Easy Circuit Bending at GLI.TC/H festival

Mr Catfood has only gone and organised a day-long festival of glitchy goodness!

It’s part of a wider programme of linked events happening worldwide and the Birmingham component is happening on November the 19th. That’s next weekend!

I’m running a circuit bending workshop at VIVID as part of the festival – guiding you through the process of turning a Staples Easy Button desk toy into a light-controlled scrambled noise device:

The workshop is at VIVID, takes place from 12:00 – 14:00 and is totally FREE. I’ll provide you with kit, tools and instruction and by the end of it you’ll have a glitchy doodad to take away with you.

At the time of writing there are only 4 places remaining, so get yourself signed up quick if you’d like to join the fun!

Circuit Bending 101: the SoundNetwork edition

It’s with great pleasure that I’m now able to announce the third in the series of Circuit Bending 101 workshops.

11-6 on Saturday 9th of July.

This time, with much support from Adrian McEwen, Cheapjack and SoundNetwork, the bleepy noises will be emanating from the STATIC Trading Co. studios in Liverpool.

A dozen people, three projects to introduce you to the basics of circuit bending, all the tools and components you’ll need, a possible guest furby and definite cake. SoundNetwork have been kind enough to subsidise the ticket price, so all this for only £25. Quite frankly, that’s a bargain!

Full details are over on the Eventbrite page. And to whet your appetite there’s a bunch of photos and videos from the last workshop in this Flickr Set.

Tickets will be available from 11am next Friday (24th of June).

Circuit Bending 101 at Meshed Media

On Saturday I was at Meshed Media for the second in the current batch of three circuit bending workshops I’m running.

Circuit benders.

Most of the people who came along for the day had no or minimal experience with soldering, so we started off with a quick introduction to the basics before getting stuck into the circuit bending projects. By project number three it was great to see everyone happy to just get on with it, even if several hours ago they’d never soldered before!

I didn’t get much chance to take photos etc, but fortunately the workshop was mostly self-documenting with various tweets, photos and audio recordings being uploaded as we went along.

Here are some snapshots of the workshop…

Have successfully soldered two wires together. Woop! Mad skillsChrisUnitt

Happy Halloween...two pumpkins with their toyz - Mr_Spoon

Very proud of my Spooky Bending. MWAH-HA-HA-HA!!!


…and here are a few videos I managed to take… (you can see all my photos and videos from the workshop on Flickr)

As usual, a big thanks to everyone who came and again to Chris for hosting.

Circuit Bending 101 with Nottinghack

Many thanks to those who came along to the first of my Circuit Bending 101 workshops, and extra thanks to Nottinghack‘s Dom for hosting us.

Circuit Bending 101 hosted by Nottinghack

Circuit Bending 101 hosted by Nottinghack

After a quick soldering re-cap (selections from my ‘Soldering for 8-year-olds’ bit at Theremin Day) we started on the first project – making a music player controlled with light.

Here’s a recording of everyone trying out the toy as it was intended to sound:


…and here’s the new, improved version an hour or so later:


light and sound! from nikkipugh on Vimeo.

Several hours later we had eaten all the snacks, had a good laugh, discussed the difficulties of bomb-making [Theatrical-Fake-Bomb-Units, that is), worked our way through all three projects and arrived at this aural treat expertly performed by The Nottingham Hackspace Unharmonic Orchestra. A thing of beauty!



Next up is more of the same in Birmingham on the 27th of November, this time hosted by Chris Unitt at Meshed Media. Although it’s still a good few weeks away, places are already nearly all gone (only three left as I write this!). Head on over to the booking page to buy your ticket so you can join in the fun!

Not sure what was happening at the other end of the room, but it seemed to have everyone's attention...

Not sure what was happening at the other end of the room, but it seemed to have everyone's attention...

A room full of bent circuits

All I can do is show people how to wire them up - I can't control what happens after that...

All I can do is show people how to wire them up - I can't control what happens after that...

For several days now I’ve been saying what I’m really looking forward to with the Circuit Bending 101 workshops I’m running is the bit at the end where everyone will have a selection of tinkered-with electronic toys and the noise starts to issue forth.

For Saturday’s workshop in Nottingham there will be up to 12 participants. That’s up to 36 bleepy things! Hurrah!

Just as an experiment I thought I’d try and simulate what that might possibly sound like and recorded twelve individual segments of audio of about a minute in length.

I promise I was fully intending to try and combine these together in a vaguely musical manner, however when I imported all the audio and pressed play just to hear what I was starting with, I decided to leave things how they were.

I’ll leave you to speculate as to why…


So, there’s the challenge, can we make that sound any better when we have everyone jamming together after the workshop, or is that already perfection?!

Happy Halloween! [mwah-hah-hah-haah!]

Last night, after working on an LED-based Halloween costume prop, it occurred to me that the Spooky Bend from the Circuit Bending 101 workshops I’m doing in November [Nottingham, Birmingham] might be kind of cool in the dark.

It is!

The single red LED nicely up-lights your hands as you do your stuff.

It turns out it’s quite bright too, adding another layer of distress to this photo and video:

Spooky Bend from the upcoming Circuit Bending 101 workshops. In the dark.

Spooky Bend from the upcoming Circuit Bending 101 workshops. In the dark.

Happy Halloween from nikkipugh on Vimeo.

There are a handful of places left for the workshops, so if you’d like your own spooky, glowy, maniacal laughter device you can make your own (along with the two other projects). I’ve had a couple of these in my flat for a month of two now and can vouch for it being an addictive toy at any time of year!

Here are the sign up pages again:
Nottingham, 6th November at Nottinghack
Birmingham, November 27th at Meshed Media

Circuit Bending 101 at Nottingham Hackspace

Circuit Bending 101 at Nottingham Hackspace

Circuit Bending 101 at Nottingham Hackspace

A4 poster (.pdf)

Learn how to add extra wiring to battery-operated toys to make them bleep with anticipation, howl with excitement and transcend their blinky light allowance at… Circuit Bending 101

Saturday November 6th, 12:30 -6

Ticket price includes instruction, materials for three projects and some food.

Numbers are strictly limited. Sign up at
to book your place.

Nottingham Hackspace
The Old Police Station
3 – 9 Station Street

Circuit bending basics: workshops in need of a home

Following on from The British Science Festival, I’ve been invited to give a circuit-bending workshop up at the Nottinghack hackspace. (Probably in November – stay tuned for further details…)

The workshop will be a day-long session covering loads of the circuit-bending basics.

The three projects well work on.

The three projects we'll work on. Colours may vary. ...as will sounds!

Over three projects we will:

  • Use potentiometers and light dependent resistors to change speed and pitch
  • Add in blinky lights
  • Use short circuits to distort sounds
  • Add body contacts to distort sounds
  • Loop sounds
  • Add audio output sockets so you can make those distorted bleepy noises LOUDER

Here’s a quick video showing what you’ll make:

Circuit bending basics: workshops in need of a home from nikkipugh on Vimeo.

I’ve been really lucky in finding 3 toys that play nice and will allow me to cover all those techniques in some relatively simple builds, so I’ve stocked up and bought enough toys to run 3 workshops.

The workshops are intended for about ten people at a time and will last several hours, so are best suited to a Saturday or Sunday.

Nottinghack have bagsied the first workshop, who wants one of the others at their place? Contact me.

update: One workshop remaining – the other has gone to a secret location somewhere in Birmingham!

update: All gone – the third will be in Liverpool for How? Why? DIY!

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