June 20, 2024

Tyna Woods

Technology does the job

Lego Plays Electronic Drums | Hackaday

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The ability to quickly try out an idea, and then expand and develop it, is what rapid prototyping is all about. Although we tend to think of 3D printing when rapid prototyping is mentioned, [Brick Technology] reminds us of the power of Lego, as he rapidly builds and improves an electromechanical drum machine.

Using Lego Technic pieces, he starts with a simple music box-style drum with moveable pins that pluck on spring-loaded levers, which in turn hit piezoelectric discs. The electronics side is simple, with the discs wired to a Roland sound module from an existing electronic drum kit. With the ability to instantly adjust, add and remove pieces, he quickly finds and fixes the problem of getting eleven hammer mechanisms together and working smoothly.

To get around the limited pin space on the drum and increase the length and variation potential of the rhythms, [Brick Technology] moved to a belt design that can accommodate significantly more pins. He also added an electric motor and various gearbox ratios for consistent and adjustable tempo. Together with his water vortex ball machine, he makes us think our workshops probably need a few hundred Lego Technic pieces.

To add to the list of excuses to get more Lego, we’ve also seen the plastic blocks get used for everything from RC submarines to reaction wheels and even data storage.