Introduction: The Terebot


For the Useless Machine assignment, as part of our Computational Design and Digital Fabrication course, we decided to create a robot that makes the Theremin a keyboard operated instrument, to allow anyone the pleasure of playing and enjoying this instrument.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Rather than learning the overly complicated and years to perfect technique of hovering ones hands over this alien electronic instrument to get the right notes, the idea is to create a keyboard robot, which we called the Terebot, that when stimulated using an array of buttons or a potentiometer, can interact with the instrument by standardizing the pitch and notes mainly using an arduino Uno and a couple of stepper motors. The list of exact materials necessary to create the Terebot are found below:

X 1 Arduino UNO

X 2 Stepper Motor 28byj-48 + ULN2003 Stepper Motor Driver Boards

X 1 Potentiometer

X 8 Buttons (6mm diameter)

X 1 USB Cable

X 1 Protoboard + Jumper Wires

X 6 Resistors (10k)

X 5V power supply

X 1 Glue for wood

X1 4mm thickness 40 cm x 45 cm plywood

Step 2: Set Up Your Arduino and Electronics

Once you have gathered your materials, set up your Arduino replicating the diagram above.

Your stepper motors must be connected into the DIGITAL output ports, and your buttons/potentiometer must go into the analog inputs as seen in the image above.

Step 3: Laser Cut/CNC Your Hardware

Prepare your hardware on a 3d modeling software using the attached file. Use a 4mm thickness plywood as your raw material. If another thickness of wood is used, the cut file must then be modified so that the connections can work smoothly among the pieces.

Step 4: Assemble Your Moving Components

Once you have cut the pieces of your hardware, use the two stepper motors to assemble the moving components of your hardware following the diagrams above. Use 4 bolts of (2mm diameter) to secure the motors onto the wooden components as seen in the diagrams.

Step 5: Assemble Your Buttons

For better aesthetics, you can paint the square tips of the buttons in any color you desire. Once painted and dried, attach the wooden rods into the tips and secure with glue.

Step 6: Assemble Your Main Component

Using the remaining pieces left, assemble the components following the diagram seen above. Secure the designated connection points with glue.

Step 7: Integrate Your Electronics Into the Hardware

Once you have built your main hardware components, integrate your electronics into the box as seen in the diagrams. Use 2mm bolts to secure the Arduino, breadboard, and motor boards into the wooden base component. Integrate the motor components into the top wooden piece using the designed connection points and secure with glue.

Step 8: Program Your Arduino

In order to make the Terebot actually work now, plug it into your computer and upload the following code found in the .ino file below.