Heating Gratetar

2014-09-23 21.38.28Heating grates sound great. I used to sit by them as a kid and strum metallic chords while basking in their warmth. It’s like campfire music.

At Home Depot, I found a heating grate. I played with it using my fingers, rubber, wood and metal drumsticks. They all sounded cool. I bought the heating grate.

Next I needed a box that could help shape the sound of the instrument. I bought a 1x48x5.5 plank of resonant oak wood, measured some sides, and cut with the chopsaw.

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I used the amazing pocket screw kit so that no screws would be visible from the outside—it’s awesome!

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I made a contact mic and liked the sound, but wanted to add strings…

So I came across this 8bit violin laser cut template on Thingiverse. I’d actually seen one in action before and it sounded/looked fantastic. All I really wanted was a way to have one string, so I just laser cut the bridge, tailpiece, neck and pegs. I used 1/4″ oak and the specified laser cut settings just weren’t cutting it, so I slowed down the speed, but then the oak got all burnt. It looked ok this way, and smelled sweet, but I will need to figure out a better way if I do this again or choose less dense wood.

Next I drilled a sound hole, and hastily went about affixing the violin pieces to the box. I used wood glue, and broke the bridge, but I would like to come back to this project and do a cleaner job. I would cut out slots for each piece, perhaps using the router…

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2 thoughts on “Heating Gratetar

  1. Love this idea. Great use of the grate, the pocket screws and the laser. Agreed, maybe oak wasn’t the wood to laser cut, but it looks great. How does it sound?

  2. Thanks Ben! Re: the sound… I obviously need to make a video documentation. But it sounds pretty good. The strings buzz and the whole grate vibrates, there are different ways to play the metal bars. I’d like to keep developing this project.

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