Joe Groele wanted to create some unique electric guitar sounds. His inspiration was William Duddell’s “singing arc” from the early 1900s. Duddell created sound by varying air pressure through an electric arc. Unlike the plasma loudspeakers that evolved from Duddell’s design -- known for their clarity and purity of tone -- Joe wanted a sound with extreme distortion.
First, he built a prototype circuit using a 555-timer chip to test a driver circuit to create an arc -- using an automotive ignition coil. Next, he added an audio amplifier using a LM386 chip, which amplifies the signal from a guitar into a square wave. The sound frequency generated by the electric arc corresponds to the note being played on the guitar. Joe named his amplifier the FaceMelter3000.
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I hope you are kidding. Ozone in the upper atmosphere blocks UV. However, Ozone is poisonous, corrodes metal (very bad for electronics!) and degrades plastics. An ozone generator in the home is not exactly an ecological triumph.
Now this is cool. You have to watch the video to get the full flavor of what Joe has accomplished here. This is quite different from Hendrix smashing at guitar into the amp (which was great in its way). Joe's got something way more techy going here. Nice going, Joe.
Eleven years ago one of those rare, brilliant moments emerged from the crack staff of Design News: Let’s put the tinkerers among our audience community to work in designing and building some truly wacky devices. And Gadget Freak was born.
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