Portable Mini-Lyre





Introduction: Portable Mini-Lyre

About: A retired electronics engineer -motorola. delveing into new craft ideas and contest entries.

A miniature  Lyre was constructed for a contest and it had to be carried  to various schools. It was then obvious  it needed protection
The lyre is similar to an earlier lyre type  that was demonstrated   in Instructable of Aug 5, 2009.
    After assembly it was discovered that it was easy to play  as a zither type instrument  while mounted inside the carrier.
The construction is straight forward and  if one uses a purchased box  they can make this  in 40 hours.

Step 1: Construction [general]

The construction of the box is minimal if one buys it at Jo-Ann"s or Micheals"s stores for about $4.00.  The inside dimensions  has to meet the size of the lyre component which is 3 x 7-1/2 x 2.8 in high. a larger inside  of about  9 in. wide would be fine for adding a microphone.The lrye resonator box can also be purchased  . The  size  used here is  3x 7wide x 2-1/2 high but can be longer to 5 in. and still be a lyre which is played from the front and rear. If mounted and played in the carrier it can only be played from the top side however.
     Make the lyre first of all and follow the key instructions  outlined in the above Instructable for the zither as far as  making the tuner screws, the 13 notes from B to G above high C., and he layout  here.
Tools- Pliers. ,Hemostat pliers,awl. drill bits  .093 and .105 dia. Dremel tool {R} or a drill press could be used, hand saw ,
  See first picture of the over-all construction.  

Step 2: Construction Details

 Refer to  Item 1 to 18 of layout . The type , size and vendors are listed here.  Most items were purchased in any hardware store or craft store.
         String - You can use stretch string [cord] of 1mm. size  15 ft. spools [$3.00 approx] solid, clear.stretchable to 300% .Nylon wont
work.   Another type string is known as multi-strand .8mm. It also stretchable 300% but is extremely stable and is what was used here to reduce pitch drift to under 1/2 note in 1 month use.Ref. Multicrafts imports.com.
          Tuning screws.13ea. nickel plated steel Hook/cup 5/8 is best.  Brass is poor.  Drill to use  .093 in. into dowel rod.
          Anchor crimps - used to anchor the string under the top resonator board.. Used here were the U-shaped jewelry crimps.
           Tuner Mount dowel- 1/2 in. Diam {Item 10} Must be a good solid dowel of hard wood.
          Side supports- pine or what ever is available.Item 8. can be 1/4 in. thick and  cut as shown but need not be  since the purpose is to mount the tuning dowel Item 10  to a certain  height above the resonator top. In this case3/8 in. for string clearance  from the top.

Step 3: Final Assembly

Refer to the picture. Resonator and string layout. All dimensions are indicated to utilize 13  strings or notes.
The drilled holes for tuning screws are 1/2 in. spaces drill with .093 drill all way through.
Bridge-1/8 wood rod [item 13].  5 in. long placed with Goop glue  as shown placed 1/2 in. x1-3/4 in  from the left lower edge of the resonator  top for note G under Middle C.  All spacings are drilled with .065 to .076 drills  spaced  5/16 apart. These holes are  next to the bridge rod about 1/8 in. Drill 13 holes. Top is very thin about 1/8 thick wood and is easy to drill.
   Side mounts- glue to sides of wood resonator box. Drill  tuning mount holes 5-5/8 out from the  back of the box and 2-5/8 up as shown for the wood screws  mounting for the tuner screw rod item 10.Assembly.
    Screw the 13 tuner screws into the rod  item 10. Assemble the rod to the two side mounts with the wood screws Item 9.
    Tie a string  of about initial  6 in+{ 3 in extra long }  to the screw  that is closed with a plier [closed loop].Fish  other end to the first hole [G note}| and pull through the pre-drilled .078 hole with a hemostat   while strumming the string . Pull about 6 inches of stretch untill you get to the Bnote. Crimp the string under the top resonastor.Cut off excess. Turn the screw tuner clockwise untill the G note is close. Nwext go to the C note and so on to the High G note which string is only 4.in. final length. Start it with about 6 in. of non-stretched string though.

Step 4: Completion

Final assembly-After the stringing is performed. set the lyre aside for 24 hours.This will stabilize the tension on the strings  . Note that the pitch is drifted  low about one note. Re-tune the note to the pitch using as your basis any  piano or harmonica. The note  will continue to drift lower for another 1/4 note but  re-tune it again after waiting another 4 hours.Eventually the note stabilizes after a week of playing.
     In any case  you may place the lyre in the carrier box and mount it with easy to remove wood screws  item 5.
     To rest your fingers even more- glue a 1/8x1/8 x 7 in rod above the tuning  screw assembly  as shown.
Be sure there is enough clearance for the tuner screws from the carrier top  to tune  the note with a small nail inserted into the tuning screw.

Step 5: Amplifiers

Note amplification-
     some may want to amplify the notes. As shown here there are at least two methods.
1- ear phone amplifiers- An ordinary ear phone is a very good microphone  of 4 ohms to 32  ohms .This is fed into a Radio Shack pre-amp. then to a stereo amplifier. Shown is a small $7.00 amplifier using 2 AA cells. The RS uses a 9vdc bat.[est amp $15.00]

2- Wireless mike- Here  we used a low cost $6.00 Hana Montana type of mike  withe mike part removed and attched to about 3 feet of cord.The mike  is then placed in the carrier . The wireless  signal  is good for 15 feet away from your stereo FM set[ set at 107Mc.]

Have fun.  Take  the little box with you to the beach, school etc...
listen to the music MOV  here-------
Sharps notes can be added later as shown here.



    • Colors of the Rainbow Contest

      Colors of the Rainbow Contest
    • Casting Contest

      Casting Contest
    • Clocks Contest

      Clocks Contest

    We have a be nice policy.
    Please be positive and constructive.




    Note that  new information was added. See above Step 5. Some may want to add Sharps  notes with keys. I have added the steps to include the sharps keys.

    It is a good project... but to make it a good instrcutable I think you should actually have the steps as part of this document instead of a photograph of your instructions.

    If you broke it down to all the steps... it's a bit more work for you... but people trying to duplicate your efforts would have the additional steps you used instead of having to try to see them in a photograph.

    My suggestion is to scan the documents you have above and include them as a PDF file so others can print them and follow along.


    4 replies

    I see your point here.I will type out the page and publish it. I will also make a drawing using Paint.

    If you already have the document, you can scan it (or photograph it) and then save it as a PDF. If you search for PRIMO PDF, they have a free program that installs a pseudo-printer. You then select that, hit print, and it prompts you for a file name. That's what I used in my instructables.

    I think it would help others be able to duplicate your project. (thumbs up)


    thanks ,i will look up PRIMO PDF and learn to use it.

    Here is the direct link to get it: http://www.primopdf.com As for use it couldn't be simpler... just hit PRINT like you normally do, and select the Primo PDF "printer" for the job. In a couple of seconds it will ask you where to save the finished PDF.

    Good luck!


    Very interesting. Now I can see someone like a friend of yours painting a beautiful decoration on the box part.

    1 reply

    Thanks TT- I see what you mean. It could be an ancient performer holding the modern version shown.

    Don't suppose you've finished typing out the steps, or scanning them in? I have old eyes, and wasn't able to figure out from the photo what to do.
    However, I also have trouble figuring out mechanical pencils, automatic litter boxes, and parmesan cheese containers with twisty tops.

    Another great use for those cigar boxes that tend to collect dust awaiting the perfect project.!

    1 reply

    and also those elastic bands left over with no further uses.

    thanks rtty#21

    "metal snap to hold lid at 45 deg."--you
    are you sure that isn't a 90 degree angle? or a 135?

    1 reply

    more like 50 from vertical. could be made as an adjustable degree also.

    Emperor- "The Muse is upon me. Bring me a small lyre!"

    Roman Officer- "Small liar, small liar!"

    Small Liar- "I didn't do it! I didn't do it! I wasn't even there! I was at a friend's house. The Check is in the mail!"

    4 replies

    Is that python?

    History of the World, Part 1. Mel Brooks and company. Dom DeLuise as the Emperor, Howard Morris as the Roman Official, and Johnny Silver as the Small Liar.

    Of course!, Thanks - now I'm gonna have to watch that tonight. Happens often. lol

    Not that kind of Lyre!