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With spring in full swing and the sun shining longer every day, we’ve got solar on the mind. A great summertime project is a flashback from MAKE Volume 12: the Solar Xylophone! How does it work? A regular xylophone fits inside a solar-powered player box that holds a mallet over each of its 8 chime tubes. Each mallet is powered by a system that includes a solar cell, a simple Solarengine circuit, and a small motor. The systems work in parallel: the brighter the sunshine on each panel, the more frequently its corresponding tube will be struck.

Now you can listen to sol music by day and be lulled to sleep by the gentle sound of your hard drive wind chime (also in Volume 12) at night:

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Here’s the Solar Xylophone in our Digital Edition for you to scope and build. And for plenty more where that came from, pick up a hard copy of Volume 12 in the Maker Shed.

Goli Mohammadi

I’m a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

I was an editor for the first 40 volumes of MAKE. The maker movement provides me with endless inspiration, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. Covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made.

Contact me at snowgoli (at) gmail (dot) com.


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