T Nation

Question for Electrical/Automation Technicians or Engineers


How do I take a signal from my desk computer or controller (ableton pad or keyboard) and make it activate some sort of claw, that pinches not too hard and vibrates along on plane with variable frequency, amplitude (from 1/4 cm to 1.5" lets say) without excessive force? I will set those parameters after. I also need to be able to operate multiple motors at the same time (8 for now).

Eventually I would like other kind of mechanical motion (hitting, blowing air) if I am successful with this

I want to operate mechanically an instrument with my keyboard, abletonpad or computer keyboard.

The simpler and cheaper the better, no expensive electronic undecipherable gadgets

Where should I look to find such a motor/pinch


In the machining industry that would require a Primary Logic Controller (PLC=Hardware) and the software to go from computer to electrical controls functions, plus a servo motor and mechanical gear.

I’ve never worked with small stuff so cant really say what you need or where to get it. You can look at a Raspberry Pi setup that can be found at mcm electronics dot com. Odds are they’ll have stuff that’s small enough for that sort of application.


Jesus, dude. Can’t you just use a bottle of Jergens and your hand like the rest of us?


^5 & ++++1


If I had the specifics of the application I could respond much better. Vibrating and pinching along a plane with 1/4-1/2 cm amplitude, with several motors for what reason?


I have a wood instrument, 8 rectangles with a bar in the middle of each to be supported on a rack. Each rectangle has a bead that hits on the edge when you vibrate the rectangle with your thumb and finger. Each rectangle is vibrated separately. You can isolate them from each other apart from the rack for more space.

I would like to operate that thing from a keyboard basically, it would be pretty damn cool


What it would be is cost prohibitive unless you’re making serious cash by doing it…


Only thing I am not sure about the cost is the motor, the rest isn’t expensive.

Haven’t figured out from what technical field I can find a motor like that yet.


Look for an automation group like Moto-Man or a consulting firm for info.

Is this a personal or business project?


Personal, which I am also doing at a business this week lol

No more than 300$


I’m thinking under $300 is impossible


Yeah industrial things are expensive and I understand your point as someone in the field, it’s exaggerated for the things I encounter too, like 3000$ for a valve (like for your tap), 25 000$ for a small pump, 1 000 000$ for 10 m x 2 m packaging line, ridiculous

I just need cheap non industrial parts, no certification or precise specifications or requirements. Adjust the amplitude with a screw and the frequency with the voltage input (?). Can’t believe simple lthings like that don’t exist for cheap.


It’s not that simple things don’t exist for cheap. It’s that the knowledge to use them to do something non-standard is not cheap. Assuming no one has built something that does exactly what you want, you need to take two or more things that weren’t specifically designed to work together and make them work together. Since you want it to work from a computer, expect to be writing code.

You need an arduino (or similar), a few brushed motors, some relays, some wires and cables, a power supply, and the mechanical parts to put the whole thing together. If you know where to look, you can easily get that all for much less than $300 (assuming we’re talking about fairly small motors). But getting it to work together is non-trivial. You’ll have to be able to write the code and wire up the motors.

I’ll add that I don’t think I have a good idea of what you are trying to do, as you haven’t explained it too well. What I got was you want to be able to control a motor with a computer.