robot drummer arm

Hi. I'm going to build a robot drummer but am not sure where to start. I've been doing research but I am completely new to arduino and robotics so I'm asking for a little advice. I want to start the project with a robot arm that will bang on a drum. Add in new stuff till he can play a whole set. If anyone has any advice, what kind of arduino board I should get, books that would be helpful etc. I'd really appreciate it. I do a one man band show for a living. Now I need a robot band! You can check out what I do at Thanks a bunch for your help. Jord

Making an "arm" that does anything very quickly is not an easy challange. A drum playing arm that mimics the actual movements of a human arm playing a drum would be somewhat complex and very expensive to develop.

I saw a Youtube video that had solenoids betting on a percussion instruments. They were not arms but, just the solenoid and it's plunger going up and down. It would not be as fancy as an arm but, with some flashing lights could possibly make it interesting enough.

To use and arm to beat on a drum you would need pneumatic cylinders and probably a lot of pressure and volume of air to make the arms move fast enough. The amount of weight of the equipment would add up quickly and then would require a chassis strong enough to hold it all together.


So a robot arm is ambitious. I like this lever solenoid idea to begin with. If I could start off with one solenoid lever beater thing during my show I could say something like "and if you tip a $20 betsy gets a new arm!" That would be cool. Then I could add in more solenoid beaters as I go along. So, what kind of arduino board should I get? I want something that the project can grow with. I'll add in probably ten solenoids or so. I also need to get my daw (ableton live) to send midi note messages from my computer to arduino. Anyone know how to do this? As for the solenoids does anyone have a recommendation? Anyone know of a good resource I can learn more about different types of solenoids, programming, robotics in general?

I thought this project looked cool and similar to what I want to start doing

Thanks a bunch, Jord

squidmaster, one thing I noticed about the stuffed drummer was that it missed it's drum a few times but, the beats still sounded perfect. What I am saying is though very good the drumming was actually prerecorded and the stuffed character was just moving to the beat. It was difficult to tell until the drum almost fell off the table.

Even so the video was very impressive, Mark

Since you may need both a large number of outputs, AND rather tricky timing, my preference would be for one of the Arduino boards with more input/output pins such as a Mega or Sanguino

So do the solenoids hook up directly to these output pins??? Could you suggest some book or online resource that will help me grasp how all this stuff works???

Thanks, Jord