Monolith Synth

Submitted by paul on Tue, 2017-05-23 12:06

Over the last several weeks I collaborated with Ben Davis, Darcy Neal and Ross Fish on this Monolith Synth interactive sculpture we took to Tested and Maker Faire.

This was a pretty typical usage scene at Maker Faire:


Submitted by skinny on Mon, 2017-05-08 14:56

The first DorkbotPDX Hebocon had some fierce competitors.  Check below for video and results!

DorkbotPDX DOBOHEBOCON 2017 from Brian Richardson on Vimeo.


Champion: Popcorn by Gary and Daniel

Gary and Daniel

Their bot has an actual piece of Popcorn in it.

Popcorn in bot!

Technically Poorest: Spring Thing by Drew

Spring Thing

This might be my favorite.  No electricity, just a spring.  

Fastest Fail: Lithium by Bill


Lithium was a pro looking bot!

Poorest Quality: Spitter Bot by Mathew

Spitter Bot

Spitter Bot spit 3d printing filament at its foes!

Loudest: Just One Bugfix by Brian

Just One Bugfix

Just One Bugfix played an intimidating scream as it competed.


Internet of Buckets

ESP8266 for Beginners

The ESP8266 allows you to create small microcontroller based projects that can be controlled via web interfaces. So you can control your project from your phone with a nice UI! Meaning you can get your project running faster because you don't have to create a full hardware UI for your project. We'll get the Arduino IDE up and running and try a few different programming options. We'll be programming the NodeMcu. This is a beginner class.

Instructor: Thomas Hudson

Sunday November 13th, Noon to 3pm at

Ctrl-H, 7608 N. Interstate, Portland, OR 97217

Cost: $25 goes to Ctrl-H and cost of hardware

RSVP required! Limited to 15 people! RSVP to

Example project:

trump piñata

Submitted by hydronics on Mon, 2016-09-26 01:11

Hey, thanks to all who came out to ctrl-h last dorkbot and helped me reign in my birthday. I posted my piñata project to hack-a-day. It was a lot easier to use than instructables. ... shelling out free content, eh? hahahah

A few of you may realize that I took some serious liberties with the video audio..... well it was my birthday!



Instructor: Mykle Hansen

Sunday, July 10th, 1-5pm at

Ctrl-H, 7608 N. Interstate, Portland, OR 97217

All ages! Free! (Donate a bit to Ctrl-H if you can)

Bring a laptop, headphones, and ideally a pre-installed copy of FaustLive.

I, Mykle be presenting a workshop on FAUST, the digital signal
processing language, this July 10th. Some of you have already
expressed interest in learning more about this exciting new source
of bleeps and bloops!

Faust is a functional language for describing signal-processing networks.
It has obvious applications in audio, but also has great potential for
software-defined radio, subatomic physics, or any other situation where
one might want to efficiently analyze streams of information.

Faust uses a floating-point paradigm that avoids many of the pitfalls of
digitization; it operates on streams of floating point or integer values.
Normalization and digital headroom issues can usually be ignored until
the final output stage.

The Faust compiler is mathematically deep; it employs Lambda calculus
to analyze and reduce Faust code, producing well-optimized output in
a variety of languages including C, C++ and the LLVM compiler suite.
Researchers at Stanford University’s reaped huge gains in the performance
of their Synthesis Toolkit libraries after translating them from
hand-optimized C++ to simpler, high-level Faust!

Because the entire Stanford Synthesis Toolkit is ported to Faust, there’s
a cornucopia of easy to use processors and signal generators available:
oscillators, compressors, filters, translators, delays, simulations of
analog circuits and vacuum tubes, and more.

I plan to demonstrate Faust in the context of its companion app,
FaustLive, which is an IDE for Faust. If there’s interest, we could
get into how to cross-compile Faust to any of the many different
audio environments it supports: PD, VST, CoreAudio, WebAudio, et

I decided to teach this workshop in order to give myself an excuse
to dive deeper into the language. I still am by no means an expert
Faust programmer, nor am I a very deep mathematician, or well-schooled
in the higher arts of digital signal processing. But if I can bring
you all quickly up to my level, I’m hoping you can all take it
from there. =) Together we will learn how to construct useful
networks of signal processing components using a functional,
concise and curious text-based language, instead of having to draw
giant diagrams of interconnected black boxes — although we will get
diagrams too, for free!

Attendees should bring a laptop with FaustLive installed; I’ll provide
installation instructions. If you’re interested, please let me know
your target operating system so I can be sure it’s covered.
I also encourage you to bring decent computer speakers if possible,
the better to hear what Faust can do.

Advanced Microcontroller Audio Workshop Summary

Submitted by skinny on Thu, 2016-06-09 20:33

As I said in my last blog post, I've been meaning to do little summaries of the workshops, so here's another one!

Paul volunteered to give his Advanced Microcontroller Audio workshop again and I jumped at the oppurtunity to finally take it. When I arrived I got my workshop packet which included well written documentation and a kit filled with a lot of great stuff. Paul and Thomas talked very briefly and introduced the workshop. It's structured to be done at your own pace with Paul and Thomas hovering around to help when needed.
DorkbotPDX April 2016 Workshop

The documentation is here if you want to look at it. The kit came with a Teensy 3.2, an audio shield, breadboard with switches and pots, hookup wire, sd card, and a TFT display!

The workshop starts off with verifying the initial hardware and software, playing sounds, playing sounds with effects, and finally builds all of the way up to playing audio and displaying a peak meter on the TFT. Most of the workshop is centered around using the Teensy library via the graphical Audio System Design Tool which is a lot like Pure Data.

Here's a quick video of the final exercise, sorry about the crappy audio, I knocked one of the wires I had plugged into the display around a bit and it distorted the playback.

DorkbotPDX April 2016 Workshop


I'm excited to use the audio library in future projects. I want to scare some kids this Halloween with a project, having an easy sound library to do it with will definitely help.

FuzzFace Workshop Results!

Submitted by skinny on Fri, 2016-04-22 17:44

I've been meaning to write short blog posts about the results of the workshops we put on. I got an email asking me about the last one and it reminded me to actually do it. So here it is!


I roped my friend Jim Titus into giving a workshop about guitar pedals since he started building them in his free time. The workshop started out with a presentation which you can download here. Jim talks about the history of guitar distortion which is very entertaining. Then he played some samples of early guitar distortion, there was a country song named "Don't Worry" by Marty Robbins which had an awesome sounding distorted bass. I'm not a country fan, but that part of the song rules. Jim then talked about the distortion circuit and showed some enclosures off (which became important later!)


Then it was build time! We all got our kits and got to work. We all help each other through the build and eventually tested them on Jim's o-scope so we could see the affect the pedal had on a sine wave.


There was an issue when we actually tried to use the pedals without an enclosure: there was no shielding and there was too much noise. Lucky for us one of the folks, Bruce Mulligan, had built an enclosure ahead of time. Bruce and his daughter built up their kit and installed it in the enclosure. After figuring out a grounding issue we had the distortion we were looking for!

Click below to listen to the pedal:


Be sure to check out our next workshop, Advanced Microcontroller Audio with Paul Stoffregen

DORKBOTPDX April 2016 Workshop: Advanced Microcontroller Audio

workshop flyer

In case you missed it last year (like me!) it's happening again!  This hands-on microcontroller audio workshop will show you how to use a Teensy 3.2 and codec chip to generate and playback CD quality sound, and process and analyze audio in real time.

$45 for kit
Space is limited to 15 people! 
RSVP Required, email to  Limited to 15 people.

Instructor: Paul Stoffregen

Sunday, April 24st, 1-5pm at
Ctrl-H 7608 N. Interstate, Portland, OR 97217
$45 (Donate to Ctrl-H if possible!) All ages!

Website work

Submitted by breedx on Mon, 2016-04-11 00:26

You might have noticed some changes to the website.

We know that things are broken (like account creation and some past content).  We are working hard to shore things up and make them functional again while also modernizing things.  Please be patient, as progress is proceeding slowly...

If you notice something frustratingly broken or missing or out of place, or if you happen to be a Drupal ninja who wants to help out, please email

Change is good, but comes with a cost.  Nerd on!