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Solenoid Actuator?

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by mtowns, Jul 4, 2006.

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  1. mtowns

    mtowns Guest

    I am trying to actuate a metal rod to move with certain different
    velocities. I am hoping to use a solenoid and a velocity-sensing
    feedback system. The output should be appropriate for pusing a
    weighted piano key. Is this feasable? Are soleniod actuators avaliable
    pre-assembled, or would I have to make one myself? Thanks.
  2. Bob Eld

    Bob Eld Guest

    Yes it feasable. It requires pricise control of the the solenoid current and
    timing. Diskclavier works this way. Check them out you may get some hints.
    Also QRS piano roll company has a piano playing mechanism that works this
    way, not cheap.You will probably have little luck finding a ready made
    actuator at any price you can afford, so if you are serious will have to
    design and build your own. Good luck.
  3. Don't the player piano restoration supply houses have these as a stock item?

    How about Allen Organ?

    Many thanks,

    Don Lancaster voice phone: (928)428-4073
    Synergetics 3860 West First Street Box 809 Thatcher, AZ 85552
    rss: email:

    Please visit my GURU's LAIR web site at
  4. Guest

    It is used in professional systems, but itsn't all that practical - in
    particular, with the space available you can't match the accelerations
    and velocities you get when you strike a piano key, rather than pushing
    it down.

    E-mail me - I've got a handful of references on the subject.

    Compumotor has an ironless linear electric motor which is powerful
    enough and almost compact enough for the job,

    but it isn't cheap.

    see also
  5. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    Find an amusement machine vendor in your area who still does pinball
    machines, and get some drop target reset solenoids. I used to work
    repairing pinball machines (and juke boxes, Pac-Man, and so on - kewl
    job!), and was tempted to use them in a piano project of my own, which
    never materialized. (sigh)

    If you've ever played pinball, you've seen drop targets reset - the
    stroke is maybe 1-1/2", and they don't have a lot of force (they raise
    those little plastic targets, which latch in place), but by eyeball
    and gut feeling, they looked like they'd be ideal. You'd have to
    carefully control the current, to give the attack and sustain that
    you want, of course.

    Good Luck!
  6. Guest

    The throw on a piano key is about 9mm - 3/8 of an inch.

    To simulate the force that is required to accelerate the hammers at a
    5:1 mechanical advantage, you need to develop forces of the order of 20
    Newton (about five pounds weight).

    Modeling the 14-19 moving parts between the key and the hammer seems to
    be a fairly important part of the job - carefully controlling the
    current to do that is quite tricky.

    Brent Gillespie's Touchback Keyboard project is described in the
    literature - I posted a couple of URL's earlier in the thread - and
    level of simulation required seems to eat up quite a lot of computing
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