The Mostly 3D Printed Violin

violin

While Thingiverse is filled with Ocarinas, there’s little in the way of printable instruments for more serious musicians. [David Perry] hopes to change this with the F-F-Fiddle, the mostly 3D printed full-size electric violin.

The F-F-Fiddle is an entry for the LulzBot March 3D Printing Challenge to make a functional, 3D printed musical instrument. Already there are a few very, very interesting submissions like this trombone, but [David]‘s project is by far the most mechanically complex; unlike the other wind and percussion instruments found in the contest, there are a log of stresses found in a violin, and printing a smooth, curved fingerboard is quite the challenge.

While there are a few non-printed parts, namely the strings, a drill rod used as a truss rod, some awesome looking tuners, and of course the piezo pickups – the majority of this violin, including the bridge, is 3D printed. It’s an amazing piece of work, and after listening to the video (below), sounds pretty good too.

You can grab all the files on Thingiverse and read up on the build at Openfab PDX.

 

[Read more...]

Disarm: Turning Guns into a Mechanised Musical Orchestra

511c2b60a0c2e-preview-620

[Pedro Reyes] is a visual artist who lives in Mexico City. His most recent project was called ‘Disarm’ – a unique exhibit that combined dismantled weapons with sculpture and technology.

The army in Mexico seizes firearms on a regular basis and they are typically either buried or destroyed. But this time a friend working for the National Crime Prevention Commission thought to ask [Pedro] if he could use them for something. A few hundred non-functional guns later, and [Pedro] has a fully automated mechanical orchestra. The articles don’t go into much information about how it works, but it looks like solenoids are mostly utilized to actuate the various instruments. The entire setup is then controlled by a computer, but there’s not much information on the interface design.

When asked about the project, [Pedro] explained his reasoning: “The beautiful thing about ‘Disarm’ as a project is that it combines music, with sculpture, and at the same time, with technology. This is the redemption of metal that could have taken your life or mine. So they are better as musical instruments.”

Watch the 8 minute documentary on ‘Disarm’ by the Creators Project after the break. The weapon-based orchestra sounds pretty good!

[Read more...]

Hydrocrystallophone probably won’t make you insane

[Fish] is really proud of his newest creation, the Hydrocrystallophone. This new instrument reminds us of an even more steampunk version of [Benny Franklin]‘s glass armonica – an instrument that reportedly plunged the player into a, “dark and melancholy mood.”

The build is based around a 1920s hand-cranked phonograph motor. The phonograph motor spins a wine glass filled with water. The water level (and thus tone produced by the wine glass) is varied by a brass tube inside the glass connected to a hydraulic cylinder. Pushing and pushing on the handle of the hydraulic cylinder causes the water level in the glass to change.

We’ve all seen wine glass music before, but this is the first time we’ve seen it with just one glass. [Fish] is working on modifying the phonograph’s governor to get rid of the effects of 78 RPM on the water. He hasn’t quite mastered his new musical invention yet, but we can’t wait to see what [Fish] is able to play with some practice.

In case you’re keeping track of the musical instruments featured on Hack A Day that fall into the “why didn’t I think of that” bin, The Hydrocrystallophone would be the second such instrument in as many months. It’s a very simple but really ingenious device. Check out the video of the Hydrocrystallophone after the break.

[Read more...]

Building an Optigan-like instrument

[Olli] sent in his writeup of a musical instrument he made called the Black Deck. [Olli]‘s instrument was inspired [Jimi Tenor]‘s photophone – a transparent disk attached to a fan and photocell.

A transparent disk is placed on the turntable [Olli] rescued during a dumpster diving expedition. A light shines though the optical disk and is picked up by phototransistors. After writing a program to generate an A minor scale onto a transparency, [Olli] connected his contraption to a stereo and heard his creation speak. To control the individual tracks (or notes) on the disk, [Olli] made a keyboard out of photoelectric switches that control which note is played.

Superficially, [Olli]‘s instrument resembles an Optigan. While [Olli]‘s instrument is capable of producing waveforms, the Optigan is able to reproduce sampled instruments. That being said, we think [Olli]‘s Black Deck would feel comfortable next to the Optigans of Kraftwerk and Devo. Check out the YouTube demo of the Black Deck in action after the break:

[Read more...]