Oskitone and OKAY synth at Maker Faire

We are big fans of the OKAY 2 Monophonic Synth Kit and we were excited to see the creator, Tommy at Maker Faire Bay Area 2018.  From the Oskitone newsletter:


I spent last weekend at Maker Faire Bay Area, an annual event put on by the people behind Make Magazine. My exhibit stall was in between the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the US Patent Office — pretty legit! I had synths out for people to play, gave demos and motivational speeches to kids, traded stickers for email addresses, and had some really great conversations with people.

Over three days, I talked to maybe 500 folks (+/- 100), which is a lot for an introvert! It was exhausting but incredible. I think I’m still processing it.

Screenshot from 2018-06-02 14-13-11.png

I met so many cool people… Makers, musicians, kids, parents, students, teachers, industrial designers, engineers, manufacturers, writers, editors, etc etc!

  • I was happy to find a lesson outside electronics for the younger visitors: the piano keys on the OKAY 2 are actually levers — a mechanical “simple machine” already familiar to a lot of students. It was fun watching it “click” in their minds that the further back they tried to press the key, the more energy it required. (I also noticed a greater appreciation in parents for a more palatable educational takeaway, so I think they liked it too.)

Screenshot from 2018-06-02 14-15-28.png

Evil Mad Scientist stopped by with a 555 recreated with discrete components and swapped it out for the 555 timer in the OKAY 2. It was such a great, uneventful demo. “What will it do?” “Exactly the same thing.” Awesome!

Screenshot from 2018-06-02 13-55-59.png

I got closer to perfecting my marketing. What started as a 5min dissertation talk on Friday became a 30sec elevator pitch by Sunday, saving my throat while seemingly having no negative sales effect. I may write a blog post on this.

There is no greater stress test for a physical product than 100 kids with candy smeared on their faces banging on it. I was relieved that the synths mostly stood up to the fatigue, but, of course, there’s room for improvement, which I now have a good idea on how to design. Thanks, kids! 🙂

Screenshot from 2018-06-02 13-54-26.png

Oskitone and OKAY synth at Maker Faire

Hackaday: Cheap Helping Hands

We think of helping hands as those little alligator clips on a metal stand. They are cheap and fall over, so we tend to buy them and don’t use them. However, if you are willing to put $35 or $40 into it, you can get the newer kind that have–well–tentacles–on a heavy base. [Archie_slap] didn’t…

via Cheap Helping Hands: Just Add Time — Hackaday

Hackaday: Cheap Helping Hands

Teensy 3.6 DIY Reference Board

Shared project from Teensy creator Paul Stoffregen on OSH Park:


Teensy 3.6 DIY Reference Board

A known good reference board for testing the MKL04 chip when building a DIY Teensy 3.6. Refer to this table for the differences between Teensy 3.6 and other models. The soldering friendly LQFP package (at least more friendly than BGA) is used on this board.

Order from OSH Park

Parts Placement Diagram

Bill Of Materials

1   MK66FX1M0VLQ18
1   IC_MKL04Z32_TQFP32
1   USB A Connector
1   USB Mini B Connector
1   Micro SD Socket
1   MCP1825S Voltage Regulator
1   TPD3S014 USB Power Switch
1   Crystal, 16 MHz
1   Crystal, 32.768 kHz
3   Diode, Schottky, B120
1   Capacitor, 100uF, 6.3V
4   Capacitor, 4.7uF
10  Capacitor, 0.1uF
1   Resistor, 100K
2   Resistor, 470
2   Resistor, 220
2   Resistor, 33
1   Pushbutton
2   Test Point, Black
Teensy 3.6 DIY Reference Board

DIY Vacuum Pickup Tool

We are always surprised how much useful hacking gear is in the typical craft store. You just have to think outside the box. Need a hot air gun? Think embossing tool. A soldering iron? Check the stained glass section. Magnification gear? Sewing department. We’ve figured out that people who deal with beads use lots of fine…

via [Dave’s] Not Just a Member of the Air Club for Tweezers — Hackaday

DIY Vacuum Pickup Tool

Working with Surface Mount Components and BGAs


Surface mount PCBs (Part 1) If you look at a circuit board today, you’ll see a beautiful array of surface mount chips and components, including very fine 0.5mm or even 0.4mm leaded devices and BGAs. Some of these ‘exotic’ devices can contain really advanced technology such as high speed ARM microprocessors, flash and high capacity […]

via Working with Surface Mount Components and BGAs — Intelligent Toasters

Working with Surface Mount Components and BGAs