Hey, you want to make some chunky 8-bit music? In a recipe box? With Atari paddles? Using a Dremel tool? We thought you might. The “Atari Punk Console” is the name given to the wonderfully retro-sounding stepped tone generator, designed by hobby electronics pioneer Forrest M. Mims III. It is a 556-based timer circuit oscillator that generates a square wave. More importantly, it sounds like Atari 2600 music and is fun to build into a cool enclosure.


Dremel Rotary Tool with drill bits, circle cutter attachment/bit, sanding drum
Atari Punk Console kit from
Atari 2600 paddle controllers (1) optional but much cooler
Wooden recipe box or cigar box
Red LED, 360? resistor and LED holder
Wire mesh for speaker grill
Screws and nuts for speaker mounting
Velcro tape
Drill press or hand drill and bits for mounted component holes
Soldering iron and solder
Safety goggles

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John Edgar Park

John Edgar Park

John Edgar Park likes to make things and tell people about it. He works at Disney Research and writes for Make and Boing Boing. He is training for American Ninja Warrior. You can find him at and twitter @johnedgarpark — if you like that sort of thing.

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    Really wonderful idea. Thank you very for the great idea. I liked it.