Meet the maker: Josef Szuecs

The maker Josef Szuecs

Project Maker (s): Josef Szuecs

Country/Area: Northern California, USA

Links to the Maker: Website Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Youtube

Maker Bio:

I primarily work with wood and electronics, although most projects incorporate other materials as well. My workshop is equipped with standard woodworking equipment along with CNC machines and a laser cutter.

Along with the making of physical things, I am also a jazz guitarist. I try to integrate my passions of making and music whenever I can. For example, in projects like the Drummer in a Suitcase project.

From 2006 to 2017, I provided software development and fabrication services to Maker Faire. I also exhibited numerous award-winning projects.

I currently serve as the President of the Board of Chimera Arts Maker Space in Sebastopol, CA. Chimera Arts provides facilities and training to our local maker community.

In October 2018, I produced the first Maker Music Festival. A celebration of people that make their own instruments.

Project Name: Drummer in a Suitcase

Project Introduction:

“Samson” is a portable percussion unit housed in a vintage suitcase. It can be remotely controlled by any Bluetooth MIDI enabled sequencer.

I play guitar and needed a drummer to keep the beat during my gigs. I’ve played with drummers in the past. But I wanted to continue playing solo. Of course, there are many electronic drum machines out there — but I wanted something acoustic.

At the core of the unit is an Arduino Uno driving solenoids. The Arduino just listens for incoming MIDI notes from an external sequencer and triggers the corresponding solenoid. I installed a MIDI shield on the Arduino and connected it to a Yamaha MIDI Bluetooth controller.

This lets me design and deploy patterns from any Bluetooth MIDI enabled app. For gigs, I just put my iPad on a music stand and control the unit from that.

Of course, I didn’t want to reach over to the iPad during a song to turn patterns on and off. So, I modified an old volume pedal and connected it to the Arduino. This lets me fade the unit in and out at will.


Special Thanks

to Maker Music Festival for inviting this amazing project to exhibit on Maker Faire Shenzhen 2021.




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