Circuit Bending Challenge

On October twenty-eighth two-thousand seven, a prestigious challenge was put forth. Thrift stores raided, fingers moistened, soldering irons heated, and toys violated. When the solder smoke finally cleared, only one could stand victorious with their ears covered. This is the story of my part in that challenge….Ok, enough with the epic narratives.

The challenge was to pick up a toy, bend it, and document it on the web all in one day. I was interested in the challenge as soon as I heard about it, and figured I would double up the fun by making an event of it. I invited some friends over to have a “Bending Workshop” on “Circuit Challenge Day” (soon to be nationally recognized). Three of them thought it sound like a slightly strange, but fun idea, so plans were laid.

10/28/07
After eating a hearty breakfast we set off to the nearest Goodwill:

After spending sometime trying different toys with some batteries I brought (I am an experienced bender) student benders G,S, and M made their selections and we were on our way.

Bender S chose this monkey toy. It activated when shook. and played music with monkey noises peppered through it. It had what looked like motorized wheels on the bottom, so we assumed that it was supposed to move also (that part seemed broken.

Bender M chose this Cookie Monster Saxophone. It plays full, or parts of songs with the buttons, and the cookie monster button plays a few phrases from the monster himself.

Bender G chose this Foot toy that functions as some kind of hideous game. You tickle the foot’s “toes” when the leds light up underneath the “toenail buttons”.

I chose this “Alphie” Robot toy. It proved to be so difficult in bending that I scraped it and got this:

Blue’s Clues Alphabet Toy. This one ultimately became my entry in the challenge.

After many hours of bending,and tons of soldering by yours truly, we walked away with 4 bent items and one scraped. Here’s some photos of the results.

Bender M’s sax ended up with a 1/8th inch out, pitch control, and body contacts. Bender G’s foot ended up with a 1/8th inch out, pitch control, body contacts in piercing positions, and blue LEDs in the eyes. My blues clues received a 1/4 inch out,pitch control, distortion body contacts, and harsh distortion switch.

Bender S’s monkey couldn’t stay for the group photo. It received two buttons in the eyes to trigger the sounds, pitch control, 1/8th inch output, and a bright blue LED in the nose that pulses with the sounds.

You can check out the flickr set for this stuff here. There are many more pictures of the work, and just general wackyness of the event. Thanks again to CDM and GetLofi.com for starting this event. Can’t wait for the next one!