Approximately 100,000 LEGO pieces were used to build this instrument
With the exception of the wire strings, this instrument is entirely constructed out of LEGO parts–the keyboard, jacks, jack rack, jack rail, plectra, soundboard, bridge, hitch pins, tuning pins, wrestplank, nut, case, legs, lid, lid stick, and music stand are all built out of interlocking ABS (Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene) plastic bricks and related pieces.
And is playable. (w/pics)
Specifications include a 1 x 8′ disposition (single choir (one string per note), middle C corresponds to middle C on other instruments), single manual (one keyboard), 61 note range (5 octaves, C-c””, A415), 6 x 3 ft. dimension, approximate 150 lbs. weight, and an estimated 100,000 LEGO piece count. The strings (brass gauges .012-.018 and steel gauges .008-.012) exert approximately 325 lbs. of tension.
It’s taken two years of theorizing, designing, collecting parts, building, testing, and rebuilding. Originally, upon thinking about the potentials of making a LEGO musical instrument, I had hoped to reproduce a piano, but ditched the idea due to the enormous tension involved (40,000 lbs.)–there’s a reason why pianos have steel frames. Its ancestor, the harpsichord, seemed more practically possible–the key/jack workings are simple levers, the strings are plucked, it’s smaller, and it maintains less tension. Coincidentally, I was in my Bach phase anyways.
The important considerations during design were strength, efficiency, and durability. Anticipating the tension of the strings, the instrument had to be built strong, yet be able to incorporate the functions and mechanisms on a lifesize scale. With many moving parts, it also had to withstand the repeated demands of a keyboard instrument. Several prototypes of the various sections were made. After finalizing designs, I started amassing the necessary LEGO parts.
Audio sample mp3