Easy Design and Build
Your Own Tubular-Bell Wind Chime Set
Tubes, Pipes or Rods
Hello & Welcome:
This site is about providing
you with easy options and about making good choices when designing and building
tubular-bell wind chimes from tubes, pipes, or rods. Our goal is to make it easy
for you to incorporate your personality and your style into the design rather
than building to a fixed set of plans.
A variety of best practices, patterns and
calculators are provided to accommodate your
particular skill level, your construction resources,
and your budget. Avoid some of the common mistakes
and you can easily design and build an attractive
and great sounding set of tubular bell chimes.
To help simplify your visit the menu has been
organized specific to each section of the chime set.
If you know what you want and just
need dimensions and patterns, see Quick-Start below.
If you're curious about some of the design considerations read
Wind Chime Support Disk
and Striker Patterns
5.3Meg PDF, includes
location markers for single point or dual point chime hang,
3-point or 4-point support disk hang, tube sizes from 1/2" to 2",
size for both a circular and a star striker, and generic
As my good neighbor pointed out when
faced with the challenge of designing a new state-of-the-art toaster, you first
determine what makes toast, toast; rather than dried bread, before you design a
question should have been, what makes a chime a good chime, rather than what
musical notes should be selected when designing a set of tubular bell wind chimes. I had
originally asked that question back in 2001 and learned I should have also
asked what makes a good chime?
While I would
not consider myself an expert by any definition, the findings can be valued for the
understanding of tubular bells. My experience with this project has evolved over
time and is presented to help you design and build a great set of
tubular bell wind chimes. Updates continue
almost monthly as development continues.
OBTW, check out the new Chimecloud from students at
the Chalmers Institute of Technology in Göteborg, Sweden.
What's the difference between a pipe and a tube? The way it’s measured and the
applications it’s being used for. Pipes are passageways. Tubes are structural.
For the purpose of tubular chimes we consider them the same. The important
the outside diameter, the inside diameter and the type of metal.
On the other hand, a rod is a solid metal cylinder that can produce a very
different sound compared to a tube. The DIY calculators on this web site
can predicted the resonate frequency for a tube or a circular rod
and the hang point location. If you want to design and build a chime set using rods
rather than tubes all you have to do is set the inside diameter to zero and
enter the outside diameter and type of metal into the DIY calculator.
If you are trying to decide between using a tube or a rod as the chime element
one important difference is the sustain time of the musical note. Typically a
rod will have a much longer sustain time and in some environments this maybe
desirable and annoying in others.
Another difference is a shorter length requirement for a rod to strike the same
note compared to a tube from the same metal. For example, a 1" steel rod for middle C,
(C4) is 26 1/4" while it is 32 7/8" for a 1" steel EMT.
Two additional issues are the weight difference and loudness difference. Rods
typically have a relative small diameter offering a smaller sound radiating
surface producing a quieter chime, but on occasion the longer sustain time can
the reduced loudness and sound quite acceptable.
The Build Plan: Just a few decisions and you’re ready for construction.
There is a lot of information on this page but don’t let it overwhelm you.
Most of the information provides choices for making a decision.
Select the number of chimes (typically 3 to 8) for your set
and the musical notes. It is helpful to
understand the limitations for effective note selection as discussed in the
section on the bell-like chime. Keep in mind the
physical size for the set. Whether you use precalculated dimensions or one
of the DIY calculators, observe the length for the longest chime as a guide
for overall size. Remember to include extra length for the wind sail that
hangs below the chimes. Read
Cut each chime to the length provided by the precalculated
table or the DIY calculator. Best to cut slightly long (about 1/8”) to allow
for smoothing and deburring the ends to final dimensions.
you're new to cutting metal and looking for an easy method, I use an
abrasive metal cutting saw blade in a radial arm saw and it works equally well
with a cut-off saw aka chop-saw. The blade pictured right is under $5.00 at Home Depot. The traditional tubing cutter or hacksaw works well also.
Smooth the ends to remove sharp edges and to provide a
professional appearance. Place an old towel or cloth on a table to protect
the chime from scratches. Roll the chime back & forth as you file or sand
the ends smooth. Slightly chamfer or round the outer edge.
Drill the support
holes at the hang-point location provided by the
precalculated table or the DIY calculator.
Deburr the support holes in preparation for whatever method you
select for support.
How to drill the tubes without a drill press or V block: Using card stock or
a manila folder cut a strip about ½” by 8”, wrap it around the tube and tape
it so that you now have what looks like a “Cigar Band”. Lay it on a table
and flatten it so a crease forms on both sides. Example: Let’s say that the
instructions ask for a hole 10 ½” from the end of the tube. Slide the “Cigar
Band” down the tube to the 10 ½”. Mark at both creases and drill each hole.
They should be opposing.
Select the top support disk cutout
pattern for your specific tubing size and number of chimes in the set.
Download the support disk & striker patterns from the web site and just
print the page specific to your tubing size and number of chimes in the set.
You may need to print two copies one for the support pattern and hole
locations, and one for the striker.
Select either a circular striker, a radial star striker, or a
are included in the patterns from step 7.
Select the style for hanging the chime
tubes, i.e. top aligned, center aligned or bottom aligned. Bottom
aligned is best because it allows the striker to easily contact the end edge
of all chimes, the ideal strike location. Top aligned may have a more
aesthetic appeal and on occasion some like center alignment. All three
locations work okay when you keep the striker away from the center dead
Always try your local building
supply store. In addition to visiting the hardware section in these stores
investigate tubing used for closet hanging poles, shower
curtain poles, chain link fence rails and post. Yard or garage sales
can yield surprising results, look for a discarded metal swing set,
tubular shelving, etc. With permission look for discarded materials
on constructions sites. Try your local metal recycler; they can
yield very economical rod and tubing.
Speedy Metals accepts
orders for small quantities of tubes or rods.
Tanks bells can be crafted from out-of-service
compressed gas/air tanks, scuba diving tanks or fire extinguishers.
A most likely source can be your local testing facility for each
type of tank. Ask your local fire department, welding shop and scuba
diving shop for their recommendation for a testing company. You may
be required to provide a letter to the testing company stating that
you will cut the tank in pieces and render it unable to hold
compressed air or gas.
Metal Hoops & Rings
Try hobby stores for rings
or hoops often used for dream catchers, mandellas or macramé. Some
are chrome plated steel and others may require paint. Support rings
can be cut from an out of service aluminum fire extinguisher using
an abrasive metal cutting saw blade in a radial arm saw, a chop saw
or a table saw as described in step 3 above.
Eyelets & Grommets
Small eyelets can often be
located at your local hobby store in the sewing department or a shoe
repair store. You can also use the outer shell of a 1/8 inch or 3/16
inch aluminum pop rivet. Remove the nail-like center and use the
rivet. Heat shrink tubing can be found at Radio Shack®.
Thin braided wire or 1/32 to 1/16 inch
rust resistant steel cable, or decorative chain that is zinc plated,
brass plated, or painted can be located in hardware and home
improvement stores. Try a hobby store for small aircraft control
Make sure the line is UV
resistant. Choices include fishing line (both 80# braided or 30-50# monofilament), braided nylon line, braided plumb line, braided
Dacron kite line, venetian blind chord, string trimmer weed eater
line (.065 inch), awning chord, and braided electrical conduit pull
Do you need to select a musical note? Not necessarily unless you
are looking for a specific sound. All you really need to do is support the chime tube
at the correct location to allow for the best possible sound from that tube.
Say for example, you want a 5-chime set about 24 inches tall not
including the sail. The best thing to do is test a 24-inch tube for a pleasing
sound. First, look at the precalculated tube length tables
for your specific metal and chime size to learn where a 24-inch tube is
positioned in the overall scale. As long as the note is above C2 and well below
about C5 to C6 you should be good to go. Tie a slipknot in a string and position
it at exactly 22.4% from one end. Multiply the tube length by .224 to locate the
support location. Hold the chime with the string at the 22.4% point, strike
the chime on the edge of the end with something that is medium-hard like a wood mallet,
a wood cooking spoon or the hard rubber heel of a shoe. If you’re happy with the sound then
remove 2-inches from each succeeding chime, 22”, 20”, 18”, 16” and proceed to
step 4 above.
I arbitrarily used a 2-inch removal measurement and suggest not more than 3-inches between any two chimes.
You can lengthen
rather than shorten each successive chime for an overall increase in height as
long as you remain in the suggested range from C2 to C6.
On the other hand, if you want a more coordinated sound a traditional and safe choice by many wind chime suppliers has
been the pentatonic scale (C D E G A). An enhancement to that scale can be the C9
Chord (C E
G Bb & D) which has a wider note separation for a good sound both close in and
at a distance from the chime.
With that in mind we have a DIY calculator for either choice
along with a calculator for all notes where you select the metal and the tubing size, and the calculator will prove
the correct length and hang point for each note.
A Must Read Caution:
Ending your project with a successful and pleasing sound is
important and setting the right expectations will allow that to happen.
Selecting musical notes for a chime is NOT like selecting notes on a piano or
other string instrument, or reed instrument. When you strike C2 on a piano that
is indeed what you hear but not true of a chime cut for C2. Instead, you will hear
a host of overtones with the fundamental and the first overtone missing. Why
this happens is discussed in the section "The
Science of Chiming".
For example, an orchestra grade chime that is physically cut for
C2 will actually sound about like C5. To see a visual representation for what a
chime is apt to sound like see the chart
here. On the other hand, will the strike note for a chime sound
pleasing and bell-like? Yes, absolutely, because of the large complement
of overtones even though the fundamental is missing. Selections from about C2 to
C4 sound the most bell-like but will not adequately radiate the fundamental
Unfortunately this effect complicates note selection if you are
trying to strike exact notes below about C5. Above about C5 the strike
note will actually be the fundamental and you can expect to hear the note you
selected but less bell-like than the C2 to C4 range.
The calculators require any of the following programs to view and execute:
MS Excel TM Viewer (Free)
Get it here; or Apache Open Office
(Free) Get it here; or MS Excel TM (Cost $)
CAUTION: Do not use these
calculations for an orchestra or a musical setting unless you are certain they
use A=440 Hz. An orchestra or symphony may brighten slightly and will typically
tune for A4=442, 43 or 44 Hz. The above charts use A4 = 440 Hz. Most
symphony grade instruments are shipped with A4=442 Hz.
If you're not sure what notes to select and want to experiment
use the Wind Chime Designer software below. Caution, the loudspeaker
connected to your computer has the ability to play the low notes from C2 to C4
but a chime will not reproduce those sounds.
Chime Emulation Software:
A well designed freeware called Wind Chime Designer V2.0,
1997-2006, by Greg Phillips will emulate a chime for notes between A2 (110
Hz) thru B8 (7,902 Hz) in many different scales (82 in all). It will help you
determine what notes sound pleasant on a chime and what scale to use. Wind Chime Designer
Instructions PDF Remember, the loudspeaker
connected to your computer has the ability to play the low notes from C2 to C4
but a chime will not reproduce those sounds.
Download the Zip file here Wind Chime
Zip, 370Kb by Greg Phillips (software + Instructions)
Using right mouse, save
to a folder of your choice Internet Explorer, select Save Target As Google Chrome, select Save Link As FireFox, select Save Link As Safari, select Download Linked File
Click on "wind_chime_designer.zip"
to unzip the folder.
(contains Chime32A.exe, TUNING.DAT, and Wind Chime Designer Instructions)
If you have trouble unzipping Greg's new version here are
the two files you need.
TUNING.DAT Using right mouse, select Save Target As and save to a
folder of your choice. Place both files in the same folder and run the
Strike a note or strike a chord? Over the years much effort by many well-intentioned folks
has been placed on exactly what is the best chord for a set of wind chimes?
While a musical chord can be pleasing to the ear, the effort to simultaneously
strike all the notes in a chord using the traditional circular shaped
striker/clapper has been mostly a waste of time. The striker only contacts one,
maybe two, chimes simultaneously. The good news is that with some innovative
striker designs we can now strike a chord. More on this in the
Also, if you dedicate a striker to each chime tube (internal or
external to the chime) that configuration can ring several chimes at nearly the
same time and approximate a
When using the traditional round striker it is much better to select
notes that have a fair amount of separation allowing the ear to easily discern
a variety of notes. Often a traditional choice has been the pentatonic
scale (C D E G & A.) This choice can sound pleasant close to the chime set but
not so good at a distance. The C9 chord (C E G Bb & D) can be used to
widen the note separations for a five-chime set. The problem at a distance is
the ear has difficulty discerning the closely spaced notes of the pentatonic
at a distance I often hear the comment, "I have a
set of chimes on my deck and they sound great. However, I was over to my
neighbor’s the other day and the chimes did not sound so good. In fact, they
sounded out of tune. Why is this? The answer lies in the conditions that make
up the notes for the chime. As mentioned in the science section, a chime note is
a combination of the fundamental strike frequency and the many overtones. Some
of the overtones attenuate more rapidly than others at a distance. The original
combination of strike frequency and overtones are not the same at a distance.
Remember, not always does the fundamental frequency contribute to the note and
not always are there many overtones for a given note.
note depends on exactly where in the musical scale the chime is operating. When you have a chime
that contains a larger number of overtones that are located in the higher frequencies, and
mostly missing the fundamental, you can get this distance effect. High frequency
sounds attenuate more quickly in the atmosphere than do the lower frequencies.
At a distance you are not hearing the same sound you hear close in. Some of the
high frequency sounds can be greatly attenuated or missing. The chime can sound completely
different under these conditions. Typically this occurs when you select notes in
the lower part of the scale.
If your interest is making the chimes sound good at a
distance of say 80-100 feet or more, consider increasing the diameter of the
tubing from the traditional sizes ranging from half inch thru two inches, up to
at least 3 inch or more; 4 to 6 inches are better. A set of chimes designed for the C2 to the C3 octave have good acoustic radiation properties
close to the set but not so good far away because of this distance effect.
Additional information later on this page HERE.
Most often the chime designer considers cost, weight and aesthetics. Your budget
may not approve the cost of copper and aluminum may be more favorable than steel
because of weight. Chimes from EMT (electrical conduit) are galvanized and
resist rust but not the support hole or the ends. Rust could be an issue long
term for EMT.
What metal sounds best?
After the issues above are properly considered we can move to the
question of what metal sounds best for a tubular chime? The short
answer is the thicker the wall and the larger the diameter the
better they sound, not necessarily the type of metal. However, what
sounds best is a personal choice and I have not found a good answer
for everyone. Some like a deep rich sound and other like the tinkle
tinkle sound. Copper chimes have a different timbre than steel
chimes. The best I can advise is to visit a chime shop and
test-drive a few chimes of different metals and different sizes.
When it comes to size if you’re on the fence between two sets of chimes and one
set has either a thicker wall or a larger diameter, select the tube with more
mass, i.e. thicker wall and/or larger diameter.
You may hear someone say they like aluminum best or copper best. To better
understand the difference in metals let’s properly build two 5-tube sets of
chimes using the C9 chord beginning with the C2 octave. One set from aluminum,
2” OD with a 1/8” wall thickness, and the other set from steel, 2” OD with a
1/8” wall thickness. While each set will have different calculated lengths, they
will both strike the same fundamental note, but sound quite differently. Why is
Contrary to intuition
there are only two variables that control the sound of a chime, i.e.
the density and the elasticity of the metal. Those two variables
control the specific length dimensions to achieve a desired note for
a given tubing size and wall thickness. From the chart at the
can see that aluminum has the lowest density and the lowest
modulus of elasticity (deforms easier than the others) , while copper has the highest density but is only midrange
What does all of this have to do with what metal sounds best? The
differences among metals cause a difference in timbre for the same note.
Modulus of Elasticity p.s.i.
Lbm / in3
On occasion you may hear someone say they like aluminum chimes
best. That is likely because the lower modulus of elasticity for aluminum requires less
strike energy for resonate activation, and for a given input of strike energy
the aluminum chime can be louder and have an increased sustain time. However, the difference among metals does
not make one metal good and another bad. There are no bad sounding chimes when
the notes are properly selected, the tubes are properly tuned and properly
mounted; they are just different in how they sound. It's impossible to have a set of chimes for the same note range made
from aluminum sound the same as a set made from steel or any other metal because of their difference
in density and modulus of elasticity.
If you want the smallest possible chime set for a given note range use brass.
Opposite to brass, EMT will provide the largest physical set for a given note
range. As an example, see the table below organized smallest to largest for middle C (C4).
Length for a one inch
diameter chime at middle C (C4) , smallest to largest.
Not all tubing is created equal:
Be aware that some tubing may produce a frequency beating effect when struck. This is
often due to variations in the cross section of the tubing from variations and
inconsistencies in the manufacturing process. The elasticity and the density of
the tubing will be different depending on where the tube is struck. The tube can produce two
closely spaced frequencies and these two frequencies will produce the beating
effect. Some people enjoy this type of effect and others may find it annoying. If
you want to avoid this wah-wah effect, make sure you acquire high quality tubing
– or test a small piece before buying in bulk. While some tubing may be
considered poor quality for musical requirements it may be just fine for
structural needs. The problem with tubing that exhibits this effect is that it
makes precise tuning more difficult.. Listen HERE (mp3) to
the beating sound for the tube shown to the right.
If you can determine the exact material density and the exact
of elasticity, enter those parameters into the DIY Calculator on the data page when
using the DIY calculator.
I want to emphasize that good tuning will certainly help to
accurately produce the appropriate overtones for the selected note, particularly
for the higher note ranges.
brass tubing tend to exactly follow their stated ID and OD dimensions while
copper tubing does not.
Wall thickness for copper pipe varies with the pipe schedule.
The four common schedules are named K (thick-walled), L (medium-walled), M
and DWV (drain/waste/vent - non-pressurized).
The printing on the pipe is color coded for identification;
K is Green,
L is Blue, M is Red,
DWV is Yellow. Both type M& type
can be found in the plumbing section of home improvement stores like Home Depot
Caution, these values allow you to get very close to
the desired note (typically within 1%) but if you desire an exact
note, cut slightly long and grind to the
final length, but not required for wind chimes. Do not use these
calculations for an orchestra or a musical setting unless you are certain they
use A=440 Hz. An orchestra or symphony may brighten slightly and will typically
tune for A=442, 43 or 44 The above chart uses A = 440 Hz. Most
symphony grade instruments are shipped with A=442 Hz. Also, there are
manufacturing dimensional tolerances that may cause slight
inaccuracies in the actual results not to mention the effects of
poor material handling along with slight
variations in material properties and impurities. If in doubt, cut
slightly long and grind to final values. You can measure frequency
for verification using any number of
software programs listed here.
> Calculates length and hang point for tubes or rods
unrestricted at both ends.
> A ratio calculator to predict chime length form a known
chime dimension and frequency. > Look-up tables for standard size tubing
> Look-up table for material properties
> Standard Music Scale
> All dimensions calculated are based on OD, ID in inches and
specific material types.
> OD = outside dimension of tubing (inches), ID = inside
dimension of tubing (inches)
> Material type = aluminum, brass, cast iron, copper, steel,
stainless steel & EMT (thin-wall conduit)
> Note selection by frequency in Hz
> The calculator uses nominal values for material properties. However, if you know the exact material density and the exact modulus of elasticity, you can enter that data for your specific material.
> The embedded top support disk calculator asks you to decide
on the chime diameter
(CD), the striker diameter (SD) and the clearance between the
striker and the chime tube (D). The calculator provides the correct
location for placing the chimes
(R) and (CS), and the diameter of the support Disk (PD).
Instructions for use are included with the calculator.
> Location calculator for points on a circle (for use in layout
of top support disk holes or star striker)
> Read about cautions
CAUTION: Do not use these
calculations for an orchestra or a musical setting unless you are certain they
use A4=440 Hz. An orchestra or symphony may brighten slightly and will typically
tune for A4=442 Hz, or 443 Hz, or 444 Hz. The above charts use A4 = 440 Hz. Most
symphony grade instruments are shipped with A4=442 Hz.
The calculators require any of the following programs to view and
execute: MS Excel TM Viewer (Free)
Get it here; or Apache Open Office
(Free) Get it here; or MS Excel TM (Cost $)
A 45° cut at the bottom or top of the tube can add a nice
aesthetic touch; however, the tuning for each chime tube will change considerably from the 90° cut value. The shorter the chime the more the tuning will
change. For example, here are the changes in tuning for a 5-chime set made from
2 inch OD aluminum with a wall of .115 inch. The set was originally cut for the
pentatonic scale (CDEGA) beginning at C6 using 90°
cut tubing. After a 45° cut at the bottom end of each tube,
the tuning for each tube increased from about 5% to 9% depending on length.
Unfortunately, the rate of change was not a linear value but instead a value
specific to each length of tubing. Specific values were C6 =+5.5%, D =+6.6%, E
=+7.5%, G =+7.6%, A=+8.8%.
Additional testing was performed for a number of
different diameters and different lengths using aluminum, copper and steel
tubing. The results were very consistent. Short thin-walled tubing of any
diameter changed the most and long thick-walled tubing of any diameter changed the
least. Short tubing (around 20 inches) could increase the tuning by as much as 9
to 10%. Long tubing (35 to 40 inches or more) could changed as little as
2%. It was impossible to predict the change other than the trend stated above
for short vs. long.
If you want to maintain exact tuning using a
45° cut, cut the
tube longer than the value suggested by the DIY calculator or the pre-calculated
tables and trim to final value using your favorite tuning method.
If exact tuning is not required or important cut the tubing to the suggested length and trim the end at
you are attempting to create exact notes for an orchestra setting, exact tuning
is required and the use of an electronic tuning device or a good tuning ear
is necessary. On the other hand, if you desire a good sounding set of chimes but
do not need orchestra accuracy then carefully cut and finish a tube to the
length suggested by the precalculated table or the
DIY calculators listed above.
Measuring the exact frequency and musical note of the chime couldn’t be
Read the caution below!
There are a host of apps for Chromatic Tuners available for an
iPhone, iPad or Android. Site visitor Mathew George uses “gStrings” on his
Android, pictured right.
I use the $.99 app “insTuner” on an iPad that includes an FFT spectrum analyzer
in addition to
freeware Audacity® on a Laptop described below.. A few scrap pieces of wood to
make two U-brackets, rubber bands and you're in business. Mark the support
nodes 22.4% from each end for locating the rubber bands.
If you have just a few measurements to make a quick and easy support suggestion is a
positioned at the 22.4% node, pictured right with the iPad.
A word of caution,it can be tricky at best
and at times impossible to get a chromatic tuner to register correctly for a
chime. Two causes that can render a chromatic tuner useless for a
chime measurement are the non linearity of the human ear and the
chime's non-harmonic overtones.
Chromatic tuners listen and display sound as it is being produced on a linear
basis for both amplitude and frequency but our brain process the same
information using "fuzzy logic". Why is this a problem?
Unfortunately, the human ear is probably the most non-linear and narrowband
sound listening device we know of. Similar to other percussion instruments,
chimes do not produce a range of fundamental frequencies and pure harmonic
frequencies like string instruments, wind tubes and reed instruments for which
chromatic tuners are intended.
Instead, there are numerous non-harmonic
overtones present which (depending on their individual frequency and amplitude)
can be predominant to a tuner or analyzer, but make little or no difference to
the human ear.
A chromatic tuner may display the predominant amplitude and frequency but that
may not be what your ear actually perceives as a result of the brain's "fuzzy
logic" processing the many overtones associated with a particular fundamental
It is difficult to provide an exact recommendation for when to use the tuner to
measure a chime's note, but in general I find most any note below C4 difficult
to measure and on occasion below C5. Long low frequencies tubes mostly measure
incorrectly because of the "missing fundamental effect" and the preponderance of
high amplitude overtones. Thick-walled tank chimes/bells can measure with surprising
accuracy because of a single pure tone above C4 that is not cluttered with
unimportant sidebands. However, thin-walled tank chimes/bells seem not to do as well
and they may be impossible to measure accurately.
In addition, poor quality tubing exhibiting dual fundamentals will drive the
tuner nuts and cause it to constantly switch between the two fundamentals, both
of which could be incorrect. If you are not displaying the note you expected,
try moving the chime further away from the tuner to help minimize unimportant
If you get a good steady reading and it is not what you expected, the tuner is
listening to a predominant overtone so just ignore that measurement. Using the
values for length provided by the tables and DIY calculators on this page will
get you very close to the exact note. If the tuner cannot make a believable
measurement use the calculated length for the chime.
software solution for FFT spectrum analysis measurement is the freeware program
Audacity® used on a Laptop pictured right. A few additional software sources are
listed below. Most any computer microphone will work. In fact, I have used the
microphone on a headset used for Skype and it works quite well.
To eliminate the annoying background noise when using a microphone, use an
accelerometer. I have good success supporting the chime horizontally at one node
by a rubber band and at the other node by a thin wire looped around the chime
and attached to an accelerometer.
Laptop freeware, open source, cross-platform software for recording and
editing sounds. Good for fundamental and overtone frequency measurements.
Tune Lab Pro version 4 Laptop freeware
fundamental and overtone frequency measurements. At a cost, available for the
iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, Windows laptops, Windows Mobile Pocket PCs,
Smartphones, and the Android.
is at either of two locations,
at the fundamental frequency node located 22.42% from either end or at the very
end using an end cap. In my opinion incorrect support ranks as the number one
mistake made by some commercial chimes sets for sale both on the internet and in
stores. Yes, even incorrectly supported chimes will produce a tinkle tinkle
sound when struck but lacks the rich resonate bell sound that would result from
method uses the traditional fundamental
frequency node which is 22.42% from either end.
See the Transverse vibration mode diagram at the right.
important objective for a bell-like chime is to preserve the resonance of the
chime as long as possible. Accurate placement for the support holes helps to
assure the high quality (Q) or hang-time, or sustain time for the chime. A hole
size of 1/16 inch can be drilled directly on the location mark but for larger
holes, try to place the top of the hole so it aligns with the location mark.
If you're curious about other support locations, it is possible to support the chime at the first, second or third
overtone node but not recommended. All charts and calculations on this page are for the support
line to be located at the fundamental frequency node which is 22.42 % from
If you happen to have a background in both mechanical vibration
and acoustic vibration, it is easy to confuse overtones and
harmonics. Overtones = Harmonics -1, or Harmonics = Overtones + 1. This
acoustic harmonic relationship has no connection to the radio frequency
definition of harmonics.
1st Fundamental Frequency
1st Overtone, 2nd Harmonic
2nd Overtone, 3rd Harmonic
Animations courtesy of Dr. Daniel A. Russell, Professor of
Acoustics at Penn State
Forming the inverted V wire pin
This example uses #12 copper wire
but use your metal of choice
Sharpen and fit a pusher board to the ID of
Insert wire thru both holes leaving
sufficient wire to form decorative loops
Form a decorative loop on one side only.
Adjust the loops to not touch the chime below the hole
Position the pusher board perpendicular to
Use moderate pressure to form the inverted
A slip knot works well to secure the line
Form the second decorative loop. Adjust the
loops to not touch the chime below the hole
An inverted V is not absolutely necessary.
A solid 1/8" brass pin epoxy in place works well for aluminum.
For copper or brass tubing , fit a 1/8" brass pin into a 1/8"
hole and file smooth
Solder or epoxy the pin in place
File smooth and finish
Steel tubing, fit a 1/8" steel or brass pin into a 1/8" hole and
Solder or epoxy the pin in place
File smooth and finish
Finish with a smooth or hammered paint
An alternate inverted “V” support can be the wire arm from a binder clip shown
on the right. Remove the wire arms from the clip, stretch them out a little, and
position in place using needle nose pliers, wiggle the arm until the tips pop
out of the holes. Be sure to attach your hanger line first. The arms tend to be
self centering. The binder clips are available in different sizes so you can
match the clip to the diameter of the pipe. The wire diameter increases with the
size of the clip so make sure to check before you drill the pipes. (Submitted by
site visitor Tom, Thanks)
The second support location
is when the chime tube is supported by a cable or cord through a hole in an end cap.
It is important to understand that the end cap
lowers the fundamental frequency and some associated overtones from values
calculated by the DIY calculator or precalculated charts. For 1/2"
copper tubing type L, the fundamental is lowered by about 3% to 6% from
calculated values on this page. For 3/4" type L copper tubing the fundamental is
lowered by about 11% to 12%. The good news is that the end cap noticeably
increases the duration for the first overtone and the chime has a
much more bell-like sound. Look at these two spectral waterfall displays and
specifically compare the hang time of the 1st overtone for each. You will notice
a considerable increase in sustain time for the end cap supported tube.
Waterfall display for a chime tube
by a hole in the end cap.
Similar to the traditional orchestra chime
Waterfall display for a chime tube
at the traditional fundamental frequency node.
Longevity for a chime is important and careful attention to the support
lines and thru holes should be considered. Rapid wind changes and UV light can quickly deteriorate support lines,
not to mention the many freeze/thaw cycles.
Non metallic support line: Make sure the line is UV
resistant. Choices include fishing line (either 80# braided or 30-50# monofilament), braided nylon line, braided plumb line,
braided Dacron kite line, Venetian blind chord, string trimmer/weed eater
line (.065 inch), awning chord, and braided electrical conduit pull line.
Metallic support line: thin
wire, decorative chain (zinc plated, brass plated, or painted), 1/32 or /16 inch steel cable
(rust resistant), small aircraft control line cable.
Deburring: Depending on whether the support line exits
the chime from the inside or outside of the chime, one or the other sharp edges
of the thru hole require deburring. An easy method to deburr the outside edges
of the thru hole is to use a larger drill bit to slightly chamfer the outer edges.
If the inside edge of the thru hole is of concern, first remove the burr using a
long round file or sandpaper on a stick.
By hand, insert the smooth shaft end of the drill bit or other
hardened steel rod into
the hole and rotate in a circular motion, careful not to break the drill bit. This motion will tend to further chamfer the outside edge and help to burnish the inner edge of the
Grommets/Eyelets: are mostly for protecting the outside
edge of the thru hole. Rubber, plastic or metal
(grommets or eyelets) are encouraged, but small sizes can be a
challenge to locate. Small eyelets can often be located at your local hobby
store in the sewing department or at shoe
repair store. You can also use the outer shell of an 1/8 inch or 3/16 inch aluminum pop
rivet. Remove the nail-like center and just use the rivet.
Additional Protection: use a small section of heat
shrink tubing over a non metallic support line where it exits the thru hole from
the inside where it is often difficult to deburr or chamfer.
Include Radio Shack for heat shrink tubing, eyelets from the hobby store in
the sewing department or a the shoe repair store. Grommets can be from a hardware store, the model airplane store
or the hobby store.
The knot in the support line or wire can be mostly hidden by use
of a countersink hole when using thru holes to anchor the line to the support
disk. Pictured below are a few examples for anchoring the line.
position the chime for attaching support line or chain
After you have selected the alignment configuration, top, center or bottom, a
simple jig can assist the installation of the support line. Below are three
possible jigs, a square-grove jig and a v-grove jig, both with red adjustable
stops for alignment. A third jig made from a section of cardboard or wood strip
works well. Scribe a mark for the bottom, center, or top alignment on the jig.
Begin with the longest chime and select an appropriate length for the attachment
line from the chime to the support point on the support disk or ring and locate
a nail, a pencil mark, or the adjustable post at that location on the jig. Place
the longest chime on the template and secure with tape, a clamp or maybe lay a
book on it. Stretch the line up to the reference post and tie a loop or a knot
or mark with a felt tip pen. Repeat with the remainder of the chime set using
the scribed reference mark. For center aligned chimes attach a small section of
masking tape to the center of the chime and scribe the chime center location on
Wind Chime Support Disk
and Striker PatternsPDF
are available in the document to the left. The patterns are for tubing sizes
from ½” to 2” in ¼” increments, and for chime sets for 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, & 8
chimes. Generic layout patterns are also included
You may wish to calculate you own dimensions for the top support disk using the
support disk calculator. You decide on the chime diameter (CD), the
striker diameter (SD) and the clearance between the striker and the chime
(D). The calculator provides the correct location for placing the chimes on
radius (R) and the spacing between the chimes (CS), and the
diameter of the support Disk (PD).
Instructions for use are included with the calculator.
Also included is a
calculator for points on a circle. Uses include automatic
calculations for locating chimes on a radius, and points used to draw a
multisided polygon such as a star striker or support disk arranged as a star, a
pentagon, a hexagon or an octagon etc. An easy lookup table is provided for
locating 3 to 8 points
Rather than using a protractor to layout the angles for the shape of your
polygon, select the number of points and the radius (R) for those points,
and the calculator provides you with the distance
between points. Adjust a compass to the distance (L) and walk the compass
around the circle to locate the points.
If you want to avoid using the above calculator an easy work-around is to select
an appropriate generic pattern from the Support disk &
striker patterns document and scribe the accurate location for support holes
using the pattern.
A circular striker will typically strike one
chime at a time but can simultaneously strike two chimes. When this
happens you can enhance the overall sound by placing widely
separated notes next to
each other For example, below are
location suggestions with chime number 1 as the shortest.
chimes, of course, need a human to strike the chime and a rawhide-covered rubber
mallet works well. A rawhide-covered baseball or softball can work well for wind
chimes but only in a very high wind environment where there is ample strike
energy from the sail. Typically there is little strike energy from normal winds
so preserving and applying that energy is the challenge. Design considerations
below include single or multiple strikers, the shape, the weight, the material,
the suspension, the motion, and the strike location.
An important consideration for a bell-like chime is the
location for the Strike Zone. The optimum location is at the very end of the tubular chime because this
location will assure that all possible overtones are energized to the maximum.
This should not be surprising since orchestra chimes are struck at the end. An easy solution to assuring the strike occurs at the very end of
the chime is to use bottom alignment and a tapered striker as shown in
Often you will see the center selected as the strike location for
a tubular bell wind chime, perhaps for aesthetic reasons. When the exact center of the chime
is struck the odd numbered overtones can fail to energize, and the resulting
sound can be very clunky even though the even numbered overtones were well
energized. While I recommend striking the end of the chime, there are good
aesthetic reasons to align the chimes for a center alignment or a top alignment.
The ideal strike zone is from the end of the chime to about 1 inch from the end, or about an
inch below the center line as pictured below. Make sure you avoid the dead zone.
Strike zone for top, bottom or center alignment
Strike Zone for Top Aligned chimes.
Find the center line for the longest chime and position the
striker about an inch or more below that line.
Strike Zone for Bottom Aligned chimes.
Find the center line for the shortest chime and
position the striker about an inch or more below that line, or at
the very bottom, the ideal strike zone.
Strike Zone for Center Aligned chimes.
Find the center line for all chime and position the striker
about an inch or more below or above that line.
The Striker Shapeis most often
circular because the chimes are located in circle. An alternate shape is the
circular traveling radial striker which can be effective for striking a musical
chord. The radial striker most often takes the shape of an open star or a closed
star like the keeper-striker pictured here. The striker has a tendency to rotate
CW & CCW as it bounces to and from each chime. A circular striker will typically
contact one or maybe two chimes simultaneously. However, the star shaped striker
can synchronously contact most all of the chimes. The loudness of the chimes
struck with a star striker is somewhat reduced compared to the circular striker
because the strike energy has been distributed among the various chimes.
Striker Weight: A heavy striker for large chimes and a
lighter weight striker for smaller chimes is mostly true. Depending on your
typical wind conditions there may be occasions when you need a light weight
striker for large chimes. Near the seashore winds can be rather strong and you
may need to soften the strike with a light weight striker or switch to a
rawhide-covered baseball or softball. Considerable strike energy can be achieved by using an
oak disk machined to a knife-edge and loaded with a 1oz weight. See
striker suggestions below.
Striker Material: The choice of material depends somewhat on the note
selection. A circular striker used for larger diameter, >2”, lower frequency
chimes with a good movement from the wind sail works better with a soft heavy
striker. Some choices are a hockey puck, redwood, red cedar or treated lumber. If the wind is
quite strong and gusty you may need to soften the striker even further by using
a rawhide-covered baseball/softball. The rawhide helps to produce a very mellow
strike in a strong wind. Smaller diameter higher frequency chimes benefit from a
harder wood like white oak, teak or Osage-orange aka hedge-apple. Be sure to
coat the striker with a UV resistant coating.
On the other hand, a well performing star-striker should be from a
relatively hard material yet light weight allowing for a quick response to
circular movements. The loudness of the chimes struck with a star striker is
reduced compared to the circular striker because the strike energy has been
distributed among the various chimes and a harder material is required for a
strong strike. 1/8 inch soft aluminum or sheet plastic works well to accomplish both
Keep it Clean:
A dirty strike can energize a host of
unwanted spurious sideband frequencies as demonstrated by the steel striker in
the blue spectrum display below. A most melodious bell sound is achieved with a softer
strike that energizes overtones without spurious sidebands as
shown in the purple spectrum display below.
loudness for the fundamental while the steel striker did a better
job of energizing overtones (louder) but at the cost of unwanted
dirty sidebands. The wood striker (hard maple) produced a most
melodious bell sound while the metal strike was harsh and annoying.
Striker Suspension: A small 1/16-inch brass tube about 5
inches long thru the center of the striker allows for the suspension line to be
threaded and used as an axle for the disk. This helps to keep the disk
horizontal during rapid and sudden movements from high winds. A stiff wire like
coat hanger wire can be used as an axle as shown below in
Striker Motion: I happen to live in a wooded area with
little wind and have struggled to achieve good strike energy with low winds.
With that in mind, I set out to improve the low wind performance of the striker.
The objective is to maximize striker movement with little input
energy from the sail. The easy solution was to resonate the support line that
supports both the striker and the sail using the second mode bending principle.
This resonance will help to amplify and sustain the motion of the striker with
little input energy from the sail. Even though the sail moves in the wind,
it will act as an anchor for the resonant movement of the striker.
You can easily recognize this movement by using both hands to
hold a string vertically and have a second person pluck the center of the
string. The natural resonance of the string will cause the center to vibrate. If
you position the striker at the exact center between the top and the sail you
can achieve this resonance.
It is difficult to provide an exact ratio between the weight of
the striker and the weight of the sail. Depending on the actual weight for both
the ratios can be quite different. In general, when you attempt to resonate the
striker line, I suggest the striker not exceed the weight of the sail and
ideally the striker should be about 1/2 the weight of the sail. I realize that
if you use a CD as the sail a lighter weight striker can be difficult to
achieve. A heavy striker is difficult to resonate regardless of the weight
for the sail. Once you have a striker you like then a little experimenting with
the sail maybe required to achieve good resonance.
On the other hand, for medium to high winds and for a
non-resonate mounting, the wind catcher/sail should have a weight less than 25%
of the striker.
When resonance is working well you will notice as the sail comes
to rest, the striker will continue to bounce off the chimes for a few more
strikes, an indication the striker is dissipating the stored energy from resonance. See this
Resonant Striker VIDEO
WMV, for a demo. Notice the large movement of the striker compared with
little movement from the sail.
Wind Sails /
Catchers: The pessimist complains about the wind, the
optimist expects it to change, the realist adjusts the sails. by William Arthur
The objective of the wind sail/catcher is to cause
the striker to randomly contact all the chime tubes. Traditional wind sails
generally work well and can be configured with a variety of materials, sizes and
shapes as shown in the document on the right.
My dissatisfaction with the traditional wind sail is that
single-direction winds have a tendency to cause the sail to swing like a
pendulum both to and from the direction of the wind not allowing the striker to
contact adjacent chimes. With this condition the chime set sounds much like
dingdong, dingdong as the striker hits only two chimes.
As you may know wind close to the ground can behave differently
than winds aloft and often does not blow horizontally as intuition would
suggest. Instead, it is a multidirectional force with an ample amount of wind
To better understand wind turbulence mixed
with single-direction winds watch this 60 second video,
Vane VIDEO (WMV, 3.2Meg) showing a bi-directional wind vane mounted on my deck. You probably noticed the swirling motion mixed with
single-direction winds and the random uphill and
downhill movement (pitch & yaw). Perhaps we can exploit this force to make a
better wind sail. Let's take advantage of this turbulence to
create a striker movement that is somewhat rotational in nature and does a better
job of striking all the chimes.
of several solutions to better capture wind turbulence can be quite simple.
Mount the sail at 45° to the horizontal so as to catch
the pitch and yaw forces as pictured on the right. Thread the support line
through two small holes next to the center of an old CD disk and tie the knot
slightly off-center to create the 45° slope. You may
need to glue the line in place for the long term.
A second solution is to hang the sail perfectly horizontal.
Counter intuitive, I agree, but depending on your particular type of wind it can
work surprising well, particularly if the chime set is hung from a high deck or
beyond the first story of the building and the wind is particularly turbulent.
visitor (David) writes to offer an alternate method for tilting the sail. Place
the support line in the hole of the CD and tie to the line an object larger than
the hole such as a shot piece of dowel rod or colorful section of cloth. Now you
have a tilted sail and a sun sail, all-in-one. See picture at left. Thanks David.
A third solution is to make sure the top support disk can easily
rotate in a circular direction. Hang the top
support disk not from a fixed ring or hook but from a single support line as
pictured to the right. The
very nature of the wind will catch enough of the chimes to rotate the entire set
allowing the pendulum motion of the sail to strike most all the chimes.
A fourth solution can be the radial traveling star striker
described above. The very nature of the star striker is to quickly rotate CW &
CCW from any input motion of the sail, even from straight line winds, and this
motion will easily avoid the dingdong sound.
Need More Dingdong? At
this point you are most likely saying “WHAT” more dingdong? We just got done
solving the dingdong and now you want more! Yes, there is a condition when
excessive pendulum movement of the sail is useful and not sufficiently supplied
by the tradition wind sail. With the development of the keeper-striker or the
radial-striker, both of which are very effective in striking a musical chord,
there is a need for a robust movement of the striker. The radial striker produces a
more muted sound because the strike energy is simultaneously distributed among
all the chimes by moving in a circular motion. Thus the need for a more robust
Jerk, Jolt, Surge & Lurch: We often describe the motion of an object in terms
of displacement, velocity, or acceleration. However, an additional motion
description seldom used is the rate of change of acceleration. The unit of
measurement is often termed jerk but is also known as jolt, surge, or lurch .
Jerk supplies the sudden and rapid motion from the wind sail to the rotary
Introducing Orthogonal Sailing: We have developed a special wind sail to solve this need for more jerk. As
mention above a normal wind sail will mostly swing to and from the direction of the
wind; however, the orthogonal sail has the unique ability to fly aggressively at
right angles to the wind direction. If the wind is from the North the sail will
fly East and West. Construction details are in the compendium and
The orthogonal sail can be dangerous. We do not recommend
hanging the chime set where the sail can contact children, adults, or
animals. The sail makes no noise and can swing a full 180 degrees in a
half circle motion. This quiet operation and wide swing can cause people
to be unaware of the danger. The sail is flat thin metal and can
possibly cut the skin or damage an eye as it swings. BE CAREFUL !
No Sailing Today: Long and
large diameter chimes present a considerable surface area to the wind and can
move sufficiently to cause a good strike without the need for a wind sail. In addition,
the large diameter striker
often associated with a large chime set can capture adequate wind for a good
strike. Depending on the distance between the striker and the chime tube not
all chime sets require a sail. Pictured right are closely spaced chimes that
easily contact the striker with low to moderate winds. Because of the short
distance between the striker and the chime tube the strike in not robust but
The best solution for you will depend on your
type of wind. You may need to try a few different sails for success.
Out of service
compressed gas/air cylinders, scuba diving tanks or fire extinguishers are often
cut and used as a chime or bell. Based on physical measurements can we
pre-determine a musical note for these tanks? To the best of my research I do
not find a mathematical method for calculating a musical note for these tanks. Both the
neck-end and the base-end seriously alter the vibration performance of the
cylinder rendering existing formulas useless.
However, once the tank has been cut to your desired length it is easy work to determine
the fundamental frequency using an analysis program like
Audacity®, a free, open source, cross-platform software for recording and
Do not use any formula, table or chart on this
web site to predict a tanks musical performance.
The frequency spectrum does not always follow the traditional overtone pattern for a chime
tube and can include a host of additional overtones normally
associated with the bell-like sound. See the spectrum diagram to the right.
Energizing all the overtones and avoiding the harsh sound when using a metal
striker can be a challenge. A golf ball or baseball can work well but requires a robust
strike to properly energize the overtones.
I have not had good success using a
wood striker unless it's a really robust strike not typically possible with a
normal wind sail
Length Matters or Maybe Not? A most perplexing situation
can exist for some tank lengths. We tested five sets of tank chimes, sets A, B,
C, D, & E pictured to the right. All chimes for sets D and E sounded distinctly
different and each had a different height, and a different fundamental frequency
and overtone structure; however, not true for sets A, B, and C.
In comparison each chime in set A sounded exactly the same and
had nearly identical fundamental frequencies and nearly identical overtones but
represented three different lengths. The same was true for sets B and C. There
was an ever so slight difference in timbre among the bells in each set but
barely discernible, while there was a considerable difference in length for each
Set B has both a
neck-end and a base-end chime from a compressed-gas cylinder. While both chimes
strike almost exactly the same fundamental frequency (295 Hz vs. 290 Hz), they
are of different lengths and have a slightly different timbre but sound mostly
the same. Tank B was more melodious than tank A but not a lot The
difference in overtone structure is pictured to the right.
I investigated circular mode resonance which is a function of
just material type, OD and wall thickness, and not length, as a possible
explanation for this effect. Unfortunately the circular mode resonance was
considerably lower than the observed resonance and offered no correlation to the
actual measurements. The calculated vs observed resonances were as follows:
Calculated circular ode resonance were Set
A = 35.4 Hz vs. 133 Hz; Set B= 29.7 Hz vs. 290 Hz; Set C= 71.7 Hz vs. 354
Hz. The formula was provided by Chuck from Chuck's Chimes and is: F =
(T/(2*D^2))*SQRT(E/Density) where F = frequency, E = modulus of elasticity, D =
mean diameter, and T = wall thickness.
I remain a bit perplexed on exactly why length appears to have
little effect on the fundamental frequency and the overtones structure above
some critical length point. Clearly this was not a rigorous scientific test, but
enough to cause concern and points to need for further investigation
Pictured right are a couple of examples from site visitor
Grey Yahn from Pennsylvania.
If you're new to cutting steel or aluminum tanks and
looking for an easy method, I use an abrasive metal cutting saw blade in a
radial arm saw, and for small diameter tanks it should work equally well with a cut-off saw.
The blade pictured left is under $5.00 at Home Depot. I was
pleasantly surprised how easily the blade cut the hardened steel cylinder. The blade also works well for steel or
aluminum tubing and rods.
Safety Caution: All of these
tanks are highly regulated by the US Department of Transportation (DOT), the
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), by Transport Canada (TC) and others.
Make certain the tank is safe for handling, is completely empty (fill with water
and empty to assure all gases are exhausted), and is safe for cutting. Wear all
recommended safety equipment including eye protection, hearing protection and
respiratory protection. The tanks are heavy and can be dangerous
when handling, use extreme caution.
The chime tube can be anodized or decorated/protected with
a light weight coating of spray lacquer, spray polyurethane, spray paint, powder coat
or a crackle/hammered/textured finish (pictured right) without a noticeable
reduction in the sustain time. However, avoid thick heavy coats of latex as they
seriously reduce the sustain time and can kill the resonance. I suspect a few
hand painted flowers from a heavy paint would work okay.
Copper Look (Patina): a site visitor sent me a procedure to artificially age
copper to provide the patina appearance. The procedure works very well and
pictured on the left are the very satisfactory results. I have included the
procedure here for your reference. Be patient with this procedure , it can
take several days to complete but the results are terrific.
You will need two commonly available chemicals to complete this
process. The first is a rust remover that contains phosphoric acid. A couple of
sources are Naval Jelly® or Rust Killer™. Secondly, a toilet bowl cleaner that
contains either hydrochloric or sulfuric acid. Some choices are Zep® Inc. Toilet
Bowl Cleaner, The Works® Toilet Bowl Cleaner, Misty® Bolex 23 Percent
Hydrochloric Acid Bowl Cleaner and LIME-A-WAY® Toilet Bowl Cleaner. Read the
content labels carefully and look for any brand of rust remover that contains
phosphoric acid and a toilet bowl cleaner that has either hydrochloric or
sulfuric acid in your local store.
These are dangerous chemicals.
Wear safety glasses, old clothes, rubber gloves and follow all manufactures
safety recommendations. If the chemical gets on your skin wash
immediately with a liberal amount of water. Use in a well ventilated area.
Begin by cutting your chime tubes to length and make any
length adjustments necessary for tuning. De-burr and remove any sharp edges
from both ends and the support hole.
Decide how you are going to support the chime, using either
end caps or a support line at the 22.42% location. Attach a temporary line
to support the chime vertically. This temporary line will get messy and can
be discarded at the end of this procedure.
Clean the chime using a soapy solution of dish washing
detergent like Dawn™ or equivalent. I also used a fine grade steel wool to
lightly scrub the surface. Dry completely.
Hang the chime vertically.
Soak a small soft paint brush or dry rag with the rust
remover and completely coat the chime. Allow to drip-dry. This
could take from a few hours to three days depending on your local humidity.
This step slightly etches the surface of the copper in preparation for the
next chemical step.
When the chime is completely dry remove the dried rust
remover from the chime using a dry cloth. Do not use water.
Soak a small soft paint brush or dry rag with the toilet bowl
cleaner and completely coat the chime. This could take from a few hours to
a few days depending on your local humidity. A second coat will help to
improve the patina look. This step causes the bluish green patina to develop
in the etched surface and will darken the smooth surfaces.
Allow a few days to dry and the chime should ready for
handling to install the final support lines.
The finished chime may not look like the picture above when
newly completed. It can take a few weeks to completely darken and turn green
in spots. Re-application of the toilet bowl cleaner may be necessary
I have had this patina set of chimes for several years and
the patina look gets better every year and holds up well in all kinds of
Cleaned and ready
for the process. Tube on the left sanded with 150 grit sand
paper, the right tube cleaned with steel wool.
First coat of rust remover applied
Rust remover dried
Excess rust remover wiped with a
First coat of toilet bowel cleaner
containing hydrochloric acid applied
First coat of toilet bowel cleaner
Second coat of toilet bowel cleaner
dried. At this stage it doesn't look like much happened but be
patient, it gets better with time and weather.
After a few weeks in the weather
After several months in the weather
Reapplied the toilet bowel cleaner
Sparkling Copper: An easy way to obtain the
sparkling copper look is to sand the surface of the copper chime using an
orbital sander with about 150 grit sand paper. This will completely expose fresh
copper and leave behind orbital scratches on the surface. Coat the sanded
chime with a clear spray lacquer or a spray polyurethane to preserve the new copper look. See
picture to the right.
What is a Tubular Chime?
Tubular chimes date to prehistoric times for a number of cultures,
back nearly 5,000 years. Tubular bells (chimes) were developed in the 1880's when using regular
bells in an orchestra setting became impractical. Tubular bells closely imitated
church bells and the practice of using a resonate tube as a bell soon flourished and
became the traditional orchestra bell.
A traditional church bell or a tubular bell can be characterized
by its strike note (the fundamental frequency plus overtones), its overtone
structure, its sustain time and its loudness. That sounds simple enough but
imbedded in that explanation are two definitions. One
definition is when a chime is properly designed and constructed it can imitate
a bell and the other definition is that a chime may not imitate a bell. One
of the objectives of this information is to assist
you in achieving the most bell-like sound as possible when building tubular
A unique set of physical limitations and design challenges exist
for a tubular chime that do not exist for a string instrument or for a brass
instrument, and they are detailed below.
The first limitation for loudness depends on the physical size of the chime i.e. the
radiating surface area. Compared
to a string instrument where a sounding board is used to amplify the vibration of
the string, or compared to a brass instrument that is fitted with a flared tube to amplify
the loudness, a chime has no amplifying assistance other than the inherent surface
area of the chime tube. Overall, this loudness
limitation for a typically sized
chime-set will provide serious
limitations for the available range of effective note selection.
On the other hand, if you go beyond the size for a typical
chime-set into the really large mega chimes, then loudness is easily achieved. As
an example, see the chimes-set at the left from
Bilotto. See another large sets
here , here
In an effort to answer some of the questions
regarding loudness and note selection see the video to the right.
Somewhat of an exception is when the resonate frequency of the tube matches
the air column resonance for the tube as described by Chuck from Chuck's
Chimes. Assistance from the energized air column adds a small amount of
Wind Chime Musical Note and Loudness Test
The second limitation for loudness from a tubular chime depends
on the location of the selected note compared to the natural sensitivity of the
human ear. You can view the loudness sensitivity range vs. frequency of the ear
by viewing the Fletcher/Munson Equal Loudness Curves. The ear has more sensitivity in the range from about 300 Hz to about 4
KHz than at other frequencies and helps to explain why we can not always hear
all the overtones, even if they are present. This loudness limitation will have
a direct affect on what notes work best for a chime.
Increasing the chime diameter increases the radiating surface area and
contributes to a louder chime but at a cost. The increased diameter greatly
increases the length requirement for a specific note, which is not necessarily
bad; it just makes the chime set longer as the chime diameter is increased. See
the graph to the right for musical note C4
On the other hand,
increasing the wall thickness has the opposite effect as an increase in
diameter. As the wall thickness increases there is a small decrease in the
length requirement for any specific note. In addition there will be an increase
in the sustain time from the increased mass. See the graph to the right.
the outside diameter while keeping the length and wall thickness constant will
cause a substantial rise in the resonate frequency.
The strike note
vs. the sustaining note:
The perceived musical note from a chime when first struck is not
simply the fundamental chime tube frequency but the addition from a host of
overtone notes. Unfortunately, the strike note (which can have a very pleasing
sound) has a short life or a short sustain time caused by the rapid attenuation
of the overtones. The sustaining vibration (several seconds) will be the
fundamental strike frequency that may or
may not be audible. Note selection will be decided by whether you are interested
in hearing just the strike note or perhaps more interested in hearing the
sustaining note. For example, a chime used in an orchestra setting is
typically a rapid sequence of notes with little time allowed for the sustaining
note. On the other hand, a tubular bell wind chime is often characterized by the long sustain
time of a note.
overtone structure for a chime is not an integer harmonic as in string
instruments but instead, non-harmonic as in other percussion instruments. When
the chime is supported at the fundamental frequency node, see diagram at the
right, the higher partials are
dampened but the fundamental strike frequency remains. Overtones
exist and in a perfect metal where the density and the elasticity are constant,
have theoretical multiples of the fundamental multiplied by X 2.76, X 5.40, X 8.93, X 13.34, X 18.64 and
However, in the real world of metal tubing that does not have a consistent
density or elasticity the multiples will drift from the theoretical values
either up or down by as much as +2% to -8%.
If we could hear the complete compliment of all overtones for each note of
a chime tube, it would be a most wonderful bell-like sound. Unfortunately, not all
of the fundamental tones and/or all of the overtones can be adequately radiated as an
auditable sound by the chime tube for all possible lengths of a chime. This
condition also limits the available range of notes that have a bell-like sound.
For example, a chime cut for C2 (65.4 Hz), the fundamental frequency is
audibly absent (aka the missing fundamental) along with little audible contribution from the first overtone
The remaining overtones combine to produce a perceived musical note. The
perceived note does not coincide with any specific overtone and is difficult to
measure without a frequency spectrum analyzer or perhaps a good musical ear. The
good news is that the brain processes the information present in the overtones
to calculate the fundamental frequency.
can see from the waterfall display at the right (click to expand) that a chime cut for 272.5 Hz (near C4#),
has two characteristics. The first characteristic is the sound
when the chime is first struck, the Strike Note. It comprises both the
fundamental and the first four overtones, and has that traditional chime sound for a short period of
The 1st overtone contributes for about two seconds and rapidly
deteriorates. The remaining sound is solely the fundamental strike frequency.
Note the long sustain time for the fundamental.
The 2nd, 3rd and 4th overtones are present and contribute to the strike note but attenuate quickly.
They have little
contribution to the lingering perceived sound, aka sustain time or hang-time
In contrast to the above example, the sound for a chime cut at
fundamental C6 (1046.5 Hz) and above is mostly the fundamental and the overtones are audibly absent or
addition to the many overtones that may be present for a chime we have the
difficulty of knowing which overtones are prominent for each note because of the
ear's sensitivity as represented by
The equal loudness curves. As you
might suspect, the loudness of a particular overtone changes as we move up the
scale. For a typical ear sensitivity range of 300 Hz to 3 KHz, see the data
audible fundamental and
overtones for wind chime notes as a simple example for the range of audible
Obviously this is not the entire audible range of the ear but is presented as a
simple example of the limited ability of the ear to hear all the frequencies
generated by the overtone structure. In particular, the range of C2 to C3
contain a large number of audible overtones while the range of C5 to C7 contains
very few. The note range from C2 thru C4 produce the most melodious sounds, most
are easy to build. Precise tuning (+ / - 1/10 Hz) is
The missing fundamental
is when the brain uses "fuzzy logic" to processes the information present in the overtones to
calculate the missing fundamental frequency.
To gain a better understanding of the perceived note I examined a
set of orchestra grade chimes manufactured by a major UK manufacture.
The set was 1.5" chrome plated brass
with a wall thickness of .0625 inches and ranged from C5 (523.30 Hz) to G6 (1568.00 Hz). The length of C5 was 62
5/8 inches. The fundamental
frequency for this length is around 65
Hz, about C2# yet the perceived note is C5 at 523 Hz. The fundamental strike frequency of
65 Hz and the first overtone at 179.4 Hz (65 x 2.76 = 179.4 Hz) are audibly
absent, aka the missing fundamental. In fact, even the second overtone at 351 Hz will not be strong in
loudness. The remaining overtones (mechanical vibration modes) combined to produce what the ear hears
is C5 at 523 Hz, yet there is not a specific fundamental or overtone at that exact frequency.
I spoke with the folks at a major USA chime manufacture (symphony
grade) and confirmed that
indeed the process of tuning an orchestra grade chime is a complex process and
understandably a closely held trade secret. The process involves accounting for all
frequencies from the fundamental (whether present or missing) through the many overtones by the use of math
calculations, acoustic measurements, and
the careful grinding of the chime to achieve the correct length for the desired note.
An orchestra chime is not supported by the classical wind chime
method using a string through the chime at the first frequency node, but
instead, is fitted with an end cap that contains a small top hole through which
a steel cable supports the chime. From testing I find that the end cap not only
enhances the bell-like sound by increasing the duration of the first overtone,
but it also lowers the fundamental frequency by about 4% to 12 % from calculated
values depending on tube material and diameter. More on this at
Chime tube mechanical support.
Using the above characteristics for a chime I found a limited set
of notes that will produce a bell-like sound from a tubular chime. Using the
musical scale as a reference, they fall into three categories as follows:
The 1st chime category(most bell-like)
has a note range from about C2 to the C4 octave.
The fundamental strike frequency is present but audibly absent,
the missing fundamental, and there are a host of
well-pronounced overtones. Often the first overtone can also be inaudible. The
perceived sound is not the fundamental strike frequency and not the overtones,
but an imaginary note
created by the combination of the overtones. To the ear this is a very melodious
sound and clearly a bell-like sounding
chime. The larger physical size of this chime for this note range causes the loudness to be quite adequate,
and easily supports radiation for the many overtones. Note in the spectrum
displays below as we move up the musical scale the overtone contribution becomes
less and less.
The 2nd chime category (almost bell-like) has a note range from about C4
through to about the C6 octave. The fundamental strike frequency is mostly
audible and some overtones contribute to the perceived sound. The perceived note
is not the fundamental strike frequency and not the overtones, but a combination
of both that produce a perceived musical note. The sound can be acceptable but
may not be the sound you are looking for. This has an
almost bell-like sound and can sound fairly good, but not particularly melodious. The loudness is
acceptable but not great.
The 3rd chime category
(non bell-like) has a note range from about C6 through the C8 octave.
Not unlike other percussion instruments this category is characterized by an
audible fundamental strike frequency (a noticeable pure tone) with overtones
mostly absent. Overtones have minimal contribution to the perceived musical
note. This note range may not
be particularly pleasing to the ear but should not be ignored as a pure tone, and is definitely a non-bell sounding
chime. In addition, the loudness is typically low caused by the short length of
the chime causing a low radiating surface for the higher notes. The rapid
attenuation of high frequencies in the environment causes this note range to
quickly diminish at a distance.
I am not aware of calculations for a
tube closed at one end. i.e. a chime with an end cap.
The bending natural frequency for a tube
open at both ends
is predicted by Euler's equation where:
w = (B X l)2 x
(E X I/(rho X l4))
w - frequency radian
per second - for frequency in cycles per second (Hz), f = w/(2
E - modulus of elasticity
I - area moment of inertia = π x d3 x t/8
for a thin wall round tube
d - mean diameter
t - wall thickness
rho = mass per unit length = Area x mass per unit volume = π
x d x t x density
l - length of tube
x (d/l2) x √
(1/8) x √
(B x l)2 - Constants
based on the boundary conditions for a wind chime (Free-Free Beam)
(B x l)2 = 22.373 for the first natural frequency.
(B x l)2 = 61.7 for the second natural frequency.
(B x l2 = 121 for the third natural frequency.
(B x l)2 = 199.859 for the fourth natural frequency.
To get the units correct you must multiply the values inside the square root by
g = 386.4 in/sec2 for these units.
For a given material then the
frequency of a thin wall tube reduces to:
f = constant x d / l2
The reduced formula is: Area Moment of Inertia = π x (OD^4 - ID^4)/64
Area = π x (OD^2 - ID^2)/4
K = √((Elasticity x Moment x Gravity)/(Area x Density))
Clearly there is more to a chime than I had anticipated and I am sure I did
not learn all that there is to know about the physics of a chime. This was
Christmas present project and not a focused research project. I am convinced
that it is not necessary to hand tune a set of bell-like chimes designed for a
musical notes from fundamental C2 through C4 because the formula achieved the
desired frequency well within 1 Hz. Tuning to achieve an accuracy closer than 1
Hz was a waste of time. However, for a fundamental note from C5 and up, good tuning
is required. Good physical measurements are important to achieve the
My favorite design has changed over the years and is currently an end cap
supported chime with the striker contacting the tube at the very bottom of the
chime using either a tapered striker or a star striker, and having the wind rotate the chime set
using a single line support for the support Disk. Unfortunately, I know of no
formula for calculating the length of a chime tube with an end cap. I begin with
a length from standard calculations on this page and then tune by trimming off
the length. End caps lower the frequency by as much as 8% to 15%, which requires removal of material to
raise the tuning back to the correct vale. Yes, it's a lot of work if you want
On occasion I have just added an end cap to the calculated value
for an open end tube in order to gain a more bell-like sound, but not adjusted
the length to regain accurate tuning. For the most part, it has been difficult
to acoustically tell the difference between the un-tuned chime set with an end
caps and a set of tuned chimes with end caps. Perhaps I have been lucky or maybe
the natural shift caused by the end cap is reasonably consistent for all five
tubes, and they remain mostly in tune.
Your particular type of wind (single-direction or turbulent) and wind speed will
determine the best choice for both the wind sail and for the chime striker.
Rotating the chime-set works well to solve the dingdong sound caused from low
velocity single directions winds.
Another phenomena that we observed, but did not have time to
investigate, was the simultaneous production of sound from the natural bending mode of the
chime coinciding with the resonance of the air column for the tube. The good
news is that another engineer, Chuck at
has done an excellent job detailing this effect
I suggest you give this a look-see. He has excellent information and
calculations to accomplish this special effect.
Q I am working on a Mark Tree (bar chimes, used by percussionists and
drummers pictured right). I checked on the commercial ones and all of them are
using the same hang point on all the bars. I think it may be because it is
cheaper and quicker making them this way, and looks good hanging, but does it
sound as equally good as the 22.4% hanging point method?
I'd like to hear your opinion about this topic!
can actually support a bar or chime at any point and it will ring a little bit
but will lack good sustain time and the rich
contribution from the overtones that produce the bell-like sound. All bars in
the set will sound distinctly different from each other but will not yield the
A chime or bar
can be supported at any of the points detailed in the graphic to the right.
Most of us
select the fundamental note at 22.42% for a chime
tube because that location will better guarantee resonance even if you use a heavy
support cord or method. I have experimented with the other three locations and
its very trick to not impact the fundamental node. Even if you use a tiny hole
threaded with braided fishing line (say 80#) dampening of the fundamental node
your goal is to accentuate the first overtone and ignore the fundamental then
support at the 13.21% point is the correct choice.
away from the 22.42% point is a bad choice particularly for thin-walled tubes. I
have seen several commercial sets hung at a fixed distance and they sound really bad,
more like the tinkle tinkle sound, yet different from each other.
the other hand, bars are little more forgiving simply because more mass is involved. A
small hole at exactly 7.35% can work although 22.42% is a much safer and better
choice. My neighbor (a very practical engineer) built a xylophone and did some
experimenting with support points for the bars. His choice was 22.42% because
that location provided the best sustain time and the best sound. I completely
agree with his findings.
Q Is there a length where a tube of a given size will
not resonate as intended? Specifically, I cut a tube of 1.5" thinwall
steel conduit to 1002mm, and it sounds higher in pitch than an adjacent 730 mm
tube. I just can't wrap my head around this...:( A Excellent question. The chime tube appears not to
resonate but it is actually resonating. You discovered part of the
missing fundamental phenomena. The 1002mm length has a fundamental
resonance of about 193Hz and that frequency is hard to hear because of the
low sensitivity of the ear at the lower freq (mostly below 300 Hz).
Therefore you will hear the second overtone better which is 193 Hz x 2.76 =
523Hz. The fundamental for the 730mm chime is about 384Hz which is getting more
into the sensitive range of the ear and you are much more likely to hear it's
fundamental as compared to the fundamental for the 1002mm chime. Also
Q Some chimes are anodized
or appear to have a clear coat type finish for weather resistance or aesthetics
I assume. Does a coating (powder coat, anodize or paint) affect the tone
quality, tuning, or note sustain of the pipe? A In general the answer
is no. However, if you were to paint it with a thick latex paint or some such
coating, it would have a considerable affect. But a powder coat or anodizing
will have little affect.
Q I have measured some
different chimes and the hang point is usually close but far from exact. Should
you drill the hang point hole at the center of the calculated measurement or is
the hang point where the string actually contacts the tube (upper edge of the
hole)? A An excellent question. The answer is yes, the location of the hole should
allow the string to touch the upper edge of the hole at the hang point. I drill
just slightly below the mark to hang on the mark. With a small hole, there is
enough flexibility in the location that even drilling on the mark won't
seriously degrade the Q.
Q Does the hole size
that you drill for the hang point matter? A
Yes, if it is large relative to the diameter of the tube it would affect the modes but a small hole has no affect. I
personally use 1/8 inch or smaller.
I recently bought two
not cheap wind chimes – and they do not chime in the absence of hurricane gale
winds!!! Is there anything we (read – my husband) can do to get them to catch
any breeze that happens by? Would the CD section in your article be all he
needs? I have spent a long time on the internet looking for some quick fix but
can’t find anything. The power company recently cut down all of the shrubs we
have been carefully tending for years and now we have dreadful road noise. The
chimes were an optimistic detraction to that new situation A
This is a typical problem in that the wind sail is
often too small and too heavy. Without seeing the set of
chimes directly I might suggest you replace the wind sail with something
larger and lighter weight. I use an old CD just to make the point that it needs
to be light weight and fairly large in size. Often an old CD is not large
enough. You can use anything that
pleases your eye and meets the size requirements, like a decorative aluminum pie
pan or any such item.
Where do I get the mounting pins and what size is recommended?
I typically use 1/8 inch brass pins and that stock is available
at my local hobby store where a person can buy model airplane parts, model
trains, model cars and the like. I have also seen 1/8 inch round stock at Home
How are they held in position in the tubes? A
If you put a 1/8 inch rod in a 1/8 inch hole it can be loose. Use
a ball-peen hammer to slightly flatten one end of the pin for a force fit or use
a spot of super glue.
How does the string stay in the middle of pin and not slide off
to the side? A A spot of super glue, hot glue or
epoxy will do the trick. A knot works well too. Click
here to see a mechanical
Q I would like to know if it is possible to support a chime in a
way that it is fixed, for example with a nail, without loosing its tune. I'm
asking because I would like to build a music box. Also is it possible to fix it
in a way that I won't need to drill a hole in it? A Yes, the chime can be structured for a fixed support using a
number of methods. Any of the following methods should locate the support at
22.4% from both ends. An invasive method involves drilling small holes at the
support locations and placing a nail or similar support through the hole.
Exercise caution when using metal to metal since the contacting surface will
tend to buzz when the chime is struck. The use of heat-shrink tubing or rubber
mounts will solve that issue. See example at right. See advice
from Travis Oberg below.
A noninvasive method is to use
the traditional string method for supporting an orchestra grade chime or bar. The chime can be located above or below the support string. See the picture to
Jon Stahl, Fairbanks, AK, 2 inch
aluminum, April, 2013
The tubes are 2" aluminum. The top support structure is based
around a 3" copper type L that was drilled out to accept 1/2" copper axle tubes
that support 1-1/2" copper for each tube support. The striker is made out of
3/4" Alaskan birch (4" dia) and the sail is made from some scrap sheet copper I
had laying around. The support lines are made from two strands of phone wire.
Everything used was scrap/salvaged materials except for the small piece of chain
used to hang the chimes.
Jay Do and Hung Do, Houston, TX,
Type L 1 inch copper pipes, March, 2013
I write to you today to send you our warmest gratitude, all the way from
Houston, Texas. You have put forth so much effort, not just in your website and
extensive research alone, but also by personally assisting those who require
additional assistance. With your help, my father and I were able to craft a wind
chime by hand, filled with sentimental value. Far more valuable than something
you could buy at the store.
Firstly, we picked the material we were to use. We decided upon
Type L 1” copper pipes. The smallest chime was 14 inches in length, and we added
one and a half inches to every chime after that, for eight chimes, resulting in
the longest chime being 26 inches. While this did not create any particular
chord, it created an inharmonious, yet tranquil sound. Next, we moved on to the
support disc. The support disc was crafted out of stainless steel, as to not
rust over time. It has several layers, similar to a merry go round. Next was the
striker. The striker was also made out of stainless steel, to withstand the test
of time. Last but not least was the wind catcher. The wind catcher was also
crafted out of stainless steel.
To make our wind chime more unique, we decided the wind catcher
had to stand out. What better way to do that than to show what the chime
creates? I printed out an image of an eighth note and a sixteenth note and glued
one on either side. My father than used an engraver to scratch away at the note,
onto the metal, resulting in a gorgeous, while at the same time unique finishing
touch on the chime.
This project was a wonderful father/son project. Surely, if we
wanted a wind chime we could have gone to the nearest gardening store and got
one for so much less effort and money, but being able to experience firsthand,
all the effort that goes into designing and crafting a unique wind chime by
hand, well, that’s priceless. We are so fortunate to live in a time and age
where people like yourself are able to share their wealth of knowledge with the
rest of the world, and likewise, people like my father and myself are able to
obtain that knowledge, and make use of it with a few clicks of a mouse. Thank
you again for all your hard work. This wind chime will be a treasured keepsake
of the family for many years to come.
Chimecloud by Lutz Reiter, Marco Dondana
and Arnim Jepsen from the Chalmers Institute of
Technology in Göteborg, Sweden. Dec./2012
The Chimecloud is an evocative,
responsive sound and visual installation aiming to make users actively
take part in the creation of soundscapes using their body and movements
in interaction with the space surrounding them. It takes its idea from
nature, where the wind is the main element creating natural soundscapes.
The Chimecloud is using this as a metaphor, making the peoples presence
and movement matter and bringing the space to live. 36 actuators (servo
motors) triggers 216 chimes from user movements.
Aluminum chimes by Duc Billy from
Viet Nam, Nov./2012
6 inch x .128 Inch wall, aluminum, total weight about 35 Kg,
by Craig Hewison from the UK, Nov, 2012.
Overall, I'm extremely
happy with the chimes, they sure are a talking point with friends and
family. There's also a footpath leading to a nature reserve that runs
behind our garden: I've caught a few people taking photos of them..! The sense of achievement I got from making these
chimes was worth the money alone, plus I've got a fantastic piece of
functional garden art that should give me pleasure for years to come. I
can't thank you enough for your help and guidance Lee
3/4" Copper Tubing Type M, by Michael Labbee, July,
Thanks to the use of his
father's workshop (pictured below) Michael Labbee crafted several chime
sets as gifts for family and friends. He customized the wind sail for a
friend with a cat, a Mets fan, a Yankees fan and a 3" x 3" x 3" bird
house. Note the two methods of supporting the chime for applying the
finish. A coat hanger through the support holes, and a nail through a
board with a section of Styrofoam in chime. Everything was finished with Varathane semi-gloss varnish.
2.5 inch x .062 inch wall aluminum tubing by Neal, March, 2012
I recently built a wind chime for my mom as a Christmas present. She always
wanted a very large, loud wind chime, but could never find one. I decided to
take on the challenge of building her one from scratch, and I wanted to let you
know that I could not have done it without your website. Thank you very much for
posting the plethora of information.
I am a machinist, so I had easy access to materials and tools
for this project. I used 2.5" round .062" wall aluminum tubing for the chimes. I
had them polished at a plating shop. I made the support out of a piece of oak,
as well as the striker. I turned the outside diameters of the support and
striker on a lathe to make them perfectly round, and radiused the outside of the
striker and stained both pieces. The support has a hole in the center for the
mounting chain to go through, and I attached a hook so the striker and catcher
could be removed easily if there was any unwanted chiming in the middle of the
The catcher is a piece of clear plastic. I engraved a quote on
the catcher, it reads, "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist
expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails" I used wire through the
drilled holes in the tubing to hang the tubes, and put hooks on the chains so
the tubes can be taken down easily.
The chime sounds great, and resonates very well. Last
Christmas Eve I hung the chime on my parents front porch, and put just the
catcher in a bag to give to my mom. When she opened it, she was confused until I
told her to go outside. Seeing the chime and knowing that I made it for her made
her cry, happy crying of course. I just wanted to take the time to show my
appreciation and share this with you. Thanks again! Neal
1 inch galvanized EMT by Jeff Zabriskie, February, 2012
my wife to make chimes for her mother, I selected the C4 size 1 inch galvanized
EMT. Because I never wanted to have to redo ANY portion of the chimes due to
weathering or wear, I used 3/16” Stainless Steel for the top-plate and dinger.
The support cables are 3/16” Stainless for the primary and 1/16” galvanized for
the chime supports. The internal attachment points utilize 12 gauge copper wire
with the center bent up with the stick method. Once we get into spring, I might
look into adding the mouse-ears to the top plate to get a little rotation if
they need it, although we’ll see. The wind- sail is thin-gauge
galvanized sheet metal modified to act like a CD, but I bent the edges to keep
my support line from bending awkwardly and used rubber grommets so the sail
wouldn’t simply spin. Jeff has a
video for those that may wish to see it.
^ To Menu ^ Aluminum & Copper wind chimes by Dan Shaw, Virginia,
Swarovski crystals are used for the strikers while the hand carved Eagles
are from sinker cypress. The Eagles are finished using
Tung oil, white
wood stain and mixed acrylic paint.
1/4 inch Rustic Cast Iron water pipe chimes by David Balfour,
I made my striker and sail with small sections of the same wrought iron pipe
(1.68" galvanized water pipe) and welded on hooks. I am keeping the finish
natural (a bit rusty) but did coat it with WD40. The top leg support is made
from a triangle of half inch steel with stubs that the legs slip on to. The top
is an aluminum fry pan and it just sits on the to. I drilled holes into it to
hold the chimes and striker. I chose the metal striker because after I had one
strung up I really liked the clear tonal quality. I had some weed eater string
(.060") that I used for chime support. They kind of sound like church bells. I didn't do any tuning except to measure the lengths. This was a fun project. I
made it for my wife since she wanted a set of chimes.
A Chromatic Chime Set, By: Dan Larson
Why? Just because I could. I have friends who ring bells
in church, and I am a closet piano player. When Pablo Casals played a Bach cello
sonata VERY fast, someone asked him: why so fast? He answered: Because I can. My
son named my creation C Machine, because it plays a C scale.
Read the entire account of this activity by Dan, very
Download Here pdf January, 2011
1 inch Copper Tubing by: Musician,
Travis Oberg,California, May, 2010
I chose 1 inch copper tubing and a chromatic scale C4 thru C5 (C4
was actually a test piece that I used and it's the only 3/4" pipe) and hung the
pipes on a hardwood frame. Using the excel sheet as a guide I cut all pipe
1/16th long (as suggested) for fine tuning later. Using a hand file and a tuning
device I tuned each pipe.
The most difficult was hanging the pipe without getting buzz.
I chose a solid brass rod which I cut to length, and bought a drill bit that
was essentially 'one sheet of paper' smaller than the diameter of the rod.
Hammering the pins (cut from the rod) into the hole allowed a super snug fit;
the copper gave way to the brass, fitting very tight. No buzz! That was the most
tedious part, getting the hole to be drilled fairly straight and hammering each
pin thru. I also built a sustain pedal to allow the chimes to ring a
desired length. This wooden pedal bar pictured at the bottom is spring loaded.
All in all the project was a weeks work and I am super satisfied with the
result. Sounds good! Thank you!
by John, Troy, NY, Jan, 2010
Tubular not, but none the less, they are chimes.Yes, these really are
Chimes made from old orthopedic and dental implants that I have in my collection
from 32 years, e.g., hip stems, knee prostheses, acetabular cup prostheses,
dental blade-type implants, etc. Two of the hip stems are Ti (one is actually
just a scrap piece from machining a hip stem) and the other 2 stems are Co-Cr-Mo alloy. When they are made out of Vitallium (a very hard Co-Cr-Mo alloy,
usually cast, but sometimes wrought), the ringing is terrific. (Ti-6Al-4V alloy
sometimes also rings pretty well.) (See the(Hip Chime Video Here) WMV
The middle clapper thing is an old-style Co-Cr-Mo acetabular cup
replacement, which was meant to screw into the pelvis. The small rectangular
plate above it is a little Ti plate, which will hopefully catch the wind a bit.
Medical Chimes by John, Troy, NY
Made from orthopedic (and dental) implants. This one has 2 knee joint pieces in
it -- the portions that would attach to the end of one's femur. One is made from
Vitallium and the other from Ti-6Al-4V alloy. Also one of the other hanging
things is an implant-shaped rasp (used to prepare the femoral site for a hip
stem). The 4th item is a porous-coated acetabular cup (with a little inverted
nylon bolt passively running thru it, as a hanger to let it ring decently.
(There's a small dental implant threaded into the shaft of the nylon bolt so I
can hang the whole thing.) The striker is a large chunk of left-over titanium
alloy, which was left from machining another part. The 2 flat wind-catching
plates are pure titanium and Ti-6Al-4V alloy, left over from some cell culture
by Chuck, from Columbus, Ohio Dec, 2009
Nice use of chains.
I made six set of chimes based on the information on your site and gave them
away as Christmas presents. They sound great. Although, I'm not too sure about
using the chain to support the ringer and wind sail. It's probably much too
heavy. See his Chime VideoWMV
One bit of information you didn't explain is the need to create
notes within the same chord in a given key. That way, any two or more notes that
chime together will sound great together. My music teacher friend helped me
select an F major 9th chord and a G major 9th chord.
1 1/2 inch EMT Chimes by David from
Alaska, Dec, 2009
The set is contains
20 chimes from 1-1/2" EMT (electrical metallic tubing) with a range from C4 to G
above C5. The chimes are mounted in a frame of Jacobi wood (sometimes called
Brazilian Cherry). The frame construction is a combination of mortise/tenon and
I also found a given type of pipe has a limited range of notes
that will ring well. I put a copper wire through the tube and through the last
link of the chain. Then I used a long stick that just fit inside the bottom of
the pipe with a point cut on the end in the middle. I pressed the stick against
the copper wire to put a bend in the middle so the chain will center itself. It
is much prettier, more heavy duty, and more permanent than string. Finding the
brass chain was the most difficult part. I used Trex decking to make the top
support and ringer so they will never decay.
The Sound of
This site has not only nice pages on bell sounds and tuning but offers free
software that lets you listen to the effects of overtones and allows you to
tune your bell or chime using a sound card and microphone.
The Sound of
This site has not only nice pages on bell sounds and tuning but offers free
software that lets you listen to the effects of overtones and allows you to
tune your bell or chime using a sound card and microphone.
I would like to recognize
the often overlooked and forgotten Gyro Gearloose
and his assistant Little Helper, part of the Scrooge McDuck
most famous inventor
for his important contribution
to the field of science.
How many engineers and scientists today got their start in early years
by reading about the antics of Gyro Gearloose and tinkering in a home workshop?
Also not forgotten are his Grandfather, Ratchet Gearloose; his Father, Fulton
Gearloose; and his Nephew, Newton Gearloose.
Leland Hite (Lee), K8CLI, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA,
All Rights Reserved 1996-2013,