3D-Printing a piano bracket for the leap motion

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3D-Printing a piano bracket for the leap motion

After having developed an early alpha version of my Reach application, I needed to start thinking about ways of easily placing and removing the leap motion from any acoustic piano. This, so that I could start using my app paired with my audio processing environment in Pure Data, analysing and tracking pianist’s microgestures.

I wanted to do things right: so I started to look at official leap motion accessories, mounts, brackets, clamps. Nothing suited my needs.

Talking about my existential problems with my colleague Joe (you should definitely check out his website), he suggested I started looking into 3D printing what I needed.

Those two words sounded like paradise bells. 3D print. 3D. Print.

By following Joe’s advice I would have learned a new skill (ideally), jumped into a topic that I have always been attracted to (as always), and last but not least crafted the exact item I needed! This sounded like the perfect plan, so I listened to his advice and started looking into how to 3D print a leap motion bracket.

SPOILER ALERT: In the end I didn’t learn how to 3D model or print (but I plan to).

I started browsing online for existing 3D models and I stumbled onto this amazing “thing” done by a creator called Paul Matthews that I could never thank enough! This was perfect for 3 main reasons:

  1. It was free and open source.
  2. It looked like a well designed mount.
  3. It had a GoPro compatible mount style, that could be used with all of my GoPro accessories!

After a bit of tweaking with the help of Joe, and a bit of rescaling, the model was ready to print! After a few prints gone wrong, a few models that were too small, and one that broke, this was the first (and only) version of the mount:

  • The bracket fit perfectly with my GoPro accessories.
  • It held firmly the LeapMotion upside down.
  • (…and most importantly) It was completely home made!

Now, due to the non invasive nature of my research, I had to make sure the mount and the LeapMotion blended properly with the piano. I had to do a proper paint job.

I primed the mount first with a basic white primer and after 12 hours I gave it the first black coating. This process was repeated twice, and the is the final result:

As a temporary system, I used a cheap GoPro clamp and arm from amazon to literally clamp the LeapMotion to any piano, but I’m planning to design and 3D a better mount soon!

Stay tuned for more!

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