Thursday, August 16, 2007

Building a pan flute

I woke up one morning and thought building a pan flute would be a neat thing. I have no idea why! It just made sense at the time. ;-) So I went to the hardware store (called Oranjeblanjeblou) and bought 2 meters of PVC pipe. I also bought some other stuff like sanding paper, a little saw, some rubber things for a plug, some wood and some super glue and black paint.

I found that the mathematical equation to calculate the length of the tube is:

TL = (S/F) / 4

Where TL is Tube Length, S is speed of sound (344m/sec), F is desired frequency.

I decided to make 13 pipes so I could have the western musical scale of A, A#, B, C, C#, D and so on. The frequency of A (actually A4) is 440Hz, and the frequency of C# is 554Hz, and so on.

To calculate the length I needed for C#, I would then do:

(34400/554) / 4 = 15.52 cm

Since I had some rubber things that I used to plug up the pipe, I found that I have to add their height (about 0.6cm) despite them not being hollow. I didn't know this at first so I spent quite some time sawing it down properly after realizing my mistake.

I also spray-painted it black, with the exception of the piece of wood I put on the back (not visible in the pictures).

The sound is good but it's very loud.. Maybe I should build a smaller one next time, and maybe one out of bamboo!

So.. there you go, a pan flute made out of materials costing less than 60NOK !


Arne said...

Simply fantastic! Really cool project. And important to recharge energy with chocolate wile working :)

Torbjorn said...

lol, i was hoping nobody would notice that it was a chocolate wrapper in that picture!

√łyg said...

looking foreward to the x-mas concert you're practicing for. maybe it can be the bridge between the piano and the accordeon?