Laser Cut Fish Music Box

37

1

I have done 3 iterations of a laser cut music box. I bought a paper strip music box on Amazon and laser cut a fish box to place the music box in. I chose to do my favorite singer, Fish Leong's newly released Chinese pop-song called "How AM I" and I chose to do a fish box because the singer's name is Fish. This music box with Fish's song in a fish box is like she sings the song.

Supplies:

Paper strip music box set (including paper strips and a hole puncher)

Birch Plywood

Adobe Illustrator

MuseScore

Step 1: Iteration 1

Rationale

PHASE/ITERATION GOALS

Goal: To prototype and to see possible ways that the music box can fit in this fish box.

Criteria: After placing the music box into the fish box, the fish box fell apart because it was not strong enough to hold the music box. At least it helped me see the box's dimension and think about next steps.

DECISIONS

Decision 1: Used an online template of a fish box

The template was the only fish box template I found and it was about laser cutting elliptical boxes (https://www.instructables.com/id/Generating-ellipt...). I decided to do a fish box other than other elliptical boxes because my idol's name is Fish.

Decision 2: Modified the template

After downloading the template, I decided to modify the stroke of lines. I changed the red lines to .001 pt and blue lines to 1 pt to make sure they could be laser cut correctly. I also enlarged the box by keeping the aspect ratio to make sure the music box could fit in.

Decision 3: Used cardboard

I chose to use cardboard because it is free and have many cardboards at home. This was the initial try and I thought there might be things that would not work so it was not worth buying materials such as wood.

Decision 4: Laser cutter settings - Matboard

I did not find "cardboard" in the laser cutter material database so I chose the closest - matboard. It took about three hours to cut and it did not even finished engraving. Fortunately, it finished cutting the red lines before the Makerspace closed and I decided not to finish the engraving because the Makerspace was about to close.

Process

INFORMATION GATHERING: Google, Instructables, YouTube

GETTING MATERIALS/TOOLS/SOFTWARE: Amazon cardboard package box

SOFTWARE: Adobe Illustrator

PEOPLE: Lin, Kathryn, Lindsay

LOCATION: Area 01 Dabble Lab, University of Washington

COST: About $14 (Music box set)

TROUBLESHOOTING: Some parts were not cut through so I had to force them separating from the cardboard

CREATING THE FILE: Used an online template and modified the stroke and dimension

CUTTING THE FILE: About three hours

ASSEMBLING: By hand

FINISHING: Thought about how the music box would fit in the fish box

Step 2: Iteration 2

Rationale

PHASE/ITERATION GOALS

Goal: To prototype with wood to see possible ways that the music box could fit in this fish box.

Criteria: This iteration helped me brainstorm multiple ways that the music box could fit in this fish box and I picked sticking the music box on the lid of the fish box.

CHANGES / RATIONALE

Change 1: Cardboard → Birch plywood

To see how it felt when using plywood which was the material that I decided to use for the final product

Change 2: Increased the size without keeping aspect ratio

Decided to place the music box vertically in the fish box and had to increase the height of the box. Thought the fish might be cuter when it was a more rounded shape and to see if it worked if I didn't keep the aspect ratio. It turned out didn't work well because the shape of the teeth was skewed and the teeth were too long. The fins didn't fit well because the curve was not right.

Change 3: Finished engraving

This time it took a much shorter amount of time and I got to finished the engraving.

DECISION

Decision: To place the music box vertically in the fish box

Because the music box resonated best when it was on a flat surface and the fish box was elliptical, attaching the music box to the side of the fish box and letting the hand crank came out from the top was the best choice at that time.

Process

INFORMATION GATHERING: Google, Instructables

GETTING MATERIALS/TOOLS/SOFTWARE: Birch Plywood from Artist & Craftsman store

SOFTWARE: Adobe Illustrator

PEOPLE: Lin, Kathryn, Lindsay

LOCATION: Area 01 Dabble Lab, University of Washington

COST: About $8 (Two pieces of plywood)

CUTTING THE FILE: About one hour

ASSEMBLING: By hand

FINISHING: Thought about how the music box would fit in the fish box

Step 3: Iteration 3

Rationale

PHASE/ITERATION GOALS

Goal: To actually place the music box into the fish box.

Criteria: This iteration worked the best among the three iterations except it was too small to let the music box fit in and it was too loose that the pieces could easily fell apart.

CHANGES / RATIONALE

Change 1: Decreased the size keeping the aspect ratio

Because the teeth were distorted in the last iteration, I decided to decrease the size of the fish box compared to the last iteration. To make sure the teeth worked, I increased the size of the fish box by less than 10% compared to the original template.

Change 2: Added a small hole on the side for the hand crank

I continued with the idea of sticking the music box on the lid of the fish box and added a small hole to let the hand crank of the music box went through.

Change 3: Put the two living hinges togetherbut forgot to change the line where they connect → ended up still having two pieces cut out

DECISIONS

Decision 1: Laser cutter settings - Thickness: 0.120''

I set the thickness to 0.120'' instead of 0.118'' for the previous iteration that was the actual thickness of the material to prevent things from not cutting through.

Decision 2: Laser cutter settings - Skip rastering

Because there was no black lines in my file, I checked the skip rastering box when setting up to make the cut more efficient.

Process

INFORMATION GATHERING: Google, Instructables

GETTING MATERIALS/TOOLS/SOFTWARE: Birch Plywood from Artist & Craftsman store

SOFTWARE: Adobe Illustrator

PEOPLE: Lin, Kathryn, Kathy, Lindsay

LOCATION: Area 01 Dabble Lab, University of Washington

CUTTING THE FILE: About half an hour

ASSEMBLING: By hand

FINISHING: Thought about how to use program to generate fish box of the different sizes so that I can enlarge the box to make the music box fit in and make the fins fit.

Step 4: Getting Music!

Picked a song & Figured out the notes

  1. Picked the song "How Am I" by Fish Leong
  2. Sang the song note by note to a tuner app called PanoTuner
  3. Wrote down the notes
  4. Figured out the key of the song and the key of the music box
  5. Transcribed the key of the song to the key of the music box and saw if every note was included in the range of the music box
    • Only did the second part of the chorus of the song "How Am I" because there were notes that were not in the range of the music box in the first part of the chorus
  6. Punch holes on the paper strips to see if the notes worked
    • Found that the music box could not catch the same notes that are too close together (i.e. two notes on the two closest lines) so decided to space the notes twice far apart and crank the music box twice faster

Figured out the rhythm of the song

  1. Used MuseScore to write out the music sheet
    • Three versions (see pictures)

Map out the music sheet with the grid on the paper strips

  1. Download the music sheet as .midi file in MuseScore
  2. Open it in software such as Garage Band
  3. Screenshot the midi piece by piece and put them together in Adobe Illustrator
  4. Measure the dimension of the grid on the paper strips and map it in Adobe Illustrator
  5. Calculated the dimension of both the midi pieces and the grid and map them together
  6. Drew small circles on the right note line to represent the dots on the paper strips
  7. Printed out the midi+grid .ai file
  8. Cut out, lined up the paper with the paper strips, taped the paper with the paper strips
  9. Punched holes and took the paper off
  10. Repeated steps 8 and 9 until finished punching all the notes

Step 5: Next Steps...

  • Find a program to help me generate fish box of the right size while ensuring the teeth fit and the music box can fit in
  • Put together the living hinges so that the lid can stay with the fish box
  • Glue the music box to the lid to see if it works
  • Add chords to the music to make it fancy!

Share

    Recommendations

    • Backyard Contest

      Backyard Contest
    • Colors of the Rainbow Contest

      Colors of the Rainbow Contest
    • Beauty Tips Contest

      Beauty Tips Contest

    Discussions

    0
    None
    seamster

    12 days ago

    Very nice, thank you for sharing the process! What kind of course was this made for? I'm a little jealous, as this seems like an awesome thing to get to do while at university! :D