Deep inside the Fork-o-Drumbot

The software of the fork-o-drumbot is simple, but it uses a number of tricks that I would like to show you here.

The concept is very straightforward:

  • the MIDI source sends to the Arduino the note of the percussion to be played;
  • the software recognizes the note and sends a PWM signal to the related solenoid, proportional to the intensity of the note.

Seems easy, doesn’t it? But often simple things hide something complex. Let’s go in depth!

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Salvaged mechanics

I think that the funniest and most creative part of all this project was building the mechanics.
I mean, I could have bought specific components. For a project like mine, if I really needed to buy every single screw, my budget would have exploded.
I have started walking around the flat knocking on everything to hear how it sounded, and I finally run into a wooden box.

The drumbox

This box gave me the inspiration of building something like a cajon.
The box had an opening lid fixed with two hinges. Two precious hinges 🙂 I saved them for later, and I glued the opening. After that the glue was dry, I found that the box sounded too opaque when knocking on it. I have then cut a big hole in the back with the hacksaw. Much better. Continue reading

Federica, Vito, and the Fork-o-Drumbot live!!!

The trembling voice of Federica and the trembling fingers of Vito in front of the oceanic crowd!!!

Thousands of thanks to PollyAndBob for their idea, the great opportunity and the perfect organization!

Many thanks also to the lovely Susann who made this video, fed us with delicious cake and tea, and hosted us on her balcony.

By the way, Fork-o-Drumbot seemed not to be scared about people!

Thanks to DarioJ Laganà for the picture. Check out his beautiful photo reportage about the magic atmosphere!

Very superstitious!

Live show upcoming!

On Saturday 2 November 2013 Vito Caiata, Federica Sabatini from and the Fork-o-Drumbot are going to play at this beautiful event “Singing Balconies of Friedrichshain“, organized by Polly & Bob.

We will play be in Oderstrasse 19, around 18:40.

Check it out and look for “Tour rot“, “Federica und Vito spielen und präsentieren ihr Fork-o-drumbot“.

Here below a test run of the instrument a few days ago 🙂

This blog is still under construction, I will soon post all the making of, the improvements I will make to it and many other things.


Stay tuned!


Selecting the components

The first thing I needed was the Arduino itself. I like the idea of supporting an Italian open source project, so I bought an official Arduino Leonardo. It´s good quality and not too expensive in my opinion. I bought it from here.

Arduino Leonardo

Arduino Leonardo

For the rest the criteria was: cheap, available and reusable. I selected all the components from Farnell and I have filtered first for electrical characteristics, then for price, and last for availability in stock. Usually the last two come at the same time. Continue reading