1 – Introduction

Marta Musik Maschine is a DIY, RFID enabled, multi-purpose, audio and light device for kids. It’s open source and you can build one yourself. It’s not hard at all, I promise.

Welcome to my blog about Marta Musik Maschine!

On the next few posts I’ll try to explain why and how I built a toy for children of around two years and up. This blog is dedicated to the idea of you, the reader, understanding my design considerations, allowing you to build your own M3 and if you like advance the casing, electronics or software part of this project.

Before diving into the build process and all its details, have a look at the finished product in action.

Marta Musik Maschine - 3D Printed DIY Tonie Box - Demo
Watch this video on YouTube.

This very first blog post will give you a quick synopsis of the major steps involved. Marta Musik Maschine, M3 and Marta will subsequently be used equivalently.

Marta consists of three parts: Electronics, software and an enclosure. You are completely free to utilize one, two or all three parts of the project. That means, you could obtain and solder the M3 electronics, build your own enclosure and then use any third party software. Alternatively one could only print the plastic box, neglect all other project parts and develop his or her own software and electronics.

But here’s what I have to offer:

The brain of Marta is a small computer, the Raspberry Pi Zero W. A few boards and passive components provide extra capabilities to that core component. The electronic components are located on a double-sided assembled printed circuit board.

I went from prototyping on some breadboard and hand-drawn schematics to using KiCAD. It took a few iterations of professionally manufactured PCBs until eventually I held a reasonable good product concerning size and functionality in my hands.

While working on the hardware, individual software parts were created in order to test all of the components.

The board was populated and soldered afterwards.

To make the PCB and its accessories usable outside of a laboratory environment, a casing had to be designed and printed. This was done using an online CAD software called Onshape and my DIY HyperCube 3D printer.

Marta Musik Maschine - 3D Printed DIY Tonie Box - Assembly
Watch this video on YouTube.

After everything was printed and post processed, I connected the electronic parts and placed them within the plastic box.

When I eventually held the finished Marta product in my hands, a proof-of-concept software was developed. It mainly consists of a few python files and at the time of this writing only implements a single use case, namely to play back local audio files as soon as a tag is placed on top of the machine. Nevertheless it makes use of all the different actors and sensors. I highly encourage everyone to submit ideas or code to the project.

There are tons of ideas left and so many things that I wish I had time to implement. The last chapter will treat with all matters concerning future development.