I finally got the opportunity to get out into the garage today and bring some of my sketches into reality. Here’s what about 3 hours of work got me:
It’s a prototype of a piano action — the part that hits the strings (or, in my case, bell) when you press a key. It’s currently missing the mechanism for a damper (the part that silences the note when you release the key), the actual bell, and there are a few other things I’m still futzing with.
I need to figure out a better bearing for the movable joints (wooden dowels are too stiff). Keeping things aligned on the balance pin is tricky, but once everything is lined up with the rest of the keys that might work itself out. Figuring out where to put the balance pin is also tricky. Right now, things are a little too heavy feeling. And after whacking this one rapidly a few times I can see why so much effort went into developing repetition mechanisms a few hundred years ago.
Everything is build from 1/8″ and 3/8″ baltic birch plywood, because in order to fit all the mechanisms for all the keys the action can only be 3/8″ wide.
One of my goals for this project is to make it with simple, consistent, repeatable pieces, so I’ll continue to work with this design to get rid of some of the weird pieces that are harder to make.