circuit bending
TooLs     of     tHe     TradE

Low-wattage (30 watts or less) soldering "pencil"
(small soldering iron) with a very narrow tip, perhaps filed down for fine work. These are cheap and can be found at the usual electronics outlets. Or, better yet, a soldering station including a cleaning sponge and resting cradle for the pencil. These pencils usually have an assortment of tips available, including the smaller diameter (around 1/16th") that circuit-bending requires. These stations are well worth the additional expense in the long run.

Thin rosin-core solder

Small drill

with which to create holes for mounting switches and other components. A hobby drill, such as the Dremel™, is handy for this job. A 1/8" bit is used to drill the pilot holes; a ball-shaped "burr" bit of the correct diameter is then used to bring the hole up to the correct size for the component being mounted. Optional: a tapered hand bore. This is a hand tool used to ream-out holes to the correct size; a nice addition to the circuit-bender's bench. This tool will increase the 1/8" pilot holes to the exact size for unusual components or those too large for a Dremel™ burr bit, as in a 3/4" diameter pilot lamp housing.

Set of small, all-metal, non-insulated "jeweler's" screwdrivers
Slotted and Phillips.

Set of miniature crescent wrenches
(Craftsman, Sears stores; for fastening all panel-mounted controls)

Small wire clippers

Small wire stripper
Capable of stripping wire as thin as 30 to 25 gauge

Test leads
(insulated wire terminated at each end with an alligator clip)

Resistance substitution wheel. This device, containing assorted resistors of increasing values selected by the turning of a dial, is clipped by means of its two leads into a live circuit so that the selected resister's effect on the circuit can be heard. This will help determine the correct resistance or resistance range needed at a circuit point so that a resistor or potentiometer of the correct value can be soldered in place.

In fact, a custom circuit-bending console tool can be built in the form of an elaborate substitution box. This would be, essentially, a housing containing selectable (via multi-position rotary switches) components to run the circuit-bending paths through -- various resistors, capacitors, potentiometers, sensors, LEDs, etc.). Like the resistance substitution wheel, this would be another two-lead device, clipped between two circuit-bending points and adjusted to observe audio changes within the operating circuit.

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