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LEGO musical automaton

LEGO automaton that can play programmable tunes on a xylophone
LEGO automaton that can play programmable tunes on a glockenspiel

A LEGO automaton that can play music

I started thinking about a LEGO automaton that could play the glockenspiel 5 years ago, and finally find a good occasion to make it. I studied the patent of an old tin toy called Zilotone, and had to think hard on how to code the melody using just LEGO bricks. I found a pretty elegant and simple solution: a chain of LEGO plates carrying the programmed tune as a stack of LEGO plates and tiles. Don’t be fooled, this model needs no electric power, and there is no microcomputer to control it. It can play the tune by swinging on the keys and striking them with  its hammer, at the turn of the crank!

The first tune I programmed for it is the Ode to Joy theme from Beethoven’s 9th symphony. For this reason, the automaton figurine is shaped after the famous composer. The model can be customized by changing the tune and the figurine accordingly.

This LEGO automaton works as like a music box, and might be displayed permanently in a museum (details coming later).