I just jumped head first into robotics as an awesome new hobby. For my first project, I decided to create a robot which would tap a snare drum with a drumstick at different velocities. Not having worked with any motors yet, I don’t really have a concept of relevant torque measurements. Would I be able to use RC Servos like the ones on this site or would I need to step it up to something bigger? Or would stepper motors be more appropriate for what I am trying to do?
Thanks for the help, I’m having lots of fun with this already.
I suspect that the RC servos would be too slow for your purpose; they should have enough torque. Stepper motors would most likely not have enough torque without a gearbox. If you don’t need to move the drumstick too quickly, a servo is a fairly cheap and easy way to get started.
As both a drummer and a mechanical engineer I can tell you that a hobby servo is not going to have the torque/speed capabilities to produce a nice snare drum crack, not to mention that for a satisfying sound the stick has to rebound off of the drum skin, and a servo, stepper or DC gear motor would not have the same elasticity as the amazing human wrist.
I do have a suggestion, however. You can get a really nice snare drum hit with a heavy wooden drumstick by standing it on one end and letting it tip over onto the drum. You could mount the end of your drumstick on a hinge or ballbearing, so it rotates freely into the drum, then make a servo and release mechanism to lift the stick to different angles (for your different hit velocities) and release it. As an added challenge try to catch the stick after the first bounce!
Good luck, and let us know how it goes.