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Weekend Projects maker Chuck writes in with his version of the Optical Tremolo Box, a homemade effects box. Unlike the version above by Sean Ragan, Chuck opted for a more spacious box, with the intent of extending his build in the future. He also modded up the project with some of his own designs, including a custom light source. He writes:

I used an electrical ‘dry box’ from Home Depot because it’s heavy duty, it’s easy to drill, and it has a lot of room. I used a hub from an old Discman but the attached motor didn’t have enough clearance so I used a beefier one with a longer shaft… I used a DPST switch since the discs can be flipped instead of reversing the direction. I used a rheostat for now but I want to add a PWM speed control and a circuit to fade the LED on and off.

Watch his video below to both see and hear his custom effects box in action. I think his re-use of those clear polycarbonate dummy discs is great on so many levels. He makes use of an otherwise “blank” (and would-be discarded) object, they’re ideal for transferring light through, and of course they snap directly onto the disc drive!

Thanks for writing in Chuck! Do you have a custom mod of one of our Weekend Projects? Send us a story about your build and you too could be featured on the MAKE blog.

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Nick Normal

Nick Normal

I’m an artist & maker. A lifelong biblioholic, and advocate for all-things geekathon. Home is Long Island City, Queens, which I consider the greatest place on Earth. 5-year former Resident of Flux Factory, co-organizer for World Maker Faire (NYC), and blogger all over the net. Howdy!

  • Michael Colombo

    Great build! Would love to see the next version with a true-bypass stomp switch. Small Bear Electronics is a good resource for these –

  • chuck

    Wow! It was awesome to click on MAKE and see my project featured.Thanks for posting the original opitical tremelo. It was projects like this that reawakened my interest in electronics. I am currently building a six oscillator drone box with the 40106 hex schmidt chip. By adjusting the oscillators to be slightly out of tune with one another you get these droning pulsing rythmic sounds. Passing this signal through my Korg Monotron produces some awesome sounds. The project uses recycled pots from a broken audio mixing board and is packaged in an old cigar box.
    Thanks for doing what you do and please bring us more audio and noise projects.

    • Nick Normal

      Thanks for stopping by Chuck. I’d like to see the drone box when done, or in process of building – I always like to see recycled, reclaimed, up-made, re-made parts into new projects!

  • kimxerg

    hello, i really like your awesome project, can i make like that ?
    do you have some elaborated information about your project ..
    if you’ll let me, i wanted to use it for presentation, credits is yours,.

  • MAKE | Best of 2012: Weekend Projects

    […] modded his version of the project inside an electrical dry box, but he also got his project blogged here for all to […]

  • MAKE | Best of 2012: Weekend Projects

    […] modded his version of the project inside an electrical dry box, but he also got his project blogged here for all to […]

  • From DeArmond to Photoresistors, the Optical Tremolo Box Looks and Sounds Great! | MAKE

    […] Customize your box enclosure, or take it to the next level like maker Chuck did a year ago with his upcycled dummy discs tremolo […]

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    […] also be joined by maker Chuck and his upcycled dummy disc mod of the Optical Tremolo […]

  • Makers Making #WeekendProjects | MAKE

    […] this pretty remarkable mod, which uses blank dummy discs and a dis-used CD player motor similar to Chuck’s version. Also, it sounds […]

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