posts tagged with the keyword ‘arduino’

2018.03.31

wmse-art-music-0951

When I heard WMSE was doing a fundraising event called Art & Music and was looking for artists to contribute, I wanted in. I got in touch with them and got a blank 12″x12″ board. I’ve done some of these art boards before, once for The Eisner American Museum of Advertising & Design and once for a friend of mine. (And while it’s not a board, I also made this NoiseBowl last year.) Besides myself, I also managed to get most of the people I work with at Brinn Labs to make boards, and a few people at Milwaukee Makerspace also made them.

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This one is a litte more special to me though… WMSE went on the air in 1981, and while I don’t remember when I actually started listening to it (though I do have my brother to thank) I grew up with WMSE. They played the music I wanted to hear (at least on Wednesday nights when I was in high school.) They introduced me to weird and crazy stuff, and I even got to be a guest on air a few times (and they’ve managed to play a few songs from bands I was in.)

wmse-art-music-0952

Since I’ve been screwing around with making noise with Arduinos in sculptural form I thought I’d continue that obsession practice once again. I’ve been working on a four step sequencer for work, so that’s what this is…

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If it wasn’t for the stain and attention to fit and finish in creating this piece, it might look like some of my work you’d find inside a museum exhibit. We tend to make a lot of devices that produce sound. (We typically don’t go to great lengths to make them “pretty” though, since they always live inside cabinets and are not seen by the public.

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wmse-panel-render

Here’s the design for the one cut piece I made. It’s the control panel/user interface, which holds the power switch, potentiometers, and the LEDs. I actually used the CNC router instead of the laser cutter to make it. (Don’t ask why!) It also took some careful drill press operations to get things just right. There was also a lot of sanding involved. (Again, don’t ask.)

wmse-standoff-legs

There are some 3D printed pieces as well. The standoffs used for the speaker, and to hold the control panel in place. They are similar to ones I’ve used before and before, but of course the beauty of 3D printing is that I can change the design each time to match the speaker and hardware used. (Parametric, FTW!)

wmse-art-music-0979

Here’s a short video that demonstrates the noise that this thing makes. The first four knobs adjust the pitch for the four steps, with the fifth knob used to adjust tempo, and the top right knob as a volume control. The LEDs light up showing each step of the sequencer.

wmse-art-music-0983

I also decided when I started to build this that I really wanted one for myself. While I love seeing my artwork go out into the world, sometimes I miss it. Since I was building one, I thought it would be easy to build a second one. Well, it was (fairly) easy, but it was also time consuming. I also had this idea that if anything went wrong, I’d have a backup. Nothing really went wrong, but I did finish the one for WMSE about week before I finished the one for me.

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If you’re ever curious about the process I go through when building these sorts of things, you might want to head over to Instagram and follow me there. For instance, I posted a photo there… and another, and another, and a video

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And then I posted more, and then I probably posted even more. So yeah, Instagram tends to be my “in process” photo & video place.

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And if you’re not hip to Instagram you might find a photo or two (or three) over on Facebook. Not as much shows up there, but we’re still friends, right?

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Enjoy the show!

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Note: The piece sold for $510! I’m really pleased I was able to support WMSE with this, and I’m thankful a bunch of people liked it enough to bid on it.

2017.11.05

NoiseMaster X

Just a few more of these noisemakers… I swear! Yes, if you are not aware, I made a lot of them. I also brought them all to Maker Faire Milwaukee in 2017 so people could play with them. That’s the sort of thing I tend to do. On with the show!

The speaker for this one is from an old stereo that Dana told me to get rid of because parts of it broke. I did actually get rid of the receiver by dropping it off on the Hack Rack at Milwaukee Makerspace, but I kept the speakers. ;)

NoiseMaster X

The enclosure this time consists of some offset pieces of wood stained two different colors. The electronics are again somewhat exposed. On top are two controls that allow for user input.

NoiseMaster X

The controls consist of a button to enable the sound, and a potentiometer to alter the sound. The knob for the potentiometer is 3D printed, and it’s a knob from this thing. I’ve used these knobs before, many years ago, thanks to the old RepRap. Luckily the new printer did a much better job this time around.

There’s also a ring beneath the button. This ring is 100% there to cover up a mistake I made by drilling the hole too large. I’m more than happy to honestly admit I screwed up, but I also found a way to fix things, and I think it worked.

One other interesting thing abut this one is the pencil lines that are clearly visible on the wood. I realized that I could draw on the wood and still have it show up fine after staining it. Now I’m tempted to explore this method more and see what else I can do with it. Hooray for weird experiments! (Oh, I also totally screwed up with the assembly and mismatched the sides, but again, I made it work and you probably wouldn’t know if I didn’t admit it.)

NoiseMaster X

As for the electronics, I once again went with an Arduino Nano, a super-cheap microcontroller with plenty of inputs & outputs (especially since I only used a few.) It’s also easy to power with a MiniUSB cable and a 5 volt USB power supply.

NoiseMaster X

Here’s a bit more on the knob. The bottom hole is sized to fit the shaft of the potentiometer, and it’s a tight fit (by design) so that it wouldn’t be easy to remove.

NoiseMaster X

The side of the knob features a small hole that accepts a 3mm set screw. It’s a “headless” screw so using an hex wrench to tighten it up hides it inside the little slot. Extra insurance against the knob twisting or coming off.

NoiseMaster X

And here’s the 3D model of the small plate that goes under the button to hide the spot where I drilled the hole too wide. All good. Ready to go!

This is just one post in a series about noisemakers. Check out the other posts as well:

2017.10.29

NoiseMaster VIII

We’re back after a short break with another noisemaker! Oh yeah, there’s a whole series of these things, all of which were shown at Maker Faire Milwaukee in 2017. (More links are at the bottom of this post.)

NoiseMaster VIII

I built this one very quickly while Maks was using my shop. I tried to stay out of his way and built it off to the side while he was using the workbench. I grabbed an Arduino Leonardo I had on hand and I just stuck some wires in the header pins and stuck them down with gaff tape. I also hot glued a small speaker into place and added a small terminal block to wire things up. There’s a MicroUSB cable to provide power.

NoiseMaster VIII

This one was built with a bunch of scrap wood and MDF. The one tricky thing with this one was something I wanted to try with the button. I used a breadboard compatible button and mounted it on some perf board and drilled a hole through a 6mm piece of Baltic Birch and used a Forstner bit to pocket out a space for the square body of the button so it would sit flush. (This was meant as a test for a future project, so I was glad it worked out.)

NoiseMaster VIII

Super-boring looking! Fast build, no decoration, plain wood and MDF, with a few screws and a tiny button. Plain. Simple. Blah.

NoiseMaster VIII

This one did have what I considered a fun sound though. It’s pretty much a siren. Woo-Woo-Woo-Woo goes the noisemaker! I can’t remember where I got the code from but it uses freqout, so that’s exciting. Enjoy!

This is just one post in a series about noisemakers. Check out the other posts as well:

2017.10.15

NoiseMaster VII

The next noisemaker in this ongoing and seemingly never-ending series is one of my favorites. This time we’ve done away with any sort of real “enclosure” and everything is just mounted on a board. We’re also using a real Arduino on this one. It’s an Arduino Nano, which you can find online for approximately $3USD nowadays. It’s quite a step up from the ATtiny85 chips used in many of the previous noisemakers.

NoiseMaster VII

Even though we moved away from an enclosure on this one, we still have to mount things, so why not model and 3D print some things? We’ve got a button and a potentiometer as our controls, and each one has a small printed part to allow for mounting to the board.

NoiseMaster VI

Again, the best thing about 3D printing in this process is you can create exactly what you need. With bits of scrap wood you’re constantly cutting and drilling to get things the right size. With designing your own parts, you make what you need. Here’s a piece that holds the button I had and has a small hole near the base to allow wires to come out.

NoiseMaster VI

This piece holds the potentiometer. It’s the correct thickness to allow the potentiometer to fit and the shaft to go through the hole. The holes for mounting screws are also the exact dimensions needed to work with the #4 screws I had. Making things fit together is about 90% of making.

NoiseMaster VII

Here’s a neat trick. Remember all those hard drives we took apart? Well, I saved all the magnets, and they’re handy to have around. Since they are attached to pieces of metal with mounting holes on them, I screwed one down to the board…

NoiseMaster VII

…and it’s perfect to hold a speaker in place. Really. That speaker ain’t going nowhere! You can pull it off, but it’s on securely enough that it takes some force, and it’s not going to fall off or get knocked off easily.

NoiseMaster VII

The Arduino Nano is on one of my Nano BOB boards. I use these to allow screw terminal connections to a Nano. (I really should get these listed on my Tindie store one of these days.) Power is provided by a Mini USB cable, and yes, there’s two 3D printed standoffs under the PCB. As a bonus, the wires used were pulled out of some phone wiring I rescued from a dumpster.

NoiseMaster VII

I like this one so much, I may be reusing some of the parts in another build I’m working on. Hopefully I can post about that in the coming weeks.

This is just one post in a series about noisemakers. Check out the other posts as well:

2017.10.02

decagon-light-a

It’s been a while since Decagon Light (Part II), but we’re here with Part III! Thanks to Jason we (mainly he) finally got around to do the CNC work for this monstrosity. Becky then wired it up while I worked on the programming. (Thanks, Brinn Labs!)

decagon-light

Below is the small prototype again…

A post shared by Pete Prodoehl (@raster) on

Besides adding some new patterns, I modified the code so you can use any consecutive pins. For the LEDs I use pins 1 through 10, but for the lamps we’re using 2 through 11. (Don’t ask why.) I also added an logic flipper, because LEDs and relays work opposite, HIGH is LOW and LOW is HIGH, depending on which you are using, so yeah, a lot of the code writing was just to deal with the differences between two version of this thing. Anyway, I squashed the last bug today, so it’s all good. (I think.)

And here’s a short video of it in operation. There’s still work to do, but we’ve made great progress in the last two weeks. (And yeah, I really wanted it done before Maker Faire, but didn’t quite hit that deadline.)

You’ll notice the design of the lines changed a bit. It’s still a decagon (a 10-sided polygon) but it’s no longer a 9-simplex. It’s almost a 5-orthoplex, but not quite. If you can figure out exactly what it is, let me know.

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