DIY Records for the Fisher Price Music Box Record Player
I did a lot of research in April 2019 to make my own fisher price record of Baby Shark. Using the research from fred27 and improved upon by Tycho.
I created my own method using excel to compose a song and OpenSCAD to generate the record 3d object.
Before we get into that, some history.
What is the Fisher Price Music Box Record Player?
It is a toy record player sold in the 1970s and 1980s that plays plastic records without batteries. The songs are actually encoded on the records and the mechanism is wind up. So if you have a smarty pants kid they could observe the record player and figure out how it works. Over the years, a whole bunch of new records were made available. More info.
This is not the 2017 re-release of the “Fisher Price Music Box Record Player” https://amzn.to/38uwbT4 #ad That was an mp3 player. Running on AA with all the songs stored on the device. The records themselves were keyed to play the right song from memory. The records are not expandable with new songs.
Back in 2012, Fred Murphy released “Fred’s Fisher Price record editor” to instructables. It was really remarkable work. The zip included an exe that allowed you to see the song you are composing, play it back to test, then generate the .scad file to be turned into a 3d object printable record! The biggest problem is that it only allows you to generate regularly spaced notes and the output .scad file were hard to read. With x,y,rotate info given for each pin.
Four years later, Tycho made additional progress and provided a python script to convert .midi files. I had mixed success with the midi converter. Tycho never stated what he used for a midi editor, I tried several tools, but wasn’t really able to duplicate his success. Unlike Fred’s release which still works out of the box, all the way in 2020.
What I really liked about Tycho’s release was the .scad template. Each pin is assigned a note name so that you can create a composition by entering a list of note names and spacing between notes. Each composition is divided into steps of the song. Each note has a spacing next to it, that is the spacing of how long until the next note starts. Plus the back of the record is flat and easier to print!
Using Tycho’s .scad as a template I did some modifications to make it easier to generate. I renamed the notes to match the actual note names for each toy record player’s track pins. Leaving the missing pins commented out, maybe they will be useful someday. There are also the duplicate note pins, so the toy record player can play some notes faster without jamming. My excel sheet automatically makes use of the duplicate pins when it detects repeating notes.
The excel sheet I wrote allows me to compose a song similar to sheet writing without needing a dedicated exe. Write the duration of a note where you want it on the scale, and the excel math will determine the note name (or duplicate note name) and duration offset to add before playing the next note.
Humming the notes of the song, while duplicating my sheet music in an online music maker, got me a rather nice playable version of Baby Shark. I had a friend 3d print it for me, and it is still my daughter’s favorite record.
Source Files: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4648393
I did a google search today and found a few more folks pursuing making their own records using their own methods. Awesome to see others also investing time to improve the diy methods. I added links to their project pages below.
2012: 3D Printing Records for a Fisher Price Toy Record Player By Fred Murphy (fred27)
2016: Module to make Fisher Price Music Box records By Tycho
2018: FisherPriceRecords by Charles Céleste Hutchins (celesteh)
2019: Music box tune tracker by DREVET Olivier (odrevet)
2020: Fisher Price Record Maker by Bernie Bernstone (bbernstone)