Introduction: Chrysta

"Chrysta" is a musical instrument we made as an exercise in learning how to use the CNC machine, the lasercutter and the 3d printer.

We were inspired bij the Chrysalis: a wheelshaped snare instrument. For more information about how it's played and to get an idea of what it sounds like, we recommend you to visit this website:

We have to warn you: Our design is far from perfect and the sound is not good. With a few improvements the sound could be much better. In the following steps we will also recommend where improvement is possible and desirable.

But as explained before, "Chrysta" is first and foremost an exercise in learning how to use the machines in our lab.

Step 1: List of Supplies

Here's the list of supplies needed to make "Chrysta":

-plywood (17mm thick)

-plywood (5mm thick)

-1 broomstick (25mm diameter)

-old guitar snares

-plexi plate (5mm thick)

-glue pistol

(-rubber bands)

Step 2: Making of the Wheel and Stand Elements With the CNC Machine

The wheel and the stand elements were drawn in Aspire using profile toolpaths. Also, one pocket toolpath was used where we decided to make a gap that later would be filled with a plexi window.

Step 3: Lasercutting the Ring and Arcs Elements

We experimented a little with different ways to adjust the snare wire tension. That is why you see no arcs in the drawings. It's also the reason that we used the cnc machine to make the rings and not the laser cutter (the rings were to big for the lasercutter).

Seen how we eventually solved the snare wire tension problem, it would have been way more economic and easier to draw the arcs ik Illustrator and laser cut them.

Step 4: Laser Cutting the Plexi Window Plate

To get the exact form we already cut out of the stand with the cnc machine we exported the form in the Aspire document as a vector and imported it in Illustrator.

In Illustrator we added some lines and forms for engraving as well als for cutting.

If you work with plexi in the lasercutter it is very important to remember removing the protection foil on one side. Otherwise the foil will melt into your plexi plate on the places where it engraves.

Step 5: Sawing the Broomstick

For the axes we used a simple broomstick. We used the electric cross-cut saw but it can be easily sawn by hand.

Step 6: Attaching the Snare Wires to the Ring

The snare wires were tied to one of the little rings using a double knot. Once all the knotts were made we glued the second little ring upon the first one.

The whole of this two rings clasping the snare wires was then glued on the wheel.

This is one of the elements in our design that could use some refining :)

Step 7: Attaching the Other End of the Snares to the Wheel

Once the snare wires were attached in the middle of the wheel we drilled little holes on the outside of the wheel.

The snares were pulled trough this little holes and we pulled them as thight as we could. At this point, the arcs were not yet placed. Unforunately we forgot to make a photo of that step in the process.

Step 8: Adjusting the Snare Wire Tension

To increase the tension of the snare wires we then placed the arcs. We slid the arcs under the snare wires close to the little rings. Then we slowly pulled them to the outside of the wheel where they got clasped under the snare wires and increased the tension.

Again, here is some improvement definitely possible and desired if you want a better sound. Also with this system there is no way to tune the instrument. If you want that to be possible you'd have to insert some tuning pegs or something similar.

Step 9: Assembling of All the Elements

The final step to complete "Chrysta" is simply to assemble all the prepared elements. We used the glue pistol to bring everything easily and quickly together.

We used some rubber bands to prevent the wheel from sliding over the axis.

Step 10: 3d Printing a Plectrum

To make the whole thing complete we made a 3d printed plectrum.

We made a 3d-model in Solidworks an exported it as a STL.-file and in only a few minutes time we had our own plectrum. We made a second one too with slightly different settings to refine our first attempt.

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    2 Discussions


    4 years ago

    Very wow, much strings


    4 years ago

    I have never heard of this before. It may be my new favorite instrument!