[circuit-bending]  greenarrow.gif (132 bytes)
a bender's guide

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[circuit bending]
[exploring the art]
[how it works]
[direct wiring]
[photo resistors]
[solar cells]
[humidity sensors]
[reset switch]
[line outputs]
[other techniques]
[closing words]

>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.
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>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 Phillips.
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>Set of miniature crescent wrenches (Craftsman, Sears stores; for fastening all panel-mounted controls).

>Small wire clippers.
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>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).
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>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...

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