Looking for a new and unique party activity… using a somewhat unpopular vegetable?? May we introduce the BeetBox!
This fun and interesting project combines the magic of the Raspberry Pi and beets to create a rather unique and simple instrument that allows users to play drum beats by touching actual beets.
Since its release in 2012, this little gem of a mini-computer has the DIY community in love! And it’s the range and diversity of the Raspberry Pi that has made it such a hit among makers. This project requires a Raspberry Pi, the Raspberry Pi 3 Complete Starter Kit, a touch sensor, a soldering station, and your favorite invention kit if you’re a newbie. You’ll also need some basic carpentry skills to build the enclosure. But, once your BeetBox is complete, you’ll be charming friends and family with the best and most interesting instrument on the block!
To get started, the source code and instructions for the BeetBox are viewable on GitHub. This project is also do-able with an Arduino as well as MaKey MaKey. There will be reference to other necessary components here and you can visit over to Scott Made This for more info and a simple Google search can also lead you to where you can find them (ie. Amazon).
The enclosure is made with .5″x8″ poplar boards, which are cut to size and finished using various hand and power tools. A router can be used for both the edge details and for grooves in which to conceal the wires, and a drill press to create the speaker grill and to bore holes for the beets with a hole saw. It can then be stained and assembled with wood glue and a nail gun, sealing the enclosure with polyurethane.
Touch sensing is handled by an MPR121 Capacitive Touch Sensor from SparkFun, for which existing Arduino code can be ported to Python. This board communicates with a Python script on a Raspberry Pi via I2C. The script watches for new touches and triggers drum samples using pygame. Audio from the Pi’s line out is run through a small amplifier using an LM386, which is based on a circuit straight from the data sheet. The amp is connected to a salvaged speaker mounted under the holes in the lid.
To find out more information, including a complete list of recommended tools and parts, as well as more DIY inspiration, head over to Scott Made This.