I came up with this for a contest being held over at www.wastelandoutpost.com where we were to build a post apocalyptic musical instrument for under thirty dollars. Being the cheapskate I am I made this one from scraps lying around the house, though to buy the stuff new it would still be under $10.
Super easy to make. Took me about an hour even though I am clumsy as hell when it comes to working with wire. Depending on your choice of supplies it could have easily been finished in half the time. And while they don't sound perfect I was able to belt out a killer 'Ode to Joy' even if it was a bit out of tune.
It has been brought to my attention by instrucatable member kill-a-watt that some very overly paranoid laws may make this build illegal in a few select places. Known locations so far are-
Washington DC and Massachusetts.
Apparently they consider any component of ammunition to be ammunition. For more information check out this blog post http://stuckinmassachusetts.blogspot.com/2010/03/just-for-emphasis.html
Step 1: Supplies
Bullets of different length, As many as you can find, in general the longer the bullet the deeper the note. Also only bullets that get smaller at the tip make a noise, the casings that are open the entire length just make a whoosh sound.
TIP: Find a shooting range near you. People just leave their spent shells on the ground, you will find hundreds of them for free. Wash them though.
2 Rods. These rods will vary in length depending on how many bullet shells you find. Line up your casings as you want them to end up and measure out your rods giving a few inches extra for the ends. These rods can be anything stiff, Coat hangers, nails, bolts, a pen, a stick, a fork... I used a couple of all thread bolts because I had them lying around and the wire held in place against the bolt threads as I worked with it.
Wire or other Binding Material. you need something to bind the bullets to the rods. I used beading wire I stole from my wife but you can use anything from string to electrical tape.
Pliers / wire cutters. You only need these if you are using wire. Mostly you just need the wire cutter aspect but the pliers can be handy for cinching that last little bit of the wire or if your bullet casings are bent you can gently squeeze them back into shape.