Soda Can Rainstick

Introduction: Soda Can Rainstick

About: I'm a seasoned Software Engineer and Visual Artist as well. I like 'Tinkering' with toys like Garbage stuff, Arduino, ...

240 cl of Soda and a Rainstick as Bonus !

Today I will explain how I made a Rainstick out of 12 tiny-cute 20cl soda cans. If you want to get
a grasp of how it sounds there's a sound sample after this text

Bill Of Materials:
- 12 small soda cans (20 cl)
- 1 black duct tape roll
- 1 Fiberglass reinforced transparent duct tape roll
- 1 bag of Lead Shot(see 3rd picture): these are tiny lead balls (normally used to kill birds I guess) 
   the one 1 found has lead balls whose diameter vary between 1.5 and 3.5 mm 

- Can Opener (see the orange item, bottom-left of 2nd picture)
- Scissors (to cut duct tape)
- Universal pliers (see on left side of 2nd picture)
- Middle size Electrician Pliers (see 2nd picture)
- Metal Cutting Pliers (see 2nd picture)

Step 1: Cutting-out one end of each can
- Drink 11 of these 12 soda cans and rinse them. Important Notice: keep the 12th can separate,
  it will be opened "from the bottom"
- For 11 of these 12 cans (one is teated another way), use the can opener to cut out the top aluminum
  disc (with the stay-tab, see pictures 4 and 5)
- For the 12th can (let's call it "Can 12", stay upon a kitchen sink (to limit the effect of soda spurting all
  Then open this can "from the bottom side" (with the Can Opener) without using the "stay-tab" opener
  of the top side and cut-out out the base of the can. This 12th can will be at the top-end of the Rainstick

Step 2: Cutting and Shaping 10 "Valves"
- For 10 of the "normal" cans (leave one separate), you will now cut the bottom end of the can to make
  a Valve, that is without removing it from the can (see pictures 6-9)
Important Notice: The objective is to build a "Lead shot brake" to allow the lead balls to fall not all
      at once but instead to make them "flow" from on can to the next thus producing this characteristic
      "Rainfall noise"
- Start by using the Can opener to start cutting a circle in the bottom of the can, you will have a 7 to
  10mm wide notch
- Now use the Metal Cutting pliers to cut a valve and leave a length of 4 to 7mm of metal uncut
- Fold the valve so that it points outwards, then with Universal pliers) shape it so that it's like a kind
  of Helix
How to make the Helix: for making the helix, visualize the valve has three vertical bands and fold
    the 2 outer bands in opposite directions (see pictures 10-12)
Reason for the helix: the helix pattern is to bring symmetry in the sequence of cans assembled
    together (to allow continuous sound by rotating the Rainstick upside down)

Step 3: Preparing the Cans for easy flow of the Lead balls
- Now all these cans have lots of metal barbs which may "trap" the lead balls and prevent efficient
  flow of the lead balls...
- So use the Electrician Pliers to flatten them along the inner aluminum wall of the can

Step  4: Rainstick Assembly Part 1
- Take the "valve-less" can from Step 3 (with the bottom-end uncut), this will be the start of our
  assembly (the bottom of the Rainstick): let's call it "Can 1"
- Take one of the "valved" can (let's call it "Can 2") push its valve inside itself, and join its valve to
   the empty top-end of Can 1
- Now use the black duct-tape to make a stable joint between these 2 cans
How to make joint to build a straight rainstick: if you join the cans vertically, this will probably
    end as a "twisted tower" so as like me I guess you prefer the rainstick to be a straight stick (so
    that it can be put vertically on its bottom can and be enough balanced to not fall).
    To make a straight stick, I found that it's easier if you make all the joints by using the floor as
    a "square rule" and for doing so the assembly must be done horizontally on the floor (a little
    like when using a rolling pin to flatten a ball of dough)
- Continue the assembly with the next 10 "normal valved" cans, but with both
     Inversing Valve orientation and Rotating Cans to make valves orthogonal to each other:
     - Inversing the valve orientation: if the previous was pointing to the inside, the next has to point
       to the outside and vice-versa
     - Make valves orthogonal to each other: when joining the cans rotate the new can toward the
       previous so that valves are each at 90 degrees from each other

Step  5: Rainstick Assembly Part 2
- Now you should have a stick with 11 cans
- Take "Can 12" (which was opened "from the bottom" in Step 1)and fill it with the Lead Shot balls
- Now there is a delicate step: join "Lead Shot filled" Can 12 with the 11 cans assembly Part 1.
  If you manage it with enough caution, you should have only a small portion of the lead balls falling
  out during this step (like between 25 and 50... remember these are tiny metal balls) 

Step  6: Reinforce the Rainstick
- With the "black duct tape" joints the Rainstick is still fragile and must be reinforced to allow him
  to last a long while (see pictures 17-20)
- Use the "Fiberglass reinforced transparent duct tape", put it at an angle of 30-40 degrees to the
  bottom-end of the Rain stick ans wrap the duct tape along all the length of the Rain stick
- Now from the top-end of the Rainstick, re-wrap the Rainstick with the "Fiberglass reinforced
  transparent duct tape" 
at an angle of 30-40 degrees to the top-end of the Rainstick and in opposite
  direction with the previous wrap

Now enjoy your instrument !!
NB: nevertheless do not give it to young children without care as they may break it in a snap 
(especially if they are 2 or more and try to catch it from another child's hands !)

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    electric guy
    electric guy

    6 years ago

    your still on the introduction?


    Reply 6 years ago

    Humm sorry I don(t undertand your question ?
    "your still on the introduction?"

    Best Regards

    electric guy
    electric guy

    Reply 6 years ago

    Never mind I don't remember what I meant I don't understand it either

    Best regards