The robotic xylophone has been an on and off project of mine since 2002. For the complete story of how it started, and how it came to its current state, see the Background page. Below is a brief version history.
This was my original robotic xylophone, which I started working on in 2002, and completed in 2011. This one was built using Tinker Toys as the mallet heads, and a Parallax BASIC Stamp 2p40 as the microcontroller. Version 1.0 is shown in the video below.
This was a complete redesign of the robotic xylophone, using an Arduino Uno as the microcontroller, and other parts from more readily-available sources. This version uses Winbond SPI Flash for storage of song data. My goal when making this version was 1.) to make it from parts that were as inexpensive as possible, and 2.) to document my work, and create step-by-step instructions so that others could follow along and build it too. The name “Build Your Music” was coined with this version to signify that the project is not just about me building it and showing it off to people, but that the larger goal is to teach others to do the same. The majority of the pictures and videos that you see throughout this website are of either version 2.0 or version 2.1.
Version 2.1 of the robotic-xylophone is identical to version 2.0, except that it uses an SD Card and Data Logger Shield (pictured below) for the data storage, instead of the SPI Flash. On the outside, there is very minimal difference between these two versions. But from a software perpective, these are two completely separate projects. In the summer of 2018, I decided to switch from SPI Flash to SD Card because 1.) it was getting increasingly difficult to find a website to purchase the Winbond SPI Flash in the DIP8 form factor, and 2.) moving to the SD Card allowed me to directly copy MIDI files onto the card, instead of needing a separate PC-based program to decompile MIDI files. This would significantly simplify the software development and documentation. For more details on the differences between SPI Flash and SD Card, see the Data Storage tutorial, and my Post from 3-31-2018.
Generally, all instructions and software found on this website will be for version 2.1 of the robotic xylophone. However, I have kept links to instruction pages with the version 2.0 instructions, for those who want to see the details of this design.
*** Under Contruction. *** I am currently working on a version 3.0 of the robotic xylophone. This one is based on the Stagg 37-Key 3-Octave Xylophone. By using a xylophone that is a more performance-grade instrument, and which has three octaves instead of two, I hope that the overall musical sound quality will be significantly better. I had started working on this one in 2014, but then put it on hold to focus on the smaller, less expensive version 2.0. I do not intend to publish complete step-by-step instructions for this version, but do plan to post pictures and videos when it is complete. I hope to have this version complete sometime in 2019.
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