frgmnt org

7 March 2022


Different workshop related downloads are available:

The illustrated Walkthrough of PCB Production shows how I do it in my electronics lab since 2007. I heard of & tried the toner method years ago – but for a long time was less successful in reliably producing nice quality PCBs. I tried photo paper, telephone book paper, color pages of magazines, dextrin covered paper, the various catalogs of  electronic supply companies. I tried different temperatures of the hot iron, higher & lower pressure. I tried different board cleaning methods, different chemicals, until I could cut “the chemicals” down to the etching agent & maybe isopropyl alcohol (a cheap vodka would do as well).  Of the etchants I tried two: Ferrum-III-chloride  (FeCl3) & sodium persulphate (NaS2O8) but want to try etching with copper-II-chloride (CuCl2) as an e-friendly closed cycle alternative. Now here is my recipe at the moment:

PCB-Production-Walkthrough <- updated

My Website´s logo was inspired by a traffic sign I saw on the Belgian Autobahn some years ago. This little graphic adventure is some vectorgraphic work I did about signs for ice, frost & snow flakes & permutations thereof. If the “real” Belgian ice warning sign looks like I recall it, I could not verify despite devoting some effort to searching for it.

The long awaited reader reader for the CTM 2010 workshop, includes schematics & layouts of the shown circuits:

Here I made a quite useful table of SMD (SMT) component sizes:

Typical SMD sizes

Even when using SMD, from time to time we need to drill some holes for through-hole-connections. I searched the web to find a better way before I start electroplating. Instead of using little bits of wire I found a novel way, which at least for me is 10 times faster:

Thruhole Fabrication

This is a short intro handout for successful circuitbending (auf deutsch) :

This is the handout from a workshop in xxxxx, Berlin, a VGA-monitor as wave display with new Arduino VGA-Sync code:

 <- updated

In summer 2009 I had a discussion with a friend of mine Andrzej Wróblewski aka Bohomaz, stencil artist, about vector based pattern generation. This inspired me to do some visual studies in spirographics. Here you find some full resolution pdf – especially the first is a bit heavy in pdf rendering – but hey, it is A3 and easily can be printed out in A0 (all are Creative Commons 3.0 BY-NC-SA licensed):


This is the Schematic & PCB artwork for an STK4241 2x120W PowerAmp:

This is the Schematic & PCB artwork for a tiny LM4895 1W SMD PowerAmp  (only chip + four 1µF caps!):

Today Sergio from Mexico found an old documentation of a sequencer I made in 2007 for Piksel Festival. It contained several small errors, so here is the updated version of this nice 8-Step-Sequencer. It is simple but yet has some extra features. With a 150ohms resistor as current limiter. the sequencer can drive up to 20 milliamps to give pulsed electricity to filter circuits or toys.

Give it a try! Please NO commercialisation – especially of the gate circuit, which really works despite being so simple. Contact me if you need a custom extended version, there are several more astonishing tricks..

8-Step-Sequencer Schematic

Here is a simple Parallel Port Programmer for Atmega Microcontrollers (Schematic & PCB):

AVR DAPA-Programmer

KiCad-Tutorial – KiCad is an open source software suite for electronic design automation (EDA) – designing schematics of electronic circuits and printed circuit boards (PCB). KiCad is developed by Jean-Pierre Charras, and features an integrated environment with schematic capture, bill of materials list, and PCB layout.:


A Triac Tester – Had to work on a dimmer pack recently, I used & want to share this:


Bat Detector – This thing works using only one chip, still EXPERIMENTAL:

Bat Detector

Making your Life as an Artist – An eBook by Andrew Simonet, worth reading from about page 50 on:

Life as Artist (eBook)

Soldering is Easy! – A comic eBook by Mitch Altman, how to solder:

Soldering is Easy! (eBook)

The WoodenBox– contains a SNU (Special Noise Unit), Seq8 (sequencer) & FM-Transmitters:

The WoodenBox (Schematics)

22 July 2018


1 October 2017

TOB-Project Timeline

TOB project

TOB – Transmitting Object Behaviors

arrow-downTOB is an open project of the Berlin electronic artist red arrowJo FRGMNT Grys – over time there have been numerous members, collaborators & associates. Just to mention: Seamus O´Donnell, Kaspar König, Martin Kuentz, Jeremy Clarke & others.

The TOB production idea is derived from concepts of occupation of spaces and communication technologies and recycling/re-using materials:

1st level:- the input in micro-local space (diy vibrational microphones, kids toys, the guts of a videogame, fm receivers) is taking instruments, inner sounds of bicycles, selfmade electronic devices, feedbacks.

2nd level:- radio p.a. is supplying the next ambience with amplified acoustic events.

3rd level:- fm transmitters supply the wider ambience & are used for feedback.

4th level:- sometimes we transmit into global space via the internet.

The erroneous nature of all these communication ways producing interference, hiss, noises, hums – is part of the game.


blue arrowDocument yellow arrowVideo red arrowAudio

























































































< Virtual Exhibition Läuft, Cafe Amelie, Giessen, D blue arrowFlyer

< Circuit Control Festival, Fablab/Ostpol, Dresden, D blue arrowFlyer

< Group Exhibition, Gallery of The Guesthouse, Cork, IE blue arrowFlyer blue arrowPiece

< Group Exhibition, Gallery Terminal08, Gorzow, PL blue arrowFlyer

< Concert @ Bolt#1 Vernissage, Panke, Berlin, D Arrow blueFlyer

< Concert @ Ausland, Berlin, D Arrow blueFlyer yellow arrowVid

< Art Sale @ Kunstsquad Transmediale, Berlin, D Arrow blueFlyer

< Concert @ Madame Claude, Berlin, D Arrow blueFlyer

< Concert @ West-Germany, Berlin, D Arrow blueFlyer

< Installation & Concert, Gorzow, PL Arrow blueFlyer

< Installation @ 48 Stunden Neukölln, Berlin, D Arrow blueFlyer

< Enter the Lasergans Party, Noise & Visuals @ freiLAND, Potsdam, DE Arrow blueFlyer

< 2 Jahre Schräge Runde Electronic Festival @ Ostpol, Dresden, DE Arrow blueFlyer

< Wunderland 2 Festival, Installation @ Mica Moca, Berlin, DE Arrow blueFlyer

< Unzip, Liquid Light @ Chapel, Gießen, DE

< Circuit Bending & DIY Electronic Festival @ Ostpol, Dresden, DE Arrow blueFlyer yellow arrowVid

< Schraege Runde, DIY & Circuit Bending Workshop @ Coloradio, Dresden, DE Arrow blueFlyer

< Timing for Stare-Installation of Tilman Küntzel @ Bundesgartenschau, Koblenz DE

< VJ Performance as Semiotic Warrior @ Electronic Warfare, Dresden DE Arrow blueFlyer

< VJ Performance@ Weisses Haus, Radebeul, DE Arrow blueFlyer

< Performance @ FINISSAGE unARTich, Kunstwerk, Potsdam, DE

< Performance & Exhibition @ unARTich, Kunstwerk, Potsdam, DE Arrow blueFlyer

< Smart PCB Production in the 21st Century, Workshop, R114, Berlin, DE Arrow blueFlyer

< Schraege Runde, Workshop & Concert, Fischladen, Dresden, DE Arrow blueFlyer

< Project 11, Performance with Olivier di Placido @ Ausland, Berlin, DE

< Batworld – into the Realm of Ultrasonics, Workshop, Lichtblick, Berlin, DE Arrow blueFlyer yellow arrowVid

< Tempered Noise Therapy, Concert, Sprungschanze, Dresden, DE Arrow blueFlyer

< The incredible 10, Concert & Presentation, Friedrichstadtzentral, Dresden, DE

< Performance @ VERWERTUNG, Stattbad Wedding, Berlin, DE

< Visuals @ Noise Event Raum18, Berlin, DE

< Noise Concert @ Raum18, Berlin, DE

< Workshop & Concert @ CTM, Berlin, DE blue arrowTechPapers

< Software/Hardware for MindBOX @ cynetart 13, Dresden, DE yellow arrowVideo yellow arrowVid yellow arrowVid

< CircuitBending Workshop @ Musikschrauben Festival Zucker Club, Bremen, DE

< Exhibition & Concert @ Fylkingen, Stockholm, SE

< The Incredible 10, Concert & Presentation, Friedrichstadtzentral, Dresden, DE Poster

< iD Festival, Installation, Workshop&Concert, Gorzow, PL blue arrowTech yellow arrowVideo

< VGA Experiments in xxxxx_Workshop, Berlin, D blue arrowHandout blue arrowCode yellow arrowVideo

< Installation @ Piksel 08, Bergen, NO blue arrowBrave Little Arduino in the Scary Dar.. Tech

< Concert & Workshop @ Art Trail, Cork. IE

< Concert & Workshop @ Tweak, Limerick City. IE yellow arrowVideo

< CircuitBending Workshop @ Electric-Dress Potsdam, D blue arrowHowTo in GERMAN

< Concert as frgmnt & Hagen Damwerth @ Camp Tipsy near Berlin, D

< Concert as frgmnt & lifeloop @ toiletten27, Berlin-Neukölln, D

< Constructing *alive* electronics. DIY sound-workshop, Munich, D

< SNU in xxxxx_Workshop_33_xx, Berlin, D

< Presentation & Workshop at Piksel Festival, Bergen, NO

< Sound installation @ Fleischerei’s Artfair, Theaterkapelle, Berlin, D

< EASTTEK 2007 Teknival, EastGermany, D yellow arrowVideo

< Subversiv Audio @ FUC, F´hain, Berlin red arrowAudio

< Presentation & Workshop at DEAF Festival, Rotterdam, NL

< Presentation at Dorkbot Suisse & Workshop in Basel, CH

< Installation & Performance at Gallery NOD, Prague, CZ

< Performance at Lost Shadows II, Factory, Berlin, D red arrowAudio

< Workshop & Performance at ECOS 2006, Nantes, F yellow arrowVideo yellow arrowVideo

< Installation K/NOT3 at Lost Shadows I, Factory, Berlin, D blue arrowK/NOT3 Tech

< Performance K/NOT2 at Voodoomaten, Hangar, Berlin, D

< Performance “K/NOT2: Der Raub der Inverterinnen”, Kulturzeugen-Saal, Gießen, D

< Installation in Berlin Art-Center, “EXPERIENCE ART!” blue arrowK/NOT2 tech

< Online-Performance with David Lee as TOB Jam feat David “Nomusic Arena II”, F

< Installation & Performance “K/NOT 1 ” @ TESLA, Berlin blue arrowK/NOT1 Tech red arrowAudio

< Installation & Workshop “particle/wave :: Workshop”, Helsinki, FI blue arrowTech yellow arrowVideo

< Installation & Performance @ the exhibition “konfrontacje”, Gdansk, PL

< Experiment “little sender BIG” Salon Bruit noise stage @ Camp Tipsy, Biesenthal, D

< feed.loop.back=life_aetheric overtones by lifeloop, TOB principles. Project Leerstelle

< Workshops – DIY mini-FM Transmitters Salon Bruit @ Project Leerstelle, Berlin

< rebel:art festival @ Zur Möbelfabrik ,Berlin, D

< TOB interview with Kasper Koenig on Radioriff auf reisen – 104,1 FM Berlin, D

< Noisiv and TOB Performance @ Hi-Fi Domo Recital Hall, Caen, F

< Experiments with APO33 on an online noise robot, Performance in Nantes Museum, F

< TOB in “Paradise” @ Bunker under Alexanderplatz, Berlin, D

< “9th International Congress for Performance Art” & FM Workshop , Berlin, D

< “Salon Bruit, Kathedrale”, with special Guest Helmuts Dolly, Berlin, D

< “Salon Bruit, Kathedrale”, Vienna Diagonale, Berlin, D

< “Hotel Berlinische Galerie”, Berlin, D red arrowAudio

< “!radiofestival” Acud, Berlin, D

< “VII International Congress for Performance Art”, Paris, F

< Concert in “Alternation”, Paris, F

< “Fete de la Musique”, Tacheles, Berlin. D

< “Luna International”, Kopenhagener, Berlin, D

< “RadioKampagne Soli”, Eimer, Berlin, D

< “Lisa Lounge”, Berlin, D

< Comic Library “Renate”, Berlin, D

< “Resonant Wave Festival” Spannwerk, Berlin, D

< “Karneval der Kulturen” & @ Nite Eimer, Berlin, D Arrow blueFlyer


gtx tob 01/2015

28 April 2013

Advanced SMD Soldering

Since I wrote “Secrets of SMD” it is now more an a year. At that time a soldering iron was my favourite soldering tool. In between I tried table grill ovens and a pizza skillet (=electric pizza pan) as reflow device. Success rate varied a lot with molten dark parts (=high absorption) & unsoldered silver ones (=low absorption), no possibility to interfere in the running process & generally quite dark PCBs (overheated boards).
Today I mainly use SMD soldered on a clothing iron, use a hot air gun for the back of double sided or very simple single sided PCBs & the soldering iron mainly for small corrections or soldering connectors.

This is an overview  of my recent process of DIY production of PCBs. I hope it is not too sketchy, cause I do this write-up in the pauses of board making with exactly this process – I am quite new to it – it´s fresh!

See it is a starting point for your own fast prototype-production or just a way to share some ideas.

Toolz of our Business

First we have the hot air gun, a gas burner with catalyst, you can get it for about 20 EUR. Its useful for any re-work (de-soldering & repair) of multi-pin devices. Be careful not to overheat parts.

The hot air gun

The Hot Air Gun

Hot air gun, catalyst glowing

Hot Air Gun, Catalyst glowing

Next comes a hot plate, which can also be an electric pizza pan I used before. A clothing iron has the advantage that you can also use it for the toner PCB method or heating etching solution, it´s flat & heats up very fast. Fix it to a table with a clamp in a horizontal position:

Clothing iron fixed to table

Clothing Iron fixed to Table

Next we need hypodermic needles for the application of solder paste. I prefer the black 22G size, sometimes 20G. (Updated with this nice table)

Table with Needle Colour Codes

Table with Needle Colour Codes

Hypodermic needles

Hypodermic Needles / CC 3.0 Attribution: Zephyris

For breaking the needle I scratch the surface with an electronic cutter, rotating the needle several times:

Needles cutting

Scratching the Needle Surface

Then it is like breaking glass tubes, pull & bend at the same time:

Breaking a Needle

Breaking a Needle

After deburring on sandpaper or a sharpening stone we get a nice blunt shortened needle – as syringe I use a 1ml size with a silicone stopper, types with plastic stopper do not have a smooth action (the needed ones are sold as “latex-free” insulin syringes):

Cut needles

Cut & deburred

Against drying out of the solder paste I store the filled syringes in an old marmalade container with a tight lid, some drops of IPA (Iso Propyl Alcohol) or pure ethyl alcohol are added, the cap I shortened by melting with hot air:

Syringe Container with Alcohol Vapor against drying out

Syringe Container with Alcohol Vapor against drying out


Flux is used to cover the PCB before soldering. I produce it in two forms, as a liquid and with a honey like consistency by dissolving violin rosin in IPA. 1:10 volume ratio for the liquid, about 2:1 for the paste, which means dissolving as much as possible in warm IPA. Crystallisation forming the paste occurs on cooling. It´s more like making jam.

DIY Fluxes from Violin Rosin

DIY Fluxes from Violin Rosin

Here is the cheap Chinese solder paste I use. I guess it is meant for silk-screening. Adding IPA drop-wise may be necessary to get the heavy sticky liquid state we need for our purposes.
If you know some really good lead-free solder paste I may switch in the future. But most probably the 20..30°C higher process temperature needed will force us to use some different techniques.

Solder Paste

Solder Paste


I almost forgot the most important point: Try out things to get a feeling for the process & check your materials.
In this example you can see how I marked two cleaned areas, one with the excellent “Mechanic” solder paste to the far left, the other area with a more “professional” paste which needs a totally different process & does not work here.
In the right area I tried my first needle looking for dot sizes & how the paste performs on  a oxidized/uncleaned copper surface:

Experiments with Solder & Fluxes

Experiments with Solder & Fluxes

Solder Paste Application

A little drop of solder paste is squeezed from the blunt needle and applied as a small dot on the PCB. Pointed tweezers are helpful in placing SMD parts.
(BTW: I don´t  like comments like “your fingernails need cutting” – no, they are useful for work!):

SMD Placement

SMD Placement

On complex boards, think strategically. Try to put fine-pitched parts (small distance between neighbouring legs) first, you may have to correct their placement a lot or even to wipe off all their paste. This is hard to do in a stuffed corner.

All two-terminal parts are easy – I just apply paste for the next two to five parts & drop them in position. I don’t know if that is necessary or even harmful, but I press them down a bit – I don’t want to loose parts when handling the board later.

Bulky parts come last. They are always in the way & it needs more concentration to not touch them erroneously.

Solder paste applied with 0603 SMD parts

Solder Paste applied with 0603 SMD parts


First we need to bake the paste for some minutes. I use 10mins on “Silk” then heat up 20secs to “Cotton” – here the solder paste smokes a bit, the flux does its cleaning & flowing. Finally boost up to “Linen”.

Then reflow (= melting) occurs, stay there 15secs, eventually pressing down the PCB with some pointed instrument like a small screwdriver for to reach peak temperature. Then slide off to an unheated non-metallic surface to cool down slowly. Listen to the clicks of the iron´s temperature regulator, they give acoustic feedback of the temperature you reached. Use no steam 🙂

At the reflow point you may notice several wonderful things: surface tension of the molten solder pulls together smeared solder paste & parts start sliding a bit to “click” in position if unprecisely placed. This sliding effect depends on the board design – datasheets provide you with optimized PCB patterns for this to happen if you run into problems with your design program´s generic patterns. Don’t expect everything to work the very first time.

Some caveats: An over-rapid heat transfer can cause solder splattering and the production of solder balls, bridging and other defects. If the heat transfer is too slow, the flux concentration may remain high and result in cold solder joints, voids and incomplete reflow.
When I have to deal with through hole connections I put aluminium foil under the PCB.

Reflow on the hot iron

Reflow on the Hot Iron


Finally check for shorts between adjacent IC legs. SMD-probes are useful. In any case do a visual inspection with a magnifying glass, I use a 6x & have the feeling 10x is best for our work.
Because our flux is pure rosin, it is “no clean” and can stay on the the final PCB. Cleaning with IPA and a toothbrush is also possible.

Finished soldering

Finished soldering

15 May 2010


Artist Statement about Electronic Workshops:

As more and more is known about the physical background, electronics turned into a science where devices are digitally simulated and calculated according to mathematical models.

Especially digital electronics with its binary states´ precisely defined 0 and 1, is -nobody wonders- either working or not working. For the majority of digital hardware that means: One wrong bit will break its operation. What we will make from digital chips is always working – but never exactly.

Logic - Forbidden region

By definition states between 0 and 1 are not allowed. In digital electronic databooks these states are called “not defined” or “illegal”. They are not usable to build a reliable, predetermined, deterministic machine (e.g. a computer) which produces exact, reproducible output within its environmental parameters (i.e. the computer is functioning).

This exactness is remarkable, yet doesn’t fit to our known physical laws.
Where is the Heisenberg uncertainty ( of modern quantum physics which should make such precision impossible?

The answer is astonishing: Digital electronics use symbolic states outside the physical reality!  (

E.g. standard TTL logic gates ( operate with a 5 volt power supply. A TTL signal is defined as 0 or “low” when between 0V and 0.8V with respect to the ground terminal, and 1 or “high” when between 2.0V and 5V. States between 0.8V and 2.0V are “illegal”.

The experimental sound circuit SNU, which is the main device of the workshop, uses these illegal states and drives the digital chip it uses into this in-between world of uncertainty. What we get is complexity and uncontrollable behaviour. This workshop shows how building-blocks can be arranged in unusual ways. The SNU or the sequencer SEQ8 are just examples of how arrangements of the instruments can be build.
Not two of them will sound the same.

You get an alive instrument, different from a sampler that only controls premade sound. Like a violin, with many possibilities to create sound but also unpredictable moments, it requires constant judgement and adjustment of the player and at the same time has a live of its own.

or if you like..

Workshop Special Noise Unit (SNU)

„Einfluß statt Kontrolle“

Bei diesem Workshop  erhalten die TeilnehmerInnen die Möglichkeit, experimentelle Synthesizer zu bauen, fantastische Noise-Maschinen. Jede ist anders, Gesetze werden auf den Kopf gestellt, IngenieurInnen kriegen die Krise & doch funktionieren sie:
Unkontrollierbar, launisch und eigentümlich wie nur wenige Instrumente.

Hier gibt´s reichlich Werkzeug, Lötkolben und Elektronikbauteile – Vorkenntnisse sind nicht nötig.

This is @ the tweak festival in Limerick:

The next seven video snippets are by Natalia Borissova, Munich curator & artist, learning to know the SNU:

Some of my own pieces where the main soundsource is a SNU – SNU-II-Soundtest uses the additional Seq8-sequencer, all the “Fulda” pieces have a delay & occasional ring-modulator added. “Heisenberg” has an additional sample of Werner Heisenberg speaking about quantum physics & a tanpura loop:

SNU-II-Soundtest, 03.06.08, 4.75mb

Fulda sucks 2009, 21.08.09, 3.94mb

Fulda sucks 2009_2, 21.08.09, 81.18mb

Fulda fuck off – Just listen to Heisenberg I, 13.09.09, 83.00mb Arrow blueThe Text

This Thing is Fukking Speaking I – mastered 27.09.09, 11.25mb

Here is a sound test with a recently developed Ultrasonic device (+ a SEQ to modulate the new Ultrasonic-Transmitter):
Slow Spider loves Ultrasonics when doing his Homework, 16.09.10, 73.10mb

Spider listening

After the lame Intro here is the 1st Soundtest of the Ultrasonic Pulser we actually built:

Ultrasonic Pulser 1st Test 26.10.2010, 7,87mb

Creative Commons 3.0 BY-NC-SA (C)opyright : frgmnt