For project 2 we will be taking the theremin project further, we are hoping to create four physical attachments for the theremin that modify the feature of that particular musical instrument side. If you slide the attachment on the guitar side, then it would modify the sound to an electric guitar. Attachments on the bass side would become an electric bass, the piano will become an organ, and the drum will become synth drums. This theremin allows users to create music in a fun and tactile way. Anyone can use the instrument because all it takes is simple hand motions. When the attachments slide into the main cube, it will connect a DIY switch made using copper tape, triggering the change in instrument. The connection will also trigger an LED that will give feedback to the user that the connection was made. The attachments will be rectangles that match the size of the cube side. The theremin will still have the four buttons to switch between the instruments, however, the buttons will be more integrated into the interface of the enclosure. We will laser cut the enclosure and attachments using acrylic. To power the instrument, we will use a battery and have an on/off switch. The goal is to be able to integrate a speaker inside the cube so the user doesn’t have to attach an external speaker, however, we still need to do some testing to see if that is possible. We would also have to figure out where to let the sound come out of the enclosure. The best option for this would probably be at the top of the enclosure.
Acrylic for fabrication
sketch of encloser
As we thought more about the project we made a few changes. We decided to used magnetic shapes as our physical switches. So they simply magnetized to the side of the box closing a circuit of copper tape.
We got the switch working on the prototype which was exciting! From there we had to figure out how to code the switch into the theremin. This proved a bit more difficult than I expected. We wanted the sound to change when the magnetic switch was added, but we could not get that, you have to press the button again for the sound to switch tones.
Another challenge we faced was the speakers. We used the small ones you see in the video, however, when we hooked them up they were really quiet. We had to order a sound amplifier from Sparkfun and solder it into our circuit, but this fixed the quiet speakers problem!
We soldered everything together to put it into the box, we had few problems with wires touching but we moved things around till it was okay! we also had a few power problems, we used a battery so that it was wireless but the battery drained quickly. Here Is our circuit schematic!
Here is our first prototype enclosure. We made it from cardboard and it was nice to do a practice cut to figure out what we needed to change.
Even with the prototype, I had to do our final cut twice. I the first time it I forgot to change the tab materials for the thickness of the plastic we were using and I had to add holes for wires. We also wanted frosted acrylic but were not able to find any so we sanded down the clear acrylic. This wasn’t exactly what we wanted for the final look but it was okay! For the final version of the switches, we were not able to use the acrylic because it was too heavy for the magnets. So instead we used three layers of the original cardboard. We used three layers because then the magnets were embedded and easy to grab!
Here are the laser cut files for the connctors and the box and the un assembled box and the assembled box!
We changed the capacative sensors for the final version. So that they were more incoperated into the box, they also just are really nice and a add a great feel to the project. Here is the final product working!
My partner Kaelen did all of the coding for the project! She had done some of it for her previous project. Here is all the code we used for the project. I really enjoyed this project and I think that the feel and aesthetic were really great! I just wanted to play with it. However, I wish that we had more time to perfect the enclosure, but I am happy with how it turned out!