Audio Man Circuit Sculpture

Dead bug style LM386 audio amp circuit inside a human figure made of copper wire.

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This is piece of functional electronic art built from copper wire and discrete electronic components constructed in the "dead bug" style of circuit building. A fully functional LM386 audio amplifier resides inside the rib cage with eight hearing aid batteries in the spine for power. The head holds the speaker, input jack and volume control. Moving one of the arms in a raised or lowered position turns the circuit on or off. Update 12/26/18 I've completed and tested the main LM386 circuit. I'll be working on the skeletal structure this week and transplanting the circuit in the rib cage.Update 12/28/18 Uploaded new video to YouTube UPDATE 1/5/2019 I'm finished! Another 6 hour day at the work bench today. Total time for this project was around 30 hours. The most challenging part was all the soldering, Heat applied tended to cause other joints to become

Battery pack installed. This was a real challenge figuring out how to get the negative side to contact the main structure and have the positive side isolated. I came up with the switch idea upon waking up at 3 am. :)
Dead Bug Circuit Installed
The LM386 is mounted to the spine via the negative power rail. The entire copper skeletal structure is the ground plane. The wire leading to the positive rail from the switch is enamel coated magnet wire.
The ribs and sternum took a lot of time and patience. I'm very pleased with the results.

I logged about 5 hours of work today building the skeleton starting with the feet and getting as far as the pelvis. I started the arms and I'll work on the hands next. 

Soldering things together is tricky. The femur is 4 gauge copper wire and requires a small butane torch to heat it enough. Copper is very ductile so I had to heat sink the joints with wet cloth as I went along to keep them from coming apart due to the solder becoming molten.
I love the look of the hammered ends of the bones.
The arms without hands.
The pelvis is a good representation of the basic outline.

  • 1 × 10 ohm resistor
  • 1 × 10K potentiometer
  • 1 × 30 feet of copper wire in various gauges; 4, 6, 8, 10 12, 18.
  • 1 × 220 uf polarized capacitor
  • 1 × 100 uf polarized capacitor

View all 11 components

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Scott Prive wrote 01/09/2019 at 00:25 point

Any plans to release the  Gerber files?


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Morning.Star wrote 01/08/2019 at 21:41 point

Outstanding work on the power switch sir. Already awesome sculpture, but that. Yeah, that makes me proper giggle.

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John Oliva wrote 01/08/2019 at 19:13 point

Great sculpture.

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Elliot Williams wrote 01/07/2019 at 17:06 point

So awesome.  The coin cells are great.  I'm going to have to steal that technique for un-freeform projects...

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davedarko wrote 01/06/2019 at 10:47 point

awesome stuff, digging the look :)

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Dennis wrote 01/06/2019 at 03:00 point

I like were you went with this project. Very cool build!

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cwfitch wrote 01/05/2019 at 01:27 point

What gauge wire are you using ?

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Dean Segovis wrote 01/05/2019 at 12:33 point

18 on the dead bug. For the skeleton, 12, 10, 8, 6, and 4.

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cwfitch wrote 01/07/2019 at 12:07 point

I really admire your work . The tibia and fibula look perfect and the feet are really great although I think the silver solder detracts from the effect. Was reading there are various chemicals you can apply to solder to give it a copper color. One is called pickle acid that jewelers use. Keep up the great work !

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Dean Segovis wrote 12/26/2018 at 14:47 point

Thanks! I'm getting back to work on it this week. I have a plan to enclose the stacked batteries inside clear heat shrink tubing. :)

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Mike Szczys wrote 12/17/2018 at 20:12 point

Neat concept, with the coin cells as vertebrae, and the speaker making this a "loudmouth", I'm really excited to see it come together. Looking forward to more videos Dean!

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