What Are Wind Chimes?
Wind chimes are from the percussion instrument family which is made using suspended tubes, rods, bells, or other metal or wood objects. These are used as a decorative arrangement which is hung near a window or door so as to make a tinkling sound.
How to Make a Wind Chime?
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 panelling to suspend light aluminium chimes made of the 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 aluminium 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.
The detailed steps to make a Wind Chime is given below.
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 the 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 wind chime
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What material is used for the construction of wind chimes?
Ans: The materials used for the construction of wind chimes are wood pieces for the support, metal tubes made of aluminium, a top ring used for the suspension of the entire chime, metal nails and braided nylon string for stitching the pieces together.
But these days wind chimes are made using bronze, brass, bamboo tubes or copper. And metal tubes are replaced with shells, clay pottery, glass or tinkling objects.
Q2. How do wind chimes make the sound?
Ans: As the wind blows past the chimes, the tubes bump into each other or at the centre called clapper. This collision results in the creation of vibrations that travel along the tubes producing sound waves of varying pitches. The pitch depends upon the length of the tube and the material used for its construction.
Q3. What is the type of sound produced by wind chime?
Ans: The sound will vary from pleasant tinkling to noisy clanging depending on the size of the tube which can be tuned to produce a particular note.
Q4. How are wind chimes measured?
Ans: The overall length of the chimes is measured in inches from the top ring to the sail. The number of tubes used determines the number of notes that can be produced. More the number of tubes, more combination of notes can be heard.
The length determines the depth and tone of the sound. Longer the chimes, fuller the tones are and shorter the chimes, high are the pitch of the tones. Most the chimes are designed for 8-10 mph breezes.