The Chimes of the Universe




Introduction: The Chimes of the Universe

This project made by Olivia Mack and Emily Daniels, two high school students from Seattle, Washington has the purpose of making kinetic music. We used the forces of gravity to pull marbles down a structure in a way that they will hit tuning forks lined up along a series of ramps. This way as the marbles make their way down the sculpture to their final destination, they will play music as their journey goes on.

Step 1: The Frame

The frame is the structure that holds all of the functions of the sculpture together. From it hangs the tuning forks, through it travel the marbles and in it the ramps are secured. We simply made the frame from PVC piping so that it would be easy to manipulate while also being sturdy enough to hold all the above mentioned parts. We made feet at the bottom of the pipes to make the sculpture more stable.

Step 2: The Funnel

The funnel is a fun aspect that allows for a distinct place for the marbles to be deposited. This way they can all be poured at once and will be separated by the funnel enough to create a feasible pace for the marbles and will not clog up the ramps. We made ours out of a cup to pour the marbles into that led into a track which spun the marbles down to a hole that was attached to the pipe of the frame. This pipe leads the marble down until it comes in contact with the first ramp that it rolls down.

Step 3: The Ramps

The ramps are what the marbles travel down as they play the tuning forks, aka chimes. After the marbles go down the pipe and hit the ramp, they roll down the ramp to the opposite end of the frame, making contact with four chimes as they go. Because our frame was limited in size we created a parallel ramp with a connecting piece that allowed the marbles to continue down the structure and play more tuning forks on the way. These were secured in holes drilled into the pipes to ensure they were stable and would catch the marbles. Drill a hole in the second ramp big enough for the marble to pass through on its descent to the deposit.

Step 4: The Tuning Forks

The tuning forks are the key to the sculpture. They give it it's musical effect and are the largest part of the piece. We attached ours to the frame using strings so that they would be able to sway and move out of the way of the marble, but we could also easily dictate their length. Secure the tuning fork to the structure using a piece of string and ensure that it is the correct height above the ramp so that a marble will be able to pass by, still hitting it but not obstructing it's path. We used 4 on each ramp but any number can be used depending on the size of the frame and any pitch you find pleasing is acceptable as well.

Step 5: The Deposit

The deposit on ours was fairly simple, we attached a pipe to the hole that I mentioned to create on the second ramp in the ramp step. This way, the marble has an ensured path of travel and will land securely in the jar below, or whatever you decide to collect them. We did this so that the marbles would always land in the jar and so they wouldn't bounce out. We decided to leave the deposit unattached from the structure so that it could be lifted and poured into the funnel at the top to restart the process.

Step 6: Final Product

For the final product. Design your structure however you please. We decided to go with yellow spray paint so that it would catch the eye and that they tuning forks would stand out. We made it all one color so that all of the parts would be uniform and none of our manipulations on the structure would stick out. Just drop the marbles in the funnel and listen to the music play on its own.

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    4 years ago

    Looks good!