Ringing In The Holidays With Self-Playing Chimes

The holiday season is here, and along with it comes Christmas music. Love them or hate them, Yuletide tunes are a simple fact of life each December. This year, [Derek Anderson] put a modern spin on a few classic melodies and listened to them via his set of self-playing chimes.

Inspired by [Derek]’s childhood Ye Merry Minstrel Caroling Christmas Bells (video), these chimes really bring the old-school Christmas decoration into the 21st century. Each chime is struck by a dedicated electromagnetically-actuated mallet, which is in turn controlled by an ESP32 running MicroPython.

Winding the electromagnets

The chimes play MIDI files, so you could, of course, play music unrelated to Christmas if you wanted to. And they even feature an OLED screen that displays what song is being played. For added flair, the entire thing is beautifully framed in black walnut, not to mention the custom-wound solenoids.

This project incorporated mechanical and electrical design, woodworking, 3D printing, programming, and song arrangement. It’s a wonder that [Derek] was able to create the entire product in the 40-80 hour time frame he estimated. (Though it looks like he had a bit of help.)

We always love to see projects like this, ones in which several disciplines get rolled together to create a beautiful finished piece.


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