Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Robotic Drumming - Update on the drum machine

Over the last few weeks I have had a chance to focus more specifically on the details regarding the production of the actual drum machine. My hope is that once it is complete it will be easy to substitute in any vibraphone type of instrument we want. 

Here are a few photos of the solenoid drum machine as it looked originally. A huge thank you to professor William Turkel for building the original machine for me and for having enough faith in me to let me take it apart and extend it on my own. 

 This initially may look ridiculously complicated but don't worry I will explain how it all works. The silver boxes that have little springs poking out of them are solenoids. The spring recoils or contracts when it receives electricity. As soon as the electric current stops the spring is released shooting the tiny metal piece upwards but not off of the box as it is attached to the spring. Each of the eight solenoids are attached to a phidgets controller (see image below).

This bad boy is the phidget relay. It will control whether or not the solenoids will receive an electrical current. From there I attach a usb cord and I am able to control it using max 6. The entire base of this structure was built using MicroRAX. The kit is really simple to use and you can basically build any sort of stand or base for almost any project you can think of. Currently I am reconfiguring the entire machine to make it larger and outfitting a make shift vibraphone to see how it sounds. I will definitely post a video of the machine in action once it is complete. 

The goal is to combine this machine with the vibration sensor attached to a snare drum so that the user will be able to control each one of the solenoids by physically hitting the snare drum!


  1. this looks great!
    So excited to see the video!

  2. Are you sure you want to be a Historian? This project seems pretty cool. Keep it up man.


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