Maker Faire Day 2 – How to play XyloVan & who made it

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You all showed us how to play today.

You toddled up and whacked away with sticks, silly grins on your 2-year-old faces. You strode up as if approaching the concert vibraphone you played in band, delicately picking out notes to tunes you haven’t played in 20 years. You hammered and drummed, pulling rhythmic tribal fugues out of the raw metal. You wheeled your disabled son up to Keyboard 1, watched his face light up, helped him hold a mallet and tap out a tune.

You played, in every sense of the word.

Thanks so much to all the folks at Maker Faire who enjoyed the van. You really touched us and showed us more joy than you can imagine.

More videos, photos and project details below …



We wanted to give a huge shout-out here to all the good people who helped us bring this project together:

  • To Dave for the junkyard crawls, the invaluable hoisting and finagling and sandblasting and painting of the enormous honkin’ rack, and the endless bonhomie.

  • To Robbie for wrenching and sweating par excellence to restore the damaged door, and for all the cheerful banter on the rainiest, slimiest junkyard crawl ever.
  • To Brian for acoustic advice, hardware assistance and spiritual support in the “man, that’s a wacky idea, but it should be cool when it’s done” vein.
  • To Steve and Beth for helping us mount the xylophones (man, was that just last week?)
  • To my excellent son and daughter for helping with makin’ mallets, changing valve-cover gaskets, cutting keys, mounting disc gongs, doing body work and probably helping us violate various child labor laws (although safety gear was worn at all times!)
  • To Rogan for engineering advice on mounting the keyboards, and to him, his lovely wife Susan and son, Asa for crewing our Maker Faire demo. We had an awesome weekend with you, and thanks to you freeing us up to see the other great creations there.
  • And finally, to my ever-patient, enthusiastic and non-stop gung-ho wife, Kristina, for helping to make all of this happen. Can’t wait to travel to Topanga Days Parade, Burning Man and all places in between where people love making sound.

If you enjoyed the van, drop a comment below – if you have photos or more/better video, add some links!


Here are some more videos and photos from Sunday:







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