Building a Functional Sax-a-Boom Replica

The Sax-a-Boom was a toy musical instrument for kids that was sold in the 1990s, but which was discontinued decades ago. In recent years, Jack Black has made the toy famous by playing it live. Because of that boost from Black, the Sax-a-Boom now commands a hefty price tag on the used collectibles market. Benny T found himself in need of a functional Sax-a-Boom, but couldn’t afford to pay those collector prices. So he did the sensible thing and built this functional Sax-a-Boom replica.

Benny started this project because his nine-year-old son wanted to cover Jack Black for a biography project in his third grade class. A class of third graders knows Black better for his Sax-a-Boom performances than anything else, so the toy seemed like a necessary prop for the presentation. Benny figured that if he couldn’t afford to buy a real Sax-a-Boom, then he could make one.

With nothing to work with other than some photos and videos of the toy, Benny started the project. While he has some CAD modeling experience, he figured the graceful curves of the instrument were too complex for skill level. So he hired blackhillstudio on Fiverr to do the basic modeling work for $20. The result was a 3D mesh in the shape of the Sax-a-Boom.

Benny then took that mesh and refined it, turning it into a hollow shell and chopping that into sections that he could 3D-print it. He finished those pieces using body filler, lots of sanding, and some paint.

With an enclosure to work with, Benny set out to integrate electronics that replicate the functionality of the real Sax-a-Boom. He used a Sonatino board to control the sound, which is an ESP32-based development board tailored to audio applications. Benny loaded that up with real Sax-a-Boom audio files uploaded to GitHub by david6983. The Sax-a-Boom was a bit more complex to operate, but this replica just triggers those sound files when the user pushes a button.

Benny reports that his son’s report was a rousing success and now he has a Sax-a-Boom to play with to his heart’s content. Further development may come in the future, but even as shelf decor this is awesome.

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