Smartech Software
Bioprinting
Market Forecasting

It’s a Technology Orchestra! — Watch as a 3D Printer Performs Among Hard Drives & Floppy Drives

RAPID

Share this Article

We’ve all seen the various musical compositions created using solely the sounds emitted by the extruders and stepper motors on 3D printers, but this recent project by a man named Laurens Weyn, a robotics enthusiast out of Cape Town, South Africa, takes the cake for sure. Weyn, who is competing for the 2015 Hackaday Prize, sponsored by Atmel, freescale, Texas Instrument, Mouser Electronics, and Microchip, is vying for the chance to win a trip into space, among other awesome prizes.

c1

His creation isn’t just a single instrument (3D printer), it’s an entire orchestra of technology. Confused? Let us explain…

In what he describes as a ‘hardware and software project,’ Weyn hooked together a Printrbot Simple 3D printer, along with two old floppy drives and two hard drives. He then created a central Java program which controls the whole thing, and according to him was by far the hardest part. The software had to be able to parse MIDI files, and via its interface make critical adjustments prior to sending instructions to each of the ‘instruments’. All the while the software had to output a visualization of the notes in real time. In order to keep all the instruments perfectly synchronized, while calculating the notes simultaneously, the Java code had to run over 5 threads.c2

“While there’s currently only 3 types of instruments, the system supports pretty much anything with steppers, or anything that makes a noise on a signal pulse as percussion,” explained Weyn on his Hackaday project page. “An old doorbell, noisy fans, etc. can be used. Machines that accept G-code through the standard serial protocol can be used as well.”

One issue that Weyn ran into during the creation of his technology orchestra was that 3D printers are not made to stop during a print. This obviously was a problem, because he didn’t want sounds emitted from the printer non-stop, just like you wouldn’t want a guitar in a band constantly playing without pause. This meant that he had to use his own control software as the printer’s control software. This allowed him to prevent any movement of the printer simply by blocking off instructions to the machine.

“It runs in ‘ping pong’ mode, only giving instructions once it’s done (because we don’t want to rush ahead in the song),” he explained. “When a pause happens, or rather when the printer doesn’t need to be sent any notes, the control program simply refuses to give the printer the next command, forcing the printer to stay still and do nothing until it’s meant to play the note.”

Weyn has made numerous videos of his orchestra in action, many of which are provided below. As you will notice, the hard drives act as percussion instruments as the 3D printer and floppy drives chime in for the rest of the ensemble. As for whether or not he has a shot at taking home the Grand Prize for the 2015 Hackaday Prize, his creation is certainly in the running in my mind.

Let us know your thoughts on this innovative approach to creating music via a 3D printer and other tech components. Discuss in the 3D Printer Orchestra forum thread on 3DPB.com.  Check out all the videos below of his orchestra in action:

Share this Article


Recent News

Single-Print, Full-Color Denture 3D Printing Tech Unveiled by Stratasys

Electrochemical 3D Printing Startup Fabric8 Closes $50M Round



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

Featured

Japanese Chemical Company Pulls out of Business with 3D Printer OEM Carbon

Japan’s JSR Corporation has stated that, as of March 1, 2023, it will no longer pursue 3D printing business with Carbon. This seems to be a unique announcement in that...

Revolutionizing Manufacturing Floors with Binder Jet Metal 3D Printing – AMS Speaker Spotlight

Binder jet metal 3D printing is a game-changer for industries like aerospace and automotive that are looking for a different approach to manufacturing high throughput parts and custom parts. With...

The Future of Directed Energy Deposition is Unbounded

“Well, that depends…” I said. “On what?” he said. “It depends on what you want out of the process,” I emphasized. “All I want is a finished metal part just...

Achieving Viable Serial Production with Additive Manufacturing

To make additive manufacturing (AM) a more common process for serial production, particularly laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF), the focus of development has been to find effective and efficient solutions...