building a percuphone

Thread Starter


Joined Mar 2, 2016

I would like to build a very low-fi percuphone, which (from what I can gather by watching this old french video) is a bass string on a steel guitar with a variable-speed motor spinning a wheel that has little felt feet that tap out a rhythm on the string. I have no idea what I'm doing but it seems not too impossible.
I was thinking I'd use a 18v cordless power drill, but I need some sort of modification to get the drill to run at a selectable, continuous speed with minimal intervention so I can have my hands free (maybe a sewing machine foot pedal?). I think I can make the wheel and attach it to the drill without problem, and the body of the instrument shouldn't be too hard.
check out minute 4:18 on this video for a description in french and a clip of it in action.
I don't know anything about electronics and I don't know anyone who does, so I am really at your mercy here. I am excited about this project!

I would love detailed descriptions, sketches or referrals to other sites or youtube video tutorials

Thank you very much for your time.

blocco a spirale

Joined Jun 18, 2008
A cordless drill appears to be a good source of parts. It shouldn't be too difficult to, either, remove the speed controller and fit it remotely or leave it in place and add a mechanical linkage between a footpedal and the switch.

On second thoughts, install the drill on the floor with the footpedal operating the switch directly and extend the drive via a long steel bar held in the chuck; the driveshaft and string don't have to be horizontal.

I think the best place to start, since the details between drills will vary, is to source an inexpensive or free drill so that you can see what you have to work with.

The challenge here is more mechanical than electronic.
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