Picture of Endless Rain Wheel (Sound Effect)
So I was poking about the website looking for ways to make a rain stick (musical sound effect), when I stumbled across a rather good method sent in by Obediah , on making a continuous-sounding version of the instrument. After some quick brainstorming, I made my own prototype, a complicated mess of a tin cookie can and aluminum strips that would make Dorothy run for the hills and hide!

The problem was, it was just too much work for me to try and work the metals using what little tools I had at the time, so I had to put it aside for a while. Later (much later) as I was walking back from work, I found a old bicycle tire lying by the curb. Not being one to let things go to waste, I picked it up and took it with me.

Now, it took a few weeks but I suddenly realized exactly what I could use it for. After prying the the wheel and innertube off the rim, I took one of those 3 inch corrugated aluminum vent tubes, filled it with dried rice, zip-tied it to the rim and had my second prototype. It worked fairly well, only it was much too loud, and the aluminum dented (and in some spots, punctured) way too easily.

Later that week, I was volunteering on the USS Midway, and noticed they were throwing out an old broken vacuum cleaner. Again, ever the re-purposer, I convinced them to let me take the hose. It only took a second after setting it down in my room to pick it back up again and put it to use. I removed the old aluminum tube from that good old bike rim, trimmed down the plastic hose, dropped in some rice, snapped it shut, fitted it to the rim, and behold... it was too quiet! Thinking quickly, I replaced the rice filler with .117 cal. steel BB's, and ended up with my Endless Rain Wheel, version 2.22.
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Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials
-A sharp knife

- (1) 22" bicycle rim (size is up to you, this is just what I had on hand)
- (1) 8' long by 2" diameter corrugated plastic vacuum hose
-(~30) .177 caliber steel BB's

-(6-10) 12" zip-ties

Step 2: Cutting to Size

Picture of Cutting to Size
IMG_ 252.jpg
Now, depending on the length of your hose and the size of your tire, you may or may not need to trim the hose to fit snuggly around the rim. Also, be aware that the ends of your hose may be different from the one I had, and you may have to remove some hard plastic fittings or adapters. To make closing it easier, it's best to follow the inside groove when cutting the hose. (fig. 1)

If you do happen to have a hose like mine you will notice that at some point, the end flares a little bit. (fig. 2) This is key to getting the hose to close together securely without using any extra tools or fasteners. Leave as much of it intact as you can.

Step 3: Adding the Filler

Picture of Adding the Filler
IMG_ 247.jpg
This step is simple enough, just drop the BB's in one end of tube. (fig. 1) Keep in mind though that adding more will increase your sound output, but adding too much tends to choke off the sound pretty quickly. I have yet to find the "Goldilocks" amount, but it will vary from wheel to wheel.

A quick warning, if you do get a used hose, please, please, in the name of all that is good, clean it thoroughly inside and out! First off, it's just nasty (fig. 2), and second, it may have a detrimental impact on your sound quality, as well as the response time of your instrument.

Step 4: Assembly

Picture of Assembly
IMG_ 255.jpg
Closing it off is very simple, albeit a bit tedious. The best way I found to close it is to take the small end of the tube, squeeze the top into itself, and twist it into the flared end. (fig. 1) If it doesn't pop back into shape right away then try alternating squeezing the sides of the hose and the top/bottom of it. Also, make sure to get the small end as far as possible inside of the the flared end, as this will minimize the audible "seam-line" that you may experience hearing when operating the instrument.

Once you have your hose closed off you can (if sized correctly) simply stretch it over the rim, and it should just hold itself in place. (fig. 2) Optionally, you can use zip-ties to secure the hose to the rim, using as many as you think are necessary. Please note that zip-ties are almost a requirement at anything higher than 120 RPM.

Step 5: Final Notes

Picture of Final Notes
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If all has gone well, you should now have your very own rain wheel (fig. 1), and can have fun using at your next band concert, in a theater performance, or just to freak out your ombrophobic siblings by making it 'rain' outside their windows when they wake up. To play, simply hold it by the nut/bolt/axle in the center, and rotate it slowly. (varying speeds can create many different rain types/effects).

Alternatively, if you're like me (and by that I mean you have a bunch of old drum hardware lying around) you can work out some sort of clever mounting system. (fig. 2) I'm actually planning a mount that will let me attach this to a standard percussion clamp/rod.

Thank you for your time, and if I've made at least one person smile, it will have been worth it...
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Joemug1 year ago

how could you get this to turn just by wind power? Anyone?

Now what you need to do is make little paddles all the way round the pipe and put it under your gutter spout so when it rains, it uses the water falling to turn it :)
Having rainwater run a rain making machine is a little redundant. However he could set it up like a weather vane and have a propeller turn it.
rhoddity (author)  SeaBreazy4 years ago
Haha, thanks SeaBreazy, I didn't have the heart to say that! =)
As for the automation bit, this is intended as a sound effect to be controlled by the performer (in this case, me) but maybe one day I'll make one for purely 'atmospheric' use.
I bet it would not be to difficult to turn this into an "atmospheric" model by mimicing the wind powered lawn ornaments you see.

Incorporate the propellar into the spokes and add some sort of swivel mount and a directional tail.
rhoddity (author)  Lorddrake3 years ago
Haha! No, I think I'll stick with my "Performance Model" for the time being. xD
Lol :)
lol, just a little
Great idea, can you post a sound clip?
mjustin14 years ago
hey, i bet you could even make a rock tumbler out of this with an old electric drill!
rhoddity (author)  mjustin14 years ago
Y'know, I hadn't thought about that! Haha, I might just do that with the next one I make. =)
rustyallen4 years ago
This makes a nice avenue for Artwork even if perpetual motion is not possible at this time. Promoting this as an art still teaches laws of physics to the entertained youth and so is a good way to express science in an interesting way. Add a strong magnet and a fine wire coil with a Led soldered to it, and this will show that this near perpetual energy "flywheel" will slow down a lot faster if we are drawing any energy from the weight of the wheel turning. This bike flywheel only stores energy. It cannot create or maintain any energy level when drawing even the tinnist bit of energy from the motion of the wheel.
To all those people who are making posts about "perpetual motion" please READ what this device is. Its an instrument made for making a rain sound that continues endlessly until you stop spinning it. It would be good if you stopped and listened first before launching off onto some "expert" tangent.
ynneb. I am sorry that I misunderstood your intension of your idea. Endless means endless. Not just when it rains. I said that it was a fine idea for artwork.
And it is. You do have A good idea, but you should expect some people to be
lead on by your project name "endless" rain wheel. That a flag for many of us who have to endure with the people that post perpetual motion device on so many websites. Again I am sorry for assuming.
dirtyroger4 years ago
This is a great idea, i love it. Think i may find some child bike wheels and do the same thing!
rhoddity (author)  dirtyroger4 years ago
Hey, that'll be great, and then (because of their size) you could stack them beside each other to tune-in the volume... *goes out to look for abandoned kids'-bike*
Perpetual motion is unlikely but so is water spontaneously forming into ice, even though it would not explicitly violate any laws of physics as long as a proper energy conversion takes place to allow the forming of ice, yet do not see this happen. Many theories contain infinites such as Quantum Electro Dynamics (QED) and a perpetual motion machine would contain such infinities but as long as those infinities are renormalizable, such is the case with QED, you can find a way to take an infinity from one part of our physics and exploit it in another area.
Really, perpetual motion need not be infinite in any case, but to be useful should last for a large amount of time which makes the case for a "near" perpetual motion machine extremely plausible, we just have not been clever enough to devise one as of yet. Also consider the fact that an electric charge can be induced in a superconductor and left for a "near" infinity. Just trying to think outside the box!
Perpetual Motion is not possible, at least not on earth. It's simple physics. Because gravity is acting upon the wheel, that force will eventually stop the wheel. If, however, this was tried in space, it may indeed be a perpetual motion machine, due to inertia. If, however, it was done near a planet, it would not work, because of gravity still acting upon it, but at a lesser force.
To all those people who are making posts about "perpetual motion" please READ what this device is. Its an instrument made for making a rain sound that continues endlessly until you stop spinning it. It would be good if you stopped and listened first before launching off onto some "expert" tangent.
Light_Lab ynneb4 years ago
Before you get all indignant about people not reading what you meant to say you might need to have a look at what you wrote. It doesn't really explain that it is a rain sound making device very obviously in the introduction.
I read "continuous-sounding version of the instrument" the first time as meaning a version that sounded like it would run continuously; and I read "instrument" as device, artifice, gadget, tool. I first thought it was either a folk belief based way of causing rain to occur or a wheel that was turned by the rain {^_^}. It wasn't until I saw the bit about it being too quiet with rice that I realized it was a rain sound maker.
I think you might have to forgive others for their confusion.

BTW I like the sound of rain, I might make one.
ynneb Light_Lab4 years ago
It wasnt me who wrote it nor submitted the design. I read it and understood perfectly what it was all about. I find that "experts" glance a topic and then spout thier expertise half cocked. :)
Light_Lab ynneb4 years ago
Sorry Ynneb and Rhoddity I should have looked for (author) in the header. Another demo of how slack we "experts" are about reading small details {^_^}. That's the trouble nowadays - too much to read and not enough time.

I have been think how cute this design would be with propeller blades on the spokes. You could sit it outside your window and every time the wind blew you would have rain (sounds).
ynneb Light_Lab4 years ago
All's cool. Onya mate !!!
rhoddity (author)  Light_Lab4 years ago
Again, Benny's not the author (he's only trying to help), I am, and I apologize for the confusion.

I think I had made the assumption that only people from the music community would 'stumble' upon this 'ible (how was I supposed to know I would get featured, this was my first time!) so I didn't anticipate other uses of the word 'instrument' to be taken, sorry about that.

I'll see if I can edit it slightly to make it's function clear from the offset.
It is not gravity but rather friction that will stop the wheel.
A lot of the friction would be caused by gravity. In an area of space with very little gravity, there would also be very little friction.
As thinkdunson says, gravity cannot be avoided, and therefore neither can friction (I think?), but it can be minimised. Such a machine could keep going for millions of years before stopping, give or take.
Maybe not /this/ machine, since friction (in the form of impacts between the rice/bullets/whatever and the inside of the tube) is required for the cool sound, so minimising friction would not be useful.

Okay I'm done with the theoretical! Back to the post I intended: Very cool rain wheel!
rhoddity (author)  JermsG4 years ago
Haha, nice comment! Thanks.
You are right to some extend, but the generalization of gravity ergo friction is not accurate. Gravity causes a force that acts on two bodies and this force causes the friction force that acts on the opposite direction of movement. However you can have other forces in addition to gravitational force, even in a void. Imagine an astronaut in zero gravity, that rubs his gloves together briskly to heat his cold hands, tada there you have friction :) of course in absolute zero, to matter how much rubbing he does, he will still be cold ;)
Yep. get a frictionless (magnetic) bearing in the center, glue the rice to the sides and throw it in a vacuum. forever spinning. You can't get anything out of it though.

When gravity pulls down on the wheel on the side going upward, it's helping the side going down with the same amount of force. all forces in the scenario balance, and the wheel just keeps going and going. Except for eddy currents (the way that generators create electricity with magnets and coils) they will slow it down too. There's always something :P
To all those people who are making posts about "perpetual motion" please READ what this device is. Its an instrument made for making a rain sound that continues endlessly until you stop spinning it. It would be good if you stopped and listened first before launching off onto some "expert" tangent.
strayturk ynneb4 years ago
oh sorry yes, your perpetual motion rain sound generator is super cute!
1. Never ending or changing deep caves in perpetual darkness
2. Denoting a position, job, or trophy held for life rather than a limited period, or the person holding it a perpetual secretary of the society
3. (of an investment) Having no fixed maturity date; irredeemable a perpetual bond
4. Occurring repeatedly; so frequent as to seem endless and uninterrupted their perpetual money worries
5. (of a plant) Blooming or fruiting several times in one season he grows perpetual carnations

In this case you took the definition of your choosing, i.e. Never ending or changing. When indeed it is painfully obvious the author was refering to occuring repeatedly. You get a B for effort and an F for comprehension... Did you seriously think our clever author thought this invention would make "rain" until the sun enveloped our little rock called Earth and ended our existance? For that matter why didn't you also tear into him about there not being any actual rain, but rather just the sound of BBs rotating in the wheel? Why? Because you knew what he meant, just as you knew what he meant about the title.
Inertia is the resistance to movement. You may be thinking of momentum. However gravity is everywhere in our universe. Every body that has mass influences to a degree based on known equation. Friction is the force that would stop this device. Not gravity. Energy has mass. A higher energy item weighs more than an item with same mass and less energy. And, perpetual motion is able, so long as you continue to introduce a force greater then the resistant force. So long as you add this force perpetually, you would have perpetual motion. smiles... Newtons first law. Love physics. Good thoughts though.
even if it was the only thing in the universe, it would still exert its own gravity… and therefore, friction.
To all those people who are making posts about "perpetual motion" please READ what this device is. Its an instrument made for making a rain sound that continues endlessly until you stop spinning it. It would be good if you stopped and listened first before launching off onto some "expert" tangent.
Why not just hire two native americans to alternate turning good old fasioned rainsticks?
rhoddity (author)  ixisuprflyixi4 years ago
Interesting, I like where your head is at. I don't have nearly the expansive knowledge about the subject that you seem to posses, but I had also resigned to the idea of, as you put it, a "near perpetual motion machine"...
Light_Lab4 years ago
Here in Oz BB's are 0.177" are there smaller ones in the US?
rhoddity (author)  Light_Lab4 years ago
Whoops! I misread the bottle, no they are actually .177. Thanks for catching that.
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