Casings arrived and the first assembled unit!

Finally! We now have all the casings we need to fulfill the Kickstarter rewards and some more. We assembled the first unit and all is well! Works like a charm!

We’re now starting with assembly of the last electronics, putting these in the casings.. and of course also putting together the kits. Rewards will be shipped out in order of Kickstarter backing.

130 front plates

130 front plates


199 frontplate-less casings


casings again..


The assembled unit!!


Back and side view of the assembled unit.

Sawbench front plate drills and general progress

Some of you DIYers have requested the front plate drills file to be made available. So, here it is! Drills DXF file

Furthermore, and this the news we’ve been waiting for.. the casings are ready to be picked up from the factory! There’s the Dutch holidays in the way, so tuesday is the earliest we can manage. We’re ready to assemble and ship them! Stay tuned!

Forum online

Hi all,

You may be interested to hear this site has now got it’s own forum. We thought it might be useful since there always will be questions about DIY stuff, and it’s also a good opportunity to communicate in a more open way instead of just directed emails. Better for everybody.

Tasty Chips Electronics forum

We’re also intending to a bit of an overhaul. Use the new logo (from the Sawbench), adapt colours, etc.


A new week, a new Sawbench update

Some news on the Sawbench front:

The remaining eight bare bones kits (this brings the total to 38) have been shipped out and the first people have already assembled it!

Justin Dicenso finished his barebones kit!

Justin Dicenso finished his barebones kit!

The production is on schedule. We managed to finish the soldering for almost 40 units, so far! Still 25 to go.. We also ordered the final batch of Sawbench PCB’s. So we should have more than enough PCB’s in stock for the remaining Kickstarter backers and also for the first post-Kickstarter clients (already 15 orders received).

The first proof casing was tried today, as can be seen below. The factory made the bottom part, with which we are extremely satisfied. High quality finish on the aluminium, not too glossy, not too dull, and excellent bench pressing too! We quickly made our own preview frontplate with the CNC machine and everything fitted! We cannot wait until we receive the first front plates from the factory!

The actual form factor of the Sawbench casing.. The bottom part is as it will be in the final version. The front plate is a preview version without print (CNC'ed by ourselves).

The actual form factor of the Sawbench casing.. The bottom part is as it will be in the final version. The front plate is a preview version without print (CNC’ed by ourselves).

The first barebones kits are on their way!

The last few weeks have been dominated by Sawbench production work. And today the first 30 bare bones kits have been shipped out! Also, today the Sifam knobs arrived. That’s two weeks ahead of schedule! This means we can ship the rest of the barebones kits this week.

The casing: the factory will do a proof model and we should receive it any day! Things are looking good ๐Ÿ™‚

Sawbench update: 120x PCB’s, casing, planning

The electronics

This week the 100 analog and 100 digital sawbench PCB’s finally arrived. We already had 20 before and these are now fully soldered and tested. The PCB’s seem fine: the silkscreens are now DIY-proof (all values are printed).

There’s one set back: the snap-in holes of the potentiometers aren’t big enough. In the past it’s been hit or miss. Either they are just right or too small. The supplier seems unable to tell us what’s up with that. Our guess is, it’s not a very accurate process. Not as critical as the rest of the PCB. The holes in the EAGLE drawings are small too. Seems like a lucky accident that they sometimes end up being bigger.. Oh well, next time we’ll change the diameters. For now, it’s manually re-drilling 1200 holes (!!!). This is a day of work, so nothing to worry about, except a sore thumb. ๐Ÿ˜‰

100 analog and 100 digital boards.. arrived yesterday.

100 analog and 100 digital boards.. arrived yesterday.

The casing

The casing design will be finalized today. And we can say it looks fantastic! An early version:

Preview of the frontplate graphics.

Preview of the frontplate graphics (pots and buttons are not shown here).

The graphics will be inverse. The background will be aluminium and the font and drawings in blue. The best news is that the colour will be integrated into the aluminium skin, making it scratch-proof and solvent-proof!

Honestly, we cannot wait to get our hands on these casings, but it will have to wait for a bit. Read on..

The planning

There have been some questions about the delivery schedule..

First of all, Kickstarter informs us of a 14 day period to collect all the pledges. This would (ideally) mean we’ll have the money by April 16th.. and can then start paying for casing fabrication.

The way it looks now the bare bones kits will be able to ship this month (April). We have enough PCB’s and a small batch of potentiometers should arrive in a few days.

Casing production (of 200 units) will take 4 weeks in total, and can only start when the Kickstarter money is in: it’s the most expensive part of the product.. We’re trying to get the first 100 casings before the end of the month, but we don’t know yet if this is possible. We’ll update this post when we know more.. Worst case estimate is that we can start assembling the full units from May 14th onwards.

  • April 15th: barebones kits start shipping
  • April 15th: first batch of potentiometers should arrive
  • April 16th: Kickstarter money should be transferred
  • April 16th: start of casing production
  • April 30th: (POSSIBLY) first casings should be available
  • April 30th: (POSSIBLY) the first 10 cased units may be shipped out!
  • May 8th: final batch of potentiometer knobs should arrive
  • May 14th: casing production done
  • May 19th: final batch of potentiometers should arrive
  • May 20th: shipping of kit+casing and full unit should commence

The Saw Bench: Kickstarter and beyond

As all of you may know, our latest mini synth, the Saw Bench, is on Kickstarter. The funding goal was reached in under a week and in the next days the figure doubled. There are literally more than a hundred pre-orders. We opened post-Kickstarter orders (mail us if you want in on this asap), and yes, we will sell the casing separately. ๐Ÿ™‚

Preparations are underway for everything:

  • Testing of the production PCB’s sets: DONE. We now have 20 of them lying around, which will go into the assembled version. We already assembled the first dozen. We ordered 100 more PCB sets and they should arrive this week.
  • The DIY manual (80% complete, needs some more details and description of the mechanical assembly). You can already have a look at:ย
  • The CNC milling machine was installed and tested. This thing is seriously fun. So far, engravingย  wood and aluminium it seems to work excellent. There are some great plugins for Inkscape which allow direct conversion of Inkscape projects to CNC gcode: . You can also use stuff from the Eggbot plugin to simplify the milling of fonts (much faster, no jumps, no repitition: ideal for small fonts). Eggbot is a easter egg painting CNC machine: check it out:ย
  • Components were ordered: everything from pot knobs and led spacers to opamps and OTA’s. In the process we depleted some of the stocks at our favorite supplier ๐Ÿ˜‰ We already recieved the first 10 kilos of components. More to come!
  • The casing: we made arrangements with the factory. These guys specialize in processing of sheet metal, coating and painting and we now know we can realize these casings in a relatively short time. We’re currently fine tuning the design.. which is a more flatter (and better looking ;)) version of the prototype.
  • Firmware update: since the stretch goal of 8000 euros was reached an improved firmware version was realized: this features looping envelope (VCA and VCF separate), glide (acid, anyone?), legato (no retriggering when holding down multiple notes). All these are accessible via MIDI CCs.

More CNC: ๐Ÿ˜‰

With the risk of being superfluous: some popular questions answered:

– Yes, we will make more sawbenches after the Kickstarter

– Yes, we will sell casings separately

–ย No, schematics will not be released

– Yes, the firmware is 100% open source

Contact us at if you were too late for the Kickstarter and want one (in whatever form). We’ll put you on the pre-order list.


Saw Bench Synth Kickstarter

In the recent days we successfully tested the first and second prototypes of our new monosynth. This baby has already got a sturdy metal enclosure.. and the latest tests reveal excellent signal-to-noise performance.. which makes us more than proud.

The Kickstarter, including a new feature-by-feature demonstration video:

The Saw Bench Synth Kickstarter

The Saw Bench in its metal casing.

The Saw Bench in its metal casing.

Yes, we need your pledges to make mass production a reality.. Casings will only be affordable when you make one hundred of them.

More information and specs on the Kickstarter page linked above, but also here: Saw Bench Synthesizer

Introducing, the Saw Bench Synth

The Saw Bench Synth is the spiritual successor to the Piggy. Like that little old beast, it’s a MIDI controlled, and Arduino-based analog monosynth. There’s a lot more options however:

  • A four-pole diode ladder VCF, with good resonance and even self oscillation
  • ADSR envelope for VCA and VCF
  • LFO with 3 waveforms and Sample & Hold, for VCF
  • Manual controls such for Env and LFO enable, waveform selection, ADSR mode / LFO switching

Last but not least, it’s going to be housed in a nice little wooden box with aluminium panel on top.

Price : 99 EUR incl VAT and Arduino Uno.

Release : 01 Feb 2015

First Saw Bench Synth PCB

First Saw Bench Synth PCB

Feature-complete spaghetti

Loads of things have come our way. Loads of things non-synth. And this took time, loads of time. But here it is, in all its glory: a more-or-less feature-complete model of the ST4:

Feature-complete model of the ST4 in spaghetti form.

Feature-complete model of the ST4 in spaghetti form.



There’s no display connected since it couldn’t possibly fit amidst all this wiring terror, but for the rest, everything just works:

  • All four voices multi-mode VCF action
  • All filters are fully hands-on controllable per voice
  • All four stereo voices VCA action including panning per voice
  • The three ADSR envelopes and two LFO’s are fully controllable
  • Sampling and bitcrushing, voice detuning, voice modes
  • Everything can be controlled by MIDI as well
Action shot of the expansion board.

Action shot of the expansion board.

Next steps are improving performance (loose wires give a bunch of crosstalk, it’s unholy), adding the display and just replacing all that breadboard with a decent PCB… and putting it all in some preliminary casing.

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