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General FAQs

General FAQs

June 10th, 2010  |  Published in FAQs

I’ve received a number of e-mails from DIYers with good general questions about GumiElectronic and the modding/building process. They’re compiled and answered below:

Can I copy text from GumiElectronic and paste it into my own website?
I’d prefer that you just provide a direct link to the appropriate page on this site. But if you must copy and paste, please cite GumiElectronic as the source.

Can I copy information from GumiElectronic or from personal e-mails and use it in my e-bay auction?
Okay, no one has actually asked this question, but they really should have. So I’m gonna rant a bit: I recently donated a fair amount of my time to help a fellow DIYer (or so I thought) customize his CR-8000 mods. A short time later his CR was up for auction on e-bay. He used information from this site and from my e-mails verbatim in the auction. Not only are certain aspects of that illegal (I checked with a lawyer about the use of personal e-mails), but it’s just not cool. So if you seek my help so you can sell your machine on e-bay, please, just be honest with me about that. And good grief, don’t use direct quotes from my personal e-mails to you in your auction description. Geez…

Can I copy media (i.e. photos, video, audio) from GumiElectronic and paste it into my own website?
Yes, but please cite GumiElectronic as the source.

What do you use to drill clean holes into metal and plastic enclosures?
I use a step drill bits, which look something like this. They can be a bit expensive, but they’re well worth the money if you’re going to be doing a lot of drilling. I use mine with a cordless hand drill without issue, though I suppose a drill press would be ideal if you want perfectly aligned holes.

How do you design your panel layouts and label your panel controls?
Not the easy way! I design my graphics in Illustrator. Then I print the graphics onto white or transparent sticker labels (like this). Once the label is trimmed and mounted onto the panel, I place another transparent sticker label on top of it to protect the graphics from getting banged up and dirty. I then drill my holes and clean the panel/label with rubbing alcohol. Finally, I usually use super glue around the edges of the labels to keep the corners from lifting over time.

I now use Front Panel Designer. It takes a little while to learn but it’s awesome for laying out your panel designs quickly with precision. I don’t have Front Panel Express cut my panels for me, I do it myself using a stepper bit. For FracRak or Eurorack panels I buy blanks, like these from Paia. For labels I now use water slide decals, like these. They look great, way better than the old transparent sticker label method. But if you have the money you can save a ton of time and have Front Panel Express do all this work for you.

What kind of soldering iron do you use?
I’ve been using a Weller WTCPT since 2005. I’ve only had to replace the tip once and it’s never given me any problems. I wouldn’t recommend the RadioShack irons.

What is the difference between “modification” and “circuit bending?”
There seems to be a fair amount of disagreement over the meaning of these two terms, but here’s how I define them:

Modification: When you modify something there’s a predictable result. You might modify an instrument in order to get it to do something it didn’t do when it originally left the factory. For example, if I wanted individual outs on a drum machine, I could wire up a set of output jacks knowing exactly what will happen when I plug a cable into one of those jacks: I’ll be able to hear that drum sound on it’s own channel, separate from any other drums that might be playing on the Main output. Or I might replace a resistor with a pot in order to control, say, the pitch of a bass drum or the decay of a hi-hat. In either case, I know exactly what I want to achieve and I have a pretty good idea of what it will sound like before I even crack open the case.

Circuit bending: When you circuit bend something, you don’t necessarily know what’s going to happen when you start poking around. Circuit bending is a process of experimentation: “I wonder what will happen when I connect component X to component Y?” Sometimes it makes a cool sound, sometimes nothing happens at all, and sometimes you fry the component or machine. In that regard, circuit bending is a little more risky than modification and you should always proceed with caution. Circuit bending also tends to apply more to digital instruments. One of the most common circuit bending techniques is to directly connect various pins on an IC, especially the voice ROM ICs found in many digital drum machines. If you build a patch bay or switch bank to connect multiple pins on an IC, it’s rather difficult to predict what it will sound like when you make new combinations of connections, which is one of the things that makes circuit bending so fun (and aggravating).

How do you pronounce GumiElectronic?
goo-mee-electronic

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