loading

Touchscreens are great, but when it comes to playing music on them, the lack of physical keys can be a drag. So I decided to round up some household stuff and make a piano keyboard that tricks the iPad into thinking it's being played by your fingers (with the help of some clothespins and aluminum foil)!

It's quite easy to make a capacitive piano interface, and all told it cost me less than $5. All you need is some wooden clothespins, foil, markers, tape, rubber bands, stiff cardboard, and some patience to cut and piece it all together.

Step 1: Gather the materials

For this project you'll need:

  1. Clothespins (1 for each key you want to make)
  2. Rubber bands (10-20)
  3. Aluminum foil
  4. Pens, pencils, or thin markers to prop up the keys
  5. Tape (any kind is fine)
  6. Stiff cardboard or card stock for the base (I repurposed a sturdy folder)
  7. Some basic cutting tools (scissors and something to make small holes)
  8. Straight edge or ruler for drawing lines

Advertisement

Awesome Adam! One small improvement. Add a felt strip where the keys return to resting position to stop the clicking sound.
<p>Great project! Way to make a touchscreen device a tactile experience.</p>
<p>That's a nice solution! Gotta add sharps though :)</p>
<p>WOW this is ingenious! I love the simple design and use of everyday materials. Simply awesome.</p>
<p>nvr mind lol</p>
<p> Where is the description on how to make it??????!!!!</p>
<p>what about c# , D# ,E#, I can't do that </p>
<p>Thanks! I have been looking for a good DIY and affordable keyboard to pluck &quot;strings and things&quot; . . . Great work!</p>
<p>Most excellent. </p>
<p>This represents a lot of work ! A project for people having time, an USB Midi keypad costs 30$.</p>
Adam which is piano app are u used in that process
The music app is called Firo (previously known as Fiddlewax Pro). You can find it in the iOS App Store on the iPad. :)
<p>Now that's one of the best things I have seen since a long time. Love it :)</p><p>Crazy enough to share it :)</p>
<p>Very cool idea. Simple yet effective.</p><p>The only thing I don't like is the foil against the iPad screen. I'd opt for some conductive foam instead, maybe buy some if I can't find another kitchen sponge that conducts - lol</p>
<p>Wow this is amazing! I love the way the i looks as you play it. The way that the mechanics work reminds me of a real piano, or even some Leonardo Da Vinci machine! It just shows that there are a lot brilliant ideas yeat to come for the capasive screen.</p>
<p>Genius!</p>
<p>I love the use of wood clothespins to give a low-tech feel.</p>
<p>Love it!</p>
I would love to see a video of this in action. If you have one could you please share the link? Thanks so much! Great ible too!!
<p>There should be a video included at the top of the instructable, but you can also watch it directly on youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eb_b5BGs3VE</p>
<p>Your mechanics are excellent! Do the keys only line up with the white keys? Or every key?</p>
<p>Brilliant!</p>
<p>Thank you! It's amazing! I was really surprised how good you are performing perform with this keyboard. Recently I connected my old midi keyboard to iPad with midi-to-usb and USB-to-ipad adapters. But your solution is so elegant that I am going to try it someday :)</p>
<p>Increible. Me encanta.</p>
Wow Awsome idea!
<p>Wow its great idea..really innovative:)</p><p>Thanks for sharing.</p>
<p>Killer project! :D</p>
<p>That's really ingenious. You play very well on the &quot;keyboard&quot;. Would like to hear more of the play.</p>
<p>Creative. Good work. </p>
<p>I remember tapping out &quot;Whiter Shade of Pale&quot; on my Ipad in a hospital ER waiting room once. I love the piano/organ sound of Garageband on the Ipad but the keyboard is lacking. I am going to have to pick up a batch of clothespins. THanks for coming up with this idea<br><br>I may have some conductive foam..... </p><p>If you havent entered this into the Wood Contest you should. It is extremely clever.</p>
Freaking genius.
iPhone-izing it for garage band
Cool. Great job.
This is so amazing! Live changing, really. It's a really great idea... Where did you get the inspiration for this project?
<p>I totally agree, I can't play piano on an iPad without keys. perfect solution.</p>
<p>oh my gosh this is one of the most clever 'ibles I've seen! thanks so much for sharing and great job with all the photos, too, your step-by-step instructions are great! </p>
<p>Glad you enjoyed it! I tried to include a lot of pictures because I think it could be a fun project for kids, too. There are mechanics, electronics (the foil is a circuit after all), and music to explore so everyone wins. :)</p>

About This Instructable

53,115views

542favorites

License:

Bio: Background in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Robotics, and Tangible Interfaces from MIT. Currently working at Fiddlewax to create new musical instruments. Other projects I've ... More »
More by adamkumpf:iPad Inventor's Kit Clothespin Piano for iPad Soft iPhone and iPad Stylus 
Add instructable to: