Ballet Space Wars, a Music Box

This instructable was created in fulfillment of the project requirement of the Makecourse-Art at the University of South Florida (www.makecourse-art.com)

The theme for our arcade mixer was based off of 8 bit video game music and the concept of ballerinas in music boxes. Playing off those ideas we came up with a narrative of Robo-Ballerina warriors dancing their way through the galaxy to their own battle tunes and defending their planet from alien invaders with their killer moves. The electronics for this project are based on the Arduino Punk Console, which you can find on makezine.com. We made some adaptations to their design to better fit our vision for this project.

Step 1: Making Your Model

Start by creating your model from scratch in Autodesk Maya or find a free use model online. When creating our model we did some research on the basic layouts and ways an Arcade cabinet can be split into pieces. These separations are both more time and cost effective when sending in for printing. The best way to start your model is beginning with a single cube and shaping the silhouette of the Arcade from the side. From there you can create your top, button and screen housing panels.

A helpful tutorial we used for reference can be seen above. It is a great video for the basic shape of your arcade to use as a base for your own design and leaves plenty of leeway for alterations.

Step 2: Sending in to Print

Once you are happy with the shape and size of your model you are ready to send in your pieces for printing.

When exporting your pieces, make sure to select each individual piece and export them one at a time or else they will be on the same obj. file. Speaking of which, when exporting make sure to select the obj. file type. See above.

You can put this file on a flashdrive and give it to a 3D print shop. They should have the printed model back to you in a week or so. We printed in grey PLA plastic, but they will have a variety of colors and materials available for you to choose from.

Step 3: Clean and Decorate

Once your pieces are printed remove and sand down all support pieces and any raised or uneven surfaces. For the best results when painting your pieces give a light sanding to the surface.

With our model we used water based acrylic paints and they went on wonderfully after just a bit of sanding.

Step 4: Piecing It All Together

You will need:

  • Plastic bonder (we used JB welds plastic bonder)
  • Measuring tape (to make sure everything is lined up correctly)
  • Exacto knife (in case the glue hardens a bit on the edges it can be cut off for a clean seam.)
  • Tape or clamps (to hold pieces in place as the epoxy dries)

With our arcade model we used plastic bonder to epoxy our panels together. It cured within 30 minutes of application and we taped down the corners for some added pressure during the curing process. You will also need to mount the LCD screen, buttons, and knobs to the arcade cabinet. Some hot glue should do the trick.

Step 5: Installing All the Hardware

You will need:

  • one Arduino Uno
  • four pushbuttons
  • three 10kΩ potentiometers
  • seven 330Ω resistors
  • one I²C LCD module
  • one 1/4 inch TRS audio jack OR a piezoelectric buzzer
  • two 10kΩ resistors for the audio jack
  • a soldering iron
  • lots of wire to connect everything

We implemented most of the circuit on breadboards, so the only things we had to solder were the connections from the buttons and knobs to the wires coming from our board. I have the buttons wired to digital input pins 2-5, with a 330Ω pull down resistor on each pin. The potentiometers are wired to analog input pins 0-2, with the same pull down resistors on each input pin of the Arduino. The SDA and SCL pins are connected to the LCD module. For the sound output, if you are using the buzzer, you can just wire pin 10 on the Arduino straight to the cathode of the buzzer, and the anode will go to Arduino ground. If you want to use the TRS jack, you should put two 10kΩ resistors in series between pin 10 and the tip connector on the audio jack. The ring connector will go to Arduino ground; do not wire anything to the sleeve. You will need to solder these connections onto the audio jack. See the schematic above for more information.

Step 6: Programming the Arduino

Once you have hooked up all the components to the Arduino, you are ready to load the Arduino with the music sequencer program. Open up the attached code in the Arduino IDE, verify that it compiles, and click upload. When you first boot up the Arduino, it will be playing the default melody that is set within the program.

Step 7: Enjoy the Arcade Music Box and Let the Ballet Battles RAGE ON!!

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