Andrew Burks

Tag: MakerBot

HarmonicaBot

by on Oct.08, 2010, under HarmonicaBot, RobOrchestra, Robotics Club

Autonomous Harmonica-Playing Robot

I have wanted to add a diatonic harmonica to the RobOrchestra since I joined the group in my freshmen year.  The Carnegie Mellon Robotics Club recently acquired a MakerBot 3D printer, so my dream has become a lot more feasible than before.

Harmonica - Hohner Special 20

Harmonica Interface and Control

The concept for the robot is simple: A 3D printed plug (with complex inner geometry) routes the 10 square holes of a diatonic harmonica to 10 NPT fittings.  The NPT fittings connect to 10 different solenoid valves, each corresponding to one hole on the harmonica.  This allows for individual control of the air going through each hole.

Achieving both “Blow” and “Draw” Notes

The solenoid valves all connect to a single manifold, which is connected to two other solenoid valves.  One of the two valves is connected to positive pressure, and the other is connected to negative pressure (vacuum).  Activating one of the two solenoid valves at a time can simulate a blowing or drawing, while the other 10 valves select any number of holes on the harmonica to play.  Unfortunately, like humans, this robot will not be able to blow in some holes while drawing from others.

Manifold - Iso

Harmonicas of Different Keys

The best part about having one generic plug to route the 10 holes to 10 NPT fittings is the modularity it provides.  Diatonic harmonicas come in all sorts of keys, but they all have the same shape.  Because of this property, harmonicas of different keys can be easily switched in and out of the mechanism.

Funding

The estimated cost of this robot is at $500.  This project is applying for RoboClub project funding, but will not be applying for a SURG.  The largest cost is the 12 solenoid valves at $20 each.  More updates and design will follow if the project gets funding from somewhere.

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