Making Modular Synthesiers


My first foray into building modular synthesizers was with Music From Outer Space modules in 2015. I decided that I wanted to build in the Eurorack format, and designed panels for three modules - the Voltage Controlled Oscillator, Voltage Controlled State Variable Filter and Voltage Controlled Low Frequency Oscillator.

The panels for all of the first run MFOS modules was machined from 6061 aluminium on a small Shapeoko 2 CNC machine. The vector files for CNC machining and engraving were created in Adobe Illustrator, and CAM files were prepared in CAMBAM.

The graffiti text artwork for the VCOs was done by my friend Travis G Dale, which was then scanned and converted to vectors for engraving. The panel artwork for the LFO module was created procedurally using the Processing graphics programming environment. The panel artwork for the VCF is based on Felix the Cat LSD blotter sheets.

Pictured below are the five modules I built in my first run of building MFOS modules. From left to right - VCO, VCO, LFO, VCF, VCF


The Special Stage Systems World Core was the first video device I ever built. I designed its panel, which features the pirate Ming Mecca logo designed by Jordan Bartee himself. The panels were fabricated by my favorite metal fabrication house in Calcutta - Ilka Metals that use an acid toner etching process that allow for very detailed and crisp panel graphics.


Next, I built a Mutable Instruments Ripples and Mutable Instruments Elements, which was my first major experience with SMD soldering by hand. These boards were soldered under 4x magnification by hand.