How to turn a broken dishwasher into a synthesizer

Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

Hi, everyone, welcome back to the show. This week we remember Bob Fass, who passed away on April 24th (the first night we recorded this current episode, on a three week cycle this week) – Fass was an radio innovator, turning a regular control booth into a soundboard for politics, yippie activism, and genuine bizarre antics, even said to influence WFMU's switch to freeform as a format. This episode is dedicated to Bob Fass.

In a practical matter, our discussion this week describes a useful currency exchange system where broken appliances are turned into synthesizers. Our clothes washer's bearing broke a few years ago, initiating a lot of other possible damage to the hardware. The repair was more costly than a replacement unit – but there was a lot of machine unaffected – so before I junked the older machine, I decided to sell the individual working parts (circuit boards, front panel, glass lid, cables, screws, rubber feet, etc). I ended up with more money than the old washer cost new, able to replace it, along with over a thousand dollars in extra money. So check in on our tutorial for a number of suggestions. You likely have many things in your home that can be parted out and sold, turned into Synth Coin.

This is even more advantageous for you now, as we're in a global components shortage and many of your broken appliances have lots of possible components and chips inside. It's environmentally beneficial, as well, as it keeps giant appliances out of the landfill. You can look forward to your appliance dying because you'll be able to sell it for parts.

Regarding turning a dishwasher into an actual synthesizer – this is also possible! – Some small ovens and appliances maintain a 19" rack standard. You can turn an oven into a synthesizer, for example. Or use the oven as an enclosure.

Trivia: If you were to build a $600 dishwasher, part by part, from the manufacturer, it would cost $4000. This is because individual parts are grossly overpriced and there's a huge market of people (and repairpersons) looking to buy knobs, boards, etc. See what sells before you junk your stuff. I've been doing this for decades – there are a few important seller rules (like accurately describing condition and if it is broken) – and you'll be surprised at how honesty often makes you more cash. And more cash means more synthesizers. At the very least, take the lid off and sell that. Most lids go for $200 or so, and that's a free eurorack module.

SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #53: A Broken Appliance Buys You a Room Full of Synthesizers (Tutorial)