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.

 

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The Melloman, Mk. II

mello

Way back in the 60s, strange electronic instruments were all the rage. The most famous of these made before the era of the synthesizer was the embodiment of musique concrète, the Mellotron. This instrument had an incredibly complex arrangement of magnetic tape that allowed a performer to play a keyboard and have the sound of any instrument come out of a speaker. This system was prone to failure, and there has been a lot of technological improvements in tape over the last fifty years, leading [Mike Walters] to build a new version of his famous Walkman-based Mellotron, the Melloman.

This build is an upgrade over the previous Melloman made in 2009. Like the original, this build uses 14 portable tape players, each loaded up with a continuous tape for each note. The tapes contain two octaves of the same note, one each on each channel, which are routed to the output whenever a key is pressed.

There are a few improvements over the old Melloman. Instead of transistors, [Mike] is using optocouplers to send the recorded sounds to the output. This build is also a whole lot cleaner, with the wiring looking very professional. As for a sound demo, you can check out the video below.

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X-Labs hackerspace completes a big 2-year Tesla coil build

x-labs-tesla-coil-build

It’s a bit difficult to estimate the size of the Tesla coil from this picture, but look closely at the hand rail on the red-orange wall to the left and that helps. The 10-foot tall musical Tesla Coil project has been on-going for about two years. But the team at X-Labs — a hackerspace affiliated with the University of South Florida — finished it just in time for the University’s engineering expo later in the month. There’s some information about it to be found in the recent student newspaper article on the project. A lot more build details are found on the groups website, although that post is quite old.

You can’t call it a musical coil unless there’s a demo video, and that can be seen after the jump. What better to test the thing than by playing the Super Mario Bros. theme? We’re actually more partial to the Imperial March (it’s also fun to hear played on stepper motors).

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Musical greeting card with minimal parts

We’re all familiar with those musical greeting cards. Give the Hallmark store $10, and you have a card with a microcontroller inside that plays one of several songs available. [Jarv] was playing around with translating MIDI tracks to square wave songs with an Arduino earlier, so he decided to see how cheaply he could reproduce these musical cards. The resulting build allows him to put any song he wants in his card and costs less than the Hallmark offering.

The circuit is extremely minimal – just an ATtiny 85, a battery holder, and two piezo speakers for two-voice harmony. After soldering up the battery and speakers, [Jarv] needed a way to get music on his chip. For this, he used MuseScore, a music notation program that allows [Jarv] to merge multiple voices together.

Once the sheet music was cleaned up, [Jarv] used his XML2H Python script that takes MIDI data and spits out frequencies and delays. In the end, [Jarv] spent less than $5 on his greeting card – almost cheap enough to start thinking about musical throwies to complement the batteries, LEDs and magnets on our window flashing.

Check out the video after the break to hear [Jarv]‘s circuit play the theme from Toy Story.

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Why wasn’t this magnetic cello made in the 70′s?

[magnetovore] made himself an electronic cello. Instead of pulling a few cello samples off of an SD card, he did it the old school analog way. The finished build is really impressive and leaves us wondering why we haven’t seen anything like this before.

[magnetovore] uses a permanent magnet to play each ‘string’. A lot of details are in this post and [magnetovore]‘s provisional patent (PDF warning). From what we can gather, each string is a resistive ribbon sensor connected to a voltage controlled oscillator. The output of the VCO is sent to a variable gain amplifier that is controlled by a coil of wire and the magnetic ‘bow’.

From the video (after the break), [magnetovore] already has an amazing reproduction of the cello sound. It’s a bit electronic on the lowest parts of the C string, but with a little bit of processing it could definitely pass for an acoustic instrument. We’re left wondering why we haven’t seen anything like this cello before. VCOs and VGAs were the bread and butter of the old Moogs and even the ancient ondes martenot. Ribbon controllers were being attached to electronic instruments back in the 50′s, so we’re really at a loss on why a magnetic cello is new to us. If any Hack A Day readers have seen anything like this before, leave a message in the comments.

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Singing Robot

The 4DOF CXN-I anthropomorphic robot arm in the Mechatronics Lab at FICES-UNSL (Engineering faculty, San Luis National University, Argentina) was built from scratch, and it is still a work in progress to teach and learn about mechatronics , in order to build another, more robust and precise arm in the future. When one of the students working with the device thought “hey, these motors are quite noisy, aren’t they? let’s put them to work towards something more useful”.

Armed with some guitar tabs, a robot and some noisy servos, [Guille] got the robotic arm to sing a little song raised a couple of octaves, and included it in the introduction video. Because hey, whipping a metal arm around like that is pretty mechanically strenuous, and its not all that great for the servos either.

Join us after the break for a quick video, the singing starts about 58 seconds into the show.

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Halloween House Has Been Known to Burst Into Song

Just a day after Halloween and a replacement for Michael Jackson has been found, in the form of a very talented musical house. Not only does this house come close to a Michael Jackson dance routine but can mimic the voice quite well.  The house has also been known to do the Monster Mash as well as Sandstorm (Techno) by Darude. YouTube’s KJ92508 has uploaded his Halloween conquests for all to enjoy.  As of yet, he has not made a how to or even done a walk through video in broad daylight but here is to hoping he will due to numerous requests for a sneak peak.  He has mentioned that he used “4 singing pumpkin faces, tombstones, hand carved and blow mold pumpkins, strobes, floods and thousands of lights.” I look forward to what is in store for next years decor.  Just another example of what technology in everyday life and a little elbow grease can do.  Be sure to check out the video of “Thriller” as done by this house after the break.

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