanks to Glass Hero and the members of the Madbean Forum for helping me out with my questions along the way as well selling me the PCB to make this all happen.  I tried my  hand at modifying this PCB to work better with this set up so that there would be less off board wiring, but we'll have to see how that goes...

Monday, March 30, 2015

Punishment :: Foxx Tone Machine :: Work in Progress #4

After I've spray painted and drilled the enclosure, I went ahead and put the circuit inside.  I'll have to provide more details later, but of course it took a little bit of working out with alligator clips before hand.  I'm still working out the clipping diode differences.  Right now I think it sounds great with no clipping in the tone stack as well as with some diode clipping.  Once again a critical error on my part having made artwork before I tested out functionality of the circuit.  I don't know... to my ears, I don't hear much difference between the Ge clipping and the 1n4148 clipping.  So i tried it with Ge and LED clipping.  Sounds pretty cool, but I think I'll need to get a on/off/on switch so that I can have no clipping as an option as well.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Punishment :: Foxx Tone Machine :: Work in Progress #3

So here I have printed on two enclosures and learned a couple of things. These are the first two color enclosures I've ever done, and herein are some tips that will make things easier in the future.

1.) LINING THINGS UP: As you've seen in the previous post, all the secondary text is a different color but also placed in different positions on the screen.  THIS IS AN INEFFICIENT IDEA!!! I thought it was going to work, but it resulted in a lot of drying the screen and trying to line things up.  For the next round, I think it'd be better to have all the secondary text lined up as it should be screened.  This will help you only have to make one pass and know that the image will be lined up as it should.  You can really tell on the Red image that the  Ge/Si diode section is tilted.  Try as I might, it was hard to gauge how "straight" the image lines up after you've masked off other portions to not have any paint go all over the place.

2.) COLOR: I really like the sparkle color paints that I have.  For the base color, I used a silver sparkle paint (I think it looks cool, and the paint was easy enough to work with).  However for the secondary color, I chose copper sparkle, which as you can see (or not!) is that the contrast is not deep enough between the silver and the copper.  It is very difficult to see against the silver.  But this is OK since the copper one is for me, and the red one is for a friend.  But it raises some questions about my color choices for other duochromatic pedals.

3.) BALANCE: This one kind of goes in with the color portion above, but looking at the pedal, there is an imbalance in the colors used (imo).  I think that a little bit at the top, and a little bit at the bottom, as well as the so called bulk in the middle would look a lot better. I think I would change the "BLACKSKYCRAFT" to the secondary color, and the "OUTPUT 9V INPUT" to  the secondary color as well.

So with those three things in mind I think for the next pedals I create I'll try to make sure that I create a better system of lining images up.  It might require me to buy a second screen, but I'll just have to see. I'll probably post again about how I do it.  In the mean time I'll need to wait for a dry weather day here to go over the enclosures with a clear coat and then later on down the line start the drilling process.

Punishment :: Modified Foxx Tone Machine :: Work in Progress #2

Alright so the weather was decent enough this weekend for me to proceed with the screen printing portion.  So I tried to document as much of the process as I possibly could starting from the beginning. So i scrapped my existing screen by removing the emulsion and voila! here were (ignore the image that is stained on the screen, any paint that passes through will change the color of screens over time)
For this process you'll need Emulsion, (The larger white container), Photo Sensitizer (the small white container), and a squeegee (the red scraper). The quick explanation is that the light sensitive material will harden when exposed to light and anything not exposed to light will remain water soluble and we can wash it out.  But first things first: Preparing the Emulsion:

Before we can use the emulsion, we need to mix in the photo sensitizer.  There are differences across brands, but for the most part I've been using Speedball.  The emulsion starts off as blue, and you'll need to open the small photo sensitizer bottle and fill it half way up with water and mix it up thoroughly.  Then put it into the blue emulsion; this will cause it to turn green.  At this point in the process it is OK for there to be light in the room, the bottle is covering the emulsion for the most part, and of course you'll need to be able to see what you're doing. 

Stir it all up with a stirring stick of sorts, I have plenty of chopsticks from take out restaurants so I use those.

Now that we have the emulsion ready, we'll need to apply it to the screen.  Put a small amount on the screen.  What you see in the picture above is actually more than enough.  You want to have a thin layer that covers the screen with no excess. This takes a little bit of time to get used to, any extra emulsion can be returned to the container.
After you have gooped it onto the screen, take your squeegee and smear it across the screen. you'll want to press into the screen and slide up and down.  The process generally starts as just trying to get it to cover all corners of the screen.  After you have done this, work on getting the excess off,  Just scrape upward and then either wipe the goop off on a paper towel or try to get it back in the container.  DO that over and over, and switch to both sides. THE GOAL IS TO GET A THIN FILM TO COVER THE SCREEN AND NOT HAVE EXCESS ON EITHER SIDE.  With that in mind you should be able to get it down.  After you have smeared a thin layer across the screen, put it aside in a dark place for about an hour and a half.  I use the top shelf in my closet since it is flat and dark.

Onward to the next portion!!! Here is the printed screen on a transparency laid over the enclosure so we can once again see that it lines up and when we place the image on the emulsion it will be the right size.  BE CAREFUL ABOUT PRINTING ON TRANSPARENCY!!! IT CAN RUIN YOUR PRINTER!!! you'll either need a special printer or special transparency.  I personally go to Kinkos or UPS to get them to print out transparencies, that way the can keep printing until the scaling is correct. As you can see it looks like it did work out.

 You'll need some sort of set up with your lamp to be ~12-18 inches above the screen.  I use my bathroom since I can turn the light off and the lamp will be the only light source.  I'll detail more later on the type of bulb I used, but i bought the hi wattage bulb and the clamp at Home Depot for about 10 dollars. (you don't have to shell out the money for the Speedball kit in case you're wondering)
So as you can see its basically a trash can on top of the toilet with a black peice of wood on top.  I use the backside of my old drum practice pad.  It is black and non-reflective so that there is no interference of reflection on the underside of the screen messing with the image.

After the screen has cured you'll want to make preparations in the dark and put the image on the screen backwards and line it up underneath the lamp and then turn on the lamp and let the image sit for about 10-12 minutes.  The reason that you do it backwards is so that when you holding the screen up you have the "tray-side" of the screen looking up at you.  really it doesn't matter so much, but its just a bit of a guide from what I've learned.

 After the 10-12 minutes are up you can turn off the lamp and take the screen to the sink.  You'll want to use an old toothbrush to really scrape out the goop under luke warm water.  Here is where you'll really see how the light sensitive emulsion works.  All the spots that were not exposed with light will be washed away.
As you're scraping away, hold it up to the light to see how well you are scraping the emulsion out.  If you don't remove all the emulsion from the area that you want then it will result in the printed image.

After you've cleaned the screen to your satisfaction, you can put it back under the lamp for a couple of minutes to harden even further.

Use a hair dryer to dry the screen (alternatively you can let it sit for a while).
While you're waiting go ahead and spray paint the enclosure(s).  I'm still learning how to spray paint, but if I have learned anything, its that you should go light on the spray paint and go over it multiple times.  In the above image I've only gone over the enclosure with one pass.  Even still I had some runs on the vertical faces.  Once you have them sufficiently covered, let them sit for two hours or so and keep them away from dust/pollen/dander/cats, etc.

 Now onto the part we've all been waiting for, the printing portion!!!  Here is what I've set up to use.  The painted enclosure is on some scrap paper and flanked by two 1590BB enclosures without the bottom plates.  The aim here was to have the black enclosure sitting a little higher than the 1590BBs so that the screen can be securely held down against the enclosure without stretching the screen too much.
As you can see, just setting the screen on top of the black enclosure, there is a little bit of height clearance.

The next part is where you'll need an extra set of hands to hold the screen down tight against the enclosure.  At some point I'll make a rig to hold it down, but in the meantime I get help.  So I line up the image with the screen and then prep the acrylic paint.

Stir up the paint....

and dab a decent amount onto the top of the image. where you are going to print.  The next portion doesn't have any pictures since there were no extra hands to take pictures.  but basically its similar to the screen preparation portion, where you scrap down, up and across trying to get an even amount of paint to go across the image. 

Here is an example of what happens when you leave a smear on the screen and then remove the screen from the enclosure. This is OK because this is for me, but if you're doing this for other people you'll want to avoid the above situation.  As you can see on the screen above, there is a weird wave going across screen image, and on the enclosure you can see the weird wave, it is caused by there being an abundance of paint on the screen as you separate the screen from the image....

...But as you can see it's not that noticeable, and when you're doing it for yourself it looks OK.