Wind chimes can be a thing of beauty and enjoyment.The best ones sound great in the store but most of the time, they do not chime in gentle breezes. Many are not even assembled correctly to produce their best sounds. Why not make your own? It is a good learning project and they may sound better than the ones you buy.
- The material needs to be weather resistant.
- Use thin redwood paneling to suspend light aluminum chimes made of shower curtain rod.
- Oak or other durable material could be used for heavier tubes.
- Fishing line or nylon cord works equally well to hang everything from.
- Golf balls are weather resistant and work well for strikers.Round wood pieces also work well.
- Anodized aluminum tubing about 3/4 or 1 inch in diameter sounds best. However, that is a little expensive and not locally available.
- Half inch or three-quarter inch galvanized electrical conduit works pretty well.
- It is easy to cut with a tubing cutter, easy to drill with a small hand drill, doesn’t corrode and is light enough that it moves easily in gentle breezes.
- Cut a piece of tubing 50.0 cm long. Measure accurately the length.
- Measure down 22.4% from the end (11.2-cm) and mark the spot.
- Measure down to the middle of the tube and mark this spot.
- Use a nail to make a small indention where the holes are to go.
- Drill the holes, making sure that they are level. A drill press makes this easy but a hand drill is good enough.
- A small round file, the kind you sharpen chainsaw blades with, is good to smooth the hole with so there are no sharp metal burrs.
- Suspend the tube with a string and strike lightly with a piece of wood, golf ball or rubber hammer.
- Determine its pitch. You can use a piano keyboard if you have a good ear to get very close. A computer interface and microphone is the easiest way to find the frequency of a tube. When you know the pitch of this chime, it is easy to calculate the lengths that are needed to make a “tuned set of chimes.”
- To determine the lengths needed, determine the relationship between length and frequency, a constant (K) as long as you use the same material. To find K, multiply the length of the tube times the square root of its resonance frequency.
- Suspend each chime and check its frequency with the computer. You can raise the pitch by filing or grinding off a little from each end of the tube.
- Use fishing line or nylon cord to suspend the chimes from the wood platform or a metal ring. You may want to do step 15 first. Actually, you will have to adjust both, so don’t make any permanent knots yet.
- Add a small piece of wood (the wind-catcher) to the end of the cord.
- Suspend the platform with the line so that it will hang level.
- You are finished making the chimes
Next time you see a wind chime, take inspiration and make your own rather than buying it. Wouldn’t it be lovely to hear these pretty musical decor adorning your home without spending money?