Image credit: Luca Cipressi

We’re building a Theremin!

This amazing electronics instrument from the late 1800s has featured in songs and movies ever since its invention.

To make music or sound, you don’t actually need to touch this instrument at all. (But to make good music you need to practice)

We’re getting together at the club to make a start on this project, look out for a regular fortnightly session as we build this device.

Here is a rough parts list of the parts you’ll need if you want to build your own theremin. If you can get express shipping then order from ebay, otherwise Jaycar has everything.

Don’t stress if you don’t have everything, we can work in groups on the day and we’ve rounded up all the needed parts.

If you want your own device to take home, we’ve listed what you’ll need below.

What you need

  • Arduino UNO R3 (or similar)
  • Breadboard
  • An old speaker or mini speaker
  • 1 or 2x Telescopic antennas OR any wire e.g. coathanger
  • 1x Logic gate chip NAND 74HC00
  • 2x 100k resistors
  • 1x 1k resistor
  • 2x 10p ceramic capacitors
  • 1x 150p ceramic capacitor
  • 1x 100n ceramic capacitor
  • 1x 10uf 10VDC/16VDC electrolytic capacitor
  • 4x male to male wires

Laptop with Arduino IDE

If you prefer your own bench tools, you’re welcome to bring them

  • Computers in-case you’re not able to bring a laptop
  • Oscilloscopes
  • Multimeters
  • Power Supplies
  • Power, Wifi, Coffee

Previous build day updates

A great day last Saturday. About 11 people turned up. It was interesting to observe the dynamic; rather than one large group it split into 4 or so groups collaborating within themselves.

Each group chose to use the same basic design using a single free-running LC oscillator with a CMOS logic chip as the gain block. Then an Arduino that measures the frequency, subtracts that from the initial frequency captured at power-up, and generates a tone at that difference frequency.

Last time we were mainly working on digital thermins, and this time some of us were keen to keep pushing into new areas. Some of the group decided to start building an analog thermin, given the success they had last time with the Arduino based one.

As this stage, the musical gurus on youtube can still produce a nicer musical sound that we can. But we can make better theramins from random electronic parts in less time.

Yeah, really keen.

Come along and get into building a theremin with us!

This date hasn’t swung around yet, maybe we need to build a time machine next!

Imagine. It’s December and Melbourne’s summer is starting to greet us. How relaxing.

Maybe we’ll be able to serenade our neighbours to the dulcet tones of our theremin orchestra.

Upcoming build days

  • Saturday 13th October 13:00 to 17:00 (We made a great start)
  • Sunday 28th October 13:00 to 17:00 (We finished some prototypes)
  • Sunday 11th November 13:00 to 17:00
  • Sunday 25th November 13:00 to 17:00
  • Sunday 9th December 13:00 to 17:00

Melbourne PC User Group / Melbourne Computer Club

Level 1, 479 Warrigal Rd, Moorabbin