Drumming robot

MIDI drum machine to complement live electronic music

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Robotic drummer for a concept electronic metal band. Several bands now have robot drummers and I wanted to join the fun, but with my own cyber-horror style.

For this project my goal is to learn ::ROS, create parts that look organic by using Generative Design functionality in Autodesk Inventor, get experience with modern servos and linear actuators, and finally build a robotic drummer for my neurometal band. Also see my exoskeleton.

The files are available on GitHub.

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  • Leg Shocks

    Valeriy Novytskyy05/26/2020 at 01:41 0 comments

    Spent really wonderful 2 hours searching for extra-short shocks for the legs. Finally arrived at a golf cart shock on Amazon.

  • Mecanum Wheels

    Valeriy Novytskyy05/25/2020 at 19:03 0 comments

    I am going to try to put 6" mecanum wheels on this thing - thanks McMaster carr! Truly space age stuff here.

  • If it fits, it sits

    Valeriy Novytskyy05/23/2020 at 19:14 0 comments

    Haven't felt like doing CAD lately, going to take a 2-week break - but here are some renders with roughly blocked out legs next to a blocked out drum set. They will have internal spring shocks on them as well, and I am thinking whether I need to rotate the front legs or leave them fixed.

  • Shocks arrived

    Valeriy Novytskyy05/22/2020 at 01:46 0 comments

    I tried to pin down a set of shocks that I can include in the assembly, but they kept going off market. The problem is that they are extra short (for a motorcycle) and extra long (for a bike) so basically I had to order them before all other parts, just so I could depend on a specific part to include in the virtual assembly.

  • Gearbox and Adapter

    Valeriy Novytskyy05/21/2020 at 19:50 0 comments

    Still working to pick the gearbox and adapter for rotating the torso. Doesn't look too unsightly:

  • Torso and legs

    Valeriy Novytskyy05/18/2020 at 20:20 0 comments

    Slew drive was picked, NEMA 34 DC motor picked. I started working on the legs while I am waiting for the gearbox STEP model to install in the assembly for a final "what's it going to look like" render.

    Leg: option 1 (decided I didn't like it)

    Leg: option 2 (based on Pinterest art, but with my twist)

    I blocked out the flat sheet metal parts for now, going get those dimensioned before I move onto making the leg 3D.

  • Stop Screwing, Get Slewing!

    Valeriy Novytskyy05/15/2020 at 03:29 0 comments

    Slewing Drives are a lower-cost alternative to robot rotary platforms that trades precision for cost while still being able to support a lot of weight.

    That is, it's a composite solution:

    • The slewing drive that can take a 100 lb off-axis load, with a high gear ratio, but not too wide in diameter as to be excessively huge or heavy. It uses a worm gear.
    • An extra gear box to up the gear ratio even further
    • A beefy ClearPath motor popular in robotics

    The company that manufactures it is called Cone Drive. The STEP file couldn't download so I am modeling it off 2D drawings to plug it into the virtual assembly.

  • Rotary Platform

    Valeriy Novytskyy05/14/2020 at 17:05 0 comments

    Zeroing in on a rotary platform from Bell Everman. It seems the $4k tag may be unavoidable to get something that works.

    I got their STEP files, so here's a preview with 200mm rotary stage:

    Here's a 100mm rotary stage (motor facing down):

  • Torso rotation

    Valeriy Novytskyy05/14/2020 at 06:08 0 comments

    I got the shocks and drive links ordered, modeled, and installed in the virtual assembly.

    Next I am shopping for a hollow rotary reducer platform that will rotate the torso. Something like this:

    Most DC motors that work well for robotics applications have lower torque and aren't designed to withstand a significant off-axis force (i.e. torso trying to fall over and rip the motor flange out of the motor). Planetary gear reducers solve this problem because they have bearings to counteract off-axis force, and between 5:1 and 10:1 ratio that makes it possible to use a low power motor to turn a great deal of mass.

    Unfortunately the American-made rotary reducers are around $4000, and buying a Chinese one for $400 is pretty scary because there is no guarantee that it will ever be shipped, will work, or will arrive this year. Let's see what happens!

  • GitHub project setup

    Valeriy Novytskyy05/13/2020 at 20:00 0 comments

    This week I setup project management Kanban board on GitHub:

    Last sprint I had a lot of trouble finding shock absorbers for the arms and the torso. Today I finally found RC car drive links that I can use for the arms instead of shocks, and small motorcycle shocks that I can use for the torso.

    Drive links:


    Another task that I had trouble with for a while is sourcing a DC motor responsible for turning the torso. I looked at ClearPath motors but they are not powerful enough. Since I would like to run the robot on batteries, AC motors are not a good option. It's likely that I will need planetary gear rotating platform or something else that will let me use multiple weaker DC motors to turn the torso.

    The servos responsible for rotating arms are over $1000 each (Dynamixel Pro) so I would rather not get a $4000 motor for the torso in addition to that - too wasteful on the resources since torso motion is not critical to this design.

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