72 DIY Musical Instruments Played In 7 Minutes

Humans have been making musical instruments from whatever items are close at hand for thousands of years, and we aren’t showing any signs of slowing down yet, least of all artist [Nicolas Bras] and collaborator [Sandrine Morais.] They have been designing and constructing quite a number of DIY instruments over the years, with this demo video highlighting a whopping 72 of them in the space of just seven minutes!

Clearly, [Nicolas] is one of those people who can play literally anything, and shows his skills off very well indeed if you ask us. Particularly fine sounding is the pilchards tin guitar found at 2:52 in the video, and the electric pipe beat box at 2:10 is also pretty fun.

Pretty much all the usual methods for producing sounds mechanically are covered, namely air resonating within a shaped enclosure (flutes, and such), string vibrations which might be sensed electrically (guitars, zithers, etc) and percussive instruments which vibrate an enclosed air mass (like the udu) or vibrate other things (like plates or bars). Looking over the YouTube channel, we can’t think of much they haven’t tried to make music with!

If all this sounds familiar, well, we covered [Nicolas] that time he was traveling for a gig and his instrument collection got lost in transit.

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PVC Pipe Transformed Into Handy Tool Box

Would you believe the multi-tiered toolbox pictured here started its life as a piece of bog standard PVC pipe? It certainly wouldn’t be our first choice of building material, but as shown in the video after the break, it only takes a heat source and something suitably flat to convert a piece of PVC pipe into a versatile sheet material.

Flattening the heated PVC.

Unrolling the PVC pipe and getting it flat is covered in the first minute of the video, while the rest of the run time is dedicated to building the tool box. Each and every piece you see here, except for the screws and lid hinges, is carefully cut from the PVC sheet. Though we suspect a few more chunks of pipe went into this build than the video would have you believe.

Would we build such an elaborate box if we had to cut each piece of the thing out by hand? Probably not. But then, we can’t deny the final results here are pretty impressive. Incidentally, if you thought those hinges on the top looked a lot like links removed from a watch band…you’d be correct.

Admittedly we’re a bit late covering this one, and under normal circumstances we might have let it slip by given the several million views it’s amassed over the last year. But the central theme of reusing a common material to build something unexpected is solid Hackaday territory, and aligns closely with this year’s Hackaday Prize challenges.

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We All Live In A PVC Submarine

We doubt you could really live in [Pena’s] PVC submarine, but now the song’s stuck in our head anyway. Although the post is in Portuguese, you can get a pretty good idea of how it works, and translation software is better than ever. Transcending the language barrier, there are videos of just about every step of the construction. We didn’t, however, find a video of the vehicle in the water.

The plumber’s delight has modified motors for thrusters, and a camera as well. Epoxy potting keeps things waterproof. We’ve seen candle wax used for the same purpose in other builds.

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Nicolas Bras and his homemade musical instruments

Hacked Set Of Instruments Saves Musician’s Gigs

Most of the horror stories you hear about air travel seem to center around luggage. Airlines do an admirable job of getting people safely to their destinations, but checked baggage is a bit of a crapshoot — it could be there when you land, it could end up taking the scenic route, or it could just plain disappear. That’s bad enough when it contains your clothes, but when it contains your livelihood? Talk about stress!

This was the position musician [Nicolas Bras] found himself in after a recent trip. [Nicolas] was heading for a gig, but thanks to Brussels Airlines, his collection of musical instruments went somewhere else. There was nothing he could do to salvage that evening’s gig, but he needed to think about later engagements. Thankfully, [Nicolas] specializes in DIY musical instruments, made mostly with PVC tubes and salvaged parts from commercial instruments, so the solution to his problem was completely in his hands.

Fair warning to musical instrument aficionados — harvest the neck from a broken ukelele is pretty gruesome stuff. Attached to a piece of pallet wood and equipped with piezo pickups, the neck became part of a bizarre yet fascinating hybrid string instrument. A selection of improvised wind instruments came next, made from PVC pipes and sounding equally amazing; we especially liked the bass chromojara, sort of a flute with a didgeridoo sound to it. The bicycle pump beatbox was genius too, and really showed that music is less about the fanciness of your gear and more about the desire — and talent — to make it with whatever comes to hand.

Here’s hoping that [Nicolas] is eventually reunited with his gear, but hats off to him in the meantime for hacking up replacements. And if he looks familiar, that’s because we’ve seen some of his work before, like his sympathetic nail violin and “Popcorn” played on PVC pipes.

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Giant working NERF gun runs on Arduino.

Giant Working NERF Gun Runs On Tiny Arduino

Well, here it is: a shoe-in for the new world’s largest NERF gun. (Video, embedded below.) The Guinness people haven’t shown up yet to award [Michael Pick], but at 12.5 feet, this baby is over twice as long as the current record holder, which belongs to former NASA mechanical engineer Mark Rober and his now-puny six-foot six-shooter.

We have to wonder if it is technically bigger than the six-shooter, because they seem to be roughly the same scale, except that [Michael] chose a much bigger model to start from. The main body is made from wood, and there are a ton of 3D-printed details that make it look fantastically accurate. The whole thing weighs over 200 pounds and takes at least two people to move it around. We especially love the DIY darts that [Michael] came up with, which are made from a PVC tube inside a section of pool noodle, topped off with a 3D printed piece for that distinctive orange cap.

Propelling those darts at around 50 MPH is a 3,000 PSI air tank connected to an Arduino Pro Mini that controls the trigger and the air valves. While [Michael] hasn’t run the thing quite that high, it does plenty of damage in the neighborhood of 40-80 PSI. As you’ll see in the video after the break, this is quite the ranged weapon. Watch it blow a hole clean through a sheet of drywall and much more.

Want to build something with a bit more stealth? Make it death from above with a NERF quadcopter.

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USB Mouse Hack For Pachyderm Protection

When most of us think of seismometers, our minds conjure up images of broken buildings, buckled roads, and search and rescue teams digging through rubble. But when [Subir Bhaduri] his team were challenged with solving real world problems as frugally as possible as part of the 2020 Frugal Science course, he thought of farmers in rural India for whom losing crops due to raiding elephants is a reality. Such raids can and have caused loss of life for humans and elephants alike. How could he apply scientific means to prevent such conflicts, and do it on the cheap?

Whether inspiration came from using a computer mouse with the cursor speed turned up to “orbital velocity” is debatable, but [Subir] set forth to find out if such sensitivity could be leveraged for the seismic detection of the aforementioned elephants. His proof of concept is a fantastically frugal low cost seismograph using an optical mouse and some cheap PVC pipe and fittings.

We invite you to watch the video below the break to find out how it works. You’ll be impressed as we were by [Subir]’s practical application of engineering principles. And keep your eyes open for the beautiful magnetic damper hack. It’s a real treat!

If pontificating pesky pachyderms p-waves piques your interest, perhaps you’ll appreciate previous projects which produce data with piezo pickups and plumbing parts.

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Automatic Coil Winder Gets It Done With Simple Hardware And Software

We’ve grown to expect seeing mechatronics project incorporate a standard complement of components, things like stepper motors, Arduinos, lead screws, timing belts and pulleys, and aluminum extrusions. So when a project comes along that breaks that mold, even just a little, we sit up and take notice.

Departing somewhat from this hardware hacking lingua franca is [tuenhidiy]’s automatic coil winder, which instead of aluminum extrusions and 3D-printed connectors uses simple PVC pipe and fittings as a frame. Cheap, readily available, and easily worked, the PVC does a fine job here, and likely would on any project where forces are low and precision isn’t critical. The PVC frame holds two drive motors, one to wind the wire onto a form and one to drive a lead screw that moves the form back and forth. An Arduino with a CNC shield takes care of driving the motors, and the G-code needed to do so is generated by a simple spreadsheet that takes into account the number turns desired, the number of layers, the dimensions of the spool, and the diameters of the wire. The video below shows the machine going through its paces, with pretty neat and tidy results.

Being such a tedious task, this is far from the first coil winder we’ve seen. Some adhere to the standard design language, some take off in another direction entirely, but they’re all instructive and fun to watch in action.

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