Craft Cymatics: A sensing sand dispenser and vibrating sound plate

Picture of Craft Cymatics: A sensing sand dispenser and vibrating sound plate
This project combines performance and craft in a system that visualizes sound waves as sand on an oscillating plate. The frequency of sound, and the flow of sand are controlled by a box suspended above the plate.

Created with the effort to combine digital performance and crafts, the Digital World & Image Group at Georgia Tech added to existing cymatics projects for an interactive crafting experience to the tune of sine waves. It’s a great way to learn how sound works.

So find a good speaker and a few materials. You don’t have to follow the hardware list exactly. use what works for the measurements of your speaker. Get started on your own sandtone station.

You'll need Various Parts and Equipment
10” speaker (ours was 16ohm)
Sound Amplifier (able to sufficiently power your speaker without blowing it up. See this guide for help:

Rod 1’ x ¼-20 threaded rod (4)
Rod 36” 10-24 threaded rod (cut to 14”) (4)
Nylon insert lock nuts ¼-20 (12)
Nylon insert lock nuts 10-24 (4)
Flat washers (#10) (2)
Nylon flat washers (1/4”) (2)
Flat washers (1-1/4”OD, 1/4” ID)  (4)
Flat washers (1/4” ID) (12)
2’” Flush-fit pipe drain (  - or equivalent to fit over coil
Nylon Spacers ½ x .257 x ½ (2)
Acrylic Sheet 12” x 12”  x [”
Foam core 12” x 12”
Hot glue

Brass Hose Barb Adaptor (3/8in ID x ½ in MIP)
Clear Acrylic Round Tube 1” OD, 7/8” ID from McMasterCarr (cut to 12” long)
All purposes nylon-coated rope (4 feet) 0.125” diameter, rated for at least 250lbs
plastic funnel (8cm top diameter)
hobby servo (we used CSRC-311)
Ardunio microcontroller
stiff wire rod (at least 15” long and thing enough to fit through a servo arm hole)
9V battery
9V battery snap
mini breadboard
hollow plastic sphere (with a diameter smaller than the inner diameter of your acrylic tube but larger than the end of your funnel)
force sensing resistor 0.5”
acrylic cement

Gametrack controller
Computer running Apple Logic
***all of the following materials need to be rated for at least 250 pounds***
All purposes nylon- coated rope (20 feet) 0.125” diameter, rated for at least 250lbs
bungee cord and or/ extension springs with loose ends
Various carabiners, metal O-rings and threaded connectors

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donkeyknee1 year ago
Its good
Kiteman2 years ago
Oh, we really need to see a video of this in action!
ynze Kiteman2 years ago
rimar2000 ynze2 years ago
agrosz (author)  Kiteman2 years ago
It's on the way!
chandshar2 years ago
Years ago I experimented with 'seeing sound'
One method was to put cling film in a large picture frame heat it till taut and place over a speaker with sand on it
Another method was to cover a speaker with a balloon cut open and held tight glue some small mirrors on (sequens work) leaving gaps round them, shine a spot light onto the mirrors at 45degree and watch the reflection bounce around
thayray2 years ago
Fascinating! Was hoping to see a video.
syates32 years ago
I've seen some videos of this stuff and I have to say the shapes are crazy, it even makes complex geometry.
thenewview2 years ago
Post video :)
randofo2 years ago
Nice project! I too would like to see a video.

Check this out:

Not sure it would give you the same 'umph' though. A bass shaker would, but then you wouldn't get the frequency range.