2020-04-18 (Sa) LaserCutXylophone

I like creating musical instruments more than playing or learning to play them. If I can put one into someone's hands, or give another hacker/maker access to something they can mod, that makes me happy indeed.

My goal with this project is to make a xylophone, or at least the notes, on a laser cutter. I would feel destructive if I bought a legitimate instrument and cut holes in the wooden keys only to find that an idea of automating it only ruined it. Now, if I can throw a bit of lumber into a laser cutter and produce keys all day, then I would feel no remorse if I destroyed a couple, and maybe someone else can take my work further.

Enough background.

Research into the shape of xylophone keys showed that I would have to cut the note profile, not the face. A glockenspiel and a xylophone differ in their note shape and material. A glockenspiel has metal keys with uniform thickness, like bar stock. A xylophone has wooden keys that flare at the ends.

I planned to cut a series of wooden slats of various proportions to test which geometries sound pleasing. The first set was six notes each 100mm long. I am not entirely clear on the relationship between all the factors and the final tone. Some were thick through the center while some were curved, and some were thin at the edges. By producing a handful at a time, I hope to test which shape to use for a full set.
100mm xylophone keys

For comparison, I repeated the experimental geometries on notes twice as long. I placed the mounting holes at the 2/9ths mark as I would with glockenspiel keys, but the uneven wooden topology may require a different location.
200mm xylophone keys

The rest of the posts for this project have been arranged by date.
First time here?

Completed projects from year 1
Completed projects from year 2
Completed projects from year 3
Completed projects from year 4
Completed projects from year 5
Completed projects from year 6

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