If that video was not enough for you, watch this one. It is slightly less dramatic, but it does convey a bit more information about the actual function of the Aquaharp and the sound it produces.
The Aquaharp is based on the Waterphone, invented by Richard Waters.
Step 1: Materials / Tools
- A Round Cake Pan - Just a metal cake pan
- Some Thin Metal Rods - Old metal clothes hangers work perfectly
- Sheet Metal It just has to be big enough to fit the cake pan on
- A Metal Pipe - At least 1.5 inches in diameter
- Rope - The more comfortable for your hands the better
- Heavy Solder or Welding Supplies - Just something to melt metal
- Waterproof Epoxy - Used to make the Aquaharp water-tight
- Water - H2O
- A Horse Hair Bow - Normally used to play violins, cellos and other similar instruments
- Rosin - To put on the bow
- A Drill and Drill Bits - Used to put holes in things
- Sheet Metal Sheers - For cutting the sheet metal
- Bolt Cutters - Used to cut the metal rods
- A Metal File - Just for smoothing some of the metal pieces
- Optional: Rotary Tool - It just makes some steps faster and easier
- A Vice - Useful for holding stuff
- A Tape Measure - For measuring the lengths of things
- Leather Gloves - For safety while you cut the sheet metal
- A Hot Glue Gun - It melts glue then shoots it out
- A Soldering Iron or Gun - If you are using solder and not welding
- Optional: Metal Polish - To make your Aquaharp look pretty
Step 2: The Tonal Rods
So, first measure and cut the rods to different lengths. I suggest using even intervals between each rod. For example, on my Aquaharp, each rod is either half an inch or 1.5 inches different in length from the one next to it. The number of rods required is equal to the circumference of the cake pan in inches. If you are using hangers like I did, use the bolt cutters to chop them up into straight sections before you can complete this step. Once your rods are cut, set them aside.
Step 3: Preparing the Cake Pan
First, measure the rim of the pan and make a small mark every inch. Next, drill holes at each mark around the rim of the cake pan, the holes should be the same diameter as the rods. Because my cake pan was 28 inches in circumference, I drilled 28 holes. After you drill the holes, the metal will probably be extremely sharp and jagged on the opposite side, use the metal file to eliminate those edges. Once this is finished, set this piece aside as well.
Step 4: Makeing the Top for the Base
After you have cut out the circle, place the pan back on top of the sheet metal and draw a dot through the holes in the pan onto the sheet metal. Then, drill a hole on each dot but this time, they should be slightly larger than the rods. Again, file off the sharp points.
Step 5: Makeing the Handle / Bell
Then, using hot glue, attach one end of the rope to the top of the pipe. Begin winding the rope around the pipe, adding more glue frequently. Continue this procedure until you have a grip on the pipe large enough to fit your hand around without touching the metal.
Step 6: Makeing a Hole For the Handle / Bell
Now that you know where the center of the sheet metal circle is, center the piece of pipe over the center of the round, sheet metal circle and draw a circle around the end of the pipe. Now, cut out that circle. The way I did it was drill small holes around the circle so that I could break the little sections between the holes, freeing the small circle. I then simply filed the circle smooth.
Step 7: Attach the Handle / Bell
Step 8: Attach the Rods
Take your first rod and clamp it to the side of a table or in a vice so that only a tiny bit is above the surface. Place the cake pan upside-down on with the rod through one of the holes. Now, solder/weld the rod in place. Do this for all the rods in the order you chose. The only problem you may run into is when you have done all but the last few rods, at that point you may need to enlist some help or get creative with clamps (see the picture below). Soldering Tip: If your cake pan is Teflon coated, you might have to grind off this coating to help the solder stick.
Step 9: Putting It All Together
Once both halves of the Aquaharp are assembled, put a bead of waterproof epoxy around the edge where the sheet metal meets the pan. Squeeze as much epoxy into the crack as possible without breaking the contact between the pieces.
By this time it is probably late, so call it a night and get some sleep while the epoxy cures.
Step 10: Reinforce the Rods
Step 11: How to Play the Aquaharp
The Aquaharp can be played in a wide variety; again, experiment with different techniques and styles, even develop your own style, the sky's the limit - or in this case maybe the ocean is the limit. You can use pretty much any precussion mallet, as well as a bow. In many sci-fi movies (most notably The Matrix) a bow is used. But, again, experimentation is the key, the ocean's the limit, and good luck. Congratulations on building your very own Aquaharp.