Portable electronic drum kit made from plastic bowls

portable-drum-kit

[Ian Cole’s] son is learning to play the drums on an electronic drum set, and he wanted a way to continue practicing during his frequent visits to his grandparents’ house. [Ian] had picked up a Spikenzielabs “Drum Kit Kit All-Inclusive” (DKKAI) earlier this summer, and set out to build an easily transportable drum set.

The DKKAI comes with an ATmega168-based board and a set of piezos that can be used to register hits. It was up to [Ian] to provide the rest of the kit, so he set off to IKEA in search of cheap, durable drum heads. He returned with a handful of 1/2 Liter plastic bowls, which he mounted on a PVC pipe drum stand.

The piezos were mounted on thin aluminum discs, which were in turn glued to the back side of the bowl lids. The piezos were wired to the DKKAI kit via the PVC tubing, with the signals ultimately fed into an iPad running Garage Band. [Ian] says that his portable drum set works quite well, and although there are some things that require changing, his son is very happy with his new practice set.

Check out the video below to see the portable drum kit in action.

[Read more...]

Follow up: Star Wars tree gets an upgrade

star-wars-tree-sound

We asked, and [Zach] listened.

Earlier this week, we featured a circuit he built which allowed his tiny Star Wars Christmas tree to visually replicate the series’ theme song. Several of you, along with myself, thought it would be far cooler if the tree also played the music to accompany the light show, so [Zach] set off to add that functionality.

Worried that the music would get annoying if it played along with the lights constantly, he tweaked his circuit design to incorporate a piezo buzzer that could be easily switched on and off. After wiring it to the MSP430 driving the light show, he tweaked the program to output signals to both the light string and buzzer simultaneously.

While the light show accurately represented the song, he initially ignored flat and sharp notes as they would be indistinguishable to the eye. In audio form however, the missing notes would be glaringly obvious, so he re-transcribed the sheet music resulting in the video you see below.

If you happened to follow [Zach’s] lead and put one of these together in your own house, be sure to swing by his site and grab the latest code, complete with audio track.

[Read more...]

Echo box shakes itself to make sound

The echo box performs exactly as its name implies. If you tap out a rhythm on the lid, it will tap the same thing back to you. Except it isn’t tapping to make the sound, but vibrating.

The concept is similar to the Knock Block. In that hack, a piezo element detected a rapping on the wooden enclosure and repeated the rhythm by striking the lid with a solenoid. This iteration also uses a piezo element as the sensor. In the image above you can see a segment of PVC pipe in the upper corner. That houses the element, sandwiched between two pieces of wine bottle cork. That cork just touches the lid of the box, transferring the vibrations to the element.

The sound is created by a motor with an offset weight on its spindle. When the motor spins, it causes vibrations. The enclosure is one wood box inside of another, so the vibrating motor cause the inner box to shake against the outer one to make noise. Hear it for yourself in the clip after the break.

[Read more...]

Lighting LEDs with raindrops

lighting-leds-with-rain

[Steven] had one of those musical gift cards laying around, and thought he might as well reuse the piezo speaker inside it. Without a particular project in mind, he soldered an LED to the piezo and tapped on it, which caused the LED to illuminate as expected. He started to wonder what quantity of force would be required to light the LED, and if it could be done by a raindrop.

He first tested his theory in the shower, and as you can see in the video below it actually worked, though the light was dim and sporadic as you might imagine. He eventually discovered that for optimal lighting, the piezo worked best when struck by single droplets falling with pauses in between, from a minimum height of 4 feet. To achieve a water flow within those specifications, he built a rain funnel so that he can control the droplet frequency and intensity.

It seems to work pretty well from what we can see. Off the top of our heads we can’t seem to come up with any practical applications of the water powered LED, but it is an interesting set of experiments nonetheless.

Have an idea to use this setup that we totally missed? Let us know in the comments!

[Thanks, Rob]

[Read more...]

DIY drum triggers & recreating [Bonzo]‘s Vistalites

[Rob] has been working on his drum trigger build, and he’s finally decided to share it with us. His drum heads and triggers don’t look like anything we’ve ever seen, but he’s pretty confident he has a good kit in the works.

The first unconventional of the build is the drum triggers. The triggers are piezo elements folded up or cut down to fit inside highlighter bodies. These piezo/highliter/drum triggers were filled with melted candle wax to make sure the piezo doesn’t rattle around. [Rob] seems to have taken an empirical approach to cutting up piezo elements – smaller elements are less responsive, so they’ll be used for the zones of the drum head.

[Rob]‘s drum heads are made from tennis and badminton raquets. The implementation is actually kind of clever: [Rob] restrings the raquets on the bias to vary the feel and responsiveness of the head. Check out the Flickr photoset of the build here.

The ultimate goal of [Rob]‘s build is a “glass” drum set certainly inspired by [John Bonham]‘s Vistalites. Whenever [Rob] puts up a video playing Moby Dick on his new kit, we’ll be sure to put it up.

ATtiny Hacks: DIY high-speed photography LED lighting rig

ATtiny Hacks Theme Banner

diy_high_speed_photography_led_lighting

[Tom] wanted to try his hand at high-speed photography and needed some equipment to get things rolling. Not wanting to spend a ton of money on a lighting rig or trigger mechanism, he decided to build his own. In a three part series on his blog, he details the construction and testing of his high-speed setup along with the improvements and lessons learned along the way.

His adventures started out with a small off-brand Cree LED clone and an ATiny15L that was collecting dust in his workshop. He built a simple circuit that would trigger the LED to light his subject, which in [Tom’s] case was a bowl of milk. Rather than using a motion or sound trigger, he opted to mount a small piezo to the bottom bowl, firing the LED any time a droplet hits the bowl’s surface.

The pictures he took were decent, but he knew he could get better results. He purchased a new, more powerful Cree LED, and wrote a small terminal program that allows him to tweak his flash parameters using his laptop. The results he gets now are far better – in fact, he has a whole gallery of pictures you can check out.

If you want to delve into high-speed photography as well, all of the schematics and code can be found on his blog.

ATtiny Hacks: An audio alert for cell phones accidentally left on vibrate

ATtiny Hacks Theme Banner
vibe2tone_cell_phone_vibration_alert

[John Thomson] usually keeps his phone on vibrate when it’s in his pocket, and he often forgets to turn the ringer back on when setting it down to charge. This typically results in a bunch of missed calls in the meantime, so he had to devise a way to counteract his forgetfulness.

You might remember [John] from the Santa-pede contest we held last December. He wanted to try his hand at yet another competition, the Avnet Dog Days of Summer contest, so he scrambled to come up with a quick fix for his situation. He concocted a simple circuit based on [ChaN’s] design for a “Simple SD Audio Player with an 8-pin IC” that would alert him to incoming calls, even when his phone was on vibrate.

[John] used an ATtiny85, just as [ChaN] did, adding a speaker for sound output and a piezo sensor to detect his phone’s vibrations. When the piezo senses a bit of motion, the audio player kicks in, blaring a series of sounds that are sure to get [John’s] attention.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 91,391 other followers