The Little (Invisible) Drummer Boy--Santa's Shop 2016

About: I am an author and a maker. My current project is Santa's Shop. I'm working on a science fiction type book--more later. @EngineerRigsby

This drum plays by itself with magic (magnetic) sticks. It is part of Santa's Shop 2016, a Christmas display that is under construction.

Step 1:

To build this drum, there are several 3d printed parts, two electromagnets, an Arduino and a couple of magnets.

Two electromagnets

Two magnets

One Arduino Uno

Twelve volt dc power supply (.7 amps or higher)

Two 2n3904 transistors

Two 100 ohm resistors

Two 1n4004 diodes

One 9 volt dc power supply (for Arduino)

Step 2:

Insert the electromagnets inside the drum. Be sure they are a snug fit--use tape around the outside if needed to keep them tightly in their holes.

Step 3:

Insert a magnet in the end of a drumstick. Glue the magnet inside or (with a soldering iron) melt the end of the stick to seal the magnet inside.

Step 4:

Place one end of the "axle" on the drumstick into the hole on the stick holder. Insert the other end into the small printed "bearing piece." Glue or melt the "bearing piece" to the stick holder.

Step 5:

Energize the electromagnet. If the drumstick is attracted to the energized electromagnet, reverse the polarity of the wires going to the electromagnet. Find the spot where the repelling forces are greatest and drill holes to mount the drumstick so that it will stay in that position.

Step 6:

Repeat for the other stick. Wire the circuitry as shown in step number one and install the Arduino sketch.

Step 7:

Paint to make it more interesting!



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    4 Discussions


    2 months ago

    Nice Article.Thanks


    2 years ago

    How do you send a signal to activate each stick? Do you think you could make it beat to a song?

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    I activate an electromagnet (turn on the magnet using a transistor) each time I want the stick to move. I use an Arduino micro controller to provide the timing--but anything that would switch the electromagnets could work.


    2 years ago

    Really cool idea! I love the execution!