Introduction: Compressed Gas Cylinder Wind Chime

When I was a kid I used to travel with the carnival and always saw the kitschy stuff they sold on the independent midway. One of the things I remember was a large wind chime made from what looked like one of those big helium tanks.  I thought they were awesome! They had a deep rich tone that was almost like a buoy on the ocean.

When my Grandmother passed away for some reason my family kept her old oxygen tanks. Not those new aluminum ones the old iron ones.  When I picked it up and moved it it hit something and gonged....  I remembered my days at the fair and decided to see if I could make one.

This is the result! It turned out awesome and the clapper is heavy enough that it doesn't whip around a lot which gives you a nice gentle ring on blustery nights.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

You will need the following materials:

Cast Iron or steel gas cylinder  (I has an Oxygen tank, but, a co2 or helium tank would work also.)
5 feet of rope
Clapper  (I used a 1 pound weight, but a wooden clapper can be made to fit for a softer tone.)
Various nuts for retainers
6" x 24" x 1/8" "Hobby Board" (That's what they called it at home depot.)
Primer, paint and clear coat


Metal cut-off saw or an angle grinder with a cutting blade
Jig Saw
Drill with a 3/4" bit
Table vice
Files (Bench grinder optional!)
Metal coat hanger or a long piece of baling wire

Step 2: Drain the Tank

Empty the cylinder.  In my case it was an old oxygen tank and from conception to actually doing the project it was a couple of months. I opened the valve to let it drain then put it off in a corner and left it for a while.  Just use a pair of pliers to open the valve.  At this point I was pretty sure all of the gas had dissipated so I was not too worried about the tank becoming a missile.

Also Oxygen is not flammable BY ITSELF...  It helps things burn better.  Better safe than sorry though so open the valve and leave it alone for a while!

Step 3: Remove the Valve Stem

For the first one I did I held the stem in a vice and used an oil filter wrench to turn the tank. 

Once the stem is out fill the tank with water to displace any remaining gas.

This time I just tried without the wrench and ended up breaking off the stem. DOH!  I ended up having to cut the stem off by just cutting the tank a little lower on the neck.

Step 4: Cut Off the Bottom

This is fairly straight forward, except the cutting blade wasn't large enough to do it in one clean cut.  I had to turn the tank and keep it all in line to finish my cut.

Start the cut a few inches up from the bottom to clear the indentation built into the bottom of the tank.

NOTE: This can be done with an angle grinder with a cut-off blade, but, be careful to keep your cut clean and straight! Or don't if you want a different look!

Step 5: Nobody Likes Filing, But, It Must Be Done!

Clean up our cuts now using a file.  A metal file not a wood one! I also used a bench grinder to make short work of the big bur left when cutting off the neck and the outside of the base.

Step 6: Clean, Primer and Paint!

So clean off your tank of all stickers and crap.  Mine had these plastic things that were held on by some new cosmic polymer.  Nothing soaking a rag or two in acetone and letting it soak into the stubborn stickers wouldn't take care of!

Next hang your tank with a piece of twine and a nut.  I had this handy dandy rack to dangle mine from!

Primer the snot out of it! Then pain the snot out of it!

Take your time here..  Light coats, try to get no drips.  If you look at the photos you'll see that the color is kind of patchy.  This was coat number two.

Step 7: Make the Wind Catcher

This part was just a bunch of eye-balling.  I used to cut off portion of the tank to make the curve. I eyeballed the point for the hole. Over all the length was about a foot.

A jig saw, a 3/4" (or diameter suitable to your rope) hole drilled and some sanding to clean up the edged and I have a wind catcher!

Step 8: Clear Coat

Next I strung the wind catcher and gave the whole thing several coats of clear gloss enamel.

Here is where I made a MAJOR error:  I thought that since the surface was dry the whole thing was dry.  It is not.  Leave this over night AT LEAST.  It would probably be better for a couple of days of curing.  I ended up with fingerprints and rag marks (trying to protect the finish) that required me leaving it for a day then sanding then another coat of color and another few coats of clear.

Step 9: Make the Guts

This was pretty straight forward. 

I will explain it LEFT TO RIGHT left being the "top".

I tied a knot about a foot and a half from the left end of the rope then slid a nut on to the left of the knot.  I used an old lug nut since the taper would center itself in the neck and give it a better hang.

I took it outside and held it up to the tank making another knot about 4 inches from the bottom of the tank.  If you go too high the rope will not have enough throw to allow the clapper to touch the sides before the rope contacts the lip of the chime.

From the right I slid on the clapper, a large retaining nut (the lug nut was too small by itself for the hole in the clapper) and then finally the lug nut.  Just a simple knot to hold everything in place.



Step 10: String the Chime

At this point I used a piece of baling wire to create a small hook and fish the clapper rope through the chime.

Just a simple loop in the top to hang it, then I tied the wind catcher to the bottom.  Trim the excess rope and use a lighter to melt and clean the ends of the rope.

Step 11: Hang It!

All that is left is to find a nice spot in the garden and enjoy it!

Thanks for taking a look guys! Let me know how yours turns out!