Eyecillator 2019

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Reintroducing the Eyecillator, a small, yet surprisingly complex little light-sensitive noise maker from VF designed for lazy Sunday enthusiasts, STEM evangelists, musicians and other folks who just aren’t all that into college basketball. So what is it? Let’s go the portmanteau route – eye + oscillator = Eyecillator. Clever, right? Or at least it was when I first started making this kind of thing back in 2012-ish as an excuse to use up left over pieces of faux fur from an art installation. That later evolved into a small, budget-friendly table-top synthesizer for the creative musician crowd that I built for a good second until my daughter’s naps became too few and far between to keep up steady production. Once I finally realized that, I decided to take a break from building to figure out how to make this design easier to produce while also navigating school activities, play dates, sports, violin lessons, a full-time job and the occasional weekend jaunts to various regions to build instruments with new friends and play a show or two – not to give too much insight into my personal life or anything. That might’ve been a run-on sentence. The good news for those who made it through that diatribe and/or skipped ahead is that I do believe I’ve come across a design that will allow all the previously-mentioned activities to occur unfettered. Not to mention that as an added bonus, once my kid is old enough to join some scout troop, I can wheel these out as some sort of STEM-inspired badge-giving project of sorts and forever cement my reputation among the other parents as that weird dad – like I needed any help with that.

So here it is – a small, Tom Bugs/Eric Archer inspired 4-oscillator, cascaded NAND opto-synth with controls over pitch and voltage sag, as well as the modern addition of a third control over the frequency of a misappropriated telephone chip that acts as a somewhat strange filter of sorts. When used properly, it can chirp along with the best of them, as well as do its utmost to sound like that motorized garbage can robot from that one space movie…but with a drug problem. Not to mention that for this build, there are no wires. There is no case. Just a cool little light-controlled circuit, some components and the guarantee that you’ll be able to spark at least two and half minutes of unbridled joy out of this thing before you have to pack up and get serious about the week ahead.


Price for a fully-assembled unit is $39, not including shipping and handling. Keep in mind that each one of these is lovingly built by hand and while we’ve spare no expense on quality, we have spared expenses on marketing, packaging, merchandising and other general business necessities. In other words, don’t expect a neat box with a glossy zine promoting other products or an interactive DVD where you can compare models, etc. We went this way intentionally in order to provide you, the public, with an affordable, quality little synth without up-selling you the fluff. What can I say, we’re practical weirdos who stand behind an honest product and would rather not subject you to a sales pitch. End of commercial.

Also, we may eventually offer just the circuit board for those DIY fiends out there. Will keep you posted.

Also also, these ship priority mail from Ithaca, New York. If you’re ordering international, I’ll do everything I can do provide a tracking number for you. Just please don’t ask me to mark this as a gift of something. Paying for violin lessons gets a little tricky wen you’re also paying a fine for mail fraud.


Just a quick snipped of what this guy does. Made on my phone at work on my lunch break. I’m admittedly a little ashamed to be using this as marketing material, but a.) I hate marketing, so maybe this counts as anti-marketing and b.) given that pretty much the entire media world is all about garbage produced on phones these days, how is this any different?

Additional Information

  • Power is 9v center tip negative and compatible with most guitar pedal power supplies. I use a 1Spot when building because they’re cheap and reliable. There’s undoubtedly better supplies out there, but that one works.
  • As with all audio electronics that have exposed circuitry as part of their design, I in no way am responsible for electrocution, injury, loss of life, etc. due to misuse of this product, act or angry deity, etc. I trust that you’ll do the right thing in the end and not do something foolish like lick this or perform in the bathtub or something, but hey, gotta cover my backside.
  • At the moment, I’m really not about making some sort of external case for these guys. That would be more work for me and more money for you. If you really need an enclosure, drop me a line and we’ll figure out a good way to sandwich this between some plexiglass or something.
  • Unlike its predecessor, there’s no control voltage output. Two thoughts on that – 1.) way too many things have CV these days – not everything needs to be incorporated into some sort of giant control net – just enjoy this for what it is as opposed to what it can do for something else. And 2.) If you really really really need CV, I’m sure there’s at least a few pins you could tap to modify this. Part of the whole open circuit design was done to inspire folks to modify and expand on these guys. Let me know if you need a nudge to get started if you want to go this route – happy to help.
  • Finally, as with all our past products, this one comes with our usual blanket, all-encompassing, non-expiring, totally transferrable “if we can fix it, we will” guarantee. I build solid and stand behind my wares, but in the event that something happens, I’d like to think I have your back. Just don’t do something asinine like melt it into a block of styrofoam or douse it in lucite. That might complicate things. Just frame that one and put it on your wall. Whatever you did, the sort is worth more than the object.
  • Finally finally, if any questions come up, either regarding casing, modifications, bulk orders for your class or scout troop, booking a workshop in your hometown, etcetcetc, please feel free to get in touch. We’re people persons – honest!

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