Bandbeesten Legacy

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The Beest

Team Name Band-Beesten
Duration Fall 2015 - Spring 2016
Faculty Advisers
  • Dr. Steve Beyerlein
  • Dr. Edwin Odom
  • Dr. Bob Rinker
  • Theo White
Team Members
  • Thomas Stewart
  • Tim Slippy
  • Nikolas Taylor
  • Brionna Olenichak
  • Derek Eaton

The Band-Beesten legacy continues as the University of Idaho Department of Mechanical Engineering and the University of Idaho Vandal Marching Band work together to create the ultimate drum machine. The Band-Beesten is a fully powered drum set created to be able to traverse a variety of surfaces such as astroturf, asphalt, and hardwood and be able to carry a load of up to 150 pounds. This year's team completely redesigned the frame, control system, and wheels to be able to reach all of the project goals.


The Band-Beesten project was started in 2011 by Dr. Edwin Odom, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Dr. Daniel Bukvich, Professor of Percussion and Music Theory. The goal of their collaboration was to create a full drum set that could easily be played and moved by a single person during marching band performances. The 2015-2016 acedemic year is the 5th consecutive year of the project.

Work in the fall of 2011 consisted of researching ideas for a powered platform to assist in parade and marching band performances. The team worked solely on research for a proof of concept and did not build a physical prototype. For more in depth design details refer to the Team Drum Roll webpage.

The design team of 2012-2013 made progress with the BandBeesten's design. Dan Mathewson, a UI graduate student, designed a robotic power driven front ball wheel to enable the machine to receive commands through the operator's body movements. More information on this design can be found in Dan Mathewson's thesis . The 2012 design team made significant progress in designing a human interface and powered movement for the BandBeesten.

In the 2013-2014 academic year, a new team started designing a BandBeesten design that would be light weight and have low friction wheels. This design relied only on man-power and did not have any assisting motors. The team also produced a marketing video for the UI Marching Band using 3D printed models and a stop-motion video design. More information about this design can be found at their page.

Project Goals[edit]

  • Maintain Band Beesten from previous projects.
  • Design a new Mobile Instrument Component called "Project Ivory".

Design Specifications (Project Ivory)

  • Make a mobile piano frame with an 88-key keyboard
  • Lots of lights for showmanship effects
  • Lightweight so people can carry it
  • Easy to assemble/disassemble and transport

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Project Learning[edit]


The BandBeesten must be able to be moved in any direction on a moment’s notice to keep up with the marching band’s routine. Its wheels must allow maneuvers such as crab walking and rotation as well as straight motion. Designs considered are Omni-ball wheels, conventional casters, and Omni-wheels.

Beesten OmniWheel 2014.jpg
  • Allows for all-directional movement
  • no swiveling involved
  • Able to maneuver in any direction instantly
  • Expensive and complex design
  • Manufactured wheels are too small, large wheels must be built
  • smaller wheels may not be big enough to clear obstacles
  • debris could become stuck in crevasses between wheels

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Motor Controls[edit]

To control the power given to each motor, an arduino is used. The arduino sends a signal to separate motor controllers which in turn sends power to each motor. breakers, fuses, and an emergancy stop button have been installed for safety.

2014 bandbeesten motorcontroller.jpg
Motor Controller
  • The motor controller receives power from the 24V circuit when the solenoid is engaged by the on/off/emergency circuit.
  • The motor controller receives a PWM (pulse width modulation) signal from the arduino (which is powered by one of the motor controllers) and determines the polarity and percentage of full voltage to feed based off of that signal.
  • The motor controller is protected by an 80A fuse and the on/off/emergency circuit is protected by a 4A fuse.
2014 bandbeesten RC controller.jpg
RC Controller
  • RC controller that is used to control omnibot and the Band-Beesten
  • Purchased from
  • Can control the Beest from approximately 20 yards.
2014 bandbeesten minibot.jpg
RC Omniwheel Robot

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Spring 2016 Design[edit]

Project Ivory so far consists of the re-wired base frame from the previous Bandbeesten, as well as a keyboard and anchoring box. Rough design concepts for the main piano body also exist.

Photo Overview
2016 Ivory Laser.JPG
Keyboard Box
  • Made out of laser-cut birch sheets
  • Sturdy design featuring complex internal supports
  • Allows for easy keyboard transportation separate from main piano body
2015 BandBeesten OmniWheel.jpg
Omni-Wheel Assembly
  • Scaled up omni-wheel design
  • Rubber rollers casted for custom shape
  • Three sets of omni-wheels offset 120o from each other
  • Sets of 2 wheels stacked at each location allow smooth movement with no hitches
  • The wheels can be mounted directly to the frame without any swiveling structures due to the wheel’s unique ability of being able to roll in two dimensions using a large center wheel and small rollers mounted on the perimeter of the center wheel.
2016 Ivory Circuit.png
New Control System
  • Controlled through a hand-held radio controller
  • Signal sent from controller to an RC module and then to an Arduino which controls the motors
  • New "brain" box is easily removed from assembly
2016 Ivory Shell.JPG
Piano Shell
  • Preliminary design
  • Lightweight, hollow body allows for plenty of lighting and effect space
  • Slot for easy insertion and removal of keyboard box

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Team Members[edit]

Bio Discipline
Thomas photo.jpg
Thomas Stewart: I'm the old man on the Bandbeesten team, a husband and father of five children, who changed career paths later in life. I currently hold an associates degree in Mechanical Engineering and will complete a Bachelor's degree in May 2016. I am a hands-on individual who does engine repair, construction, electrical and plumbing work for fun. I enjoy the problem solving challenges that I encounter in various engineering disciplines, from design to mechanics and thermodynamics. ME
Tim photo.jpg
Tim Slippy: I'll be graduating Spring 2016 with a bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering. I like to explore the interfaces between hardware and software, and how software supports and uses the hardware of today's world. I enjoy riding my bike and hanging out with friends in my free time and my "word of the semester" is 'theoretically'. Tinkering with Arduino projects and creating Minecraft worlds are also favorite pass times of mine. Comp. E
Nik photo.JPG
Nikolas Taylor: I am graduating Spring 2016 with a bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering. I chose this major because I find computers and the logic that makes them work to be interesting. I also like languages, so I am currently taking both Japanese and Chinese classes, and hope to go to Japan after I graduate. In my spare time I like to watch anime, play a variety of computer games, and attend my weekly Dungeons and Dragons sessions. Comp. E
Brionna photo.jpg
Brionna Olenichak: I’m in my last year of the Mechanical Engineering degree program. I’ve always liked the mechanics of problems and think I would enjoy a future designing amusement park rides. I also love music and have been a part of the bands at the University of Idaho every year. ME
Derek photo.jpg
Derek Eaton: I will be graduating in the Fall of 2016 with a Bachelor's of Science in Mechanical Engineering. I am currently an active duty member of the US Navy's NUPOC Program. Once I graduate, I look forward to beginning my training to become a Nuclear Propulsion Officer on board a Navy Submarine. My hobbies include shooting, fishing, and other outdoor activities as well as playing video games and design work. I am an officer and member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, a music fraternity that promotes music in America. I am an avid musician, singing in Phi Mu Alpha's men's choir and playing trumpet in the Sound of Idaho Marching Band for the fourth year in a row this year. ME

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Document Archive[edit]

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