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What's a good material for a door chime? Answered

Does anyone have one of those door chimes where the chimes are metal pipes suspended from above? I'm thinking of making one and could do with some suggestions about what's a good material and length / thickness of pipe to use for the chime. I just tried with a (quite thin walled) stainless tube clothes rail and it sounds a bit thin and weedy, so it would be great if anyone has any better suggestions.?



Best Answer 7 years ago

A few years ago, I experimented with making some wind chimes and made several sets until I became bored with it.
Some of the things I learned are that most hard metal pipe will work well. Aluminum and soft copper pipe are poor choices, although rigid, hard copper pipe works well and looks good.
I made chimes out of rigid copper, brass, steel pipe and wooden maple dowels.
Also, you can "tune" the chimes by making the lengths of each descend in uniform steps, such as, 16", 15", 14", and so on. I can't say they are regular music notes, but the tone progresses uniformly.

Thanks. I was thinking of using stainless steel but also wondering about aluminium.

Just some additional data points:

My doorbell has plastic pipes which may or may not act as resonance chambers, but the actual chimes are metal bars like those of a vibraphone or "toy xylophone". Works fine.

My hallway clock  has chimes which are just metal rods, firmly mounted at one end and struck a few inches below that mounting point.

Thanks. I'm thinking of using either mild steel or bronze pipe, cut to tuned lengths according to the maths here: http://www.metalwebnews.com/howto/wchime/wchime.html There's a page here: http://windworld.com/features/tools-resources/making-self-resonating-chimes/ about how to tune the pipes by cutting holes in them so that the air column is tuned to the same frequency as the metal pipe, which looks interesting, so I might try that as well. My idea is to use 6 pipes tuned in a pentatonic scale, struck with solenoids controlled from an arduino. There will be a control panel which lets you play tunes on the pipes and record them either to the doorbell button or one of 5 other buttons which can be used for sending messages in the shared house I live in. (E.g. 'dinner's ready', or 'phone for andy'). I'll post an instructable when it's all done.

did you make the instructable in the end?
Im in the middle of doing something simular.


7 years ago

I've got those in my house. They are made of thin brass. Not sure if it's a special alloy of brass that resonates more...

COULD be a "bell metal" - there are special brasses for bells and the like.

I've done a bit more research and it looks like the reason the pipe didn't sound so good was because I was holding it at the end when you should hold it about a quarter of the way along - see: http://www.creativemanuals.com/home/ It would still be good though to hear from anyone who's made a door chime or windchime using metal pipe.

Hold it on a piece of thread or wire at the end, and it will sound very nicely - my parents door bell is just like that.

Large diameter electrical conduit.

Steel chain link fence pipe.

Copper water pipes.