Create a Buzz with the Mini Electric Ukulele

Everyone’s heard of the “World’s Smallest Violin,” but we think it’s time for something more upbeat. [Simone Giertz] of Punch Through Design has created a mini electric ukulele using a LightBlue Bean. The Bean is an Arduino-compatible microcontroller that you can wirelessly program using Bluetooth low energy (BLE).

The ukulele’s frame is made of laser-cut plywood.  Four 1M ohm resistors are soldered to individual wire strings. A different set of wire strings in the ukulele’s neck are connected to the same ground as the Bean. In order to play this tiny instrument, a finger must be kept on the “ground” strings while the other “tone” strings are touched by a different finger. [Simone] uses Arduino’s Capacitive Sensing Library to determine which string is being touched and what the tone will be (indicated in Hz). A piezo buzzer provides the sound. There is no need to fret when the battery is depleted from using this at an all-night luau: the frame can be unscrewed with easy access to the battery. [Simone] has uploaded the Bean’s code to GitHub.

There’s no shame going solo, but we’d enjoy a show of dueling mini-ukuleles. A duet with the 3D-printed ukulele is always a possibility. Or, play this little guy while running up and down some piano stairs while the kettle fife blows off some steam.  It’ll be a musical way to brighten anyone’s day. Check out the video of the mini ukelele after the break. You can also see more of [Simone’s] work at her website.

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The 3D Printed Ukulele

uke

The creator of everyone’s favorite slic3r – [Alessandro Ranellucci] – has been hard at work putting his 3D modeling skills to the test. He’s created a ukulele that’s nearly entirely 3D printed (Google translation). Everything on the uke, short of the strings and tuning pegs came from a MendelMax 3D printer, all without any support material at all.

In the video, [Alessandro] and uke virtuoso [Jontom] show off how this instrument was put together and how good it can sound. The body of the uke is made of two parts, and the neck – three parts including the headstock and fretboard – all fit together with surprisingly traditional methods. A dovetail joint connects the neck to the body and a tongue and groove-like joint holds the headstock to the neck.

[Allessandro] puts the print time of all the uke parts at about 120 under 20 hours and about 20 Euros worth of plastic. As far as ukuleles go, this sounds just as good as the average instrument, but [Jontom] says the action is a little bit high. That’s why files were invented, we guess.

Thanks [iant] for sending this one in.

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