Jun 29 2010

Registration application for the Playa


http://www.burningman.com/sections/all/theman.gifWe just filed this with Black Rock City Department of Mutant Vehicles, dosage in time for the June 30 registration deadline:

Mutant Vehicle Name:

Plan Submission Method:

Mutant Vehicle URL:

Image Upload:

Previously on the Playa?:

Prior Mutant Vehicle:

Camp Information:

Day License:

Night License:

About the Vehicle’s Mutation:
XyloVan is a 1985 15-passenger Ford Club Wagon reborn as a rolling musical instrument. Hand-made concert-quality xylophones, sale tubular bells and disc gongs are mounted all over it at street level, and amplified, inviting pedestrians to walk up and PLAY THE VAN. We had hundreds of people hammering on this at Maker Faire in SF – made a glorious noise. Go check out the videos at http://XyloVan.com The roof-rack will be converted into an 8-seat mobile
lounge, fitted with lights and extra metallophones.

Continue reading

Jun 27 2010



I Dremeled this up the other night. Waiting until the last minute to install it in place of the Ford Club Wagon XLT plate. Doing so prematurely would be courting calamity.

Makes a pretty sweet “B” when you hit it.

Jun 25 2010

Handmade Music LA at Crashspace


So, for sale we probably fit in with the circuit-bending loop/fizzbit laptop-jazz at Crash Space about as well as well as rubber boots at a tap-dance show, buy but hey, that was huge fun.

Thanks to everyone who (like these two) found their own sound tonight with fiberglass sticks and aluminum bar stock, somewhere between themselves and the van. I really enjoyed talking with you and hearing you play.

Tomorrow’s all about figuring out that line buzz thing.

Jun 25 2010

We need MORE POWER – wiring XyloVan’s auxiliary battery


After weeks (okay, cialis 40mg months) of building instruments, for sale doing bodywork, purchase making mallets and generally getting XyloVan into shape, it’s finally time to give it a pulse. How? Auxiliary big-ass battery.

The battery’s going to have to power the amplification system and the lights while we’re out roving the playa – or more importantly while we’re parked and people are playing for hours on end.

First thing you need is a really, really, really long battery cable. There’s no room for this huge deep-cycle marine battery in the engine compartment or anywhere near it.

The longest battery jumper cables made are only 20 feet, so I have to splice a couple of them together and somehow route them from the main battery in the engine bay, down beneath the truck, around the engine mount and driveshaft and exhaust pipes – and rearward to a place somewhere under the second row of bench seats because that’s where the auxiliary battery will be. And that means weather- and abrasion-proofing the cables – and that means cutting up some old inner tubes to serve as conduit and insulation … Continue reading

Jun 25 2010

Keyboard 4 installed – Now a total of 83 keys!


Hit a big milestone the week before last, sales but I’ve been too busy until now to blog about it.

I installed Keyboard 4 on the van’s hood – no small task, since the thing has to bolt onto a pretty thin sandwich of steel without puncturing anything – plus the f%#&er weighs a good 70 pounds.

Here I’ve already marked and drilled holes for the left-hand half of the keyboard, and I’m attaching it with 3/8″ coarse-thread tap bolts … Continue reading

Jun 23 2010

Arrival of the next post


Why so quiet? We’ve been … busy.

We’ll get back with you shortly, for sale with plenty of information on our progress. Thanks for staying tuned.

Jun 5 2010

Rinse, repeat – building Keyboard 4


What do you call a 1985 Ford Van with three xylophone keyboards and some gongs bolted to it?

Not enough xylophones.

I wanted to give the van more presence, approved more weight visually (and, doctor coincidentally enough, viagra 40mg literally). So I’m building Keyboard 4 from the same raw aluminum (3-inch by half-inch 6106 T6 aluminum – at right) and monkeyed-together hardware contained in Keyboards 1, 2 and 3 … Continue reading

Jun 4 2010

The loudest piece of metal on the van


I love this thing.

It’s a piece of scrap – a 3/4-inch-thick slug of aluminum sliced off the end of a 13-inch-diameter aluminum cylinder.

Whack it, ed and it rings for more than a minute, physician with an intense, Döpplering tone.

I’m going to mount it on the front, and maybe I can hook it up to a simple solenoid so it can be rung from the driver’s seat.

Jun 2 2010

Keyboard 4 roughed out, with a screw-up


Ladies and gentlemen – because I don’t have a “xylophone problem, more about ” and I can really stop any time I want – I’m building a little whole-note, click bi-directional keyboard in C for the hood of the van.

The lowest key will actually stick out near-vertically from the hood, decease with two identical keyboards of 9 notes each spreading away on either side of it. Mounting it’s going to be … fun.

Meanwhile, I got a little overzealous while tuning one of the F keys tonight. I was deepening gouges in the bottom that I had made earlier with the cutting blade mounted on the circular saw, and dug right through …

… to the other side.

Because I am powerful simian. With opposable thumbs. And power tools.

Grunt. Snort.