Freddy G

What is DIY?
« on: April 23, 2009, 05:34:38 PM »
There seems to be a lot of posts lately by new members who come here looking to buy someone's DIY for cheap. This really annoys me >:(
To me the whole spirit of DIY is about doing as much as possible for yourself and learning...it has never been about saving money. I don't really even like "kits" because they bypass what is interesting and challenging....so you buy a kit where everything is documented and everything fits and all you have to do is assemble it. Booooring!
The kind of projects that I liked the most were ones like the NewYorkDave one or two bottles for example. Here you have the designer (Dave) post a schematic of his original design, there would be a lot of discussion about the whys and ins and outs of the circuit.....and then I plan my build. Maybe I'll go with point-point or etch my own circuit board. The last one I made (8 channels of NewYorkDave 1 bottle) I even had the confidence to design my own PC boards and have them manufactured. And guess what, they worked and the unit sounds fantastic and I'm pretty darn proud of it! If I had only built ready to put together kits before this I never would have learned enough to get this far.
Now, I have to admit that I was really keen on building Analag's PM670 but because it was a semi-closed project, the only way was to purchase PC boards just to get the schematic. So I bought them from someone on the Black Market (I originally missed the group buy) and the first thing I did was to scan the bare boards so that if I ever want to make another I can etch my own (and / or maybe modify them).
Also, I know that a certain individual around here makes cases and front panels for a wide variety of projects....fine, but no thanks. Why would i want to buy a pre-fabbed case and front panel with someone else's design? I want to design it myself ....the way I want it to look.
Eventually I'd like to contribute a design of my own here, just like Dave or Rowan, and that will only happen if I continue to learn and not by stuffing components like paint by numbers.
Sorry for the rant, after proof reading this i almost deleted it cause I thought "I sound like I'm rambling a bit and why would anybody care what I think anyway" but I decided to post it because maybe it will help change someone's mind about buying second hand DIY and just taking the plunge and doing it themselves.
Rant  :-[ver
Freddy
« Last Edit: April 23, 2009, 05:46:00 PM by Freddy G »
PRR wrote:
Use #18 wire for rock-n-roll, #16 wire for classical.


Gus

Re: What is DIY?
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2009, 06:56:42 PM »
It should not annoy one that is not healthy.  First ask why do you care?  One can just stop helping or even reading the site.  Or continue to read and just ignore the things you can not change.
   
I GUESS most don't want true DIY.   I GUESS maybe most want paint by numbers with premade boards and cases.

It takes time to get to the point you might call something a "design" that one builds IMO.   So maybe a place like this will be a mix of paint by number to design and build it yourself.  For me I rarely use a PCB I perf and point to point wire most stuff I build.  PCBs are for production or more than a few builds.

The current thread in the brewery is funny.

The drawing board has been boring for sometime.




Ptownkid

Re: What is DIY?
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2009, 07:08:17 PM »
I think I agree with what a lot of you are saying, but we need to stop debating this issue into the ground.

However; as a kit supplier, I have to say that a person learns as much or as little as they want to. Buying a kit does not mean you won't learn anything, it just means that you get all the parts at once. Yes I realize that buying and figuring out all the parts to get is a good learning experience, but it is also a costly one. There is a very minimal difference between getting a  complete kit and buying a silk screened pcb then buying parts from a BOM.

In order to learn one must possess the desire to learn, kits do not make or break that.

I do wish that more people took more initiative to learn, but in the end all that matters is that we are happy with our own personal version of DIY.

Cheers

Silvas

Re: What is DIY?
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2009, 10:30:53 PM »
IMHO, true DIY is when you build something from the ground off, maybe even design a cool circuit (i wish i had the knowledge to actually design something that sounds great! but i adapt to my own needs) design and etch your own PCB, source parts from all the globe if necessary, design and roll your own case, design and make your own front panel, then you take your masterpiece to the studio and enjoy using it everyday and let everyone else enjoy it too...and learn something in the process. The knowledge i have acquired in all this DIY process since i joined this forum is, well, massive to say the least. I´ts been 2 1/2 years since i joined and now i´m capable of rolling my own PCBs, cases and front panels and i´m very very proud to be considered as a DIY "pioneer" in my country, also encouraging other DIYers to come over and have a great time with all you guys. I´ve built couple things for (and only for, after they fell in love with the gear i DIYed) my fellow engineer/producer friends, and enyojed the building process alot. I charged them for parts and my time (which is expensive BTW) but i´m happy the gear i´ve built is in the best possible hands.

The only thing i regret is not being able to contribute to this forum more...the only thing i´ve ever done that i posted here for other people to build was this :

http://www.groupdiy.com/index.php?topic=30057.msg398179#msg398179

But it was a lot of fun ! God bless this place.



Camilo Silva F.
Camilo Silva F. Mastering
Chia, Colombia

JohnRoberts

Re: What is DIY?
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2009, 11:04:54 PM »
If everybody was truly doing it themselves, there would be no need for a web community and BB.  So this is more like "doing it with a little help from your friends".

Learning how to design is not a formalistic linear book learning process.. it is a combination of doing and absorbing how others designed things before.

I used to sell kits back in the '70s and '80s, and I built kits myself as I was coming along..  all part of the process.

JR


It's nice to be nice....

Rossi

Re: What is DIY?
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2009, 04:45:10 AM »
Like Gus, I mosty build stuff on perf. As long as it's just for myself, it doesn't have to look super neat, as long as I know it is acutally well built. Some people think that perf is baaaad and unprofessional. But then again, most of my stuff are one-offs and experiments to some degree.

I have no problem with people wanting kits. Not everyone is in DIY for experiments. They want to build stuff they can't afford as a finished product. And some of them may acutally get hooked to DIY and become modders and perhaps even designers.

What annoys me, though, is when people buy kits and hire someone else to put it together or, even worse, when people buy finished units from cloners (who use free or reverse engineered designs that other people came up with). That hasn't anything to do with DIY, as the person doesn't do it himself. It's just a way of getting stuff cheap at the expense of some company or the original designers. That's a total lack of respect for someone else's work. An that's also a threat to the community spirit. If mayor contributors get frustrated by seeing their designs being ripped off for commercial projects, they're not likely to go on contributing in the same manner or they may even leave from this forum.

"I am not a number, I'm a free man!"
"Hahahahaaaaaa!!!!!"

MasonAtom

Re: What is DIY?
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2009, 09:11:38 AM »
I think I agree with what a lot of you are saying, but we need to stop debating this issue into the ground.

However; as a kit supplier, I have to say that a person learns as much or as little as they want to. Buying a kit does not mean you won't learn anything, it just means that you get all the parts at once. Yes I realize that buying and figuring out all the parts to get is a good learning experience, but it is also a costly one. There is a very minimal difference between getting a  complete kit and buying a silk screened pcb then buying parts from a BOM.

In order to learn one must possess the desire to learn, kits do not make or break that.

I do wish that more people took more initiative to learn, but in the end all that matters is that we are happy with our own personal version of DIY.

Cheers

I hear what you're saying... but I think that Freddy does have a good point regarding well-structured kits vs. building something that is less supported. I build a lot of guitar amps and started my DIY experience with a Hi Octane kit from Doberman/AX84. Downloaded the schematics and layouts from the web, built it, worked great, sounded good.

Problem was that once I was done... I felt like it was more an exercise in gaining the proper skills (soldering, casework, etc) than it was an exercise in understanding the electronics. I realized that I had a good little amp but had no idea how it really worked.

I didn't really start learning about how the tubes amplify, how to set up gain stages, how to do a proper layout, etc until I decided to start tweaking and sourcing my own parts. That is where I started to really learn. The challenge to me is either taking a schematic and trying to visualize and CAD up a layout, or designing the circuit myself. I'm not a very good designer yet but the amps I'm designing now are better than the ones I was designing a year ago. I've learned a hell of a lot more through this sort of process than I did through building my first amp from a kit, although admittedly that is all part of the process.

Same thing goes for recording gear - I have a stuffed GSSL board and all the parts sitting around... bought everything two years ago but I felt like I was just doing paint-by-numbers when I was stuffing the board and that took the fun out of it for me. I want to finish it someday, but I am more intrigued by projects like newyorkDave's MILA. I built one about a year ago before I really understood how to do a proper layout for something as sensitive as a tube mic pre. The unit sounds great other than the much-to-high noise floor. But even in failure I learned a hell of a lot and I'm pulling it apart now to do a complete redesign of the layout. I like the challenge of trying to figure out how everything is going to come together in (hopefully) noise-minimized manner.

I do think you are right in that DIY is really "you get out of it what you put in". I just feel like it is easier to kinda coast on a kit and not really put in as much effort... I'm sure I'll continue to buy kits in the future (btw after this rant I'm still interested in your great river kit!), I just think I'll tend to compartmentalize kit purchases to the "practicality" department - a piece of gear that I need but don't think I'll ever be interested in designing down the road.

I don't know if any of this made any sense... rant off.

Mason

PS - I also agree with Freddy regarding casework/front panels, but part of that is because I'm fortunate enough to have access to a CNC for engraving. I realize that not everyone has this luxury.

JohnRoberts

Re: What is DIY?
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2009, 09:59:07 AM »
Like Gus, I mosty build stuff on perf. As long as it's just for myself, it doesn't have to look super neat, as long as I know it is acutally well built. Some people think that perf is baaaad and unprofessional. But then again, most of my stuff are one-offs and experiments to some degree.

I have no problem with people wanting kits. Not everyone is in DIY for experiments. They want to build stuff they can't afford as a finished product. And some of them may acutally get hooked to DIY and become modders and perhaps even designers.

What annoys me, though, is when people buy kits and hire someone else to put it together or, even worse, when people buy finished units from cloners (who use free or reverse engineered designs that other people came up with). That hasn't anything to do with DIY, as the person doesn't do it himself. It's just a way of getting stuff cheap at the expense of some company or the original designers. That's a total lack of respect for someone else's work. An that's also a threat to the community spirit. If mayor contributors get frustrated by seeing their designs being ripped off for commercial projects, they're not likely to go on contributing in the same manner or they may even leave from this forum.



I need to explore one point you mention. "People building kits to save money". That used to be the driving force for my kit business back in the '70s and '80s, but that business model got turned upside down, first by Japanese offshore assembly, then followed by Korea, and now China. A large manufacturer using automation and best practices can build a unit, cheaper than a kit seller can buy the parts due to economy of scale.

We live in a wonderful time when thanks to the Internet so much information is available with a simple search, and there are multiple websites like this where people are willing to share their knowledge for free... Few people pursue electronic design for the pure accomplishment of knowing how to design stuff. The final goal is to make stuff, different and better stuff than has been made before. To make it new and better, you first must have an intimate knowledge of how it was done before.

To some extent the esoteric recording-audiophile electronics business borders on fashion, either resembling the appearance of old gear or resembling the sound. I guess there is a place for fashion in electronics as the market seems willing to support a certain amount of it.  It appears (to me) these low volume fashion products may be the ones susceptible to knock offs and cost saving kits because of their high prices. This only suggests to me, that they are pricing themselves out of the larger market as they could surely deliver their own design cheaper than a knock-off artist, and it would be the real deal. They should protect their IP when possible, and we should respect that IP as appropriate.

Of course opinions vary.

JR

PS: I'm bread boarding a prototype of my next generation product platform and it's truly ugly to look at but I am an old believer in making one work before trying to make ten work, and so on... It is getting tougher these days as parts get smaller and smaller. One minor rant, a <1$ IC that I am using for the first time, is available on an evaluation PCB that would make bread boarding easier for my 60YO eyes but that demo board is $50. That's just insane. I applaud them making the PCB available, but I'm too cheap to use it. For $50 I can make a proto PCB for the whole thing.
It's nice to be nice....

Silvas

Re: What is DIY?
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2009, 10:23:08 AM »
Kits are great, they just take off all the fun ! but i think they are a great and cost-effective learning tool...

Of course saving some money on the process is cool, i mean, i cannot afford a m*nley vari-mu or a la2a or whatever right now, but i´m surely going to enjoy (when they´re finished) my PM670 and D-LA2A and DAOC a million times more than a m*nley or any other commercial piece of gear. I´ll be very proud of them, and the knowledge acquired in the process, well, as i said before, invaluable. That´s what move me, the urge and excitement of using my DIY gear everyday !

Perf is cool, another great learning tool, i´ve built a couple simple things on perf before moving them to a PCB. Perf is real fun !
Camilo Silva F.
Camilo Silva F. Mastering
Chia, Colombia

Rossi

Re: What is DIY?
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2009, 06:01:38 AM »
As I said, kits are a good thing, especially for beginners. Take ioaudio's MK7 project for instance. That's an original design including unobtanium parts at a reasonable price. It's also great to be able to get PCBs for lots of projects including the many Gyraf ones.

A lot of the stuff for music production is relatively low volume, so R&D is a relatively large part of the costs. Also, since expensive and customized parts are required in many designs, they're not that attractive to the big commercial cloners such as B**ringer. I don't think they would ever do a unit with input transformers or inductors. So that leaves a segment for small undercover cloners. Bottom line is: If you're not cool with B**ringer practices, you should be even more offended by a cloner like Mr. P. who does not even reverse-engineer the products himself.
"I am not a number, I'm a free man!"
"Hahahahaaaaaa!!!!!"


Re: What is DIY?
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2009, 02:05:44 PM »
There seems to be a lot of posts lately by new members who come here looking to buy someone's DIY for cheap. This really annoys me >:(
To me the whole spirit of DIY is about doing as much as possible for yourself and learning...it has never been about saving money.

Freddy, My thoughts on why this is happening to a greater frequency as of late is the affordability of the DAW recording these days. I think you're seeing kids with little income trying to make an album or demo on a shoestring budget. They realize their cheap preamp's are not giving them the results they seek and know nothing about electronics. There's so much DIY projects out there that are there to save money for all sorts of stuff these kids think this stuff must cost pennies, not realizing how much quality parts actually cost good money not to mention someone's time putting it together.

I think you'll see more and more of it in the future. Hopefully these kids will be forced to crack open a book and pick up a soldering iron. Unfortunately I'm sure someone's more than willing to provide them with what they are looking for even if it's a box of junk parts and sh*t wiring.  ::)

hotbaby

Re: What is DIY? New
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2009, 04:41:32 PM »
I buyed many years professional gear and i ever wanted to understand it, how it works and what is inside of the gear and if it is really worth all the money. I builded some loudspeakers and acoustic trapps for my studio myself so i think i was predestinated for diying befor i found this page here ;) ... not cause i have fun soldering or using my head,...NO.. just cause i am very curious exploring new ways and things and the most importand thing is i really need and use this stuff i build. So i am happy if i can save much time/money shopping parts and thinking about the ciruit... i am building a clone and i belief on these people who say that it sounds great. And i can choose the parts, knobs, trasformators or potentiometers myself to get the quality level i need and want. I dont think if i would DIY if i had anough money buying fabricated gear around 3k $. i am happy building similar good gear myself for my studio and understanding the most gear i buyed and why it is so expensive. Theres so much gear outside which is not worth all the money they want to get for... and this is the point i am so happy that i found this page and those nice people here who give us the alternative for diying own good clones... And of course i have learned so much, it is unbelievable... I think the most people here doing music and are very happy that there are labeled pcbs that they can save a lot of time for their music...Instead of buying expensive Gear they can "Do it Yourself". Thats DIY to me. What you mean is Engineering and much more than DIYing. Of course the parts are made anywhere too and it makes me sick that people do not DIY their WIMAS and ELCOS too  ;) :D :D

Everyone does it different and has his own focus/talent... let us dring a café ::) theres need for designes as the dreamers as the electronic junkies as electronic manufacturers as a pizza taxi for good DIYs...

...and theres no need for arguing about designers, dreamers or musicians who just have no time for DIYing or just want saveing a litle bit time with buying finished DIYs, labeled PCBs or all the great Part-Kits.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2009, 04:51:29 PM by hotbaby »
_,.-+~´'°| the superglue is my friend |'°~+-.,_


 

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