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Makey Makey Drum Set

Got a Makey Makey? Then this tutorial is for you only.

Those who are unaware of what Makey Makey isIts an Invention Kit for Everyone, is an electronic invention tool and toy that allows users to connect everyday objects to computer programs.Using a circuit board, alligator clips, and a USB cable, the toy uses closed loop electrical signals to send the computer either a keyboard stroke or mouse click signal. This function allows the Makey Makey to work with any computer program or webpage since all computer programs and webpages take keyboard and mouse click inputs.








We had added following things in this tutuorial:

  1. Makey Makey Setup

  2. Building Makey Makey Drum Set


Makey Makey Setup:


1) Plug in USB


Small side of USB cable plugs into Makey Makey, big side plugs into computer.



2) Close Popup Window

Your computer may ask you to install drivers or do other setup. You can click cancel or close the window.


3) Makey Makey Pinouts





4) Connect to Earth


Connect one end of an alligator clip to “Earth” on the bottom of the front side of Makey Makey.



5) Connect to Yourself


Hold the metal part of the other end of the alligator clip between your fingers. You are now “grounded.”


6) Connect to “Space” and Try It


While you’re still grounded, touch the round “Space” pad on the Makey Makey. You should see a green light on the Makey Makey, and your computer will think the space bar was pressed. If you open any notepad/Wordpad and click in the text area, you can make the cursor move. You can also complete the circuit by connecting another alligator clip to “Space.”



7) Connect Stuff


Now you can try making your own drums out of anything. How about a banana cowbell, a watermelon bass drum, or a crash cymbal sound when you high-five your friend?



8) Try Out Different Materials


Make anything into a key! You can make a connection through anything that’s even a little bit conductive. You can also create inventions that combine conductive and non-conductive parts.


Conductive Materials, here are a few things to try:
  • Most fruits and vegetables work great.
  • Lots of other foods work too. We’ve tried marshmallows, gummy candies, macaroni and cheese, cupcakes, shrimp, and lots of other things.
  • Plants can work too. Try some leaves or flowers, but nothing too dry.
  • Play-Doh, Model Magic and other clays work very well as long as they stay moist.
  • People are conductive! Connect one person to ground, and another to an input, and you can trigger sounds when they high-five.
  • Graphite from a pencil can work. Make thick, dark lines, and be sure to draw on a smooth surface.
  • Foil and other metal objects will work. Try out coins, magnets, nuts and bolts, forks and knives, or pots and pans.


Craft Materials


When you’re inventing, anything goes! Here are a few things people have enjoyed using:

Inflatable beach balls, paper plates, cardboard boxes, various types of soft and rigid foam, lego bricks, plastic storage boxes, stuffed animals and other toys, funny hats and other pieces of clothing, sheets of fabric, string, yarn, elastic, and paper.

It’s also important to have around some tools for cutting, like scissors and exacto knives, and ways to stick things together, like hot glue, superglue, various kinds of tape, and clips or clamps.



9) Various Apps and Softwares

Makey Makey works with any software that uses the keyboard or mouse. You can really use any web page or any computer app.

Check out these Makey Makey Apps




Building Makey Makey Drum Set:


Since you had seen different conductive materials can be used with makey makey, so we had decided to use copper tape build something. Refer the below section for the steps we followed to build one drum set:

  1. Craft Dummy musical instrument: In this step we carved small Cylinder shapes using wood to be used as drums. We had used the Plastic bottle cap as well and used some nuts, bolts, washers and screws. You are free to use anything available around you.
  2. Assembly: Its time to assemble the shapes on one platform, we had used 4mm MDF sheet to make one setup. We put screws to hold the shape in position, you can use double sided tape as well. Once all the shapes are arranged properly on the platform our half job is done.
  3. Adding Copper tape: Now its time to wrap your shapes(You made in previous step) with some copper tapes. The tape comes with glue, all you need to do is to peel out the cover and stick it to surface, try to maintain the way you put the tape, as it will look nice in the end.Need one copper tape for you ? We have some: Order Copper tape here or Order Copper tape with conductive adhesive
  4. Adding ground plane and Stick: Try to add some ground plane using copper tape near to your instrument setup, so that you can play the instrument using hands only, since you are making drum set, so its better to make some sticks to play the drum. To play the drums, it is necessary that your sticks must stay grounded, we used one metal bolt to use as sticks to play the drum and we added wire to it and tied the wire to the Setup base plank.
  5. Testing Continuity: Make sure that all the tapes are well connected, do a continuity test using multimeter.
  6. Adding Makey Makey: Once you are sure that copper tapes are glued firmly, its time to add alligator clip wires to connect makey makey to the setup. Refer the below image for the setup we made:


    We had utilized 5 keys on the makey makey board, we used keyboard keys and mouse click key to connect the various instrument, you can connect it as per your wish. Once done with this connection, time to connect Makey Makey to you computer using USB cable, don’t have any cable? Don’t Worry, Order this from our store

  7. Run Program: We had used Drum set program built using Scratch to play our drum set, visit this link to try it out.
  8. Test all the Instruments: Make sure that you are able to hear sound after you run the scratch program and grounding any one of the instrument, either with hands or usign stick you made to play the drums.


If all went fine till this point, you are now having a drum set which you can play to make some music and show it to your friends. Hope you enjoyed making it, will join with other tutorials soon.





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