The Mighty Pocket Vuvuzela/Airhorn

Introduction: The Mighty Pocket Vuvuzela/Airhorn

In my last instructable, I showed you how to make a normal vuvuzela. Now I will show you how to make a pocket-sized one that still packs a punch and is inexpensive.

Due to its size, this mini-vuvuzela has a bit of a higher pitch than its bigger brother. But it's still in the same decibel range, at a fraction of the size! Also, this is not really a "real" vuvuzela. It's more of a horn that makes a similar sound. But it is still fun and has that "annoyance factor."

Now I didn't come up with this concept myself. I got the idea from some youtube video from Germany of a similar  device but couldn't reproduce it. Then I saw instructables featuring some film canister air-horn and it allowed me to complete the puzzle.

Now let's begin!

Step 1: Materials

This is not too complicated. All the materials here could be easily found anywhere. No exact measurements where done so i'm going to estimate.

-One 4" long piece of PVC. I used a scrap chunk of wiffle ball bat but PVC will work just fine. (PVC with thinner sides around 1mm, that is thinner then standard PVC which is about 3mm thick, is suggested as it works better) This can be free if you have scraps.

-One empty water bottle. Free.

-I picked up a funnel for pouring oil at Home Depot. $0.99 (optional)

-One Latex balloon. This can be substituted with a shopping bag or latex glove. Free.

-One rubber band. Free.

You will also need a hot glue gun, tape, a drill, an exacto knife, and a saw for cutting.

Step 2: First Things First!

Take the water bottle with the cap end and push it into the PVC until it goes no further. Mark the outside of the bottle where it stops. See the picture.

Using that line as a reference, cut the spout out with your knife. Make sure it slides into the PVC. It must be able to be pushed in.

Keep the cap on and push it down the PVC to one opening. It's handy to have a marker around to slide it in. Push it towards the end and remove the cap. Part of the spout should protrude from the PVC.

Step 3: Drilling Time.

Take your PVC and mark near the end to make a hole. See the crude Paint image below for reference. Be sure to drill in the green zone in front of the bottle! Not behind!

Step 4: Adding the Balloon.

Now take your balloon, shopping bag, or glove and cut it into a rounded shape.

Stretch that balloon cutout over the top of the water bottle end. Don't make it too tight or too loose. Too tight and the balloon rips. That's why I had to switch to the orange one.

Now place a rubber band over the top.

Step 5: Airtight Seal.

This is the hardest part. You need to make an airtight seal between the PVC and the widest part of the water bottle. I used a hot glue gun. I put hot glue onto a bamboo skewer and made an airtight ring. However you can do this with tape too. It may not last as long though. This is very important in making this work.

Step 6: Funnel. (Optional)

Now that that's over. You can add the funnel. It's not really necessary as it doesn't change the sound too much. Without the funnel this is truly pocket sized, but I added it so it looks more like a vuvuzela. Whether if you add it or not here are the steps:

Basically, I estimated the width of the PVC and applied it to the funnel. I drew a line for reference and cut. It was right on. Now hot glue it to the open end of the PVC.

Step 7: Finished!

You have now completed the pocket-sized airhorn/ vuvuzela! Now try it out!

Step 8: Usage

The great thing about this vuvuzela is it doesn't require practice to get right. You simply blow into it.

For best results, and this was through trial and error, hold down the rubber band and balloon keeping it fairly tight while playing. This keeps the balloon taut. If the balloon is loose it won't make sound.

Now go outside and start playing this for everyone to hear!

How tight the balloon is, the position of the bottle and the type on funnel will determine how it sounds. It's very unlikely two will sound exactly the same. Experiment with it!

Step 9: Troubleshooting.

It's likely that people may have problems when making this. And by problems, I mean no sound! I will try to explain a solutions.

1.) The most common problem is the balloon not being fitted correctly. Remember, the balloon needs to be tight, if you see folds or wrinkles on top of the balloon, pull on the "flare to make it tight again.Try repositioning it and moving the bottle spout around a little.   It should also have a rubber band around it and flare out underneath. If you cut or tape this flare, it will stop working.

2.) If that is not the problem then the balloon may have a hole. This would be hid under the rubber band and allow air to escape. To fix, remove the rubber band and check the balloon.

3.) If number 2 wasn't the issue then most likely you don't have an airtight seal. Check step 5 again to make sure you sealed it correctly.

Those are pretty much all the possible issues I've experienced. If you have any others please contribute.

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    7 Discussions

    Dream Dragon
    Dream Dragon

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Well this kind of instrument is called a "Membranophone" because it relies on a membrane as a kind of reed intead of a reed or your mouth.. It can be tuned by adjusting the tension in the membrane, sliding the bottle in and out a little, or altering the length of the pipe. Altering the shape of the funnel will change the tone to a certain extent also. This is perhaps the best DIY version I've seen, well documented and a clever use of materials. I would suggest a short length of tube as a mouthpiece, just to move the membrane and horn away from your face a little, it could be flexible and might make sounding it a little less awkward. I'd love to see a video too.


    Reply 4 years ago

    okay so theoretically, lets say i wanted to create a version of this, that i can adjust the tune on the fly, while playing, much like a trombone, or a slide whistle... should I make the chamber i blow into the part that gets larger, or the pipe that the final sound travels out of after the membrane? I am really not sure.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Wow. Thank you for the kind words and knowledge. I was always wondering if this device had an actual name. And you are 100% correct about being able to change the sound with the membrane. Some days it sounds different. I have been thinking about making an updated, and somewhat larger version when I get the materials. I'll take your suggestions into consideration when making it. And a video will be coming soon!


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Sorry, I don't know music very well so I couldn't say...however one of these days I will get a video up and you can decide yourself!