Introduction: Rubens Tube

Since I found out what a rubens tube is I have wanted to make one. They just seem so cool. Something that could show sound waves though little flames. I found it was the perfect match: a little fire that dances to music. I never thought I could make one until I searched it on instructables and found this:!/.

I had looked at other ones but none of them seemed to look all that good. They all looked very "redneck". With this instructable I will show you how to make one that looks good too.

If you are planning to make this, make sure you also consider the safety hazards that come along with it. Make sure to read the safety section in this instructable:!/

I will try to explain all the steps in a clear way to make it easier. So, lets get to the point and start building.

Step 1: Materials

I have tried to include a picture of everything i needed.


Ventilation Ducting
I used 4" x 60" air duct (4 inch diameter x 60 inches long)

Hose Clamps x2

Epoxy putty

Hose / tubing
I used 1/4" tube

hose barb splicer x2
two 1/4" hose splicers (make sure its the right size for your tubing, 1/4" for me because I used 1/4" tube)

Hose T barb connector
1/4" for me

Teflon Tape

Polyethylene Sheets
I used polyethylene because that was all that I could find but yourtvlies says that latex works best.

propane and torch
I used this as my fuel source. The torch should have a fuctioning valve to turn it off.

Spray paint x2
One color for the stands (I used textured charcoal) and another High heat color for the tube itself (I used silver)

scrap wood
two pieces at least

Clamps of all kinds

A 1/4" and a 1/16" drill bit

Tape measure

A Sharpie


A File

A 2" x 10" at least 44" long if you plan to make a base.

An amplifier
Play your own music or use a tone generator.

Step 2: Measure and Cut Duct

  1. put masking tape around the duct at approximatly 42" from the good side (the side without the bumps).
  2. measure and mark 42" in several different places around the duct on the tape.
  3. use the tin snips to cut along the line
  4. don't throw out the extra piece of duct, we will use it later.

Step 3: Cut the Wood

you will need two peices of wood the same width as the duct flattened and at least 3ft long. I used the extra piece of duct left to mark it

Step 4: Clamp It in Place

  1. flatten the long duct onto the first peice of wood.
  2. put the next piece of wood on top
  3. clamp them together with the duct in between

Step 5: Do Your Drawing.

The pictures help explain this part.

  1. Starting at 4" from the ends of the ducts, mark where you will drill 1/16" holes 1/2" apart centered on the duct.
  2. At 1/4 and 3/4 of the way down the line of dots, mark where you will drill 1/4" holes 3 5/16" away from the center dots.

Step 6: Drilling

  1. make a little dent in all the places you will be drilling. This will help so the drill bit won't move around.
  2. drill all the holes. try your best to only drill strait up and down

Step 7: Take the Clamps Off

  1. take the clamps off
  2. take the top piece of wood off. It will bulge up.

Step 8: Start Making the Hose System

  1. cut two pieces of 1/4" tube that are the same size
  2. put teflon tape around the barbs on one end of the splicers.
  3. push* one splicer onto each piece of tube
  4. wrap two ends of the T connector and attach* the other ends of the tubes onto it. (see pictures)

* when you attach the hoses it helps to turn the hose as it goes on.

Step 9: Make the Torch Hole Bigger

Some of the rubens tube instructables don't mention this but if you are using a torch end like mine, this step is necessary. We tried it without making the hole bigger, there was not even enough propane to light the flames.

  1. clamp the torch
  2. drill a 1/16" hole in the end.

Step 10: Finish the Tubing

  1. push and twist the propane torch onto another, longer piece of tubing.
  2. wrap teflon tape onto the last end of the T connector.
  3. push and twist the other end of the tube onto the barbed T connector.

Step 11: Prepare for Glueing

Scrape up around the hose splicers. This will make the epoxy putty stick to the metal better. See the pictures.

Step 12: Put on the Epoxy Putty.

  1. take a chunk off
  2. knead and mix it with your hand* until it is even in color.
  3. apply it around the splicers on the inside and outside
  4. do the next step before it dries. (it should say on the package how long it takes)

Step 13: Close the Duct.

Close the duct before the putty dries. You can pactice closing it on the extra piece on ducting.

After closing thd duct, make sure the putty is still all right.

Step 14: Duct Tape

  1. tape along the conecting point. this will mke it airtight
  2. cut short pieces of tape and put them on the sharp ends of the duct. See pictures.

Step 15: The Diaphragm

  1. cut a piece of polyethelene film big enough to fit over the end of the tube with a little sticking off. see pictures

Step 16: Install the Diaphragm

  1. Use small pieces of duct tape to stretch the film over the hole. See the pictures.
  2. put two layers of tape on top to make it look better and airtight.

Step 17: Repeat Steps 14-16 on the Other Side

do the same on the other side of the tube

Step 18: The Stand

  1. cut a strip 1" wide and the same lengh as the extra piece of duct.
  2. mesure 1" from each side.
  3. mesure 3 1/2" from that on each side. (see pictures)
  4. fold on all the lines and turn the center into a curve.

Step 19: The Stand Support

  1. measure a rectangle 6 1/4" long and 1" wide on the extra piece of duct.
  2. measure 1" from both ends
  3. cut on the outer lines
  4. fold on the 1" lines

Now, to glue it all together.

Step 20: Preparing the Clamp for Gluing

  1. tighten the clamp onto the end of the duct.
  2. draw a line a few spaces down from the tightener
  3. line up the line with the top of the stand.
  4. while holding it in place, mark some lines beside it to help while gluing

Step 21: Scrape/file

Scrape and file anywhere the stand and clamp touch.

Step 22: Glue

  1. mix up a chunk of epoxy putty
  2. roll it into a long piece
  3. apply it along the bottom of the clamp.
  4. Push it onto the stand

Step 23: Clamp

  1. clamp it together. Don't worry if some putty comes though the holes. The stand will get deformed. This doesn't matter we will straiten it.
  2. Leave it for at least 30 min.

Step 24: Finishing Touches

  1. Take the clamps off.
  2. File the bumps away.

Step 25: Get Ready for the Support.

  1. Straiten the stand
  2. measure 1/2" from the bottom of the stand.
  3. scrape anywhere the support and stand touches

Step 26: Glue

  1. apply some mixed epoxy putty to the support
  2. push it onto the stand
  3. clamp it
  4. remove any extras that come squishing out
  5. do the same on the other side.

Step 27: Redo Steps 17-25

You will need to make another but this time with the support pointing the other way. See the pictures for better details.

Step 28: Painting

This is what you'll need

Step 29: Painting the Stands

  1. cover the place you will paint with some sort of plastic stuff (I used some of the Polyethelene film I used for the diaphragm)
  2. paint with several thin coats

Step 30: Paint the Duct

  1. Cover the place again
  2. Put masking tape on anything you don't want covered in paint. Make sure you cover the holes so they don't get clogged.
  3. Paint it with high heat spray paint. I used silver
  4. Let it dry
  5. Take the tape off

Step 31: Make a Base (not Necessary)

  1. Get a 2" x 10"
  2. cut it 42" if you want it the same size as the duct or 44" if you want it 1" longer on each side for protection.

Step 32: WOW! It's DONE (unless You Paint the Base)

  1. Tighten the stands onto the duct
  2. Screw the stands onto the base (if you did one).

Step 33: Get Ready & Enjoy!

  1. Make sure the torch end is off
  2. screw in a propane bottle
  3. turn it on**
  4. Light the holes
  5. put an amp beside it
  6. turn the lights out
  7. ENJOY!

Tips & Tricks
If you play music, it will dance. If you want to see riples use a tone generator such as this:

**The remix I did said to prime the tube. This means that you put tape on the holes and turn the propane on. Then you wait a couple of minutes to let it fill up before removing the tape and lighting it. This will gather up pressure so the flames are higher. I found that most of the pessure was lost right away when you took the tape off anyway. Thus, I just opened the valve higher and didn't bother priming it at all.

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