Introduction: Musical Loom

Picture of Musical Loom

Create a musical loom with a Makey Makey.

Step 1: Creating a Prototype

Picture of Creating a Prototype

We wanted to create a loom that would create music as the shuttle touched each warp thread. We wanted more than 5 working threads... but first we had to test the thread. We chose conductive thread because in order for the Makey Makey to work, it needs to be conductive and complete a circuit. Some of us wanted to go really big with our loom while the more practical members of our group explained that we needed to test our ideas on a small scale first which is what you see on the right - our first testing prototype.

Step 2: Creating the Loom

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Our group wanted to use low cost materials. Cardboard was at a premium because all of the groups were using cardboard but we found the perfect box. First we removed the top flaps and cut notches to hold the warp threads. We chose to use buttons to make it easier to remove the finished weaving while maintaining pressure on the edges of the threads.

Step 3: Connecting the Loom (First Try)

Picture of Connecting the Loom (First Try)

As you can see from the picture, our loom had multiple warp threads... way beyond the 6 controls on the side of the Makey Makey that I was familiar with. It was here where our group spent the majority of our time and problem solving. How does the Makey Makey work?

We started at the Makey Makey website because some of us were familiar with the device but not everyone in our team was. We played with some of the different sites. My personal favorite MK-1 was created by Eric Rosenbaum. It allows you to do a quick recording and then play that sound in different notes. The challenge became that this website didn't have enough controls to match our loom.

Step 4: Connecting the Loom (Try 2)

Picture of Connecting the Loom (Try 2)

So our group had to learn how to use the other side of the Makey Makey. As well as remap the keys.

Below is the description from the website.

How do I use the back of the Makey Makey? The connections on the back of the Makey Makey are what's called "female header." They're rows of little sockets, designed for wires to stick into. One easy way to use them is with connector wires (a.k.a. jumper wires), which are wires with little pins on either end that stick nicely into the header. These come in the kit. You can also buy them separately, but be sure to get the male/male ones, like these: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/11026 Jumpers are convenient, but you can also plug regular wire into the header. Solid core wire is best, and you will need wire strippers to remove the insulation from the ends of the wire. You can also find clever ways to use stuff you already have- for example, we've found that both paper clips and safety pins work great for this purpose!

How do I remap the keys? With a Makey Makey version 1.2 you can easily remap keys directly in your browser at this website: www.makeymakey.com/remap

Also consider visiting the following Instructable - https://www.instructables.com/id/Program-your-Makey-Makey/

Step 5: Programming the Loom

Picture of Programming the Loom

After several attempts with different websites, we were guided towards using Scratch. I never realized how simple it was to use Scratch.

Step 6: Playing the Loom

Picture of Playing the Loom

We had programmed the loom by connecting the Makey Makey but now we needed to focus on how to best complete the circuit. We had to create a conductive shuttle as well as a grounding point to make our idea work. First we created a shuttle using foil so that the weaver could connect the strip of fabric or yarn but also be in contact with the conductive warp threads. A piece of large foil to ground the Makey Makey by using the other hand, knee, or foot was assembled also.

Step 7: The Finished Musical Loom

Picture of The Finished Musical Loom

Using Scratch and the program we created, we could do even more....

  1. Create a woven story
  2. Create a woven poem with a partner
  3. Use it to create sentences
  4. Use it to review or practice spelling words
  5. Create a musical woven composition... record a video as the piece is being woven... QR code the finished video and include it next to the woven piece.

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