Instructables
Picture of Mini-Calliope Organ
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Introduction

Hello Everyone,

First, I would like to thank you for viewing my instructable.
And, if you enjoyed it, please give me a vote!
Thanks....

Although the project seems complicated, many of the parts and components are identical,
so laying out and cutting the parts isn't as time-consuming as you might expect.

You probably will need  a couple of weekends to complete the project.
Guessing you will need about 40plus hours to build the calliope.

I've started this project about 30 years ago.
I was 21 at the time.
What I started I could not find (probably used for firewood),
so I started a new one from scratch this time.

I always had a subscription to Popular Mechanics.
I've had the December 1982 issue in my hands for over 30 years.
The plans and drawings can all be found in this issue.

If you don't have the issue (which I doubt you do)
Luckily I do have a link to the December 1982 issue, below.
Click here for the 1982 issue of Popular Mechanics
If you go to page 102 all the directions and plans are there.


So, in my instuctable I am not going to go in heavy detail about the making of this
calliope. I will probably direct you to the 1982 Popular Mechanics issue.


NOTE: I tried to use the hair blow dryers with no success!
They did not pull enough air.

So, as I am writing this, I am looking for a different motor.
UPDATE: I found a new blower motor with a speed control. Let's hope it works.
I will be installing it this weekend! Watch for a update and video!


Also, this instructable is a work in progress, I will be continually updating this instructable.


Now onto the instructable...
 
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GeorgeLangley10 months ago
Thanks for the great photos of the air release - the original instructions were kind of vague on that part.
One question - how far back did you need to cut the 15-degree angle for the hinges? Did you use the hinge as the measurement?
bassandread11 months ago
wow!
What sort of CFM is that pushing?
Greasetattoo (author)  GeorgeLangley1 year ago
Here is the model number 116640-01
That one is CFM max at 76.

Here is a link to the different blowers.
http://www.centralvacuummotor.com/windjammer.htm

Have not hook it up yet, to many other things going on right now...
Greasetattoo (author)  GeorgeLangley1 year ago
I believe it is 50 CFM at 2 inch orifice.
Here is a link to the blower.
http://www.centralvacuumfactory.com/ametek-windjammer-11663205-brushless-volt-blower-motor-p-3044.html

It only cost $970
billbillt1 year ago
wonderful job...
got my vote...
ldavis101 year ago
.I love your calliope! The music of a calliope is unlike anything else. The melodies bring back all sorts of memories. When I was at college in New Orleans, I would wake every morning to the sound of a calliope from a riverboat. i also think of going to the circus, watching all of the acts and eating peanuts and cotton candy...Ah, memories!
...All of that aside, if I had a calliope like yours, I would be thinking of a way to use it as a Halloween prop. I would probably create a Haunted Circus yard haunt for my friends and family. I would set up some tents (most likely sun shades) with different acts performing. I'd have creepy clowns and a fortune teller. I'd have someone selling "Rotten Candy" (Cotton Candy) and other Halloweenish treats.
...Unfortunately, I am not capable of building a calliope. I so did enjoy seeing yours.
Thank you for sharing!
Greasetattoo (author)  ldavis101 year ago
Wow, thank you for the kind comments!
An actual calliope is run by steam, from what I heard.
So, mine is a organ, I guess!
Looks more like a calliope though..

Halloween prop, hmmmm...
Brill's Bible of Building Plans showed a clown calli driven by a vacuum cleaner. He also listed plans for a full sized instrument.
Wyle_E1 year ago
Have you tried a vacuum cleaner, or a pair of bellows driven by the player's feet or by an assistant? You'd need another bellows with a weight or spring, to serve as a pressure regulator. Strictly speaking, that's an organ but not a calliope. A true calliope is powered by steam, and isn't worth the trouble unless you like that permanently-out-of-tune sound. Out of tune because playing a pipe heats the pipe, causing it to expand and sound flat. The most frequently-played pipes get flatter faster, so you can't adjust the tuning to compensate. The calliope was invented to announce the approach of a steamboat from miles away, more interestingly than a simple whistle. It worked well for that, but was never taken seriously as a musical instrument. An organ, OTOH, can sound as good as you have the time and resources to make it.
Greasetattoo (author)  Wyle_E1 year ago
Hmmm, vacuum cleaner...
That sounds like a plan.
I actually found a new air blower with a speed control.
Let's cross my fingers!
Yep, calliope = steam...
Thanks for the kind comments!
The calliope was specifically invented for use as a musical instrument in places like churches and only later became popular on steam powered riverboats. The tunes were not intended to simply be interesting. The notes allowed a particular boat to play a song unique to itself, in this way the dock workers knew which boat was coming an hour ahead or so. This gave them time to get the cargo for that particular boat ready to be loaded in order to save time unloading and loading, keeping the dock more organized.

The song played on a full size calliope is easily discernable up to 20 miles away. A properly constructed and operated calliope is in tune, at least the one I heard was. It was kept hot by steam near the pipes. The valves are on base of the pipe itself, with the steam being constantly circulated below the valves.

The inventor's theory behind using steam and brass was that the instrument would be in tune regardless of the weather since the temperature of the brass instrument could be kept constant and the humidity was always 100%. Properly constructed, those 2 variables are constant. Wooden instruments constantly change with the temperature and humidity.

The inventor tried to tour Europe with one but was turned away at the docks in Britain after he fired it up. People 20 miles away heard it, and he was sent back to the States because the British authorities considered it a public nuisance.

Arthur Ord-Hume's book 'Barrel Organ: The Story of the Mechanical Organ and it's Repair' is a great source on the history of automated organs, calliopes included. At 567 pages it has enough information for most people, too. Check it out, it's a lot of fun and filled with tons of information for instrument builders.
MikB Wyle_E1 year ago
That is a real nice looking instrument! But: I was thinking the same thing: Where's the steam coming from (hairdryer in bucket of water maybe!!? Eek!)

Wikipedia: "The air-driven calliope is sometimes called a calliaphone" ...

I still can't work out if it's a *Cally*-Ope or a Calie-oh-*pee*, so ...
Greasetattoo (author)  MikB1 year ago
No steam..
Maybe coming from my ears, building this thing!

It is Calie-oh-*pee*!
Greasetattoo (author)  Wyle_E1 year ago
I actually found a speed adjuster blower motor.
Now, I have to figure out how to put it in the calliope!
Thanks for the comments!
looks lovely but can you play "Melancholy Baby"?

seriously did you do a demo of it played? looks ever so nifty!
rlmarket1 year ago
Some one else who saved 12/82 issue for this project! Never built "mini-calliope" but have seen one other "in person," and yours is amazing.

Possibly blowers were intended to be older style GE bonnet hair dryers rather than hand held hair dryers--were quieter and blew large air volumes despite lower fan speed. Still available on eBay.
Greasetattoo (author)  rlmarket1 year ago
So, you have the issue too!
Took me 30 years to build, but finally found the time!
Yes, that is what I figured for the blowers!
The big round bonnet hair dryers!

I did find a speed adjustable motor at a local surplus store.
Let's hope it works!
charlene171 year ago
...so beautiful....I want one. Love your apron too!
Greasetattoo (author)  charlene171 year ago
Thank you!!!
I have a few patches, hope to earn more!
a41capt1 year ago
What, no video with you playing? After reading your Instructable, I was really looking forward to hearing your creation "sing"!

Thanks for the great Instructable, and it just goes to show that time patience and perseverance DO pay off!
Greasetattoo (author)  a41capt1 year ago
Hello,
sorry for no video.
I am in the process of changing out blower motors.
As, the hair driers did not push enough air?!
I will post on as soon as it is finished!
thanks for the kind comments.

Here is a video of the same organ playing...(just not mine, yet!)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1p_BRlQySI
bugman1131 year ago
That's just beautiful.
Greasetattoo (author)  bugman1131 year ago
Thank you!
rimar20001 year ago
Awesome work.. Please PM me when you put the video.
Greasetattoo (author)  rimar20001 year ago
Will do, hopefully in the next few days!
I did find another one playing on you tube, though..
Just like it!
Viaticus1 year ago
That article is still out there - the net is truly an amazing thing! Your i'ble is way more insightful though. But if you ever need to refer back to it you can find it here:

http://books.google.com/books?id=-9kDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA102&dq=calliope&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Wp79Uc3XGa38yAHP6oGgBg&ved=0CDwQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=calliope&f=true
Greasetattoo (author)  Viaticus1 year ago
Yes, I have it linked in my introduction page!
Thank you for taking the time to look at my instructable!
A really impressive project, thanks for sharing it. It's something I've always fancied doing but one of those things that I either have "time" or "Money" or "Space" but never in the right kind of proportions. I've voted for you in the contest, but there are a few things I've found out in my research on the subject that you and other readers might find useful or interesting. The original article is rather lacking in correct terminology.

A "Calliope" is a collection of tuned STEAM Whistles, they were popular on the old Mississippi steam boats and some steam fairs and circuses. A calliope is generally rather simpler than an organ, but what you what you have built is a very simple "Portative Organ" with a lot of similar mechanisms to a Calliope so it's not ENTIRELY inaccurate to mix up the names.

The "Air" you refer to is correctly called "Wind" in this context so you have a "Wind Chest" and "Windways"!

The "Air Release Mechanism" is called a "Pallet", and your pallets do seem to be quite innovative. I've not seen that particular mechanism before, but it's very similar to the more traditional "Pallet Chest" and "Key Channel" systems used in traditional organs.

The "D-Shaped Notches" are "Arched Fipples", the advantage of the arch is that will still "speak" more or less correctly over a range of wind pressures, which is the reason that shape is usually used for steam and mouth blown whistles. It is more efficient, if your organ does not have "Flexible wind" (variable air pressure) to use a straight fipple, but different shapes have slightly different effects on the tone and timbre of the note produced by the pipe.

I'm really impressed with this project, and I hope I'll be able to find it again next time I have the opportunity to explore pipe organs.
Greasetattoo (author)  Dream Dragon1 year ago
Wow, thank you for the GREAT information!
I actually wanted to build this 30 years ago!
Finally found the time!
Again, thank you for the kind comments!
That's one hell of a build and a great instructable! Well done!
Greasetattoo (author)  stereophonic1 year ago
Thank you...
All I have to say is WOW your amazing.
Greasetattoo (author)  redfoxtrystman1 year ago
Thank you for the kind comment!
Amazing, well.....
waldy1 year ago
Absolutely fabulous instructables. Could you give us an mp3 how it sounds please
Greasetattoo (author)  waldy1 year ago
The mp3 and video will be coming soon as soon as I get the new motor in the calliope!
I will be posting a video I found of another one built just like mine!
Mrballeng1 year ago
You are my hero. Very well done.
Greasetattoo (author)  Mrballeng1 year ago
Thank you for the kind comment!
You could try using a leaf blower or an air compressor for the air supply.
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