A Kokopelli’s Sound Shaper part 2- Finalisation

After the first review, we had a lot more interesting ideas given by Cheryl as well as the class. We know that there were a few changes necessary to make the final work even better, as listed below:

  • Remove the “kaze” shell that covers the inner mechanics of the final product

  • Tighten the mechanics and ensure that parts and pieces do not fall out of place

  • Install a “pin ball” mechanics to amplify the sound that runs through the final product.

First review

We thought it was interesting to have a pin ball machine installed on the back of the final product as through this way we could control how long the sound can be shaped into. However, it would be a hard task as the design is structured to serve a specific function, which is to mimic a Japanese fan-like wings. In attempts to creating a  pin ball machine at the back, we would have to structure the space properly to ensure maximum efficiency.



Pinball Machine Brainstorm

We added wooden panels into the design as we intended to create a stronger percussion/acoustic sound when the marble is dropped into the system. It emulates a pinball machine, with each panel placed slanted at an angle to facilitate the marble falling into funnel catchment area.

First Design
Wooden Stoppers

Apart from the usual wooden flanks to direct the pin ball down, we inserted small wooden poles into the system, this is to create a longer soundscape as the marble has to move through the wooden poles to reach the catchment area, shown above.

wooden planks

The placement of the wooden planks are also interesting as we had to place it at angles where the marble can flow down smoothly and making sharp and strong sounds, without being stopped at any point.

final pin ball layout
experiment with planks

We experimented with bamboo poles by heating it, allowing the fibres to be softened enough to bend. This bend allows the marble to roll and create an undulating sound of movement, however, it didn’t work out. We also tried to use the curved bamboo pole to hold down the pipe that serves as a tubing for the marble, but that didn’t work very well in terms of enabling dexterity.

Softening the hose

We also used the heat gun to make the hose more malleable, creating the tubing that directs the marble into the pin ball system.


Hole in tube

We used heat gun to soften the hose, which allows us to easily cut through it to create a hole that allows the marble to fall out of. This hole becomes the input that directs the marble downwards, through the pinball machine.


These wooden poles or planks act as redirection method common in most pinball machine. They not only elongate the sound of the final product, but also allow us to create a composition of mix and matches of sound. For example, the sound of the marble hitting the poles or the sound of the marble rolling down the wooden plank at an angle.

catchment area

We created a catchment area through the shape of a funnel that is detachable. We called it the cartridge. This cartridge allows us to insert it into the base of the product when catching the marbles. However, when we are restarting the pin ball system, we can take it out to transfer the marbles to the other cartridges.


The final composition of the pinball machine as shown above.

The Cicada’s wings


spreading of the cicada wings

The video above shows the demonstration, as well as final presentation of the cicada wings. The clip highlights the sound achieved with the final product.


perspective drawing of the product with kokopelli
joel as the secret cicada
spreading the wings
perspective drawing draft

Range of movement and sound lexicon


sound lexicon

Learning Points

Although the presentation wasn’t fantastic in terms of the execution, where the marbles did not come out of the system efficiently, we understood that there were errors in the choice of material. This choice of material could have been more sustainable and dexterous, such as wooden panels pointed out by Cheryl after our post-mortem check.

Wood would have been an easier material to create a sturdier structure in terms of holding everything together. The acrylic board and styrofoam of our product did not hold together due to prolonged wear and tear. It was functional in terms of its intended mechanism so that is good.

One Reply to “A Kokopelli’s Sound Shaper part 2- Finalisation”

  1. Thanks Brendan for continuing with the process documentation… am glad you uploaded a sound video. Given the time span & budget, both of you did an excellent job in the conceptualization of Cicada… just slight tweaks in choice of material would have resulted in a sturdier prototype… but anyhow, well done! 🙂

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