A New Purpose for Pipes

Hello, observer.

For my independent project, I will be making an instrument for all the fellow Garden-Goers. An instrument. Making? Making an instrument? Why of course I’ll be making an instrument. A few questions might be popping into your mind right now after reading that.

Why make an instrument, when so many already exist? Why would you place it in the garden? First of all: this will not be the finest of musical devices, considering its constant placement in the desert sun. It will be simple, and coarsely built. Something that is easy to build, easy to transport, and easy to take apart. Also, the instrument itself isn’t FOR the garden. It’s for attracting people to the garden. It’s for giving others the desire to learn, just by encountering something that appears interesting and simple at the same time.

Here is the plan: I will be constructing an array of PVC pipes with different pitches using 50 cents as increments, just like piano keys. It will be an octave from middle C to middle B, and will contain all sharps in between. This means there will be 12 pipes. C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B.

PVC pipes are made of a fascinating material. The acronym actually stands for polyvinyl chloride, which is incredibly durable and can withstand the harshest of weather disasters. Also, just like hailstorms and blazing sunlight, humans are capable of destruction on a smaller scale. Graffiti on this instrument would be encouraged and permitted, but the difficulty of doing so is simply immense. (Sorry, you edgy little teenager).

Before building, I did some research on the lengths and diameters of PVC pipes corresponding to pitch. Using this special equation, I will be able to find what I need with no trouble at all.

The EQ. Literally.

The EQ. Literally.

Knowing this equation, I was able to figure out the height of the device. (My lowest note is middle C which is 26.6in, so the tallest pipe will be 26.6 inches). Since the number of keys is not fulfilled, the length is still undetermined. However, if I were to keep the instrument as simple as possible, I would use a single-file line of pipes that only stretch one octave long, I would only need twelve pipes. The PVC pipes I want to use are 2 inches in diameter, (so 2 x 12 = 24). So the approximate dimensions are 4in x 24in x 12in, for THAT particular design.

This new design is far more efficient. If I were to give the older design a new octave, I could compile the five sharps (per octave) in a separate row. This will give it more notes and make it more versatile. For the frame, I will need something as strong as the pipes. Perhaps not wood, since it rots and molds when exposed to water. (Though wood is significantly easier to cut). Aluminum would be the sturdiest and cheapest. Instead of hole-shaped frames in solid material, I will be using nylon wires to keep the pipes suspended.

Here is the most probable design candidate.

 

My doodle

My doodle

Sources:

http://www.education.com/science-fair/article/design-musical-instrument-play-pitches/

http://www.instructables.com/id/PVC-Instrument-1/?ALLSTEPS

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