uSMD shrinks soldering challenge down to BGA

The uSMD designed by Arthur Benemann in KiCad shrinks The Maker’s Box SMD Challenge down to a 555 in 8-UFBGA package and a 008004 cap:

A highlight of last year’s Hackaday Remoticon was a soldering competition that had teams from around the world came together online and did the well-known MakersBox SMD Challenge kit in which a series of LED circuits of decreasing size must be soldered. The Hackaday crew acquitted themselves well, and though an 01005 resistor and LED certainly pushes a writer’s soldering skills to the limit it’s very satisfying to see it working. Lest that kit become too easy, [Arthur Benemann] has come up with something even more fiendish; his uSMD is a 555 LED flasher that uses a BGA 555 and a selection of 008004 small components.

The trick with an 01005 is to heat not the tinned and fluxed solder joint, but the trace leading up to it. If components of that size can be mastered then perhaps an 008004 isn’t that much smaller so maybe the same technique might work for them too. In his tip email to us he wrote “Soldering 008004 isn’t much worse than a 0201, you just need magnification“, and while we think he might be trolling us slightly we can see there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be do-able. Sadly he doesn’t seem to have made it available for us to buy and try so if you want to prove yourself with a soldering iron you’ll have to source the PCBs and parts yourself. Still, we suspect that if you are the type of person who can solder an 008004 then that will hardly be an onerous task for you.

Read more on Hackaday…

uSMD shrinks soldering challenge down to BGA

Oskitone POLY555: 3D Printed 555 Timer Analog Synth

Andrew Sink has a great video about the new DIY synth from Oskitone:

Oskitone POLY555 – 3D Printed 555 Timer Analog Synth!

Interested in 3D printing, circuit bending, or synthesizers? Check out the POLY555 by Oskitone, a synth that uses twenty 555 timers to create polyphonic music!

Find out more: POLY555 DIY Kit

Oskitone POLY555: 3D Printed 555 Timer Analog Synth

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:

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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.

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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.)

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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!

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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! 🙂

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Oskitone and OKAY synth at Maker Faire

OKAY 2 Monophonic Synth Kit

 writes on the Tindie blog:

okay2-Medium

OKAY 2 Monophonic Synth Kit

Take a look at Tindie’s thriving sound section and you’ll see there is no shortage of people making their own electronic music. These devices take many forms, and one interesting take on sound creation is the OKAY 2 Synth DIY Kit. At face value it features 2 octaves of keys, a built-in amplifier along with a 1/4″ line out, and knobs to select the octaves that you’d like to play — but it gets more interesting under the hood.

Oskitone OKAY 2 from oskitone on Vimeo.

What makes it unique by today’s standards is that it doesn’t use any sort of computer or microcontroller, but instead produces sound using an LM555 timer along with other discreet components for monophonic sound. Given its small size, you could use two at once, perhaps combining them via the line out to be further modified in your synth setup!

In case you’re wondering, the original—or nearly so as it’s version 1.1.1—OKAY is also available. It works largely the same as the OKAY 2, but features only a single octave of keys, and doesn’t have an audio output jack.

OKAY 2 Monophonic Synth Kit

555 Piano

Alexander Ryzhkov created a small 555 timer-based piano:

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555 piano

Main goal of this project has been creating pretty designed 555 based piano in small form-factor. Many 555 piano are using 9V battery for supply. I use CMOS timer and for timer need only 3V supply.
The design files are available on GitHub:

githubChirnoTech/555Piano

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Here is a video of the board in action:
openidev has shared the board on OSH Park:

piano.toplayer.zip

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Order from OSH Park

555 Piano

Brake Lamp Flasher for Motorcycle

Bryan Cockfield of Hackaday writes:

Brake Light Blinker Does It with Three Fives

Sometimes you use a Raspberry Pi when you really could have gotten by with an Arudino. Sometimes you use an Arduino when maybe an ATtiny45 would have been better. And sometimes, like [Bill]’s motorcycle tail light project, you use exactly the right tool for the job: a 555 timer.

boardsMore details on William F. Dudley’s project page:

Brake Lamp Flasher for Motorcycle

The 555 is a clever chip; not only will it supply the oscillator for the flashing effect, it has a reset pin that can be used to force the output to a known state (low) when (other circuitry tells it that) it’s time to stop flashing. Thus the brake light will be steady “on” after a few flashes every time the brake is applied.

brake_blinker_1_schem

The 555 is happy to run directly off the nominal 12 volt vehicle electrical system, so no voltage regulator is needed. The 555 is almost immune to electrical system noise, so no worries about your Arduino code going off into the weeds if there’s a spike from the electrical system.

 

Brake Lamp Flasher for Motorcycle