Fuzz

The above is a photo of a 70’s style fuzz distortion pedal I put together. It is the most simple circuit I found on the web for a “diy” distortion pedal; there are many more circuits that are very complicated compared to this one. It sounds great. I figured out how to add an led as well as switching for bypass, which means I can play with it plugged in and choose between having fuzz distortion or not. It is a “Bazz Fuss” pedal.

Of the three switches, one connects the two jacks together and the other two turn on/off the 9v power supply (one on “+” and one on “-“). The knob is for volume. I did not add a tone knob, because tone knobs on other pedals I have experimented with did not change the sound enough to further complicate the circuit. I realize I currently have minimal knowledge of electronic circuits; I am a beginner with these notions. The three wires in the photo are the 9v wire and two 1/4” cables, one to the guitar (in) and the other to the amp (out).

Here are two video links to see how this same kind of pedal is made:  fuzz1 fuzz2. To make your own fuzz pedal, watch these videos to draw out the circuit and write down the components. You may want to check out mammoth for components if you are interested in making a pedal. A very large selection of components can be found from mouser. For dozens of awesome “diy” pedal kit options/circuits, check out guitarpcb. There is even a Pink Floyd jet pedal on that site. For the best price on an excellent temperature controlled soldering station, I suggest this one. Mine works great and heats to 300 degrees in under thirty seconds (just like it says on the box). The last three soldering irons I have used and owned do not even compare to the above mentioned soldering station, and one can even order replacement tips for it. I like the tip that looks like a cone. There are also many pedal kits, even if more common, on Amazon.

 

 

Below is the circuit  I put together and tested before deciding whether I would put it in an enclosure. I found the 1/4″ jacks for the guitar cables on Amazon.

Obviously, one would not want to build an enclosure for a circuit that does not work. This was the third circuit I tried to make for a distortion pedal and the first one that worked. I may solder together a more complicated one eventually; however, for now, I plan to spend some time with my writing and learning to play the guitar better.

If you watched the videos and looked up “fuzz pedal circuits” on bing, you will notice that the circuit above utilizes a 9v power supply. I added the three switches on my own, as well as the blue led and 470 ohm resistor. First, I added the one (switch) that connects the two jacks’ negatives, for bypass. It only worked when I unplugged the power supply, so I added the other two switches in order to be able to have it plugged in and also off, to play without distortion.

As it is, I can turn the two 9v switches on and the jack connection off to play with fuzz distortion, and turn the switches the opposite for ‘near’ true bypass (it is hard to notice any distortion when it is configured for bypass).

The circuit above may look all sprawled out. It was, and I figured out how to get the led and bypass working (which took about a week due to the small amount of time I put into it, daily) before I chose to clip the wires and shorten/bend them and re-solder the circuit. It would need to be smaller to fit into a box. I played with it; it worked; I was happy; and I decided it was good enough for a halfway descent wooden enclosure. I chose a triangular box structure idea with a light in the middle of it. It would have walnut corners and birdseye maple sides, top, and bottom.

The photo above is of the wood before I sawed it out, as well as the circuit as it was before I made it smaller. The isosceles triangle in the photo is the piece of Plexiglas I sawed out for the light. The led is bright, and the triangle does a fine job of both adding some to the looks of the box as well as dimming the light just enough.

When I bent/clipped the wiring and de-soldered certain connections in order for it to fit correctly in the enclosure, I accidentally soldered it back together wrong. It did not work, and it was not encouraging. I took a break from it for a while and then checked the circuit diagram I drew from the videos on YouTube. I found the problem and re-soldered the connection, and it worked. I used solder from RadioShack, the kind that is shiny.

For the record, the components I used are not exactly the same as in the videos. They are close enough; it works. I would suggest getting the exact components mentioned in the videos; anything else besides those may or may not work. Some components are interchangeable and some are not. The resistor is; I decided to go with a 100k resistor (the one for the circuit, not the extra one on the led) instead of a 10k, because the 10k kept giving out halfway through guitar notes. In order for it to work the best, I keep the guitar and the pedal turned up all the way, and the amp’s volume turned down to 2.2 or so. It is, as they said in the videos, a very loud pedal. It is best to have the volume all the way down on the amp when you first plug in the pedal.

The above photo is of the enclosure and the circuit. During the time of this photo, the circuit was not working; I did not have the bypass switches wired the right way, yet. Of course one could more easily add a bypass to this circuit with toggle switches; however, I did not have any and was anxious to complete the project. Here is a link to those wonderfully nostalgic power supply switches. Here is one for toggles. The copper wire I used is 24 gauge and I found it on Amazon. It can pick up radio wave interference without the enclosure, and does, so I recommend using red and black insulated wire instead.

The wood did not take me too long to saw out and sand, and I used clearcoat polyurethane on it instead of a stabilization process.

Here is a photo of the circuit after I got it working again.

You can see that the light is on. I used a liquid wood filler to correct the holes I drilled into the top of it for the 9v switches. In my design, I did not make enough room for the potentiometer and the switches, so I had to redo how I had it originally drawn. I was happy that it worked again and plan to practice chords and scales with it.

Here is a photo of the enclosure after I got the neodymium rare-earth magnets in it.

The magnets are not installed to perfection; however, they are close to it. I am impressed with the luck I had in getting them at least as close to perfectly placed as I did. I used a piece of paper to make a stencil to get them lined up right, and drilled their holes and fit them with superglue.

Was the project over? After days and days of working on it in the afternoons? No. The circuit worked great; it did everything I wanted it to do. The bottom of the enclosure fit great to the rest of the pedal. So what could have ‘possibly’ been wrong with the final project? The jacks. They bumped up against the side of the triangular box, so the cables would not connect properly when inserted. I solved the problem with a whittling tool, which means there is an extra hole in one side of the enclosure. Does it really matter? Not really, because it works great and does not really look too bad.

The tiny holes in the sides of it are for heat-release. The circuit does not really get too hot, yet I figured it a descent notion to not seal it air tight. Light does not really come out of those little holes. Even though the box is made of wood and is highly flammable, I do not intend on having it on and plugged in for a long time. If it starts smoking, I’ll unplug it. If it starts a fire, I will put it out with an extinguisher or a large wet towel. I’ve already played with it for over an hour; the circuit does not really get hot. I do recommend aluminum enclosures for building pedals; many kits come with those kinds of enclosures.

So, that is my fuzz pedal. I have spent the last few months revising my first collection of stories for a second edition of “Acoloftals”. The new edition is highly similar to the first one and includes a complete revision of this story; I made at least thirty necessary changes to the text and have revised it entirely twice, so far. That is what kept me from putting more stories on my blog, time-wise. Once it is done, I plan to write a screenplay. Here is the photo of the pedal in its distortion setting, one more time. It sounds just like the pedals in the videos. Total hard metal.

Thank you for visiting jcm3blog and have a nice day.

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Hobby Photos

I have four photos to share. One is of the chess board I made above. The sixty-four squares are made of poplar wood. The dark squares are dipped in a polyurethane coating I had yet to experiment with. It is not translucent in any way, which I was, in a way, hoping it would be, yet it will surely suffice for the dark squares of the board. The light squares are dipped in clear coat poly. The photo is not actually the final product, as I poured two more coats of clear poly on it. The squares were not totally perfect squares, causing the board to have small gaps. I wanted to fill the few gaps so the top surface would be smooth enough to dust with a microfiber cloth and not to be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner.

The base the squares are glued to is made of an inexpensive, thin plywood, yet the surface on the bottom of the board looks very nice, especially for its cost, and was obtained from Home Depot. If you notice the four holes in the corners of the board, they are there for functionality reasons. They look neat, yet I wanted to be able to get the board to a table from a wall and back again in a small amount of time if necessary. I thought the concave curves on the four edges added to the board’s aesthetic value, a sort of alien look, and am glad they came out without much flaw.

It is the first chess board I have made with wooden squares. Not too much of a hassle when compared to other project ideas I have in mind for chess boards. I am happy with the final result, so far. It should be dry within seven days or so, and will be totally dry within forty, in all considered probability.

Though I have a job and attempt to spend time off work reading (about writing and partially for pleasure) and writing and do, I also [at times] work some with wood projects/electronics. Below is an idea I had for someone for Christmas in 2016. Now far enough into 2017 for it to be nowhere near Christmas-time anyway, I still could not get the idea out of my mind, so I went ahead and processed the material. I hope the recipient of the box enjoys it, even if I ‘sort of’ made it to test the dye.The wood is stained with a water-based blue dye obtained from WoodCraft. The wood itself is an inexpensive hobby ‘white-wood’ plywood sold at Walmart for small picture frames and totally useful for most small box projects. In order to get the box looking at least as good as it does, despite the corners having no dove tails, I sanded it and re-coated it more than once. I made sure the corners were rounded, yet I left the lid mostly trapezoidal. The box has eight magnets for the lid to close/open, and I went with two steel wires instead of an actual hobby hinge for functionality reasons.

The lining is an inexpensive fabric I got from Walmart a few years ago for Christmas projects, ect. It is shiny on one side, so I was pleased with being able to use it for the project and think it came out nice enough. I sewed the corners and top of the fabric by hand into seams and used superglue to secure it within the box. I also used superglue for joining the planks of wood together. I have actual wood glue, yet I usually just use superglue. It will dry very quickly and still bonds wood corners with good strength. With wood glue, it is best to clamp pieces together and wait a day or two for the bond to dry. I’m not sure if I would do that, even if I was retired with nothing to do. At all.

The braided wire on the top of the box is a four-braid steel wire idea I chose over a knob, because the little knobs I got for making other boxes had a long screw I was unable to saw in half. I liked the idea and the final looks of the braid, so I was happy with the final result. On top of the dye is clear coat polyurethane to present a gloss finish. I was worried that the poly would turn the dye green, yet it did not, to my joyful surprise. Even if the box carries an amount of character, I was happy with the final result.

Here is a photo of a houseplant I got yesterday.

 

The last thing I needed was another plant to care for, yet this one caught the passionate side of my eye. After looking up “Celosia” on the web, I read that the leaves can be used for stew. I have four grapefruit trees I grew from seed that are over a year and a half old and are almost four inches tall, now, as I have cared for them, and my other house plants, daily. I also have a purple basil plant (in the old photo I still use for the header of jcm3blog), now about three years old. I am happy with it (the basil plant) and surprised I was able to keep it alive this long. The purple basil has one branch that is totally purple, so I think it is pretty impressive. For about four months, it was almost entirely green. I have a dark chili-pepper plant that makes little lavender flowers. It actually somehow was pollinated and I witnessed the development of small, spherical, red chili peppers that will probably fade to black upon their ripening.

Years ago I attempted to force pollination with pumpkin flowers and it did not work out (as I did not choose to use cubiculum, or bee feet), so I was surprised to see little chili peppers with no attempt in trying to pollinate the flowers. I think the process may have occurred from misting the plants.

This year, for Christmas 2016 visitors, I got an evergreen tree/bush. It is about three feet tall and is living, though I have yet to change its 35 some-odd pound soil mixture. Why would I even possibly need another house plant? Well, this about the best time of the year to get one -between now and about ten weeks from now, I think. This plant (the Celosia) caught my eye, as well as did another dozen, yet I chose it and plan to keep it healthy. It is an impressive plant, as its stem is lucid redish-pink in hue, and its flowers look like feathers. One way or another, I hope you like the photo of the Celosia.

Thank you for reading this post. On a personal note, I have been busy reading yet recently did write a sci-fi story after reading Ben Bova’s book on how to and plan to edit it soon enough. I am still working on my fantasy novel and plan to write some other stories and a sci-fi novelette or two as well, soon enough. Click the diamond below to check out one of the world’s best publications of sci-fi and fantasy. Have a nice day. 🙂

A File Handle Project

Recently, I learned a few things with woodworking. One project I did was a handle for a file. Here are some photos and a few words describing the process I used for the final product, which you can see in the first photo.

wood handle

The small grip notches sawed into the corners are stained with ebony polyurethane. The rest is coated with clear coat poly. This next picture is of the file from Home Depot and the block of wood I used for the handle. You can see the guidelines I drew on the handle with a .7 mm gel pen. The file itself is a nice one and worked great for what I needed it for, even came with a lifetime warranty. I used the pen lines for sawing out the grooves with a hand saw and also used the saw to make some small grip marks.

han-3

The photo below shows the file and the handle after I sawed the block of wood and before I sanded it.

han-4

This next photo shows the handle after it was sanded with a course sand paper a few times and then a finer grit sand paper afterwards.

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This next photo shows the handle with ebony poly on the grooves.

han-6

After I took the photo above, I put the handle in a jar full of polyurethane with it wired to a weight. I customized the lid of the jar to hook up a break bleeder to it which uses a pressure gauge. Every six hours or so, I increased the vacuum to 17 pounds, for a day or two. The air leaked, gradually, however it was an attempt to stabilize the wood with poly. I let the handle sit in the jar under the vacuum for five days, even though it was not really under much pressure due to a slightly leaking seal.

The wood soaked in the poly, nevertheless. I removed the handle from the poly and wiped it clean with a napkin. I then cleaned out the hole for the file. I baked it at 200° f for an hour, letting out the air every ten minutes or so. I let it cool and sanded it with a course grit paper to remove the heat bubbles. I could tell that not too much polyurethane soaked into the wood, which is the hole point of stabilizing it, so it will last longer. While under vacuum, I did see bubbles come out of the wood, which means it was at least partially stabilized.

After I sanded it well to remove the heat bubbles, I could see that the poly did not fully penetrate the wood. The harder a wood is the more difficult it can be to stabilize it; I do not yet have a vacuum pump which runs off an electric motor, which may have been able to produce a stronger vacuum. I do have a pump of such a nature on the way, however I think my efforts with the file handle have come to a satisfactory conclusion.

I sanded it once more with a finer grit sand paper to get it smooth and coated it with clear coat polyurethane one last time. It came out smooth and glossy and is nice enough for me. Here is a larger photo of the final product.

wood handle

Thank you for reading this post; I hope you enjoyed the photos. This was a fun project and I cannot wait to learn more with woodworking. There are plenty of different wood hardeners and stabilizers out there, as well as many kinds of wood, some of it soft enough for proper stabilization. If I ever make a small wooden car or Christmas ornament, I will be sure to post some photos of those projects here on jcm3blog. Thank you for reading; we always appreciate your feedback. 🙂