How to make pan pipes

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Pan pipes

Pan pipes

Want some campfire music? Here is how to make pan pipes. This is quite a simple musical instrument and can be made within an hour.

To make your pan pipes you will need:

  • 1m garden bamboo cane
  • Garden string
  • At least 1m plastic plumbers pipe
  • Hacksaw
  • Vice or something to hold the pipe in still while you cut it
  • Epoxy resin
  • Thick aluminium foil
Cutting pipes

Cutting pipes

Firstly get your pipe and start to cut the pieces to size. The pitch of each note is dependent on the length of the pipe. Personally, we didn’t bother with this stage and just cut them at different lengths.

But if you want, here is a guide to cutting the lengths of your pipes in centimetres:

Low octave
Mid octave
High octave
B
33.1
16.9
7.5
C
31.3
15.2
7.0
C#
29.8
14.4
6.5
D
28.1
13.7
6.3
Eb
26.4
12.8
5.7
E
25.2
12.0
5.4
F
23.5
11.3
5.0
F#
22.2
10.6
4.5
G
21.0
9.8
4.0
Ab
19.7
9.2
3.8
A
19.6
8.7
3.7
Bb
17.4
8.2
3.4
Pipes cut to length

Pipes cut to length

Once you have cut your pipes, cut two strips of the bamboo cane just longer than the width of all the pipes laid side by side. Place one of the bamboo strips at the top and one at the bottom of the pipes.

Tie the pipes to the bamboo with string

Tie the pipes to the bamboo with string

Starting with the biggest pipe tie these to the top bamboo strip and keep going until all of them are secure. Then start securing the bottoms. Tie off tightly and trim any spare string.

If you blow across the tops of the pipes now you will notice the sound isn’t very good. If you put your thumb over the bottom, the sound suddenly gets much better.

Glue the foil with resin

Glue the foil with resin

To make the pan pipes work, using a spare piece of pipe as a template, cut the tin foil so it fits to the base of the pipes. Then using the epoxy resin, glue them in place (ideally an adult should does this part). Leave it to dry.

When it is dry test your pipes and amaze your friends with your song repertoire.

Playing home made pan pipes

Playing home made pan pipes

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July 13, 2012 | Activities | 2 comments