Introduction: Snake Didgeridoo

About: Mechanical engineer who spends a little too much time 'tinkering'
Finally finished exams and have managed to write up this instructable!

Here we have a 'folded up' didgeridoo. It works out at about 1.4 meters long. It makes it easier to travel around with.

I ran into something similar on YouTube. 

I've entered this instructable into the Epilog Challenge. If you like it, please vote.
If I was lucky enough to win a prize I'd use it to help develop a business making electric violins and other instruments.
Thanks :)

Step 1: Design and Research

You'll need an idea of the size, the shape and some idea of what wood you might want to use. 

Firstly, I started by finding as many pictures as I could. Also, in looking for some pics I ran into a website where there sizes of the instrument, and a bit more info on how others had made them. This is the link to Yoram Sivan's website. 

Also, this instructable by dimdiode proved to be very useful for a methodology for constructing the didge. 

So, after searching around I drew my own design. The template is as above. The Didge was going to be 40 x 25cm. This worked out at about 141 cm long. I decided that about 7 cm would be suitable width.

After this I managed to get hold of some wood. The darker was Walnut from a local joiners and the light was Pine which I picked up at the local DIY store. The Pine was 3.5 cm thick by about 5 cm wide. This allowed the two halves to be made separately and then glued together.

Step 2: Gluing the Wood

Ok, so having sourced the wood it needed to be glued into a shape that could be shaped into two halves of the Didge. 

To do this you'll need:
  • Wood glue (PVA served me well enough)
  • 2 large clamps (Sash clamps)
  • Food wrap (cling film) 
  • Several straight planks
  • Something heavy
What you need to do:
  1. Lay the wood you're gonna glue in the clamp. 
  2. At the points where the wood will come into contact with the clamp heads place one of the straight planks. (first picture above). This will make sure that your clamping will remain square and will stop the clamp heads damaging the wood. 
  3. Set your clamps to the right length to allow for your wood body. 
  4. Remove the wood and truing planks. 
  5. Wrap the clamp body with food wrap. This will stop the wood gluing to the clamps.
  6. Wrap the truing clamps too and place them back in the clamp. 
  7. Section by section glue and place the wood body parts in the clamp. Make sure you don't glue the body wood to the truing planks.
  8. Tighten the clamps slightly, just to hold the wood in place.
  9. Place you're heavy item on top of the wood. Make sure you protect the top surface of the body with a couple of wrapped planks of wood. Alternatively, you could clamp it down. 
  10. Carry on tightening the big clamps until no more glue squeezes out of the gaps. This is just a rough guide, do it to what feels right. 
  11. Leave for 24 hours and remove. 
  12. Repeat for the second side.  

Guide holes.

You'll need:
  • M5 threaded rod (or something similar)
  • M5 nuts
  • Large flat washers
Cool. Now we need to put some guide holes in. (They'll need to be slightly larger than the the diameter of you're bolts/threaded rod.) 
  1. Clamp both sides together so that they are both as perfectly lined up as you can get them. 
  2. Using your template locate the 3 points where you'll need to drill the guide holes. Mark them up.
  3. Drill the holes. If you have access to a pillar drill I'd recommend using  it. If not a hand drill will be fine.

Step 3: Routing

Alright, so having glued the wood, we need to start cutting out the inside of the two halves. The quickest way to do this is with a router. However, drilling and using a chisel could work just as well. 

To do this you'll need:
  • Router + router bits. 
  • G clamps
What you need to do:

Do not cut out the mouth piece! This needs to be left closed so the pressure test can be done!
  1. Draw round your template onto the face of the wood.
  2. Clamp the wood to a desk/table.
  3. Chose a straight bit and attach to the router. 
  4. Begin to steadily create contours of the inside shape  of the didge. 
  5. Steadily increase the depth of the contours until you reach the desired depth. (you want to leave a thickness of around 8 mm between the inner and outer surfaces)
  6. Repeat with other half. 

WARNING:  Routing flings out lost of small bits of wood and dust. 

Ensure you wear a dust mask and eye protection.

Step 4: Sanding

Now we need to smooth out the contours to create a flowing inner surface. 

To do this you'll need:
  • Electric drill 
  • Sanding flap wheel 
  • G clamps 
What you need to do:
  1. Once again, make sure the wood is clamped to a desk/table. 
  2. Use the sanding flap wheel to smooth out the contours. make sure you don't make the walls too thin! you want to have a minimum thickness of 5mm.
WARNING:   This stage creates a lot of dust. 

Ensure you wear a dust mask and eye protection. 

Step 5: Cut It Out

Having sanded smooth the inside of both halves of the didge, it needs to be cut out. 

To do this you'll need:
  • Fret saw (either electric or hand)
What you need to do:
  1. Cut around the outside of the half hollowed section. Do this for one half first! Make sure you leave a minimum wall thickness of 5mm.
  2. Using the threaded rod, align both halves using the aligning holes. 
  3. Draw round the first cut half onto the second piece. 
  4. Cut out the second piece. 
  5. Check outer wall shape using the aligning rods. (pic 3)
WARNING:   The blade can snap and bits of wood can flick out. 

Ensure you wear eye protection.

Step 6: Check the Fit

This is just a simple stage to check that both halves have good contact. As the picture shows, look along the inner contact surface of the two halves. If it is not properly aligned then both surfaces need to be sanded slightly. 

The easiest way to do this is to put a sanding sheet on the surface of a table. This helps make sure that the surface is properly level.

Try to reduce the amount of light seen through the gap. Don't worry about reducing it all the way because it will be glued and clamped. 

Step 7: Clamp and Glue

Having ensured that the two inner surfaces mate properly, the two halves need to be glued and clamped. 

To do this you'll need:
  • Two threaded rods with washers and nuts. 
  • Clamps 
  • Wood glue (PVA served me well enough)
What you need to do:
  1. Firstly glue both of the mating surfaces. Ensure there is plenty of glue on both surfaces.  
  2. Using the threaded rods align both halves. 
  3. Put the washers against each outer face and tighten the two halves using the nuts. This makes sure that the surfaces in the centre are clamped tightly together. 
  4. Using the other clamps ensure all the other surfaces are tightly fixed.  
  5. Leave to dry for a minimum of 24 hours. 

Step 8: Pressure Test

To make sure that the glue has properly sealed the inside of the digde blow into the opening. See if there are any points where dust is expelled from  the glue seam. Any puffs of dust indicate a break in the seal. 

If you notice any places where air is leaking from the didge top up the glue on the inside of the didge. 

WARNING:  You may look like a fool doing this! Ensure no one takes a photo!

Step 9: Shape

Ok so, final shaping stages!

To do this you'll need:
  • Chisel 
  • Rasp
  • Drill 
  • Sandpaper
  • G Clamps
What you need to do:
  1. Shape the outer edges first.
  2. The alignment holes need to be made larger using a bigger diameter drill bit. Be careful not to break the wall of the didge. 
  3. Use chisels, etc. to shape the inside curves. 
  4. Finish the outer surface with sandpaper. 

Step 10: Drill Out the Mouth Piece

Pretty simple stage. Get hold of a spade drill bit and drill out the mouthpiece. I used a 35mm spade bit.

To finish it, round it off with sandpaper.  

Step 11: Finishing - Varnishing and Polishing

To finish up the surface needs to be varnished and polished.

To do this you'll need:
  • Fine sandpaper (250 & 400 grit)
  • French polish
  • Varnish 
What you need to do:

(this is not necessarily the correct order, but it's the way I made this one)
  1. To get the weathered look I first gave the didge a coat of French polish. 
  2. Then sand the surface down so that the polish only remains in the corners and scrapes. 
  3. Apply several coats of clear wood varnish, leaving plenty of time between coats to allow drying. 
  4. Between each coat, lightly sand to remove any defects. 
  5. Finally apply several coats of French polish to give a shiny surface finish. 
Job done! 

If you have any question feel free to message me.
Epilog Challenge V

Participated in the
Epilog Challenge V