Rock ‘n Roll With 3D-Printed Tonewheels

What can you do with ferromagnetic PLA? [TheMixedSignal] used it to give new meaning to the term ‘musicians’ gear’. He’s made a proof of concept for a DIY tone generator, which is the same revolutionary system that made the Hammond organ sing.

Whereas the Hammond has one tonewheel per note, this project uses an Arduino to drive a stepper at varying speeds to produce different notes. Like we said, it’s a proof of concept. [TheMixedSignal] is proving that tonewheels can be printed, pickups can be wound at home, and together they will produce audible frequencies. The principle is otherwise the same — the protruding teeth of the gear induce changes in the magnetic field of the pickup.

[TheMixedSignal] fully intends to expand on this project by adding more tone wheels, trying different gear profiles, and replacing the stepper with a brushless motor. We can’t wait to hear him play “Karn Evil 9”. In the meantime, put on those cans and check out the demo/build video after the break.

We don’t have to tell you how great Hammond organs are for making music. But did you know they can also encode secret messages?

Via the Arduino blog.

4 thoughts on “Rock ‘n Roll With 3D-Printed Tonewheels

    1. Rather than having say six tone wheels and a fixed pickup for each and playing it like a piano. Perhaps single cone shapped gear and one or more pickups on a slider. Maybe use an old scanner or printer to automate the slider and have a continuously variable note.

  1. Replacing the stepper with a brushless motor doesn’t improve things – it’s just a stepper with fewer steps.

    What he needs is a flywheel and an elastic coupler to damp the vibrations.

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