Playing guitar by yourself can be fun, and even better if you’re talented enough to sing along at the same time. Beyond that, however, you normally need another person or two to accompany your performance with drums, bass, etc. Tristan Calderbank, however, has the percussion section covered, as he’s come up with a setup that can play a shaker, tambourine, snare, and bass drum under MIDI control.
You can see it in action in the first video below, where he gives an impressive demo of both his device and his guitar/voice talents. The second video focuses on the drum element itself, which uses HS-311 servos to actuate each drum. An Arduino Uno is employed for control, and takes in signals from a laptop over a MIDI channel. The servos are able to vary their speed based on MIDI inputs, important for the subtleties of acoustic performances.
Source code for the build can be found here, but perhaps the most interesting part of the build from a technical standpoint is what did and didn’t work. As seen in the project write-up, car door locks, stepper motors, and solenoids were tried, but ruled out due to noise issues. The servos used were packed with grease to reduce the sound, and even wrapped in foam to isolate them from the supporting wood blocks.