Let's Make Robots!


Make a lot off noise!

This is Cacaphonix, named after the bard in the "Asterix and Oblix" cartoons because it makes a terrible noise in an attempt to make music. Unfortunately for Cacaphonix, his musical talent is limited to what I can program and I'm terrible at music. Things will probably get worse later when I make a second robot for the keyboard.

After Rik had a video rejected by Utube because of the soundtrack, I suggested he make a robot to create his sound tracks. When I saw this keyboard cheap in an after Christmas sale I decided to make one myself.

The keyboard has 8 instruments, 8 drumbeats, 4 drums to make your own drumbeat, 4 animal noises and the ability to record and playback your musical attempts. Some of the instuments even sound like they're supposed to. No bad for $14 AUD (about $9 US). It even came with batteries!

First thing I had to do was fix a dodgy solder joint that made every 8th key not work. Since I had to pull it apart anyway this was no big deal and the dry solder joint was easy to spot and fix.


 Next I removed a very nice little modular battery box (3xAA) that I can use in another project and installed a socket and a LM2940CT +5V regulator. Now I can run this of a 6V plugpack.



This keyboard is easy to hack, plenty of room inside. the brains is one small chip. You could control this easily with a transistor on each button but where would be the fun in that? Click on the photo for a larger image, the regulator is easy to see.


This is the guts of the little robot, just 3 minature servos. I used a little hotglue to hold them together and then decided that would not be strong enough so I cut out some polymorph pannels and joined them with nylon post and 3mm screws. This made sure the servos can't move.

I haven't decided on a head yet as I have too many ideas. Wait and see what I find.

Another simple polymorph bracket allows the waist servo horn to be screwed to the back of the keyboard.

At the moment I'm using the control board from my last laser range finder experiment. Once I've made a second bot for the keyboard I'll make up a new board and fit it in the battery compartment. With the original battery holder removed there's enough room for a picaxe 28X1.


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I love it ....makes me want to build a DJ bot that mixes and changes records

it´s awsome!! I can´t wait to see the other bot playing the keyboard..   :-)
you could get some inspiration looking/listening the drum routines that the YDM plays

Just one thing... I need more cowbell


And what an excellent example of the cheapness of cheap toys! The design suggests two speakers (there is only one). The box warns about small parts that might choke small kids. How small is this keyboard?! How big are your kids?!

I guess the maker understands that the small parts come off when operated by a two year old...

I want more of the high hat at the end of the first vid.It may need some sort of bass amp to get that stomach turning thump if noise is your goal.

I'm so musically challenged that my kids go to special music school on Saturday mornings (ie right now) to make up !


Unfortunately the bass drum didn't come through very well. The camera's mic doesn't pick up the bass. As for music lessons, it's gonna sound much worse once I get a second bot on it :D

I don't know how to go about programming that since I can't read music. I really need some two finger music since the keyboard can only play two notes simultaneously. No good for chords.

My kids have a toy that combines atwo octave keyboard and a book of half a dozen Christmas carols. The notes in the music and the keys are numbered so that you the childknows which key to press. I'll try to scan some pictures and you can transpose it to your keyboard.


I've seen them once before. Just what Cacaphonix needs, music by numbers! Good thinking Mike. Thanx for the offer but your idea was a big enough help.

I entered "music by numbers" into google and found this composer program that is perfect for Cacaphonix! It even has a layout of the keyboard and the frequency of the notes for us musically challenged programmers.

Awesome! I love it, and it's nice to see another builder who's primary currency is AUD.

I watched the first video and thought "that's novel" but the animal sounds in the second one really sealed the deal :)

Nice work.

This is not a serious robot but I hope it will inspire others to raid the toy shops or the toy box.