DIY Synthesizer Kits #2 – Disintegrated Cracklebox

Following my successful Atari Punk Console build I had so much confidence that I wanted to tackle a second Rakit DIY synth kit immediately. After all, I was clearly on a roll and my soldering game was on point. So I decided to go with what looked like the next easiest kit, the Disintegrated Cracklebox.

My confidence lasted for as long as it took me to lay out all of the individual parts (see below). Man there’s a lot of stuff in this bag! Sixteen resistors… shoot, the APC didn’t even have 16 total parts! And all those different resistor values to differentiate using the tiny color striping had be a bit worried. Throw in 19 capacitors and a handful of other parts and it was clear that I had a lot of soldering in front of me. Fortunately the online instructions were very detailed and I’d learned a few lessons in the APC build about the importance of staying organized in how the pieces were installed. Even with all that prep, though, I still managed to fill a hole I wasn’t working on with solder which required some MacGuyver-ing to resolve, but I managed to get it sorted.

I’m not entirely sure how long this build took – probably somewhere around 60-90 minutes. But it fired up right away and I was crackling like a fool. The Cracklebox is an interesting item – you need to use both hands on it to complete the circuit and create sound, and how you interact with the touch pads creates the sonic variance. You can rest a finger in one spot, or tap to create a sort of beat, or rub across the surface to make a sort of electro-scratching sound. There were some combinations that made noise and others that didn’t – I’ll have to play with this a bit more to understand precisely how to use it.

This kit was more intricate than the APC, but honestly wasn’t any more difficult – it just took more time and patience and maybe a bit more care since those holes are all so close together. Remember kids, keep the tip of that soldering iron clean as you progress so you don’t drip a molten metal plug where you don’t want one!

So far I’ve been happy with the kits from Rakit (if you’re interested in checking them out for yourself, you can do so HERE). It’s a few bucks more expensive than the APC, somewhere around $20-25 US, but there’s also quite a bit more to it. I’m intrigued to see if/how I can use this with some of their other pieces.