Magnetic Chimes




Introduction: Magnetic Chimes

About: Magnet Enthusiast

Instruction on how to build chimes + I added my own magnetic twist to the project

Step 1: Preparing the Chimes

I used ∅10 mm copper tubing. Copper is a soft metal which makes it easy to work with. Harder metals will produce cleaner sound, but I personally like the softer tone of copper. I tuned 8 tubes into C major tuning, that is one octave of white keys in the piano. Shorter chimes produce higher-pitched tones. In the ∅10mm tubing, I used the shortest chime (High C) is 100 mm and the longest chime (low C) is 142 mm. It is best to drill the holes beforehand because it will make the pitch a little bit higher. It is easy to polish the copper pipe by rubbing it with steel wool, or with scotch pad.

Step 2: Tuning the Chimes

I installed an app called Pano Tuner to my phone. It did the job well, I was really satisfied on the accurateness of the tuning. The chime needs to be hanged from a string when the pitch is tested, otherwise it won't be able to resonate freely. A thin string works best. A thick string will reduce the sustain. I used black sewing thread. Once one length of a specific tone has been determined, determining the rest will become easier. In major C scale intervals between C-D and D-E are whole steps but the interval between E-F is a half step. Intervals between F-G, G-A, and A-B are whole steps, but interval between B-C is again a half step. This means the length difference between E and F & B and C are shorter than with the whole step ones. A tone needs to be approached from below - once it goes over it cannot be lowered, so a lot of testing between the sanding is required. I was surprised on how effectively sand paper grinds copper pipe, no power tools are required in this step. The sand paper I used was 80. It took me little over an hour to get the 8 chimes tuned. If you are planning to make a wind chime with five chimes, pentatonic scale is a commonly used in wind chimes, using tones A, C, D, E and G is a safe choice.

Step 3: Making the Metal Strips That Play the Chimes

My previous project was a magnetically supported flywheel that spun for over 10 hour on it's own momentum. I have wrote an instructable on it:

I noticed the flywheel had become magnetized while spinning under a strong magnet. I had an idea to use the magnetized flywheel to "power" the chimes, instead of wind or a drum stick. I cut 8 little strips of metal, magnetized them by sweeping them 50+ times to the same direction with a neodymium magnet. Then I measured the middle point and and used a hammer and sharp metal marker to make a little dent to the middle of the strip. After that I placed the metal strips on a tip of a non-ferromagnetic stainless steel screws. This results the metal strip into behaving like a compass needle. I built little hangers out of wood for each chime. Then placed the hangers, chimes, metal strips and screws around the flywheel. Once the flywheel is rotating, the magnetized metal strips will start banging against the chimes resulting into a repeating hypnotic melody with a gradually slowing down tempo. The melody can be modified by changing the places of the chimes and by changing the rotation direction of the flywheel. The magnetized metal strips affect the spinning duration, but the longest spin was still 2 hours!

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    4 Discussions


    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you very much! That is an electromagnet in the link, I used one permanent magnet above the flywheel. Flywheel becomes magnetized as it spins beneath the magnet. Magnetized metal strips react to the magnetism in the flywheel like a compass and play the chimes. The whole thing is powered by the flywheel, which is an inertia rotor that spins a long time on its own. So although both chimes are powered by magnetism they are two completely different concepts.


    Reply 1 year ago

    It's fantastic so you don't have any extra battery power supply


    Reply 1 year ago

    Yes, that's true. Without the chimes the record spin time is 10 hours, with the chimes 2 hours