Matt’s Constraints

My project is on the surface fairly straightforward (in my mind at least), although there are definitely some hurdles that I will need to overcome in order to get this finished on time.

  1. Quantity of Keys: I have a lot of single string assemblies to make and tune, around 30-40 of them (depending on which song I choose). My chosen aesthetic requires these be made of wood, and well cut and finished wood – jazz guitar wood is very well taken care of, so I need to make sure I get that aesthetic through. Doing a professional finish with 30+ parts is no trivial task.
  2. Wooden Base: The better the cuts in this turn out, the more professional this piece will be. I’m concerned with getting the dremmel to work perfectly, which is mostly why I’m covering it in canvas afterwards. I’m wondering if I can just take some time on the laser cutter and slowly cut through it instead, it will definitely turn out better that way.
  3. Cantilevered Beam Pick Mechanism: I’m worried that the mounted pick on the rotating chain will be heavy enough to twist the chain, which could cause a variety of problems: not picking the keys, the chain twisting off of the sprockets, anything like that. I could probably mitigate this with a counterweight on the inside, although even that scares me in terms of chain deflection (in between the two sprockets).
  4. Overall Size: I’m limited by the size of the laser cutter, which has a 2′ x 3′ cut bed. To get my 3×3 size, I had to split the design up into two halves. Any larger and I would’ve had to split it into four, which leaves a lot more room for error.
  5. Slop in the Chain: I’m confident I can put a slot in the wood to tighten the chain around the perimeter, although I’m not sure how tight I’ll be able to get it. Unfortunately, there isn’t a good way to test this before I just make it. I’m also worried what kind of tension the system will be able to take, what’s needed to keep the pick level, etc.

That’s not even everything that could get difficult, though I’m sure whatever pops up will be solved somehow.


Additionally, the Aesthetics game photo from my group (with Gardner Nichols and Erick Pena) is below. We had bicycle clothing and a clock, and we chose to make the clock the aesthetic, just to mix it up a bit.



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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Erick Pena
    May 5, 2016 9:03 am

    This is defiantly a time consuming project. The good thing about working with wood it all of the facilities available in the ITLL and in the idea forge so you wont have trouble making it look good. I have to say that I wish I knew how to play an instrument because there are so many thing you can do with ideas such as this.

  • Nicholas Flood
    March 15, 2016 7:22 pm

    For getting clean and professional looking cuts in your wood parts, you might want to look into using a router. If you do it right, you can get very clean cuts and can even get fancy looking edges.


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