Building A Robotic Band To Make Up For Lack Of Practice

Learning to play a musical instrument well requires a significant time investment. [Ivan Miranda] had dreamt of doing this but made peace with the fact that his talents and motivation lay in building machines. However, he has decided to play to his strengths and is building a robotic band. See the videos after the break.

So far he has mechanized a hi-hat, snare drum, and a very basic guitar. The guitar is nothing more than a single string stretched across an aluminum frame, with an electronic pickup. Most of the work has gone into the solenoid-driven picking mechanism. He wanted to avoid picking the string when the solenoid is turned of, so he created a simple little mechanism that only comes in contact with the string when it’s moving in one direction. A bistable solenoid might be a simpler option here.

For the high hat, [Ivan] built a custom stand with two bistable solenoids to lift and drop the top cymbal. A solenoid-driven drumstick was also added. The snare drum uses a similar mechanism, but with a larger solenoid. So far he hasn’t really worked on a control system, focusing mainly on electronics.

[Ivan] points out several times that he has knows very little about making music, but we do enjoy watching him explore and experiment with this new world. Usually, his projects involve a lot more 3D printing, like when he built a giant nerf bazooka or a massive 3D printed tank. Continue reading “Building A Robotic Band To Make Up For Lack Of Practice”

Play To The Beat Of This Robotic Drummer In A Box

No drummer? No problem! With a little ingenuity, you can stuff the essentials of a drum kit into a box, and automate your rhythm section.

Mind you, [Franco Molina]’s “DrumCube” doesn’t quite have the flash of a human drummer, but it does keep a steady beat and has a charm of its own. The drum machine is mostly mechanical, reminding us somewhat of the Wintergatan Marble Machine which is as captivating to watch as it is to hear. The DrumCube has a snare drum played by two servo-controlled sticks, a kick drum using foam waggled back and forth between two piezo transducers hooked to a low-pass filter, and a reverse-biased transistor white noise generator used for the hi-hat. Sadly, the large gear appears to be just for show. An Arduino runs everything and makes sure the mechanical drum hits are synced to the electronic cymbals, which was no mean feat.

The video below shows it in action accompanying [Franco] on his guitar, and it looks as good as it sounds.¬†Prefer a more compact, all-electronic drum kit? Here’s one that fits in your pocket.

Continue reading “Play To The Beat Of This Robotic Drummer In A Box”

Hi-Hat MIDI Controller


Drumming hackers take note, if you’ve got an extra bass drum pedal it’s cheap and simple to use it as a MIDI controller. This rig was thrown together to supplement a DIG DRUM electric drum set. That piece of equipment has a pedal add-on that didn’t come with it. Turns out all it does is feed a resistance value to the set.

To get this up and running a frame was built from a metal base and acrylic side piece. The acrylic hosts a trimmable potentiometer which connects to an 1/4″ stereo jack right beside it. This facilitates connecting the pedal to the drum set using an audio patch cable.¬†Interface with the pedal is accomplished with a few bits from the hardware store. The axle of the pedal sticks out one side, and is clamped between two washers. The other side of the washer grip the timpot causing it to move when the pedal does.

This hardware is a snap to use with your own MIDI device. We’d suggest giving the HIDUINO package a try.