Hacker News Re-Imagined

The Floppotron 3.0

  • 1398 points
  • β€’ 23 days ago

  • @perakojotgenije
  • Created a post

The Floppotron 3.0

@bencollier49 β€’ 22 days

Replying to @perakojotgenije πŸŽ™

This is incredible and what a project! But the retrocomputing enthusiast inside me winces a little at all that lovely old hardware being wrecked..


@mNovak β€’ 23 days

Those floppy stacks sound delightfully like a harpsichord


@jonstewart β€’ 23 days

Someone get this man a daisywheel printer!


@robbomacrae β€’ 23 days

I've often wished there was a way programming could produce art as a by product. That way we could see something more tangible for our efforts, have a landmark system for help recalling it all, and show progress to our non technical family members.

This has made me think that making music as a by product would also be pretty neat.. being able to hear different sounds for different functions would be a much more intuitive way of inspecting the overall health and performance of your system than trudging through logs.

If anyone knows of anything like this I would be happy to pay for it!


@niffydroid β€’ 22 days

If you like things like this then check out "look mum no computer" he does similar things https://youtube.com/c/LOOKMUMNOCOMPUTER


@shdon β€’ 23 days

I love it for sheer we-can-do-it-just-for-the-heck-of-it-ness, though I admit I'm a bit nostalgic for Floppotron 2 as the new one sounds a bit too smooth for my tastes, losing some of that charm.


@givemeethekeys β€’ 23 days

It's stuff like this that makes me question the meaning of life and the point of "worthwhile pursuits".

Pure art. I hope this ends up in a museum.


@softcactus β€’ 23 days

With this many floppies capable of creating discrete tones, I bet you could synthesize human speech. Running a Fourier Transform for some speech clip and then having each floppy play a different frequency.


@AndrianV β€’ 22 days

If you can read any MIDI file, you should seriously consider hosting a twitch broadcast where subscribers may upload their own MIDI files and hear them played live by the floppotron.


@gffrd β€’ 23 days

This had me smiling the whole time …

I love it when projects go so far beyond beyond what was intended, well beyond where most people would have stopped or lost interest, and in to the land of the absurd and hilarious.

This reminds me of the joy in the fun things I've done just for the sake of taking them as far as they could be taken.

Thanks for sharing.


@reaperducer β€’ 23 days

The earliest iteration of this sort of thing that I know of is the Commodore 1541 being programmed to play Bicycle Built for Two.

Are there earlier examples?


@LegitShady β€’ 23 days

Not exactly the same thing but it reminds me of James Houston's cover of Radiohead's Nude on hard drives, a dot matrix printer, a scanner, and a sinclair ZX Spectrum.


This says 14 years ago.


@benoliver999 β€’ 23 days

I love that he made it use MIDI, it makes it so flexible


@user3939382 β€’ 23 days

I would predict that he's either single or his wife is rolling her eyes :D I LOVE it


@superb-owl β€’ 23 days

This is incredible. There's something about the convergence of technology and art that I find super satisfying.


@tomcam β€’ 22 days

Intonation surprisingly good!


@Yizahi β€’ 22 days

Pawel is doing amazing work, no questions. But I also like to promote lesser scale projects, like this one for example (only 5 sound sources):

Floppy Music Robo-Band. Rondo alla Turca (cover) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICMXnnb_xqI


@sigmonsays β€’ 23 days

i'm pleasantly surprised and amazed. I've seen these through the years but the sound quality on this is absolutely amazing!


@narven β€’ 23 days

amazing work and pacience


@mgdlbp β€’ 23 days

Awesome, the 2.0 decommissioning last week had scared. There's a spectacular variety of ways that music has been made in unconventional electromechanical ways--on the head motors of floppy drives 3.5", 5.25", and 8", on hard drive voice coils, scanner carriage motors, steppers wherever the're found in CNC devices, dot-matrix printheads, pulsed laser cutters, tesla coils, all the way back to radio interference generated by the IBM 1401 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPk8MVEmiTI).

The 1401 video I actually saw in an older related HN submission; lots of comments linking out to different examples in these threads. Here are a couple, someone might be able to aggregate a bunch more:

"Eye of the Tiger" played on a dot-matrix printer: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9286555 (2015, 62 comments)

"Imperial March" on a single floppy drive: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2230849 (2011, 27 comments)

Both the news site and original video of the second submission are lost to time, but luckily our saviour (of web content) Brewster Kahle has graced us with a copy in the Internet Archive.[1] The Wayback Machine also remembers a time when YouTube recommendations bore greater relevance--those on the archived video page from 2011[2] are entirely of videos of computer hardware music. Some might even still be up today.

[1] https://web.archive.org/web/0id_/wayback-fakeurl.archive.org...

[2] https://web.archive.org/web/0/http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

"Imperial March" was also what was played on the first incarnation of the Floppotron, with an impressively full sound from only two floppy drives (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHJOz_y9rZE).

And perhaps related are those videos of the pleasingly periodic percussion of uncontrolled devices like (broken) washing machines, electronic typewriters, and air conditioners.


@allset_ β€’ 22 days

Love the Floppotron, glad to see it alive and well! Keep it up!


@Vladimof β€’ 23 days

Probably the best one of it's kind, so far.


@kinnth β€’ 23 days

I've never seen anything like this, nor will I ever see it again. Thank you. Please gift this to a museum when you're ready!


@injidup β€’ 23 days

I saw a version of this over 30 years ago. One the geek kids in our group who could program assembly found it a giggle to turn the computer lab into a musical instrument via floppy drive seek commands. Next trick...turn a Tesla into a musical instrument via the motor drives.


@recursivedoubts β€’ 23 days

not all heroes wear capes, but this guy needs a cape


@globalnode β€’ 23 days

this was amazing


@Ice_cream_suit β€’ 22 days

So very cool !

(Pardon my immature gushing, but it really is very, very cool !)


@justin_oaks β€’ 23 days

This reminds me of the Device Orchestra channel on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDwMh0pu1iSXeKx7qmqjIQA


@listenfaster β€’ 23 days

Bravo. Anyone else destroy their friend's Commodore 1541 running drive songs?


@kube-system β€’ 22 days

I bet this sounds awesome in person. I hope this ends up in some sort of museum some day so I can hear it.


@mftb β€’ 23 days

This is brilliant! It reminds me of the anecdote Steven Levy relates in Hackers about Steve Dompier of the Homebrew Computer Club writing a program for the Altair that created music through electrical interference[0]. Awesome!



@loudthing β€’ 23 days

That retro looking CLI gui is pretty slick.


@pkaye β€’ 23 days

They should add SSDs to the mix.


@mikehollinger β€’ 23 days

It's like a new kind of pipe organ. I love it. :-)


@koyao β€’ 22 days

But why?


@afroisalreadyin β€’ 22 days

I am in awe of the completeness and entertainment factor of this thing; you have to admire the dedication that went into bringing it to such a level. Probably the most entertaining thing I've ever seen done with computer hardware.


@sam537 β€’ 22 days

The internet can still be a beautiful place.


@YakBizzarro β€’ 23 days

My question is: where did he find 512 floppy drives??


@supportengineer β€’ 23 days

Amazing project. I remember having a C64 program that would play a tune using the 1541 disk drive.


@lqet β€’ 22 days

I would pay significant amounts of money to see a live performance of this contraption.


@Agingcoder β€’ 23 days

This is utterly insane, and absolutely amazing.


@frizkie β€’ 23 days

I want very badly to listen to a bunch of old N64 game tracks on this thing.

This is the stuff of legends, nice work PaweΕ‚!


@adamredwoods β€’ 23 days

Wow. How loud is it?

Also, why didn't he use any SSDs? (j/k)


@nickwanninger β€’ 22 days

Not long till can we have a GB of floppys on one table. Imagine!


@dbqpdb β€’ 22 days

This should honestly be in an art gallery


@malikNF β€’ 22 days

Love this!!! Thanks op!

For some reason this reminded me of chiptunes ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rf_p3-8fTo0 [Pretty sure some of you will recognize some of these tunes] )


There's more here if anyone's interested.



@ethanfinni β€’ 19 days

There should be a special version of a Turing award for fun computing projects like this!


@Maursault β€’ 23 days

There's just too much time involved here. How many man-decades? It's because of the hardware. You have to appreciate anyone that would take the time to get one floppy working. One. Someone should virtualize all this for him so he has time for other things.


@peterkelly β€’ 22 days

This needs an old-school theatre organ console hooked up to it


@alkaloid β€’ 23 days

I'm curious as to why the resettable breaker for each eight drives . . .

I presume this was trial-and-error, but how could someone tell that the current is too much for a disk drive which is being, uh, overdriven (to make noise!)?

Or maybe this was a "just in case" situation...?

So cool . . .


@wrycoder β€’ 23 days

I think I'll just go home now...


@AceJohnny2 β€’ 22 days

By having his devices (say, the floppies) driven in columnar groups (controlling number of active devices for volume), did he accidentally create a phased array speaker?


About Us

site design / logo Β© 2022 Box Piper