Sometime back in August I began investigating whether DIY electrolysis was a thing. The general consensus I found out there on the net was yes you can do it but it’s really hard and you shouldn’t because blah blah blah. My attention span is short of course, so I disregarded the “blah blah blah” part and set off on learning how to do it and building my machine that I dubbed the Hair-O-Matic.
The initial Hair-O-Matic was the common simple 9v battery connected to a sponge foot pedal setup and a shoddy holder rigged up to take professional probes. If you search around on the hairtell forums you can find some posts describing how to do that yourself if you need help. Professional probes can be found on texas electrolysis supply for $20-$30 per 50 probes. I’d recommend one piece needles in the F3-F5 range, two piece needles soound better but I found they just kinda end up hindering insertions.
So the initial machine was good and all but I’m an engineer and so I have this compulsive desire to make things better. First I decided this thing needed a hair kill counter so you could have some exact stats on your progress to keep morale up. I happened to have an Arduino (microcontroller thingy) lying around and a tinsy tiny LCD screen to display stuff on. Also I bought an actual foot pedal for cheap so I didn’t have to step on a sponge anymore like a cave
Then I decided this machine needed a cheap $10 touch screen LCD so I could display even more stuff and be able to add toggles and controls with the touchscreen part so I could avoid adding additional hardware.
Also like a crazy person I decided a 9v battery wasn’t cutting it, you have to replace them which costs money and the voltage dropped long before they “died” which was frustrating. So I grabbed a 12v linear regulated PSU from my analog synth and a fuse to do the job, if people trust this PSU with thousands of dollars of music gear it’s probably good enough for your face, maybe.
My next problem was with the power level being controlled by an analog potentiometer. Since your skin’s resistance varies by day and even small location changes this means having the pot turned half way will give you a different amount of current between different insertions and different days. To rectify this problem I added constant current control to the Hair-O-Matic. The constant current control works by first sending a small test current and then having the Arduino measure your resistance throughout the insertion and calculating the correct voltage it needs a DAC and opamp to send into your face to get the selected current you want in.
After that I was frustrated with how ugly and clunky it looked so I decided to drop the LCD touch screen in favor of adding an Android app that connects to the Arduino over bluetooth to act as the UI instead.
Also sometime around here the wonderful Michael Bono saw my post on hairtell and sent me a pro needle holder for free, which made my setup look quite a bit nicer as well.
Upgrading the Hair-O-Matic with an RF circuit for blend/thermo has been on my todo list for a while and I’d being doing it now but finding a real job again and/or working on my own paying gigs so I don’t have to be a whore has unfortunately taken priority at the moment.
Also I made a GitHub project for the Arduino code, Android code and a crappy incomplete schematic here if you’re curious.
With DC electrolysis I think the upper bound on hairs per hour you can get is somewhere around 100-150, personally I hover in the 60-80 hph range.
4000 some hairs down, 40,000 more to go! I’ll get there…
Thank you for reading!