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Pick-up music project

For my senior design project my group and I worked with The Pick-Up Music Project to modify their existing outdoor music/art installation, the Musical Fence, to be modular.

The objective was to be able to easily take chimes in and out to create different musical arrangements and to create and integrate a system of solenoids that could autonomously play the chimes, all while maintaining the overall esthetics of the original design.

To accomplish this, the wooden beam was cut in thirds, with the top half consisting of two pieces connected with three lead screws that allowed for it to be loosened and tightened.

Small solenoids were used and installed inside of the chimes and controlled by an Arduino to fire off at specified times.

I was responsible for developing the system of solenoids together with the code, soldering, and installation, for ordering all materials, and communication with the client. I also helped with the design and 3D printing of components, the cutting of the wooden beam, and general asssembly.

Jen demonstrating ability to play chimes on their own

This video demonstrates the chimes being played by the solenoids.

Immediately, one can notice the sound produced is rather dull, and this is due to several reasons:

  • The inner diameter of the chimes was very small, so the smallest available solenoids had to be used in order to fit inside. These solenoids took up almost the entire inner diameter with the their throw, so adding a larger piece of felt and increasing the surface area of the tip was not option. 

  • Since the solenoids were not very big, they were also not very powerful. Larger solenoids, and therefore chimes with a larger inner diameter, would need to be used to produce a loud, full sound.

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