Making a Propane Tank Hank Drum

all-hank-drum-notes-laid-out

A [Hank Drum], as explained here, is a steel drum-type instrument made out of a propane tank. The name comes from the [Hang] or [Hang Drum] which is significantly more expensive than that $40 or so an empty propane tank costs. Of course, you’ll have to do some work to get it to play beautiful music, which can be seen in a time-lapse construction video after the break.

The details of how this instrument was made can be found here, including how to lay everything out and cut out eight relatively neat “tongues” for producing different tones. I used a Dremel tool, but this can also be done using saber saw for a curved top. This method is explained here with a template, but the results may not be as neat.

If you want to try this yourself, make sure to use an empty, unused propane tank. This is extremely important. For another entirely different homemade instrument, why not check out the [Whamola] that we made a year or so ago? [Read more...]

Japanese Drumming Sensei

taiko-drum-tutor

If you’re looking to learn the art of playing Japanese drums, or Taiko, this hack, done as a school project by [Cornell] students, could be a really helpful aid. The project write-up is very impressive and includes a detailed explanation of their work, the source code, and a bill of materials if you’d like to try to duplicate this device.

The tutor device is able to tell between soft hits, hard hits, and rimshots using a piezoelectric sensor hooked up to an ATmega1284P microcontroller. This data can then be transmitted to the “follower” drum using an infrared transmitter. These beats can be used in several modes including: follow the leader, metronome, repeat after me, and drum battle mode.

Ok, maybe there’s no drum battle mode, but be sure to check out the demonstration of the Taiko teaching aid after the break.  There’s a lot of details about the build, but they start some calibration drumming around 4:00 if you’d just like to see it in action. [Read more...]

Half-tone CNC with man-powered Z axis

We think this is an intriguing take on half-tone art. It’s a CNC machine that uses an Arduino and two stepper motors to draw on a paper-covered drum. But you’re not just going to set it and forget it. To simplify the device, the Z-axis is not mechanized, but requires the dexterous opposing digit of a person to actuate.

The first prototype used a frame cut from plywood, but the developers moved to some attractive laser-cut Lexan for the final version. The rotating drum was inspired by observing the off-set printing process. It greatly simplifies the build when compared to a flat CNC bed. But including a Z-axis solution that could account for differently sized dots really opens a can of worms. Because of this, the choice was made not to automate that task, but to leave it up to the user. A clickable Sharpie does the marking. When the pen is in place, you click the plunger to hold the felt tip against the paper until a dot of the appropriate size has leeched onto the paper.

It’s not a bad solution to the problem. Especially if you don’t have the high-end milling equipment necessary to do this on a piece of plywood.

[Thanks Dron]

Today’s Arduino Minute

Sometimes projects are vast, complicated, and complex. Other times projects are a bit more on the simple. Today we thought we would share a couple projects with something in common that may be familiar sounding to the more experienced crowd, but may inspire a few readers new to the world of microcontrollers.

[Read more...]

Disco drumming with piezo sensitive lighting

[Wilfred's] brother outfitted a snare drum with LEDs for Dutch Carnival. They faded through different colors randomly and were a nice addition to the normal looking instrument, but [Wilfred] suggested that the LEDs change color with each drum stroke. He set out to design a controller circuit to provide the functionality and ended with a small package based around an ATtiny2313 microcontroller. A piezo buzzer is used to detect the vibrations inside the drum, each hit triggering a different color combination. The LEDs fade to off after each impact as if dying along with the sound, and when not struck for 30 seconds the system defaults to a red heartbeat pattern. See for yourself after the break.

We’d love to see this feature added to each drum in one of those robotic drumsets. [Read more...]

Darbuka band

This robotic band has just the right amount of drums. [Liat] and her colleagues fit a group of Darbuka drums with a pair of servo-driven mallets. We’re quite surprised that the servo motors achieve such a successful strike and rebound without dampening the vibrations of the drum head. This is more often accomplished with solenoids because of their quick response and relative strength.

You can listen to a performance of this work-in-progress in the video after the break or make plans to see it live. The installment was built for the Bat-Yam international biennale of landscape urbanism. It will be attached to, and powered by alternative energy producers like solar cells and wind turbines. [Read more...]

Programmable drum machine

This sequencer, called Drumssette, uses audio tape to churn out some beats. [Mike Walters] built this around a Tascam four track cassette recorder. The tape inside has a different drum sound on each of the tracks, with a corresponding row of red buttons. Pushing a button adds the drum sound to the loop on that beat. He’s using a series of digital logic gates to patch through the sounds as well as clocking the device from one of the tape’s tracks. It’s pretty  neat  to see the focus selector used in the video after the break to sync up the beginning of the repeated drum patterns. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen [Mike's] work. If you missed it last year take some time to review the Melloman.

[Read more...]

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