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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I promised some pictures of the haunted organ I am building. (Thanks again to MsMeeples for the awesome idea, pictures, and videos of her build).

This is a 1960 ElectroVoice organ. It had been in storage in my neighbors crawlspace for many years and wasn't working right when I powered it up. My neighbor sold it to me for $20 and was hoping I could use it for Halloween. The only stipulation is that I have to make sure her in-laws wouldn't recognize it when I'm done with it! No problem there! :) I plan to make it look like a pipe organ.




Lots of vacuum tubes in there. A few of them actually say "Made in U.S.S.R".


After the guts have been removed:


I had to remove about about 50 tiny bolts to remove all the electronics from underneath the keys:


Here you can see the plunger-style metal shafts with little red rubber boots. When you press a key, this shaft would push a tiny wire onto a bus bar, completing the circuit for that key. I didn't make those nasty cuts in the plywood. It was actually already like that! I'm not sure if that was done during the original manufacture or if it was done for a repair. It's rather crude and doesn't fit with the rest of the construction.


I originally built a PVC shaft that goes underneath the all the keys and created little PVC ridges using slightly larger PVC that was glued to the shaft. Unfortunately, it did not work. The plungers got stuck when they should have been going back up.


I'm going to change the whole mechanism to look something like this:


I think this will work better. I will have to cut more of the wooden floor away to allow enough room for the bigger cams. Hopefully I will have better luck!
 

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Blaberus craniifer
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Looking good. Do you plan on adding a cam to the foot pedals also?

On the small metal push rods, could you replace the red rubber boots with a round plastic bead. I think the smooth rounded surface would ride easier along the cams.
 

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Devilishly Dutch
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Oh great pics X! That looks much more complicated than ours.
I'll have 'the prop builder' of the family take a look at them when he gets home and see if he has any suggestions as well.

MsM
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm not sure if I'm going to animate the pedals. It's a possiblity. I have lots of projects already, so I'll have to see if I have time to tackle that once I get the basic organ functionality working.

That's a good idea about the plastic beads. I think I'll try that.
 

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Typical Ghoul Next Door
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It's projects like this that make me wish I knew more about mechanics and electronics... that is going to be so cool once you get it all working!:D
 

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Devilishly Dutch
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Hey X.....hubby is looking at your pics now and said he originally built a cam similiar to what you are going to try. Getting them the right size and to line up with the keys was a problem so he ended up switching over to the pvc pipe with the screws in it. Anyway, something to consider when you make you cam shaft.

MsM
 

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Blaberus craniifer
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Hey X, just came up with an awesome idea. Instead of using a cam to work the keys, what if you were to connect the metal rods to small electronic pull solenoids an wire them to the Insteon I/O Lincs. Then use your LightShowMaster software to control the solenoids causing the keys to press. Not only would it work, but you could actually program the correct keys to play with the music that was playing. Now that would be a wild prop!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hey, you did just give me an interesting idea, though. What if I attached some solenoids (looks like I can get them for about $0.99 each) to the keys, and then wired the solenoids to a bank of momentary push micro switches (or make my own). Then I would have a slowly turning drum with pins on it. The pins would push the microswitches causing the solenoids to pull. Dang, that would be cool! It's sort of like electronic and mechanical at the same time!

Edit: Shoot... the solenoids I was just looking at are too big and more than what I would need. They have a pull of 3.7 lbs! Powerful 12VDC to 24VDC Spring Return Solenoid-The Electronic Goldmine I need to find something different. I don't know if I'll go this route, but it might be neat to experiment with.
 

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BAD INFLUENCE
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What about VSA and using a board that will actuate a relay and then actuate the solenoid? Not sure if it would be feasible , just a thought. I'd almost bet if Otaku sees this thread he could come up with a real good and inexpensive way to do this.Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The more I think about this and work on the organ, I'm thinking solenoids may be the way to go. If I continue down the path of conventional cams, I'm going to have a hard time drilling the holes perfectly and positioning everything. And I need to buy a faster motor because the one I have is WAY too slow.

But if I do my idea of a drum with pins in it (sort of like a player piano), then the slow motor is ideal.

The problem with VSA is it will require a computer (or not if I spend money to get that RAPU thing.) I really need to keep costs down and just can't afford to do that. I already have 1 computer running a light show. I could probably adapt my software to run a USB I/O board that goes to relays without using VSA (my program is already a light sequencer, so it wouldn't be too hard to program support for this), but the problem is again going to be cost and I'm not sure what kind of distance I could run between the computer and the relays.

Anyway, I think I'm going to have a challenge figuring out how to attach the solenoids to the keys. Any thoughts? I think it would have to be strong or the solenoids could become disconnected after a number of pulls. I don't see an easy way to do the linkage yet. Nothing comes easy! I might be able to stick some piano wire up through the hole to secure it to the metal frame of the key. That's an idea anyway. Not sure how to attach the wire to the solenoid. Or should I just remove the springs from the keys and have the key's plunger pin rest on the solenoid without juice applied? Then when the solenoid is on, it pulls and the gravity does the rest. When juice is removed, the solenoid springs back up. Hmm... This could be doable.
 

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BAD INFLUENCE
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What if you pushed on the rear of the key , by the pivot of the key? Is there enough room below them to make an extension for the solenoid? Using a solenoid that pushed rather than pulls.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
What if you pushed on the rear of the key , by the pivot of the key? Is there enough room below them to make an extension for the solenoid? Using a solenoid that pushed rather than pulls.
Unfortunately there's not a lot of leverage on the back of the keys because the pivot point is at the very end of the key. I toyed with adding extensions and pushing on the backs of the keys as you suggested. There's plenty of room in the back of the organ for that. I was having trouble coming up with a good extension and attaching that extension to the key securely. That's when I gave up and moved to the cam shaft-style (before I started thinking about doing solenoids).
 

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Blaberus craniifer
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Don't know if these will work..... Small w/ 6-32 thread on plunger..... Could you thread the organ push rods with a die cutter? Then just screw the solenoid onto the key rod.

X, you stated that the I/O Linc's ony support one relay output per unit, bummer..... SmartHome does sell a 4 pack but that's still costly per key.... What about using the Insteon 8-Zone sprinkler controller? That would give you 8 controlable keys per device for approx. $15 a key? I think if you could pull this off with the LightShowMaster program, it would be a better effect as a cam would just have keys going up and down, LSM would allow you to press and hold a key for the duration of a note. Then you could just add an organ solo to your light show..... :D Or have him playing along with the lght show as its going on......
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Don't know if these will work..... Small w/ 6-32 thread on plunger..... Could you thread the organ push rods with a die cutter? Then just screw the solenoid onto the key rod.
Those solenoids might work, assuming they can hold the key up without needing a spring when electricity is not applied.

I think that sprinkler control is still going to be too expensive. Although I do need a sprinker control when I do the garden sprinklers next spring. Hmm. But still, that would only give me 8 keys. I might be able to link a few keys together to make them go down with only 1 solenoid. I have to think about it some more.
 

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Hey X.....hubby is looking at your pics now and said he originally built a cam similiar to what you are going to try. Getting them the right size and to line up with the keys was a problem so he ended up switching over to the pvc pipe with the screws in it. Anyway, something to consider when you make you cam shaft.

MsM
I like the idea of using screws with PVC. I believe the actions will be quicker, since there will be smaller surfaces hitting and letting go.

Good idea.
 
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