Programmable 3D printed kalimba

This video shows Shapeways user EYEDEA with his prototype hand-cranked programmable, 3D printed kalimba sequencer: "Pegs can be set to produce different 16-step sequences of 5 tones."

3D Printed K5 Programmable Auto-Kalimba is a Hand Cranked 16 Step Awesome Analogue Music Machine



  1. I guess you could call it a “player kalimba” – it would be perfect if the sounds it makes were more musical and less percussively abrasive. It reminds me of a much smaller version of Page Bowning’s *Thunder Machine*

  2. They need to make a 3-d printer that prints in wood so this could have a more pleasant tone.

    Also, damnit.  I have wanted to make a programmable music box for the past 5 years but never did.

    1. In a real way, classic old-time music boxes are a kind of basic digital system (zeros and ones, tone and no tone) programmed by their makers – as are player pianos. Piano rolls are complex, often times recording the keystrokes of real, human piano players.

      1.  One of the themes I loved about 2D Goggles is Charles Babbage’s ongoing (historically verified) campaign against street music, when street musicians were working exactly the same punch-card technology that Babbage perfected and Lovelace realized the programmatic potential of.

        That said, the music in the video is pretty shit when compared to African traditional musicians, and it’s still pretty shit when compared to smelly hippies messing around with gourds and nails.  It’s like change ringing in the palm of your hand (not that there’s anything wrong with that, except, what? Are you totally antisocial?).”

  3. Un-huh…  Never seen a music box that used plastic and I can see why now.

    And it isn’t exactly programmable…I don’t see usb/serial/bluetooth onboard.  Customizable, yes …  hi-fi sonic reproduction, no.

  4. Everytime I see a plastic Maker version of some object that is better or as good in a non-toxic  sustainable material I think to myself that there needs to be some form of a widely distributed, Maker defined, Maker Material Code Of Ethics.  Celebrating this plastic object is misguided for two reasons. 1.) It is made of plastic yet it is a non-essential recreational object. 2.) Making it out of plastic is entirely unnecessary as it can also be fabricated out of materials that do not poison our bodies, our oceans and our lands. The ultimate irony here is that this printed piece of plastic is a variation of a 3000 year old musical instrument originally fabricated out of bamboo. Certainly you would not be able to print bamboo, but growing it is very easy in a wide range of climates. While bamboo grows it provides clean air and rejuvenates soil. This plastic, alternately, destroys hormonal balance in living creatures. If that isnt enough to make it uncool, plastics have been fouling the ocean for so long now there are massive deadzones in our Oceans including the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. ( which I am sure everyone is familiar with)  Finally, this Kalimba sounds horrible. Whats the point? What makes it cool? Demolish serious culture? ok fine. But build serious environmental consciousness in the process. Each One Teach One. Wake Up Maker Culture just because you printed it and its functional does n0t make it cool. Thermoplastics are not cool. They are killing us softly.

    1. Greasy peccadillo… add me to The List
      (How excited the Maker is with his toxic toy!)

      1. Its not just him and his instrument.  Its every Maker everywhere making their “one” “little” plastic thing. Its the cumulative effect of 100’s of thousands of maker produced plastic objects. Each purchasing their thermoplastics supply and then “making” prints. 

  5. Alright, as an occasional maker of bell like things I would like to offer the maker a suggestion for his next version. I have seen many people try to make marimba like instruments and they almost always make the same mistake. That is, holding the sounding material by its end. It wont resonate for very long like that. You need to hold it at a spot near to 20% percent from the end. If he was to redesign so that the little bars stuck out the other end (we cant actually see what I am talking about, where the little bars are attached to the gourd.) If they continued past their attachment point they would almost certainly sound better.

    Nice work overall, worth a second or third try.

  6. kalimba awesomeness x 2 (a different feel for each):

Comments are closed.