Introduction: The Poong Stick ("Whistling Stick")


This is a neat, and very quick little toy that I first came across on the "Happy Scientist" website.

A couple of minute's work, and you have a toy to keep the kids happy, a fun craft activity, a hook for a fascinating science lesson, and probably the cheapest and quickest at that.



Step 1: Materials and Tools

All you need is a flat, thin piece of wood and something to carve it with.

I have successfully used lollipop sticks, tongue depressors, coffee stirrers and chip forks.

I guess it doesn't have to be wood, but it does need to be fairly rigid.

Step 2: What to Do

The basic poong stick is simple - carve one end to about the thickness of a matchstick.

For your own comfort, carve, scrape or sand the narrow part to a more rounded cross-section.  Corners and sharp edges will cut your thumbs or increase the chance of blisters.

You don't have to stick with the plain, er, stick.  You can carve and shape to your heart's content.

The basic carving takes only a couple of minutes with a decent sharp knife.  I haven't tried, but if you add a sanding bit to your rotary tool, you could probably churn them out in seconds.


Step 3: Safety


OK, I don't really have to warn you about safe use of blades, do I?

But, when you throw a poong stick, it can fly off in unpredictable directions, and it has a narrow, pointy end.

If there are several people using poong sticks at once, you should seriously consider issuing eye protection, especially if you are doing this as a group activity with children.

Step 4: Using the Poong Stick.


Hold the narrow section of the stick between whichever two digits you "click" with when you snap your fingers.  That's probably your middle finger and your thumb.

Snap your fingers to make the stick spin as rapidly as possible, and make a gentle throwing action at the same time - after a little practice, the stick will shoot out of your fingers in an odd, spiralling trajectory, making an odd poong sound as it goes (why do you think I changed the name to "Poong Stick"?).



 

Step 5: The Science Bit


The Poong Stick generates sound as it spins - the air vibrates as it passes over the edges.

You can set your class the task of investigating how to vary the Poong Stick's sound - changing the length and width are obvious, but what about the thickness?  Or how rounded the edges are?

Does a Poong Stick with a varying width give a mixture of notes?  Does the material the stick is made of matter?

How would you measure the sound? 

Could you make a set of Poong Sticks that will play a tune??

Step 6: A Year Later...

...and the school where I recorded that video doesn't exist any more, but the Poong sticks carry on.

I met Martin Raynsford at the Derby Mini Maker Faire 2012, and while I stood there, he drew up and cut a selection of Poong sticks (the middle one lives in my wallet now).

Comments

author
Kiteman (author)2011-07-23


Poong Stick merchandise is now available from The Complete Kiteman.

author
ZombieHades (author)2015-05-26

author
eilu made it! (author)2015-04-18

Made this one out of a popsicle stick using a swiss knife. Going to show it to my nephews and nieces later. :)

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author
Kiteman (author)eilu2015-04-18

Cool!

author
Jayefuu made it! (author)2014-02-04

Pooooooooooooooooooooooong.

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author
Kiteman (author)Jayefuu2014-02-04

Awesome !

author
YankeesFisherman123 (author)2014-02-02

Awesome thnx man

author

You're welcome, glad you enjoyed it!

author
Jayefuu (author)2013-06-19

Someone handed out lollies at work today. Guess who had their Instructables leatherman out whittling within minutes.

author
Kiteman (author)Jayefuu2013-06-19

Hehe, LOL!

author
chubawabu (author)2012-04-14

amazing instructable.

author
Kiteman (author)chubawabu2012-04-15

Thank you.

author
coppertop8 (author)2012-03-31

Is it sad that I'm so entertained by this?

author
Kiteman (author)coppertop82012-03-31

Not at all!

author
iamdmc (author)2012-03-10

WOW! this is very fun! I used a popsicle stick and it worked! it has a range of noises, from medium high to very low. THANKS KITEMAN!!!!!!

author
Kiteman (author)iamdmc2012-03-11

You're very welcome!

author
thomasthetankengine (author)2011-06-07

Awesome! Making one right now. I have the materials in front of me. Could I use an X-acto knife?

author

Of course. Just remember to shave rather than hack.

author

Awesome! Thanks ;) made one..It's pretty simple but it still makes that awesome sound! Glad you could help me. Maybe a mass-produced version will pop up someday? –Thomas

author

Should not be too hard to mass produce, just need to get a cutting die made and find someone with a clicker press.
http://www.clickerpress.co.uk/

author

Ha, imagine a sweat-shop full of kids eating popsicles and then shaving the sticks...

author

Lol =P Ice cream shops might be strangely crowded after this 'ible...and whats a sweat-shop? Haha...I was at an international Future Problem Solvers competition over the weekend. Met kids from all over the world..England, Singapore, Malaysia, etc. It was in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Way to represent America, FPS. Lol ;) I will tell you what place I get out of the world. I was inly competing against 23 other kids and I got 1st for the State Bowl. I will probably get something good..it will mean I'm the __ best FPSer in the whole world for my age group. Yay! Sorry for the long comment...you probably wouldn't normally listen to an American 12 year old for this long haha jk.

author
Redstormx1 (author)2012-02-23

These were used before the computer for sounds effects..

What happens if u attack a string to the end and just spin it around and around

author
Kiteman (author)Redstormx12012-02-23

I guess it would be a bull-roarer?

author
demmons1212 (author)2011-12-07

nice man nice

author
Kiteman (author)demmons12122011-12-08

Thank you.

author
kylekosan23 (author)2011-07-23

these things r amazing

author
Kiteman (author)kylekosan232011-07-23

Thank you!

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kylekosan23 (author)Kiteman2011-07-23

ya theyre so addicting i play with then for hours in my room but y6our fingers start to hurt when you snap tham

author
batonas (author)kylekosan232011-10-06

use some sand paper to round it up

author
Kiteman (author)kylekosan232011-07-23

Mind you don't get blisters...

author
kylekosan23 (author)Kiteman2011-07-23

haha ya

author
jphillips15 (author)2011-09-23

So, are you going to make these commercially? I can help you if you want. mr.jesse.phillips [at] the gmails

author
bluesquirrel (author)2011-09-23

I just whipped up a simple one of these in about 5 minutes. I have 74 more Popsicle/craft sticks to experiment with now. Time to see what I can to with these! :D

author
Kiteman (author)bluesquirrel2011-09-23

Have you seen this challenge?

author
jphillips15 (author)2011-09-22

holy crap. Best thing ever!

author
scarabeetle101 (author)2011-08-21

I love these. I saw this 'ible on holiday but didn't get a chance to follow it until today. When I made mine it struck me that these would make fantastic business cards! Mind if I use this?

author
Kiteman (author)scarabeetle1012011-08-21

Go ahead!

Post a photo of them, if you can (you might want to blur any personal data, though).

author
Gunfreak2300 (author)2011-07-20

Step 1: Make this
Step 2: Wait until a friend is asleep
Step 3: While asleep, whisper, "We're under attack from aliens!", and throw the stick, multiple times.
Step 4: Profit!

author
kylekosan23 (author)Gunfreak23002011-07-23

haha il try it

author
~•SMART•~ (author)2011-07-08

Awesome! Widdled and spray painted mine digital camo.

author

Cool, but I think you mean "whittled" - "widdle" is what puppies do on newspaper...

(Any chance of posting a picture?)

author

Yes, I'll post one as soon as I can find it, they fly everywhere!

author
kelcylane (author)2011-07-07

!!!! i want to make these and teach my friends how to use them and give them to my friends at my birthday because that would be awesome!

author
Kiteman (author)kelcylane2011-07-08

Cool!

You could even give them to friends who live away, because they'll fit in an envelope!

author
Science Swine (author)2011-06-24

Congratulations on number one hit on google for this!

author
Kiteman (author)Science Swine2011-06-24

Thanks!

author
bonnie13 (author)2011-06-24

I love the traditional toys, especially those using objects around the house. Some of the other projects are from original ideas and required more time and effort to design them.

author
dlcain (author)2011-06-22

Kiteman: These are a lot of fun. I just had my scouts make some of these. For some of them this was their first time carving something, and loved making them. It was a great way to teach them how to be safe with a knife, and make something fun. You've got my vote when the time comes. Great job!

author
Kiteman (author)dlcain2011-06-23

Thank you!

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Bio: The answer is "lasers", now, what was the question? If you need help, feel free to contact me. Project previews on Tumblr & Twitter: @KitemanX
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