Music

Wind-cranked music box sings in the breeze

Niklas Roy used old political election boards for the base plate and blades of the windmill music box
Niklas Roy used old political election boards for the base plate and blades of the windmill music box
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Niklas Roy has installed the windmill-cranked music box outside his workshop
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Niklas Roy has installed the windmill-cranked music box outside his workshop
The windmill turns a drive belt that cranks the music box
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The windmill turns a drive belt that cranks the music box
A rectangle of stiff board is used as resonator for the music box mechanism
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A rectangle of stiff board is used as resonator for the music box mechanism
Niklas Roy recently made 20 windmill music boxes for an installation at the KIKK Festival in Belgium
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Niklas Roy recently made 20 windmill music boxes for an installation at the KIKK Festival in Belgium
3 mm thick plastic sheeting is used for the base plate and blades
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3 mm thick plastic sheeting is used for the base plate and blades
Niklas Roy assembling the windmill music box
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Niklas Roy assembling the windmill music box
A rectangle of stiff board is used as resonator for the music box mechanism
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A rectangle of stiff board is used as resonator for the music box mechanism
Niklas Roy recently made 20 windmill music boxes for an installation at the KIKK Festival in Belgium
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Niklas Roy recently made 20 windmill music boxes for an installation at the KIKK Festival in Belgium
The hand crank on the music box has been replaced by a drive wheel that turns when a breeze catches the windmill
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The hand crank on the music box has been replaced by a drive wheel that turns when a breeze catches the windmill
3 mm thick plastic sheeting is used for the base plate and blades
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3 mm thick plastic sheeting is used for the base plate and blades
Niklas Roy assembling the windmill music box
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Niklas Roy assembling the windmill music box
Niklas Roy used old political election boards for the base plate and blades of the windmill music box
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Niklas Roy used old political election boards for the base plate and blades of the windmill music box
Images of the eyes of politicians from election posters were used to make the windmill blades
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Images of the eyes of politicians from election posters were used to make the windmill blades
Niklas Roy recently made 20 windmill music boxes for an installation at the KIKK Festival in Belgium
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Niklas Roy recently made 20 windmill music boxes for an installation at the KIKK Festival in Belgium
Each windmill music box plays Beethove's Für Elise
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Each windmill music box plays Beethove's Für Elise

We've seen a few interesting variations on the mechanical music box of late, including a motorized model from Swedish musician and maker Martin Molin, and the Krankie, which allows the user to create custom tunes and record them. Last year, Berlin-based artist Niklas Roy super-sized the music box idea by placing real instruments inside a massive box and got the public to play, erm, tunes by turning a huge hand crank connected to cogs and pulleys. Now, Roy has created a windmill-powered music box mounted to a pole that tinkles away whenever a breeze picks up.

Roy set up his original windmill-cranked music box outside his workshop, saying that the response from neighbors was universally positive. But someone really took a fancy to it – or was annoyed by it – and stealthily made away with it during the night.

The windmill music box contraption is made from a few 3D-printed parts, 3 mm thick plastic sheeting (Roy recycled some election posters for some of his builds), some a cutting board or similar, a drive belt and other bits and pieces. The music box itself is an off the shelf unit that plays Beethoven's Für Elise when the crank is turned and the teeth hit the metal comb.

The windmill turns a drive belt that cranks the music box
The windmill turns a drive belt that cranks the music box

He recently made 20 of the musical windmills for the upcoming KIKK Festival in Belgium, which mix and mash up the famous tune as the wind catches each one, potentially leading to fresh compositions or just a mixed up mess of sound, depending on the listener's perspective.

While making the bunch for the festival, Roy decided to replace his stolen wind-cranked music box and documented the build process – which you can see in the video below. Open source plans are available via the source link below, should you wish to build your own.

Source: Niklas Roy

How to build a Windmill-powered Music Box

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