[exploring the art]
[how it works]
>Low-wattage (30 watts
or less) soldering "pencil" (small soldering iron) with a very narrow tip,
perhaps filed down for fine work. These are cheap and can be found at the usual
electronics outlets. Better yet, a soldering station including a cleaning sponge and
resting cradle for the pencil. These pencils usually have an assortment of tips available,
including the smaller diameter (around 1/16th") that circuit-bending may require.
These stations are well worth the additional expense in the long run.
>Thin rosin-core solder.
>Small drill with which to create holes for mounting switches and other components. A
hobby drill, such as the Dremel, is handy for this job. A 1/8" bit is used to
drill the pilot holes; a ball-shaped "burr" bit of the correct diameter is then
used to bring the hole up to the correct size for the component being mounted. Optional: a
tapered hand bore. This is a hand tool used to ream-out holes to the correct size; a nice
addition to the circuit-bender's bench. This tool will increase the 1/8" pilot holes
to the exact size for unusual components or those too large for a Dremel burr bit,
as in a 3/4" diameter pilot lamp housing.
>Set of small, all-metal, non-insulated "jeweler's" screwdrivers; slotted and
>Set of miniature crescent wrenches (Craftsman, Sears stores; for fastening all
>Small wire clippers.
>Small wire stripper capable of stripping wire as thin as 30 to 25 gauge.
>Test leads (insulated wire terminated at each end with an alligator clip).
>Optional: resistance substitution wheel. This device, containing assorted resistors of
increasing values selected by the turning of a dial, is clipped by means of its two leads
into a live circuit so that the selected resistor's effect on the circuit can be heard.
This will help determine the correct resistance or resistance range needed at a circuit
point so that a resistor or potentiometer of the needed value can be soldered into place.
In fact, a custom circuit-bending console tool can be built in the form of an elaborate
substitution box. This would be, essentially, a housing containing selectable
(via multi-position rotary switches) components to run the circuit-bending paths through
-- various resistors, capacitors, potentiometers, sensors, LEDs, etc.). Like the
resistance substitution wheel, this would be another two-lead device clipped between
two circuit-bending points and adjusted to observe audio changes within the operating
circuit. No, it's not as confusing as it may sound. Read on...