July 11, 2007

Making A Simple Theremin / Testing & Planning / Design & Realisation

Back in March, we decided to build our first simple theremin. The process took an on/off time period of a few months, not rushed because it was a hobby project.

The excerpts below are from previous blog posts I have made about the process, the fun of making it and the final outcome.

"As some of you already know, I like to create things from recycled materials with John. We laboured over an awkward website to get our parts last week and John finally had the time to assemble a test this evening. The sample we used for this make is from the 'Minimum Theremin' by Harrison Instruments.

First off is the construction and testing on the breadboard.
After all is working right, the time is for the physical testing. We used several metal objects including a lid, coat hanger and bread knife.

The approximate cost of this project is 15 Euros. So How Does It Sound? See for yourself and download the video here and let me know what you think.

It all seems to function and now we have to decide on a design for the casing and look. We look around and choose an empty metal case from a Smallstone Phaser with very cool Russian trademark and an old rusty saw I’ve had dying on my balcony for 5 years."

The first part of finding a suitable schematic, parts and materials was invaluable. The second proved to be even more rewarding because of the hands on nature of the work.

"We selected a rusty saw as the aerial and recycled the casing from an old Russian Smallstone phaser box. This is the work involved to finish it (though for anyone who makes things will know, you’re never really finished)."

"We started off getting rid of the rust and the hardened paint on both objects by soaking, scrubbing (and suffering major inhalation problems) with a load of white spirits. The ‘guts’ of the theremin was completed in about 3 hours prior so this proved to be the hardest part.

24 hours later we started sanding. We took out J.’s Dremel and worked on softening the saw’s edges for safety. We continued sanding the phaser case.

By early evening, we managed to clean the two objects and with an extra 13-14 Euro purchased an anti-rust varnish. We coated and waited…

By night, we polished the saw and selected the knob controls and other remaining aesthetic needs. The theremin was finally put together as J. used some foam to attach the prototyping board, guts and all!"

The theremin wasn't the most sophisticated but we lost no opportunity to enjoy the conception of it or discover the many nuances and improvements we could alter with common distortion. Mostly, we just had a great time playing with it and showing it to friends.

I am planning to complete a matching optical theremin sometime soon.

More pictures.

- C

1 comment:

Dmitry said...

This is Benassi saw!!!