July 2015 - IDIYA

Archive for July, 2015

The Arduino xylophone is being built in our Build a Musical Instrument Summer Camp for Kids at IDIYA, New Orleans which started today and continues through the summer. Gus, a student at Lusher Charter School, attended our class and began work on his awesome project.

Gus used a laser cutter to make the wooden keys and frame for his Arduino powered xylophone

Gus used a laser cutter to make the wooden keys and frame for his Arduino powered xylophone

Gus’ xylophone is constructed from 1/8″ birch plywood cut with IDIYA’s laser cutter. It took 4-6 passes with the laser to cut cleanly through the plywood creating the xylophone’s frame pieces and keys. Gus laser engraved each key with the note that will be played when it is stuck with the mallet. The wooden keys do not produce the sound when struck. Instead a piezo sensor under the key detects impact from the mallet, sends an electric signal to the Arduino which then generates a square wave signal to the attached speaker. Initially, this electronically generated sound will be a bit harsh so plans include adding a serial data output to the Arduino to connect to a PC via USB allowing better sound generation, light control and more. See video and more of Gus’ awesome project here

Laser cut Arduino xylophone features:

  • 6 laser cut wooden keys with piezo buzzers working as impact sensors
  • Plywood xylophone frame & keys laser cut and etched
  • Process: Mallet impact –> piezo buzzer detects & sends signal to Arduino –> Arduino generates sound output to attached speaker
Henry built his xylophone frame & keys entirely from laser cut cardboard using Autodesk Fusion 360

Henry built his xylophone frame & keys entirely from laser cut cardboard using Autodesk Fusion 360

Henry, our new intern and Jenna, IDIYA’s Arduino instructor are building a modified version of the Arduino xylophone using Adafruit sensors and aluminum foil covered keys instead of piezo buzzers. More to come on that. Henry’s xylophone also features an all laser cut cardboard frame, arduino and speaker.

Henry, is a junior at Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Academy a Greater New Orleans area school
Providing enriched instruction in mathematics, science, and technology.

Gus and Henry both used the free license of Autodesk Fusion 360 provided with IDIYA membership to model and manage the laser cut elements of their xylophones.


IDIYA is focused on summer camp classes for students through July. Starting in August, Arduino classes for all ages (adults welcome) will resume.


Making electronic musical instruments at the Kid's Music Maker Camp

Making electronic musical instruments at the Kid’s Music Maker Camp

IDIYA offers Summer Camps that broaden the imagination of New Orleans’ youth. Maker Boot Camp, a summer camp designed to teach young people valuable STEM Maker skills, allows students to put those newly learned skills to use by combining 3D Design, Electronics, Programming, 3D Printing, Laser Cutting into a project they build during the week. This isn’t just another boring school class. This is fun stuff! Young folks need to learn the basics of innovation and invention so they can pull ideas from their head and make them reality! Our youth are our future. Who knows what they will come up with next? Maybe the next great invention will come from one of the kids who attended IDIYA’s Maker Boot Camp.

Watch this video and see what kids learned in the last Maker Boot Camp. Enrollment is still open for the last Maker Boot Camp of the Summer. Dates are July 27-31, 2015. Sign up now!

Register for the next Maker Boot Camp at IDIYA.


Subscribe to our YouTube Channel for more videos and instructables on DIY projects.
Subscribe to our Event Calendar for more information about upcoming classes and events or even get involved with our next project!