hippo joy

hippo joy from nikkipugh on Vimeo.

I’m liking this circuit-bending stuff. It’s making me do things I don’t want to do.

The particular comfort zone edges I’ve noticed are:

  • Restraining myself from immediately unscrewing the back and tinkering with the innards without having properly explored what the ‘normal’ behaviour is first. I must make more of an effort to document this too.
  • Choosing the 3 or 4 bends from several that I’ll try and work with. This is usually a balance between the “awesome!” and the practicality of getting wires and soldering irons where they need to get to. I ‘lost’ a really nice bend in the hippo – the behaviour changed when I soldered the switch wires onto the board. I’m starting to get into the habit of making audio recordings of the initial noodling noises.

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  • Revising the previous decisions, based on what switches you can accommodate in the shell.
  • Making the first incision. Usually my electric drill is hilariously large compared to the toy I’m working on: one of these days the toy’s just going to disintegrate. It’s also a very definite point of no return.
  • I’m slowly getting better at drilling holes a few sizes too slow and then taking them up to size with a file. Neater results, but there’s still room for a lot more improvement. I’ve also started thinking a bit more about the feel of the switches – adding in rubber o-rings to cushion body contact points etc.
  • Similarly for the first solder, but given extra edge by the memory of all the circuit boards I’ve managed to kill in the past.
  • I’ve circuit-bent a few toys now, all with similar push-to-make switches and body contacts. An important edge is coming up where I’ll have to learn new stuff. With the hippo bend I made myself repurpose the existing switches. It’s a bit of a bodge, but it was worth the brain-wracking to come up with a (hopefully more than temporary) solution that a) works and b) is satisfying in the way that it looks and touches.

A Flickr set of images showing the hippo’s internal gubbins is at http://www.flickr.com/photos/nikki_pugh/sets/72157622183430094/detail/

extra wires and re-purposed switches. also masking tape.