Most projects have one or two significant aspects in which custom work or clever execution is showcased, but this Music Box Hole Punching Machine by [Josh Sheldon] and his roommate [Matt] is a delight on many levels. Not only was custom hardware made to automate punching holes in long spools of paper for feeding through a music box, but a software front end to process MIDI files means that in a way, this project is really a MIDI-to-hand-cranked-music-box converter. What a time to be alive.
The hole punch is an entirely custom-made assembly, and as [Josh] observes, making a reliable hole punch turns out to be extremely challenging. Plenty of trial and error was involved, and the project’s documentation as well as an overview video go into plenty of detail. Don’t miss the music box version of “Still Alive”, either. Both are embedded below.
We’ve seen Portal gun builds, a few cute turret replicas, and even a miniaturized version of GLaDOS, but [John]‘s Portal radio replica is the first physical version of this oft-forgotten Portal item.
Interestingly, the entire radio is made from scrap. The spheroid body shell is made from the foam insulation from a commercial freezer, carefully sculpted, Bondoed, and painted over the course of 300 hours. The radio guts are taken from an upcycled radio, and powered by either an internal battery or a wall wart DC adapter – perfect for carrying around a test chamber with a portal gun.
Right now, there’s an AM/FM receiver inside the radio along with an audio input so an iPod or such can be plugged in. While we would have loved to see a loop of theuptempo version Still Alive, we’re guessing [John] hasn’t found an easy way to do that with junked parts yet.
With some careful programming and probably tedious testing, [Tim] was able to get his CNC router to play [Jonathan Coulton’s] “Still Alive”. He didn’t just tell the motors to spin at the correct speeds directly though. He computed the 3d vectors necessary to produce the notes. The router thinks it is just doing its job. We would love to see those vectors rendered out in 3d space. Imagine having a physical sculpture of “Still Alive” as seen by a CNC machine. This reminds us of the Obsolete Technology Band.