We tried to figure out how to describe the band [Wintergatan]. It took a lot of googling, and we decided to let their really incredible music machine do it for them. The best part? Unlike some projects like this that come our way, [Wintergatan] documented the whole build process in an eight part video series.
The core of the machine is a large drum with two tracks of alternating grey and black Lego Technic beams and pins. The musician sequences out the music using these. The pins activate levers which in turn drop ball bearings on the various sound producing devices in the machine. The melody is produced by a vibraphone. At first we thought the drum kit was electronic, but it turns out the wires going to it were to amplify the sound they made when hit. At the end of their travel the bearings are brought up to the hopper again by a bucket conveyor.
The final part count for the machine sits at 3,000 not including the 2,000 ball bearings rolling around inside of it. If you’ve ever tried to make a marble machine, then you’ll be just as impressed as we were that the machine only appeared to lose a few marbles in the course of a three minute song. Aside from the smoothness of the machine, which is impressive, we also enjoyed the pure, well, hackiness of it. We can spy regular wood screws, rubber bands, plywood, bits of wire, and all sorts of on-the-spot solutions. Just to add bonus cool, the whole project appears to have been built with just a bandsaw, a drill press, and a few hand power tools.
The machine is great, but we also really appreciate the hacker spirit behind it. When a commenter on a YouTube video told him he was a genius, he replied, “Thank you for that! But I do think, though, that it is mostly about being able to put in the time! I mean the talent of being stubborn and able to see things through are more important than the abilities you have to start with. If you work hard on anything, you will learn what you need and success! Its my idea anyway! So happy people like the machine!”. Which we think is just as cool as the machine itself. Video of the machine in action and part one of the build series after the break!
Continue reading “Incredible Marble Music Machine”
Inspired by the floppy drive orchestras of others, [Jeremy] has built a Pi-driven MIDI music box with stepper motor resonators and outlined the build on hackaday.io.
Control for the motors comes from an Iteaduino Mega 2560. The music starts as a MIDI file, gets processed into a text file, and is played over serial by a Raspberry Pi. He’s added percussion using K’NEX instruments and 9g servos, which we think is a nice touch. It can be powered via LiPo or from the wall, and [Jeremy] baked in protection against blowing up the battery. As he explains in the tour video after the break, the box is clamped to a wooden table to provide richer sound.
[Jeremy]’s favorite part of the build was enclosing the thing as it was his first time using panel-mount components. Stick around to see a walk-through of the guts and a second video demonstrating its musical prowess.
Continue reading “Sweet Stepper of [Jeremy]’s Rocks Out with its Box Out”
[Thomas] created a magical music player that gives the listener the ability to change songs and alter the volume levels without having to touch anything but air. Called the LighTouch, this device puts the control in the hands of the user by interpreting input from an ultrasonic sensor and plays back tracks based on waving gestures.
It is the 2nd iteration of a prototype that he completed about a year ago and functions as a streaming radio/alarm clock. The sensor is hooked up to a Raspberry Pi with a fading LED. Everything is highly customizable including the distances used for playback features. The criteria [Thomas] put in place has the pause method trigger when an object is detected between 0-10cm from the sensor. The volume control on the next level up brightens and dims the LED light just for some added flair.
Continue reading “Controlling Music with the Wave of a Hand”
[Nick] wrote in to tell us about his first blog post. He’s showing off a PWM LED driver he build around a 555 timer. This project uses a lot of basics; some 555 experience, PCB etching, and surface mount soldering. We’d like to know more about the blue substrate on his circuit board!
After seeing the BOM spreadsheet with KiCAD integration a couple of weeks back, [Vassilis] sent in a link to his own Excel-based Bill of Materials helper. We’re wondering if anyone has a similar tool that will work with Open Office?
While we’re on the topic of downloadable documents, here’s a reference PDF for all types of DC measurements. The collection is a free offering from Keithley. [Thanks Buddy]
Since you’re brushing up on your knowledge you may also be interested in a free online microcontroller course offered by UT Austin. They’re targeting the Tiva C Launchpad as the dev board for the class.
This website seems to be a little creepy, but the teardrop shaped 3D printed music box which is being shown off is actually rather neat.
Hackaday Alum [Phil Burgess] threw together a point and shoot camera for Adafruit. It’s a Raspberry Pi, camera board, touchscreen display, and USB battery all rubber banded together. The processing power of the RPi is used to add image processing effects which are shown off in the demo video.
We don’t own a DeLorean. If we did, we’d probably follow the lead of Queen’s University Belfast and turn it into and electric vehicle. [Thanks Jake]
The 3D photocopiers are coming. Here’s a hacked together proof-of-concept from [Marcelo Ruiz]. After laser scanning the part is milled from floral foam.
[Niklas Roy] is at it again. He’s applying wind power to his projects by using umbrellas. He was inspired by the shape of an anemometer, and umbrellas turned out to be a great choice because they’re cheap and easy to find.
Anemometers measure wind speed by capturing it with egg-shaped sails (in fact, we’ve seen them built from plastic Easter eggs before). The umbrellas have a much larger area and will capture more wind. Still it’s a big jump from measuring wind speed to generating energy. That’s why he’s not trying to generate electricity, but instead using the mechanical force directly. He took a page from one of last year’s projects and used the dual umbrella setup to power a music box, thereby reinventing the wind chime. The triple-umbrella unit seen above serves as a bubble machine, driving a series of plastic rings through a soapy solution and letting the wind do the rest. We’ve embedded his demo video after the break.
Continue reading “Umbrella-based windmills”
For all the wonder of dulcet tones coming from a century-old music box, we’ve got to admit that [Markus]’ wavetable synthesis build is still pretty impressive. Of course, the Internet cred gained by doing a demo of Still Alive helps too.
Wavetable synthesis stores a one cycle long waveform in RAM that can be played on a loop at varying frequencies. This technique has been around since the late 70s and can be found in a lot of the classic synths of the 80s and serves as the basis for Atari MOD music and the Game Boy chiptunes produced with Little Sound DJ
[Markus] found a pair of battery-powered laptop speakers and decided a music box would be a wonderful project. Inspired by [ChaN]’s ATtiny wavetable synthesizer, [Markus] decided to up the ante and use a PIC32 microcontroller to make the programming a little more digestable. The entire project (with an awesome dead bug soldering job) is nearly as large as the PIC itself.
[Markus] threw up the source code along with some Python scripts to convert waveforms and MIDI files into something the chip can understand. Before you check that out, be sure to look at the Still Alive demo.
Continue reading “Music box is still alive with wavetable synthesis”