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Mariano II

A year and a half ago I produced a keyboard steel tube xylophone which, for want of a better idea, I called a “Mariano,” for “marimba-piano.”  It was so crude.  The ‘action’, such as it was, consisted of a wooden lever which swung into the bars when pressed on one end.  This is of course much less functionally awesome than an actual piano action, which takes care of pulling the hammer back to avoid damping the tone, and stopping the tone when the key is released.

So!  The logical next step is to produce a version which does these things.  But how?  I carefully studied the action in my upright piano, and found that it might not be a good place to start.  A high moving part count intimidated me.  After some googling, I came across a much simpler, but (in theory) functionally equivalent action devised by a guy named Hickman in the 30’s.

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The animated gifs didn’t quite put across the movement of this thing, so I dashed into the Makery to put together a prototype with the CNC mini-mill I’ve recently acquired (a lucky break) and converted.  Here it is with one of the bars from the original Mariano:

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I’ve ordered a set of laser-cut experimental action parts for further experimentation.  Yay for Ponoko making life easy.  There’s a bit of a “click” partway through pressing the key, and of course the finish is far below what it could be.  More iterations are in order.

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