Laser Cut Music Box - Computerphile | Summary and Q&A

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September 7, 2018
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Computerphile
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Laser Cut Music Box - Computerphile

TL;DR

A DIY enthusiast creates a mechanical organ by hand-drawing and laser cutting all parts, then converts MIDI files into SVGs for laser cutting the music strips.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How did the creator make the parts for the mechanical organ?

The creator hand-drew the design and modified it, then used Inkscape to convert it into SVG files for laser cutting using the Nottingham laser cutter.

Q: How did the creator convert MIDI files into SVGs?

The creator wrote a program in C that converts MIDI files into SVGs. They identified the note on and note off signals in the MIDI file to determine the length of each note.

Q: How does the organ generate compressed air?

As the handle is turned, bellows at the bottom of the organ go up and down, creating compressed air. The air is stored in a reservoir to prevent over-pressurization.

Q: How many songs can the organ play?

Currently, the organ has four rolls of music, including songs like the birdie song, the chicken dance, and enter the gladiators. The creator plans to make more rolls as an ongoing project.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The creator hand-draws and modifies the design for a mechanical organ and laser cuts all the parts using Inkscape and the Nottingham laser cutter.

  • They write a program to convert MIDI files into SVGs, allowing them to load the SVG into the laser cutter software and cut out the music strips.

  • The organ operates by using compressed air created by bellows, and the handle also drives the paper along to change the music.

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