uniPet 01: Rust

unipet 01 Rust

This uniPet I created for myself and became the final basis (after the 00: Static prototype) for the rest of the series.

It was created from a white Panasonic Panapet 70 AM ball radio from the 1970's that someone along the ages overpainted with a thick blue paint, even on the tuning and volume knobs! I left some of this blue paint as detail elements.

As on all the uniPets, I replaced the dial area under the clear plastic with some of my keyboard circuit patterns (like these).



The plastic on this one is no longer so clear as I used a solvent to clean it and it melted a bit, giving a not-unpleasant textural effect.

The dial is illuminated with a UV LED that acts like an old-style radio magic eye. It gets brighter with the output of the speaker, flashing with the sound coming out.

Rust features 2 human contact resistance knobs, an optical re is tor on the back, and a special Noise Dial made from an old radio knob on the front that dials in extra noisy goodness.

It is an amazingly versatile and simple instrument. It is played by tuning in the radio to noise, voice, or whatever then touching one or both of the human contact resistance knobs. The more contact with your skin, the greater the changes in sound control. From scintillating white noise to crackling staccato bursts and rising tones. With voices it causes narrow band filtering that sounds like long distance radio conversations from another galaxy.

The base is from an old TV antenna, the connector is an old threaded lamp connector (I found a box full of these in a garage in San Francisco that obviously were being used to make wacky tabacky pipes, based on many partially finished versions. They are very useful for that purpose, and of course as threaded couplers for running wires through for gadget projects).

After rough sanding the blue paint mostly off the ball surface, I did an extensive rusting patina.

The TV antenna base turned out really nice. I sprayed the base with copper paint then applied my rusting patina process.

I use Sophisticated Finishes Instant Rust which is a 2 part product consisting of fine iron filings suspended in a substrate you paint on a surface, let dry, then apply the catalyst/activator which causes rusting. Depending on the surface or situation, I either spray (I put a tiny bit in reusable plastic spray bottles) or paint on the catalyst, wait a bit and watch the rust appear. Its great stuff and you can reapply again and again to achieve the desired result.

In the process I discovered that the patina catalyst not only rusts the iron paint but also does a beautiful green patina on the copper paint. Doing multiple layers adds to the effect.

Construction shots of all the uniPets.

Finished! And so cute...



Dimensions: 7.5" high, but much bigger on the inside.
Current Status:

Staring nervously at my back.

AudioVisual Bits:

Here is a video/audio adventure of Rust being run through its paces in my studio, then later played at Big City Orchestra's Chakra Chimp Research Station in Alameda, CA for one of the many, many uBradio programs. See it played by Ninah of BCO!