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    Stage Ready to Build
    Project Need Cognitive, Other
    Created By Ross Porter ( @rosswesleyporter)
    Capabilities Needed 3D Printing, Electronics, Laser Cutting
    Time to Complete 1-2 hours
    Cost to Build $60 – $210 USD depending on version build
    Creative Commons License attribution-noncommercial-sharealike-4-0-international

    This low cost, electronics project was inspired by the documentary Alive Inside, which shows the profound joy that music can bring to people with dementia, Alzheimers and other memory loss related disabilities. The goals of this project are to bring the joy of music to those who have Dementia, Alzheimer and memory loss disabilities and to bring the joy of meaningful giving to makers.

    Project Page


    @rosswesleyporter , have you considered building a version of the case using woodworking tools? I think I could get volunteers to build the cases and others to instal the electrical components. Normally I like efficiency but while building local support for AT I am trying to maximize the community involvement.

    These are some possible ways of making cases:

    * Router Templates – Template routing would be fast. I came across this technique used in car audio fabrication which may work for the music player and other MMC products. This video shows the process: We could CNC or laser cut templates that could be distributed to volunteers.
    * Scroll saws – We have a local group,, that makes items for children’s hospitals using scroll saws. I know that scroll saws are popular with local seniors.
    * CNC – With hobby CNC machines becoming more popular this could be a good way to use these smaller machines. Maybe we could provide plans for the Shaper Origin and other CNCs so new owners can make memory loss music player cases while learning to use their new machines. Local maker spaces and college shops could potentially cut out cases while teaching new users how to operate CNC machines.
    * Typical home woodworking tools – The Plus mode bamboo design on your website,, could be modified slightly so it could be built easily using common DIY and hobby tools.


    @brentcourson, glad to see that you are interested! I have 20+ Standard Model cases to give away. If you can make use of some, just let me know and I’ll send.

    From what you wrote, it sounds like you are very familiar with laser cutting and 3D printing, in addition to woodworking. For other people that might read this post, I just want to say a few standard things about laser cutting & 3D printing of cases:

    – As you noted, laser cutting is efficient. Takes me 11 minutes per case. If your community has Glowforges or similar, that could be interesting.
    – Sanding and wood finishing take longer than laser cutting, so opportunity for community involvement.
    – There is a 3D printable version of the Standard Model. A good way to involve those in the community that have access to 3D printers.

    I haven’t tried traditional woodworking for this. In part because I don’t have the skills. I’m always impressed by people that do have the skills. I watched the router template video – that was quite fun. I just spent some time thinking about woodworking and wrote the notes below. The notes sound a little discouraging, but it’s really just the software engineer in me worrying about details.

    – All of the existing laser cut designs assume laser accuracy & precision for certain parts. 0.02mm precision for the interference fit clasps on some models. 0.05mm precision for how the knobs attach the D-shaped (not round) shafts of the rotary encoders on all models. 0.05mm for the friction fit of the LED. The living hinge (for bends) has its own kind of balanced precision. There are more, too long to list here, but happy to discuss. There’s also the engraving of the labels. As you suggested, some redesign will be needed for a non-laser approach.

    – There is a [deprecated box-style case]( that would need less redesign. No living hinges. The only curves are for the knobs. Still have the issue of how the knobs attach to the rotary encoders, the friction fit of the lid, and the engraving of labels. Note that the box model is deprecated, so the linked build instructions are out of date. But it’s the same components and software as the current models.

    If you can make this with routers or scroll saws or CNC or home tools, that would be pretty interesting. Happy to discuss.



    These are very cool. Love them!


    @rosswesleyporter , your case design is ingenious and looks great. I understand why you developed the design and chose laser cutting. Thanks for the willingness to share cases.

    A friend is looking for some projects that school age children can work on with parental help. The parents are tech savvy and one of the Dad’s is a cabinetmaker. The laser cut cases could be perfect for this group. I will contact my friend and see if she is interested.

    I am not an expert on 3D printing or laser cutting but I am fortunate to work with many people who have these skills. Our local makerspace which is an incredibly supportive partner has two 50 watt Epilog Lasers. Many of our current volunteers are talented makers with engineering degrees.

    My reason for asking about alternate production methods is motivated by a desire to create meaningful volunteer opportunities for people who are good at making things with their hands but may not be comfortable with computers. There may be better projects for incorporating this type of volunteer. I can recognize multiple benefits of sticking with laser cut cases.

    The ‘magno’ wooden radio is an example of a commercially produced case that can be made with very few tools (table saw, drill press and sander). This is an article with some photos and this is a video

    I will talk to some people and get back to you.



    @brentcourson, I completely understand why you asked about alternate production methods. My guess is that you’ll find a good project for those methods, probably doing something that a laser just wouldn’t make sense for. In my own case, I need to make some side tables for my elderly mother’s new retirement apartment. That’s not a laser project. So I’m learning to use a CNC.

    Sounds like your next step will be to talk with a few people. Just let me know if you need any info for those conversations.

    Thanks for sending the link for the Magno radios. Those are absolutely gorgeous!



    @rosswesleyporter I am working on building support for your project but it will take some time. It would be great to see a picture of your side tables when completed.


    @brentcourson, alas the CNC was out of commission for a while. So I reverted to traditional tools to make some very basic side tables. So a functional result that I’m happy with, but not procedurally interesting. Though this was the first time I used amber shellac as a stain and that worked quite well.


    One of the things about the Memory Loss Music Player that I thought could use a revisit is the music player board itself. The Raspberry Pi will play anything (thanks to Ross’s carefully-crafted SD card image) and it interfaces well to rotary encoder knobs, but is fairly expensive and can be a little fragile.

    I’ve been looking at music player boards on and off for the last couple of years, and I’ve found one that comes close: the [YourCee Wireless Bluetooth MP3 Decoder Board XY-BT-L](
    ![small red MP3/Bluetooth decoder circuit board with attached USB storage](upload://rfEsRE80ex6IUwirlnzBgiCrQ3R.jpeg)
    It’s more of a switch-adaptable device than one that would easily replace the Raspberry Pi, but it’s $2 and plays the same USB device full of music folders that the Memory Loss Music Player likes. There are hundreds of variants of these kind of boards out there, and I’m amazed at what this can do for so little money.


    Recently built one of these for my grandpa, and it’s great! One piece of design feedback would be that the addition of an on/off switch would be beneficial. Possibly the style where the volume knob all the way counter clock-wise shuts the device off? This way it would not require the need to unplug the device to shut if off, as sometime plugs can be blocked behind a table, or low down and difficult to reach. That said, great design!

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