Left to right: rough evolution of the boards for the masher/choppers or what the hell ever they should be called now. I think I missed one or 2. Earlier ones used ubiquitous lm386 chip, which has a kind of noob stigma attached to it, but did work quite well for this purpose (injecting audio into logic gates). Not as well as a transistor did though, and then eventually 2 stages of a cmos preamplifier (4049). I guess with the 4049 they should start being called "distortion/chopper" or something. Anyway the point of this and the following photos is to make it clear when you order one that these things are evolving and even devolving each time, and to be honest I hate building the same thing twice. I still have a circuit bender's approach in that I prefer to exploit the differences between even identical value components than to try to standardize circuits to make them all sound the same. It's a learning process for me too. Also these particular circuits are so open to chaos ("static sensitive" isn't neccesarily a bad thing) that it would be counterproductive to try to eliminate it; better to figure out how to let it thrive. Anyone who has played around building "Lunettas" knows the temptation to not just stick to 2 types of chip, to wonder what would happen if you added a counter or a bunch of obsolete 4006's which you noticed were in a part of an esoteric-looking Serge schematic. Bat detector/masher/delay hybrid? Of course. Effect which doesn't have a name and is a pain in the ass to describe? Goes without saying.
Got some chips you need frying? No prob, just plug 'em in. (first attempts to make an etched board version)
The first ones were built on veroboard to resemble a hot glue and recycled components omlette squirted inside an old 8 track tape. They sound great, but if I get asked to repair one it makes my fingernails itch.
Then as my soldering skillz improved along came these cool dudes with the addition of AN INPUT, yay!
Ultimo Omlette-o-tron TM
Getting neater
Along the way new "bends" like power starve and pitch bend were found by accident and added
After a few board variations I was happy with how they sounded, especially about the input, and got better at etching as well, although it's still total mad professor style in the back yard, with ingredients bought from the Franprix, and quite a few different Jean Tinguely variations on acid baths with aquarium air pûmps and tray rockers made from motorized doll parts..