What an intense first semester. I was honored to present a prototype of the FolkBox in the Winter Show. Folks responded very well (the people who attended, that is — although the machine performed admirably). While it was great to demo the functionality, still a lot was left to do in order to make it a fully functioning musical instrument. Mainly, the selection of chords was quite limited. In order to ensure that I had a fully functioning prototype, I limited the build to two rows, rather than three rows, of solenoids.
Over break, I’ve started to rebuild it, the way it should’ve been built from the beginning. The housing for the solenoids now uses acrylic, which makes it more rigid, and thus easier to position precisely. The weight is still an issue — this is largely due to the unnecessarily heavy metal bolts, but for now, I’ll leave it be. Once I have a “final” prototype (somehow I suspect that word will never deserve a full entrance into my vocabulary) then I can take note of the distance that the folk box needs to be positioned above the fretboard, and cut acrylic dowel to the proper size. For now, the adjustability of the bolts and nuts is worth its weight.
Getting the solenoids into the acrylic mounting plate — the layers of the housing unit — was a little tricky. The cut wasn’t right. Well, the cut was right, but it turns out that the solenoids have a bit of a “lip” that extrudes farther than the standard dimension of their cylindrical bodies. Enough to make squeezing it into brittle acrylic dicey. Very dicey. Now, I didn’t want to recut, because I wanted the housing to be very snug, in order to keep each solenoid exactly perpendicular to the freeboard — so I opted to file down the offending lip.
I also filed the inside of the holes, just a little. Finessing, frankly.
Got all of them in, finally, and assembled the unit.