Chaos NAND

Due to the non-linearity of blog time, I suspect (like I don’t control it) this will go up only one week after my Atari Punk Console post, but I wanna say that these events actually happened several weeks later. That makes me less embarrassed to say that chasing the high of that previous project, after which I told myself I wasn’t going to like, get “into” synthesizers or whatever, I decided to build the Synthrotek Chaos NAND.

I guess I still don’t need to worry about being “into” synthesizers. If I were, I would have added the control voltage plugs to both these things and not used the lame-o 3.5mm headphone jack. Both these projects produce things that make silly sounds, so now I have at least doubled my silly-sound producing capability, though to what end no one knows (I mean I know, the end is that I make my super amazing girlfriend twist some knobs for a few moments while she humors me). But it was fun! The main draw of the project for me the second time around was designing and 3D-printing another case for it. I had some ideas after the Atari Punk Case and wanted to implement them here.

The above image is some of the prototypes I made for this one. One of the big things I figured out in this project was how to make letters in FreeCAD, so instead of sharpie like on the Atari Punk Console I could just print out labels. Unfortunately I still don’t actually know what most of the knobs and switches actually do, but I put “POWER” on the top and I did figure out the volume knob. I also got to print out “CHAOS NAND” on the front with the headphone jack going through the O, which thanks for agreeing with me that it’s pretty fancy. The left side of the picture wasn’t actually meant to be a prototype, but was instead just a failed print, but it let me test out if the switches and everything fit. The ones on the right are more prototype-y, and I was mostly trying to figure out a way to keep the board in place. I didn’t actually super like my rail system from last time, and this board came with mounting holes, so I designed a little system where you slide in pegs and they twist into place that works pretty well. The circular part was me trying to figure out some way that the board itself could still just slide in, but I think that would have only been a mediocre system in the end.

I also decided to add a hinge to this one, instead of having the back just slide on. I just thought it would be better. That did necessitate two iterations though to figure out how to get the hinge in a good spot and also to make sure it printed well on my printer, which tends to just obliterate the first few layers. The other major design change is that I put the battery on the outside. On the Atari Punk Console case, the battery was hard to squeeze in there, and also since I don’t want to leave the battery connected all the time, having the battery outside makes it easier to connect and disconnect. I tried to come up for more elegant system for the battery wires, but they just lead out a divot in the back. I tried to come up with a more elegant version of a lot of the fiddly bits, but the simpler ones seem to have won out. In the above photo too, the little piece of yellow filament is a “lock” that keeps the back in place.
Those are the big design differences with the case. When it comes to the Chaos NAND itself, the big difference between it and the Atari Punk is that this one has a lot more components. Three times as many switches, anyways, and a whole additional knob, which meant for a good chunk of soldering. I actually made a total botch job of it (as you can see at the top), and uh actually some of the functions I think don’t work, but whatever, I had fun! I tried to get fancy with the shrink wrap because I was worried about some of the components jostling against each other, but that too I kinda botched because I didn’t have a heat gun and probably held the lighter I was using too close. Oh well.

Once I had everything soldered up, it was time to stuff it into the case. I didn’t test it before stuffing it into the case beforehand, because I did that with the Atari Punk and then when it didn’t work post-case-stuffing I knew I had broken it instead of being able to blame some other exogenous force. I was also more careful this time with measuring the length of wire needed, which meant it all fit it a lot better (plus I wasn’t also trying to stuff in the battery). The hatch or case or back or whatever doesn’t actually open all the way now because the wires are actually a bit too short, but you shouldn’t need to open the case that often anyways.

And after all that I had a finished Chaos NAND module, and I am pretty happy with it! Like I said before I don’t actually think all of it works, but it still makes funny noises, and I had fun building it, so it was the journey that counts. Now it will sit on my shelf to be admired until it is time to annoy my super amazing girlfriend once more (like most of my projects). Thanks for reading!