Does your kid love Darth Vader? Well, here’s a chest design that they will go crazy for. This Darth Vader chest is an affordable version of the expensive ones that you can buy in stores. One of these voice changers can cost as much as $300 on individual websites, but with these Instructables, you can make one by yourself. As a bonus, this chest box has other effects that can be selected.
This project is all thanks to Eric and his post on Instructables.com.
Step 1: What You Need
For this design, you’re going to need a few things. First, a laser cutter is essential. If you can’t access one, make the white chest by hand; it just takes more time. You will need to have a basic understanding of electronics and soldering skills.
You’re also going to need a bench power supply, however, if you don’t have one, you can use a battery holder with three AA batteries or a multi-voltage supply and cut the plug off. The other core piece is the headphone jack plug. These can be made with a 3D printer, but not everybody has one of these laying around, so you can just order one from a 3D printing service such as Shapeways or 3dHubs. If you can’t do this either, you can only omit this part and adjust the plywood to fit the jack plug.
There’s a pretty lengthy parts list for the inside as well, so if you click here, you can find everything you’re going to need and where you can get some of it.
Step 2: Building & Testing The Circuit
Start by building the circuit that’s needed to run the HT8950A voice modulator, excluding the LM386 amplifier and the connection of pins 2,3,4 and 5 to the switch buttons. When this part of the circuit is ready, plug the microphone into the breadboard. Next, connect the speaker with one wire connected to the audio pin, or pin 12, and another to the ground. With three AAA batteries or a 4.5V DC power bench, apply the power. If everything is good to go with the voice modulator, it should only operate in Robot mode, which is the default startup mode. Id audio is received, the LED between pin 14 (TS) and pin 11 (LAMP) should be flickering. The audio will be barely audible, but when the headphone is connected, the sound of the HT8950A will be better. If this part works, move on, if not, carefully check to ensure everything is connected correctly.
Next, pin 2,3,4 and five should get connected to the buttons, allowing the pitch to be increased and decreased. It will also enable the Robot option to be switched. Pic 5 is what connects the Vibrato button and toggles it on and off. With all of the functions working on the HT8950A, you can move on.
Last, add the LM386 amplifier. Connected to the output of the HT8950A is pin 3. Once the amplifier is connected, attach the speaker and test the circuit. The volume can be controlled with a 250ohm potentiometer. If everything works then it is time to move onto the next step.
Step 3: Soldering The Circuit
Cut the perf board to 10×2.5cm. You then push the pins of the buttons through the board and solder the wires to the pins. When this is done, continue with the perma protoboard. Place the board next to the breadboard. Soldering the board can be done using the same steps as in the previous step. Place the DIP-16 socket for the HT8950A first then solder all of the components connected to it. Use the DIP-8 socket for the LM386 rather than soldering the amplifier directly to the board.
When you are done with the perma protoboard, test it with the speaker and audio-in attached. Without the buttons connected, it should only perform in Robot mode. Solder the wires from the buttons to pins 2,3,4 and five then solder the wires for the speaker, on/off switch, audio-in, and battery holder to the perma protoboard.
Step 4: Making The Enclosure
For this project, a 6mm thick piece of material and finger type edge joints are used. A design from Inkscape was used and modified to look like the Darth Vader Chest Box. When using a laser cutter, you can import various files to resemble what you want. The black colored lines on the drawing have to be cut while the red ones need to be engraved.
Step 5: Assembly
For assembly start by switching buttons that are on the perf board to the side panel. Two 3mm holes need to be drilled through the board and the panel. The 10×2.5cm perf board can now be fastened to the side with 3x12mm machine screws and bolts. The headphone jack is then inserted into the jack holder which is attached to the top panel with those same machine screws and bolts. The perma protoboard and battery holder are both fastened to the backboard with more machine screws and bolts. Next is the speaker, SPST switch, and audio-in. These need to be soldered to their corresponding wires. With all components fastened, they can be glued to each other. Don’t stick the front panel as it can be used as a service panel in case access to the inside is needed.
The Darth Vader chest is now complete, and you can enhance it with some paint or additional lights.