Design Decisions
 Musical Notes & Chords
Emulation Software
 Metal
 Length
Precalculated Dimensions
 Tuning
 Support
Striker / Clapper
 Wind Sail/Catcher
Windless Chimes
Tank Bells & Chimes
 Decorating
 Science of Chiming
 Reference
email
  While I provide this information at no charge, donations are greatly appreciated. Thank You !
 Easy DIY Design and Build
Tubular-Bell Wind Chime Set
Tubes, Pipes or Rods

Hello & Welcome: This site is about providing you with easy options for 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 style into the design and perhaps create an unusual design specific to you 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 on further.

Quick-Start

Tubular Wind Chime Design and Build CompendiumTubular Bell Wind Chime Design and Build Compendium 4.2 Meg PDF  The compendium duplicates the web site. Take it with you as a reference when you build the chime set. Also in the combo pack below.
Chime Build Combo Pack Zip 12.7 Meg, Includes the Compendium, calculators, support disk patterns, sail patterns and chime emulation software.
C9 Chord Chime Tube Calculator Zip, CEGBbD, 155 Kb   (Great for wind chimes)
Pentatonic Scale Chime Tube Calculator Zip CDEGA,155 Kb

All Musical Notes DIY Chime Tube Calculator (A=440) (Zip)
(Use this to select your own notes for base 440)
MS Excel TM  
Precalculated Chime Tube Dimensions  75 choices PDF
All Musical Notes DIY Chime Rod Calculator  Zip 155 Kb
Precalculated Chime Rod Dimensions  90 choices PDF
Wind Chime Support Disk & 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 patterns.
Wind Sail/Catcher Patterns  1.3 Meg PDF
Chime Support Suggestions  Single point or dual point for a soft or rigid mount.
Striker Design Suggestions  Includes traditional and non-traditional strikers
Wind Chime Emulation Software  Zip, 105 Kb original Syntrillium program from 1996 {Excellent}
Wind Chime Designer Software  Zip, 370Kb by Greg Phillips + Instructions {Very good}
In the rare case when you want tuning with a 432 Hz base use the chart below:
All Musical Notes DIY Chime Tube Calculator (A=432) (Zip) (Use this to select your own notes for base 432)
MS Excel TM

Introduction
A
s 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 great toaster.

Clearly the 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.

 

Tubes, Pipes or Rods

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 parameter is 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 resonant 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 offset the reduced loudness and sound quite acceptable.

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Build Plan:

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.

  1. 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 this caution.

  2. Select the metal for the chime tube.

  3. 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.

Tubing CutterIf 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. Make certain to use a cutting disk designed for the type of metal you plan to use. Using the wrong type of abrasive disk can cause a dangerous explosion The traditional tubing cutter or hacksaw works well also.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Select the method or style for the top support disk or ring and select the material to be used.

  4. 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.

  5. Select either a circular striker, a radial star striker, or a striker-keeper, all are included in the patterns from step 7.

  6. Select and print a pattern for the wind sail from selections in Patterns for Wind Sails/Catchers available on the web site, or design your own.

  7. Weather protect the top support disk or ring, the striker and the sail with a UV protective finish. Decorate the chime tube as desired. A few suggestions here.

  8. Select the line, cord or chain for supporting both the chime tube and the top support disk.

  9. 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 zone.

  10. Select the sequence for locating the chimes on the support disk or ring.

  11. Attach the support line or chain to the chime using a simple jig you can make.

  12. Assembly: in your workshop temporally hang the support disk or ring just above eye level. Depending on your alignment selection (top, bottom or center) hang each chime according to both the alignment requirement and the chime sequence diagram.   Or you can use an alignment jig as describe here.

  13.  Hang the striker according to the alignment diagram and avoid striking dead center for any chime.

Resources:
Metal Tubing  Metal Rods   Metal Tanks 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.

Online  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®.
Metallic
Support Line
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 line cable.
Non Metallic
Support Line
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 line.

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Musical Note Selection:

Wind Chime Musical Note SelectionDo 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. Read the caution here.

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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 and Not true for a chime cut for C2.

Tuning implies exactness and exact tuning can not happen when you don't hear the fundamental note for the chime. When a person strikes a piano key for C2 (65.4 Hz) you will indeed hear that note, 65.4 Hz.  When a C2 chime is struck you will NOT hear 65.2 Hz. In fact. you will not even hear the first overtone at 180 Hz and can barley hear the second overtone at 352 Hz. Most prominent will be the third overtone at 582 Hz which, on a piano, sounds like D5, but isn't D5 because the mixing for all the overtones produces a completely new sound. The new sound is melodious, it sounds wonderful, but what note is it?  Tuning charts on this site list dimensions for notes ranging from C1 to C9, that imply exactness, which you now understand can not happen with a chime when you can't hear the fundamental note. Read more about the missing fundamental here. 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 tone.

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. In fact orchestra grade chimes typically begin at the C5 octave.

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DIY Tubular Bell Wind Chime Pentatonic Scale Calculator (Zip)
(C D E G A) base A4=440 Hz in MS Excel TM

DIY Tubular Bell Wind Chime C9 Chord Calculator (Zip)
(C E G Bb D) base A4=440 Hz in MS Excel TM

DIY Tubular Bell Wind Chime Calculator (All Notes)  (Zip) (Most common. Use this to select your own notes)
base A4=440 Hz in MS Excel TM

DIY Tubular Bell Wind Chime Calculator (A = 432)  (Zip) (Use in the rare case when you want a 432 base)
base A4=432 Hz in MS Excel TM

 For the purposes of chime design use the Steel selection in the calculator if you are using EMT.

The calculators require any of the following programs to view and execute: MS Excel TM Viewer (Free) Get it here; or Apache Open Office TM (Free) Get it here; or MS Excel TM (Cost $) Get it here;

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. Also, orchestra grade chimes typically do not go below the C5 octave.

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.

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Wind Chime Emulation SoftwareWind Chime Emulation Software  Zip, 105 Kb
Original Syntrillium program from 1996 {Excellent}  Help instructions are HERE

Thanks to a site visitor for providing this excellent emulation program from 1996 by Syntrillium. They are now defunct and we believe the software is considered "freeware". The zip file contains the main program, the registration codes and a help file. Unzip the download and run the wind_chimes_1.01_syntrillium.exe file. The program is quite intuitive, full featured and should be easy to operate. To begin I would suggest you set-up the program as follows: Number of Chimes "5", Transpose to "0", Scale to "New Pentatonic", Base Note "C-4", "Center Pendulum".  Remember, the loudspeaker connected to your computer has the ability to play the low notes from C2 to C4 but a chime may not radiate those sounds.

The program was originally designed to run on DOS 6 using Windows 95, and also runs with Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and currently on Windows 7, 64 bit mode. I have not tried running it using Windows 8.

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 may not radiate those sounds.

  1. Download the Zip file here Wind Chime Designer  
                                          Zip, 370Kb by Greg Phillips (software + Instructions)

  2. 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

  3. Click on "wind_chime_designer.zip" to unzip the folder.
    (contains Chime32A.exe, TUNING.DAT, and Wind Chime Designer Instructions)

  4. Place all three  files in a folder of your choice

  5. Click on Wind Chime Designer Instructions PDF, 200 Kb (also available here)

  6. Click on Chime32A.exe to run the program.

If you have trouble unzipping Greg's new version here are the two files you need. Chime32A.exe and 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 .exe file.

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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 striker section. 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 chord.

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 scale.

Caution 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.

The actual 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.

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Choice of Metal:

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. For the purposes of chime design use the EMT selection in the calculator if you're using steel or stainless steel.

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.   For the purposes of chime design use the Steel selection in the calculator if you're EMT.

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 that?

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 right you 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 for elasticity.

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. Density
Lbm / in
3
Aluminum 10,000,000 0.0980
Brass 17,000,000 0.3080
Cast Iron 13,400,000 0.2600
Copper 16,000,000 0.3226
Steel 30,000,000 0.2835
Stainless Steel  28,300,000 0.2830

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 resonant 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.
Brass .065 wall Copper M Cast Iron Aluminum .065 wall Aluminum .035 wall EMT
26 1/8" 27" 28 7/16" 29 5/16" 30 7/16" 32 7/8"

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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 modulus 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.

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About Tubing Dimensions:

Aluminum and 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 (thin-wall), 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, and DWV is Yellow.  Both type M & type L can be found in the plumbing section of home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe's.

Commonly available sizes for aluminum, copper, brass, steel and cast iron are also in the DIY tubular bell wind chime calculator
 

 Type L Copper Tubing .     Type M Copper Tubing
Nominal
Size
(inches)
Actual OD
(inches)
Actual ID
(inches)
Wall
Thickness
(inches)
  Nominal
Size
(inches)
Actual
(OD)
(inches)
(ID)
(inches)
Wall
Thickness
1/2 5/8 0.625 0.545 0.040   1/2 5/8 0.625 0.569 0.028
3/4 7/8 0.875 0.785 0.045   3/4 7/8 0.875 0.811 0.032
1 1 1/8 1.125 1.025 0.050   1 1 1/8 1.125 1.055 0.035
1 1/4 1 3/8 1.375 1.265 0.055   1 1/4 1 3/8 1.375 1.291 0.042
1 1/2 1 5/8 1.625 1.505 0.060   1 1/2 1 5/8 1.625 1.527 0.049
2 2 1/8 2.125 1.985 0.070   2 2 1/8 2.125 2.009 0.058
2 1/2 2 5/8 2.625 2.465 0.080   2 1/2 2 5/8 2.625 2.495 0.065
3 3 1/8 3.125 2.945 0.090   3 3 1/8 3.125 2.981 0.072
3 1/2 3 5/8 3.625 3.425 0.100   3 1/2 3 5/8 3.625 3.459 0.083
4 4 1/8 4.125 3.897 0.114   4 4 1/8 4.125 3.935 0.095
5 5 1/8 5.125 4.875 0.125   5 5 1/8 5.125 4.907 0.109
6 6 1/8 6.125 5.845 0.140   6 6 1/8 6.125 5.881 0.122
                     

 

Electrical Metallic Tubing (EMT)
aka thin-wall conduit
EMT
(inches)
Actual
(OD)
(inches)
(ID)
(inches)
Wall
Thickness
Gauge
3/8 .577 .493 .042 19
1/2 .706 .622 .042 19
3/4 .922 .824 .049 18
1       1.163 1.049 .057 17
1-1/4 1.510 1.380 .065 16
1-1/2 1.740 1.610 .065 16
2       2.197 2.067 .065 16
 2-1/2  2.875 2.731 .072 15
 3        3.500 3.356 .072 15
 3-1/2  4.000 3.834 .083 14
 4     4.500 4.334 .083 14
          

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Calculating the Length:

Precalculated tube lengths for some common metals used in chimes are in the table below.
If you desire a size different than the precalculated tables, use the DIY Excel Calculator above.

Precalculated Tube Length and Hang Point Dimensions [English & Metric] PDF
Requires a free PDF reader like Adobe® or Foxit
Click on a specific metal and size or the top row for a specific family
Wall Thickness (inches)
OD or
Nominal
Size
(inches)
 Alum
.035
20
Gauge
 Alum
.049
18
Gauge
 Alum
.058
17
Gauge
 Alum
.065
16
Gauge
 Alum
.083
14
Gauge
 Alum
.125
1/8"
Copper
Type L
Blue
Copper
Type M
Red
Brass
.065
Wall
Steel
EMT
thin-wall
Cast Iron
Sked 40
.50  Alum  Alum  Alum  Alum     Copper Copper Brass EMT  
.75  Alum  Alum  Alum  Alum  Alum   Copper Copper Brass EMT  
1.0  Alum  Alum  Alum  Alum  Alum   Copper Copper Brass EMT Cast
1.25  Alum  Alum  Alum  Alum  Alum   Copper Copper Brass EMT  
1.50  Alum  Alum  Alum  Alum  Alum  Alum Copper Copper Brass EMT Cast
1.75      Alum    Alum       Brass    
2.0    Alum    Alum  Alum  Alum Copper Copper Brass EMT Cast
2.25    Alum    Alum  Alum       Brass    
2.50        Alum  Alum  Alum Copper Copper   EMT Cast
3.00        Alum    Alum Copper Copper   EMT  

 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, orchestra grade chimes typically do not go below the C5 octave. 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.

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Precalculated lengths for resonant metal rods
Rod Length & Hang Point, A4=440Hz
 
Diameter inches   Diameter mm
Aluminum Brass Steel   Aluminum Brass Steel
1/4 1/4 1/4   6 6 6
3/8 3/8 3/8   8 8 8
1/2 1/2 1/2   10 10 10
5/8 5/8 5/8   12 12 12
3/4 3/4 3/4   14 14 14
7/8 7/8 7/8   16 16 16
1.00 1.00 1.00   18 18 18
1 1/8 1 1/8 1 1/8   20 20 20
1 1/4 1 1/4 1 1/4   22 22 22
1 3/8 1 3/8 1 3/8   24 24 24
1 1/2 1 1/2 1 1/2   26 26 26
1 5/8 1 5/8 1 5/8   28 28 28
1 3/4 1 3/4 1 3/4   30 30 30
1 7/8 1 7/8 1 7/8   32 32 32
2.00 2.00 2.00   34 34 34

Values can vary slightly because of manufacturing tolerances for diameter, roundness, elasticity, density and poor handling.

Calculate your own chime dimensions
Click to download or using right mouse, select Save Target As and save to a folder of your choice.

Chime Build Combo Pack (Zip) 10.7 Meg  (Includes the compendium, the tube calculators, the rod calculator below, support disk patterns, and sail patterns)
C9 Chord Calculator tubes (Zip)  (C E G Bb D) 300 Kb, A4=440 Hz in MS Excel TM155 Kb
(Great for tubular bell wind chimes)
Pentatonic Scale Calculator Tubes (Zip) (C D E G A) 300 Kb, A4=440 Hz in MS Excel TM 155 Kb
All Notes DIY Calculator Tubes (Zip) 300 Kb, A4=440 Hz in MS Excel TM155 Kb
All Notes DIY Calculator Rods (Zip) 300 Kb, A4=440 Hz in MS Excel TM 155 Kb
DIY tubular bell wind chime calculator all notes, old original tuning (Zip)
Note: Old Original Tuning base A4=432 Hz in MS Excel TM 

 For the purposes of chime design use the Steel selection in the calculator if you're EMT.

DIY Calculator includes the following features:

> 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 here

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, orchestra grade chimes typically do not go below the C5 octave. 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.

The calculators require any of the following programs to view and execute: MS Excel TM Viewer (Free) Get it here; or Apache Open Office TM (Free) Get it here; or MS Excel TM (Cost $) Get it here;

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Angle-Cut Tubing: A 45° cut at the bottom or top of the tube can add a nice aesthetic touch; however, the tuning for each Angle-Cut Tubingchime 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 change 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 45°.

Tuning the Chime

If 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.

Slip knot supports a chime measured by insTuner on an iPadgStrings Chromatic Tuner on an Android with the chime supported by rubber bands at the nodesFrequency measurement: Measuring the exact frequency and musical note of the chime couldn’t be easier, maybe?   
Read the caution about chromatic tuners 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 string slipknot positioned at the 22.4% node, pictured right with the iPad.

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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 frequency.

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 frequencies.

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.

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FFT sprectum analysis setup measurement for a chime tubeA good 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.

  Audacity®  Laptop freeware, open source, cross-platform software for recording and editing sounds.
                       
Good for fundamental and overtone frequency measurements.

DL4YHF's Amateur Radio Software: Audio Spectrum Analyzer (Spectrum Lab)
              Laptop freeware good for fundamental and overtone frequency measurements, and a  real-time display.

Tune Lab Pro version 4 Laptop freeware good for 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.

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Mechanical Support:

Chime support: The ideal chime support location to allow for a lengthy sustain time is positioned at either of two locations; at the fundamental frequency node located 22.42% from either end, or at the very end using a string or cable threaded through an end cap.

If sustain time is not a requirement, such as for orchestra chimes pictured to the right, then support can be through horizontal holes near the end of the tube. A chime supported in this manner effectively reduces most of the sustain time and can be a desirable response for an orchestra chime since the strike note is typically the most important musical contribution with minimal sustain time. 

You may occasional see commercial wind chimes supported in this manner but they cannot support the tradition bell-like sound that you may be expecting. Incorrect support ranks as the number one mistake made by some commercial chimes sets for sale both on the internet and in stores. They will produce a strike note but lack the rich resonant bell-like sound that would result from proper support.

.The first support method for a bell-like sustain time uses the traditional fundamental
frequency node which is 22.42% from either end. See the Transverse vibration mode diagram at the right.

An 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 either end.

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 University

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Tubular chime support suggestions
Method 1 Method 1 Method 1 Method 2 Method 2
Method 1
Traditional two point mount
and the most stable in high winds for string supported chimes.
Method 1 Important to deburr the outside holes Method 1 Eyelets or grommets help when deburring is difficult or impossible Method 2 Knot on the outside allows for one top support point. Somewhat less stable than method 1. Method 2 Deburring the inside support hole is important.
Method 3 Method 3 Method 3 Method 4 Method 4

Method 3 Converts from a two point mount to a single point mount and may be more pleasing to the eye with less visible line.

Method 3
 a little less stable that method 1.

Method 3
May be more pleasing to the eye with less visible string.

Method 4
The 1/2 Wrap
Both ends feed from the outside to inside

Method 4
Knot can be concealed inside the tube or placed above

 
Method 4 Method 4 Method 5 Method 5 Method 5
Method 4
The 1/2 Wrap is a convenient connection for a chain mount using either a cord or 80# braided fishing line
Method 4
Slide the knot out of view for the chain connection
Method 5 
1/8" metal rod flush cut and deburred. Held with super glue or flair the ends with a ball-peen hammer.
Method 5  1/16" or 1/8" metal rod with a small rubber grommet on outside of the chime for each side prevents buzzing Method 5
Can be used to support the concealed striker
Method 6 Method 6 Method 6 Method 6 Method 7
Method 6
Horizontal cable mount provides a new look
Method 6
1/32" or 1/16" steel cable threads thru each hole
Method 6
Small plastic beads assure even spacing among tubes
Method 6
Even without the beads the tubes have a tendency to space evenly

Method 7
End cap support for copper tubing

Method 8 Method 8 Method 8 Method 8 Method 9
Method 8
Rigid mount using 1/8" bolt or larger
Method 8 Securing nut not shown Method 8
4-point rigid mount allows maximum support vertically or horizontally
Method 8
4-point rigid mount resist abuse in a park or playground setting
Method 9 Horizontal support using a noninvasive soft chord or line

 

 

 

 

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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 the chime 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 the wire Use moderate pressure to form the inverted V
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 file smooth

 

Solder or epoxy the pin in place

 

File smooth and finish  Finish with a smooth or hammered paint finish
 

 

 

 


 

Batwing Binder Clip

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)

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End Cap, 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. Caution: be certain to solder the end caps in place. An unsoldered or loose fitting end cap will completely deaden the resonance. An end cap must contact the entire circumference at the end of the chime to function properly.

Waterfall display for a chime tube supported by a hole in the end cap WATERFALL SPECTRAL DISPLAY FOR THE STRIKE NOTE End cap for copper tubing
 

Waterfall display for a chime tube supported by a hole in the end cap. Similar to the traditional orchestra chime

Waterfall display for a chime tube supported at the traditional fundamental frequency node.

End Cap Support
1/2" Type M Copper Tubing

End support for Rods: It is possible to support a rod at the end and it's fairly easy to accomplish. You might be tempted to inset a screw eye at the end but I can assure you that will completely kill the resonance. Resonance for a tube or rod can easily be stopped by touching the end. The end cap is a special case that allows resonance to exist without seriously reducing the sustain time. But adding a screw eye or any amount of mass to the end can kill the sustain time for a rod. The easy solution that works very well is to drill a small hole in the end of the rod and epoxy a 50# woven fishing line into the hole. First tie a knot at the end prior to inserting the line into the hole. This low mass and flexible connection does not impact the resonance and provides an easy method for connection.

 

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Support Line: 

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 hole.

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.

Sources: 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.

Anchoring the hanging chime support line to the support disk          Countersink hole for hiding the support line knot

Jigs to position the chime for attaching support line or chainJigs to 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 the tape.

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Support Line Suggestions

Deburr inside hole using stick & sandpaper

Chamfer outside hole using an oversized drill bit 1/8" & 3/16" aluminum eyelets and a pop rivet Outside hole with aluminum eyelet Eyelets do not protect  the line from the inside edge
1/8" & 3/16" eyelets using the top hat from a pop rivet. Use only for thru line. Heat shrink tubing can protect the line from the sharp inside edge of the hole Shrinkable tubing in place and operational Good place to use heat shrink tubing Eyelets required for the outside edge only
 
#12 copper wire bends easily to form an inverted V Double support line for an unusually heavy chime Half wrap hides the knot inside the chime. 80# braided fishing line works well. A solid pin with single line support eliminates wear & tear on the connection  

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Chime-Set Support Ring or Hoop or Disk

WIND CHIME TOP SUPPORT PLATEPatterns for Wind Chime Support Diak & StrikerWind Chime Support Disk & Striker Patterns PDF 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

 

 

 

Wind Chime Top Support Disk CalculatorSupport disk calculator with points on a circle Calculator included (Zip) 120 Kb Excel Worksheet

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 tube (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.
 

 

Location Calculator for Points on a CircleLocation Calculator for Points on a CircleAlso included is a location 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.

Chime Location Sequence

Circular configuration

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 and moving upwards in length as the location numbers increase.

5 Chime Set Note Locations 6 Chime Set Note Locations 8 Chime Set Note Locations
Inline configuration
1 - 3 - 5 - 2 - 4 1 - 4 - 2 - 5 - 3 - 6 1 - 5 - 2 - 6 -3 - 7 - 4 1 - 5 - 2 - 6 -3 - 7 - 4 - 8

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Chime-Set Support Suggestions
A circular ring provides an open air and see thru appearance Support rings can be cut from an out of service aluminum fire extinguisher Use an abrasive metal cutting saw blade in a radial arm saw, a chop saw or a table saw Use the generic patterns to mark the 3-point mount location holes and a generic pattern matching your number of chimes Use the generic patterns to mark the 3-point mount location holes and a generic pattern matching your number of chimes

A circular ring or hoop provides an open air and see thru appearance.

Support rings can be cut from an out of service aluminum fire extinguisher. Strip paint and brush with a wire wheel. Use an abrasive metal cutting saw blade in a radial arm saw, a chop saw or a table saw. Height of 3/8” to 3/4 “works well. Chain, decorative cord, or braided fishing line can be used with this top support hoop. Use the generic patterns document to mark the 3-point mount location holes and a generic pattern matching your number of chimes.
Chrome plated steel rings and hoops in a variety of sizes from hobby stores and online Look in hobby stores for rings or hoops often used for dream catchers, mandellas or macramé Support disk cut from aluminum used with the keeper-striker arrangement 3-point or 4-point mount A  single screw eye mount
Chrome plated steel rings and hoops in a variety of sizes from hobby stores and online Look in hobby stores for rings or hoops often used for dream catchers, mandellas or macramé Support disk cut from .075" aluminum with a 3/6" x 3" eye bolt used with the striker-keeper arrangement  Chain or UV resistant cord can be configured for a
3-point or 4-point mount on a solid wood disk
A single screw eye is an easy connection but more difficult to balance level
Screw eyes or thru hoes support the line or cord star pattern support disk birdhouse bottom view Pets, sports logo or a favorite hobby can adorn the top of the chime disk A decorative hand painted funnel or pan lid add uniqueness to the set
Screw eyes or thru hoes support the chain or chord. If the star pattern is used for the striker it can be duplicated for the top support You can also use the chime set as a birdhouse. Pets, sports logo or a favorite hobby can adorn the top of the chime disk. A decorative hand painted funnel or pan lid adds uniqueness to the set

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Ideal Strike Zone for a Tubular ChimeOrchestra 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. An orchestra chime is struck with a lot of gusto but a wind chime often has little strike energy.  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 striker suggestions. 

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 Alignment Strike Zones for Bottom Alignment Strike Zone for 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.

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The Striker Shape is 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.

Open Star Radial Striker Strikes A Cord                      Closed Star Radial Striker, aka Keeper-Striker, Strikes A Cord  

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.

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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 goals.

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.

Both strikers produced equal 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.

Frequency display for the fundamental with overtones when struck with a steel striker              Frequency display for the fundamental with overtones when struck with a wood striker

The Conceal & Carry Chime© hides a lead striker on the inside the chime for large diameters chimes, mostly above 2 inches as pictured left and right. The striker is a lead weight normally used as a sinker for fishing and can be any of the following: a cannon ball sinker, a bell sinker, a bank sinker or an egg sinker.  Wrap the sinker with about two layers of black electrical tape to prevent the harsh sound from a metal strike and still provide a strong but muted strike. Support for the striker string or line from can be from the same point you use to support the chime tube.

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 suggestions.

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 WIND CHIME STRIKER RESONANCEmind, 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 resonant 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 resonant 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 resonant 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-resonant 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.

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Wind Chime Striker / Clapper Suggestions

Plain Disk Striker with Axle Knife Edge Disk Striker with Axle Maximizes Strike Energy Knife Edge Disk Striker with Axle Maximizes Strike Energy Knife Edge Disk Striker With Weight and Axle Knife Edge Disk Striker With 1 oz Weight and Axle
Straight edge wood disk striker with axle Knife edge wood disk maximizes strike energy Bullet nose wood striker with hollow axle or wire axle maximizes strike energy Knife edge disk striker with weight and axle Close up for tapered edge wood striker with weight & axle
Tapered Edge Striker with Axle Maximizes Strike Energy Tapered Edge Striker with Axle Can Strike All 5 Chimes Equally Well Close up for Tapered Edge Striker with Axle Sculptured Tapered Edge Striker with Axle For Use With Small Diameter Chimes Sculptured Tapered Edge Striker with Axle Strikes the Bottom Edge of the Chime Tube

Tapered edge wood striker with axle allows striking the end of the chime edge for maximum strike energy

Typical arrangement for a tapered edge striker with axle for bottom aligned chimes

Typical tapered edge striker with axle for bottom aligned chimes

A sculptured tapered edge striker adds a decorative touch for striking the edge of the chime end

A sculptured tapered edge striker assures contact with the very end edge of the chime

 
Star Striker Rotates on Contact with the Chime and Effectively Strikes a Musical Cord The Star Striker Loudness is Reduced Compared to the Traditional Round Striker Enclosed Radial Striker Enclosed Radial Striker 3-Point Radial Striker

Animation for a 5-point open radial striker that  rotates on contact with the chime bouncing  back and forth effectively striking a chord or most of the chord

The open star radial striker loudness is reduced compared to the traditional round striker The closed star radial striker works great for maintaining alignment in high wind conditions and produces a more subtle strike The enclosed star radial striker can be made from 1/8” sheet plastic, aluminum or other light weight but relative hard material Multipliable configurations exist to achieve a radial strike. This one might be appropriate for someone working in the nuclear business.
3, 4,& 5 Chime Keeper-Striker 3-Chime Keeper-Striker 4-Chime Keeper-Striker 5-Chime Keeper-Striker Fixed Striker useful in high winds for a softer strike
3, 4,& 5 Chime Keeper-Striker 3-Chime     Keeper-Striker 4-Chime     Keeper-Striker 5-Chime     Keeper-Striker

A fixed Striker mounted on a 1/4" aluminum rod attached to a solid support disk is useful in high winds for a softer strike

Bullet Nose Striker with Axle Maximizes Strike Energy Baseball/Softball Good For A Soft & Mellow but Effective Strike Concealed Lead Striker inside a 2 Inch Diameter or Larger Chime Provides a Unique Style Concealed Lead Striker inside a 2 Inch Diameter or Larger Chime Croquet Ball Good For A Strong Strike. Locate Away from the Weather
Enameled coat hanger wire works well for an axle Baseball / Softball  good for a mellow strike in a high wind environment. Conceal & Carry
The chime carries a concealed lead striker inside a 2 Inch diameter or larger chime, and provides a unique style with a more subtle shrike
2 oz lead weight wrapped with two layers of black electrical tape provide a strong but muted strike A billiard ball or croquet ball are choices for a strong strike on a small chime. Test first for harshness. Can be too strong for some
 

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The Wind Chime Wind Sail / Wind Catcher:

Wind Sail - Wind Catcher Patterns

Wind Sails / Catchers: The pessimist complains about the wind, the optimist expects it to change, the realist adjusts the sails. by William Arthur Ward

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. Patterns for Wind Sails/Catchers  1.3 Meg  PDF Document

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 shear.

Bi-Directional Wind VaneTo better understand wind turbulence mixed with single-direction winds watch this 60 second video, Bi-Directional Wind 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.

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 Solving the Dingdong

ANGULAR MOUNT WIND CHIME WIND CATCHERThe first 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.

Site 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.

Single support line allows chimes set to rotate with the windA 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.

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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 strike.

Orthogonal Wind Sail will aggressively fly at right angles to the wind directionJerk, 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 keeper-striker.

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 available here.

 

CAUTION ! 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 Wind SailNo 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 adequate.

The best solution for you will depend on your type of wind. You may need to try a few different sails for success.

Windless Chimes On occasion there may be times when you want a set of chimes in a windless environment, or even outdoors in a low wind environment like a heavily wood area. Using an electromagnet to repel a high intensity magnet at the end of the striker rod can provide you with endless possibilities. Typically named chaos engine, this arrangement can produce a random movement for the striker. Powered by either 120 VAC or a 12 VDC solar charged battery, the electromagnet is controlled by a circuit board with an adjustable strike rate. You can design your individual set of windless chimes using components purchased from Newton's Flying Magnets. Below is a short video demonstrating some of the possibilities.

 

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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 editing sounds.

Do not use any formula, table or chart on this web site to predict a tanks musical performance.

Frequency spectrum for a neck-end tank bell chimeThe 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 not, maybe? A most perplexing situation can exist for some tank lengths

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.

 

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Click to ExpandSet 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 mode 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

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Pictured right are a couple of examples from site visitor Grey Yahn from Pennsylvania.

 

 

 

Abrasive metal cutting saw bladeIf 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 left is under $5.00 at Home Depot. Make certain to use a cutting disk designed for the type of metal you plan to use. Using the wrong type of abrasive disk can cause a dangerous explosion The traditional tubing cutter or hacksaw works well also.

 

Wear all recommended safety equipment including eye protection, hearing protection and respiratory protectionSafety 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 protectionThe tanks are heavy and can be dangerous when handling, use extreme caution.

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Hammered Paint FinishThe chime tube can be stained, dyed, anodized or painted. A light weight coating of spray lacquer, spray polyurethane, spray paint, a powder coat or a crackle/hammered/textured finish (pictured right) can be used 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.

 

Patina finish on steel: Site visitor and artist, Roger Deweese, has successfully applied a metal dye to produce some amazing patina finishes for his tank bell chimes. Read here about the procedure Roger employed.

 

 

 

 

 

Copper chimes treated to produce the Aged Copper (Patina) Look The Aged Copper Patina Look : a site visitor sent me a procedure to artificially age copper to provide the patina appearance. The procedure works well and pictured on the left are the 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.

Download the patina procedure HERE  PDF

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Hang the chime vertically.

  5. 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.

  6. When the chime is completely dry remove the dried rust remover from the chime using a dry cloth. Do not use water.

  7. 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.

  8. Allow a few days to dry and the chime should ready for handling to install the final support lines.

  9. 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

  10. 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 weather. 

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  Artificial aging copper for the patina appearance

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 rag First coat of toilet bowel cleaner containing hydrochloric acid applied
First coat of toilet bowel cleaner dried 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
       
        Completed process

Wind Chime Sparkling Copper LookSparkling 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.

 

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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 resonant 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 chimes.

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.

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Loudness limits: 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 Sandra Bilotto. See another large sets here , here and here.

Somewhat of an exception is when the resonant 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 loudness.

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.

Chime Length VS Diameter for Musical Note C4Proportional dimensions: 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

 

 

Chime Length VS Wall Thickness for Musical Note C4On 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.

 

 

 

DIAMETER VS. fREQUENCY FOR A CONSTANT LENGTH AND CONSTANT WALL THICKNESS CHIME TUBEIncreasing the outside diameter while keeping the length and wall thickness constant will cause a substantial rise in the resonant frequency.

 

 

 

 

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 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 the strike note as the predominate sound and little if no 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.

TRANSVERSE VIBRATION MODES FOR A TUBE OR BAR WHEN BOTH ENDS ARE FREE TO VIBRATEThe 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 X 31.87.

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 (180.5 Hz). 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.

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WATERFALL SPECTRAL DISPLAY FOR THE STRIKE NOTEYou 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 time.

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

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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 mostly absent.

In 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 overtones. 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 bell-like, and are easy to build. Precise tuning (+ / -  1/10 Hz) is not required.

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 acoustically, which 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.

Many have spent time investigating the missing fundamental and the perceived note' from a chime. A few good sources are: Hyper Physics. Wind Chime Physics  Fuzzy logic and the subjective pitch by Dr. John Askil and Wikipedia.

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The Bell-Like Chime

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.

C2, Type L Copper, 3/4"          F3, Type L Copper, 3/4"

 

E4, Type L Copper, 3/4"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.

 

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C6, Type L Copper, 3/4"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.

 

 

 

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The Math

Skip the math? If your looking for DIY calculations or precalculated dimensions, go here.

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  x  π)
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

w= (B  x L)2 x (d/I2) x (1/8) x (E/density)

(B x L)2  - Constants based on the boundary conditions for a wind chime (Free-Free Beam)
(B x L)= 22.373 for the first natural frequency.
(B x l)= 61.7 for the second natural frequency.
(B x L)= 121 for the third natural frequency.
(B x L)= 199.859 for the fourth natural frequency.

To get the units correct you must multiply the values inside the square root by gravity (g).
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))

Length (inches) = (22.42 x K/(2 x π x f))

If you're curious about the circular mode (not considered here) see this http://paws.kettering.edu/~drussell/Demos/radiation/radiation.html

If you want additional math on the subject here is a paper by Tom Irvine

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Conclusions:

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 originally a 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 calculated accuracy.

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 exact tuning.....!

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 Chuck's Chimes, 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. https://sites.google.com/site/chuckchimes/home

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FAQ's

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!

A You can actually support a bar or chime at any point and it will ring a little bit but will lack good sustain time and Transverse vibration mode diagramthe 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 bell-like sound.

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 can occur.

If your goal is to accentuate the first overtone and ignore the fundamental then support at the 13.21% point is the correct choice.

 Support 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.

On 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 resonant 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 resonant 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 see this.

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.

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Q 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.

Q Where do I get the mounting pins and what size is recommended?
A 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 Depot.

Q 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.

Q 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 method

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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?
Invasive Horizontal Chime SupportNoninvasive Horizontal Chime Support PostA 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.

 

Noninvasive Horizontal Chime SupportA 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 the left.

 

 

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Projects by site visitors (click pictures to expand)

 8 inch x 20 inch Tank Chime by Bruce Naimy

A wonderful setting for a tank chime made from a CO2 compressed gas cylinder with the bottom cut off.  The tank measures 8” ID and 20” tall with a ¼” wall thickness. The striker is from a 4 ¾ inch steel disc, 1/16 inch thick and uses a 12 inch axle for stability.

 

 

 

 

 2" Aluminum,  Traversed Mercator by Caleb Marhoover

A sculptural/musical interpretation of the distance which divides my youth from adulthood. Here, this journey is presented through the linear elevation profile of the terrain which fills that divide.

 

 

  Tides by Margaret Noble 

Tides was to be a series of dynamic public art concerts with large-scale sculptural kites, tuned wind chimes and performances by experimental choral singers. Formally dressed in black, choral performers were to improvise with varying bell note melodies driven by the kite lines they would fly. - See more Here

 

 

A lightweight support frame and a lightweight keeper/striker designed to contain the chime tubes in chaotic winds accompanied the ultra lightweight chime tubes (1 inch OD, .032” wall aluminum tubing), all of which remained under two pounds.

 

 

 

 

 

Merle Walther, 1.5" painted EMT, 3" wooden ball striker & Moose wind catcher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Jon, 2" aluminum, July, 2013 (Set # 2, see set # 1 down the page)

This set is a little larger than the last ones. The tubes are 2" x .065 aluminum with the upper support a combination of 3", 2" & 1-1/2" copper pipe. Kind of a chandelier design for the support. Overall the whole thing measures about 5' tall. The striker is again Alaskan Birch with copper sheet used for the sail. The sail was made a little heavier than normal so it is not chiming constantly since it is located in a spot that picks up all our winds. The sound turned out quite beautiful thanks to your chart. The only thing that was not salvage was the chain used to hang the striker/sail assembly. The tubes were drilled and copper wire inserted for the hang points.

Tried something new on the top support. Applied Oatey soldering Flux and let it set for a few days in the rain to give it the patina. On the sail I used Miracle grow African Violet liquid to achieve that patina. The Miracle grow patina looks better to me than the flux as it is not so dark and does not leave the film that the flux leaves.

 

 

 

Juggling Joe Wagner Plays Chimes  from Pittsburgh, PA www.jugglingjoewagner.com/

Juggling Joe Wagner Plays Chimes

Mike Hammond, 2 1/2" steel chimes

I wanted to say thank you for all the information I got from your website. 
I used it to make my first wind chime and it came out fantastic.


 

 

Roger Deweese, 4" tank top bell, 5" high

The paint is a metallic red with about 3 coats of clear over it. There is a 1/4" black striping tape put on prior to putting on the clear finish. The "clanger"  is made out of 1/8" aluminum cut into a star pattern (it seemed to need a sharp sound to work well).

 

 

Roger Nash, 6 pipes of 2" aluminum rigid conduit, using the pentatonic scale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Jon, 2 inch aluminum chimes

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.

 

 

 

 

  Chaos Chimes by Roger Sonntag, Newton's Flying Magnets

  More Chaos
 

 

 

 

Jay Do and Hung Do, Houston, TX,   Type L 1 inch copper pipes
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.

Attached to this email is a short video my father has captured, in order to show you what we have created with your assistance.

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

 Video Here   We are three students from the Chalmers Institute of Technology in Göteborg, Sweden. We are all studying Interaction Design and this project was aiming to explore new interactive ideas and solutions to equip and constitute a culture house here in Göteborg. Read additional details here

   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

YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMhsM9cNP1I

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ChuongGioDofrance

 

6 inch x .128 Inch wall, aluminum, total weight about 35 Kg, 77 Lb
by Craig Hewison from the UK.

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

Read the complete details here by Craig PDF

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3/4" Copper Tubing Type M, by Michael Labbee.  

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.

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2.5 inch x .062 inch wall aluminum tubing by Neal
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 night.

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 resonants 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

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1 inch galvanized EMT by Jeff Zabriskie
Commissioned by 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.
 

 

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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 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.

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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 interesting.... Download Here  PDF

 

 

 

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 1 inch Copper Tubing by: Musician, Travis Oberg, California

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!

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Chimes by Stanley, Park City, Utah,  YouTube video here
Copper chimes using a cabinet knob as the striker and an aluminum electrical box cover for the wind sail.

 

 

 

 

Birdhouse Chimes, by James

 A nice father/daughter project

 Watch his video here wmv - 4 meg

 

 

 

 

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Hip Chimes by John, Troy, NY
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 experiments.

 

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Chimes 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 Video WMV

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
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 screwed connections.

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.

Commissioned Chime Set by Kenny Schneider
 plays Bach's, Joy of Man's Desiring when struck.

 See https://artistsregister.com/artist_image.phtml?slideId=13395&backlink=artists&number=CO201

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Links & Sources

Wind Chime Kit Company  John Meloy, High quality kits, parts and fully assembled chime sets.

Woodworking for Mere Mortals A fun site for many projects including an excellent video about using the resources from this site.

The Sound of Bells www.hibberts.co.uk/index.htm 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.

Bells and Their Music  www.msu.edu/~carillon/batmbook/index.htm Chapter 5: The Acoustics of Bells is a nice introduction to bell physics.

Pitch Perception  http://www.mmk.ei.tum.de/persons/ter/top/pitch.html Psychoacoustics of pitch perception.

The Strike Note of Bells   www.mmk.ei.tum.de/persons/ter/top/strikenote.html

Chuck's Chimes Another engineer, Chuck, has an excellent web site for chime calculations and information.  https://sites.google.com/site/chuckchimes/home

* Equations from paper by Tom Irvine    Web Site 

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The Sound of Bells www.hibberts.co.uk/index.htm 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.

Bells and Their Music  www.msu.edu/~carillon/batmbook/index.htm Chapter 5: The Acoustics of Bells is a nice introduction to bell physics.

Pitch Perception  http://www.mmk.ei.tum.de/persons/ter/top/pitch.html Psychoacoustics of pitch perception.

The Strike Note of Bells   www.mmk.ei.tum.de/persons/ter/top/strikenote.html

An interesting physics class, student project, authored by Professor G. William Baxter and Assistant Professor Keith M. Hagenbuch, both from Penn State, Erie, PA

Engineering student project by S. Scott Moor, Assistant Professor of Engineering and coordinator of First-Year Engineering at Indiana University, Purdue University – Fort Wayne.

Physics of Sound: Wind Chimes
http://www.depts.ttu.edu/tstem/curriculum/physics_sound/index.php

Particle Physics Windchime
http://www.stanford.edu/group/burchat/cgi-bin/bellis_mediawiki/index.php/Particle_Physics_Windchime

Wind chime physics
http://homepages.ius.edu/kforinas/K/pdf/AJPWindchime.pdf

The Physics of Musical Instruments by Neville H. Fletcher, Thomas D. Rossing available at eBay HERE that has a great chapter on chimes and bells.

The missing fundamental effect
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/sound/subton.html#c2

The missing fundamental by Dr. John Askill    http://fiziks.net/webpages/missingfreq.htm

Fuzzy logic and the subjective pitch by Dr. John Askil  http://fiziks.net/webpages/subpitch.htm

The missing fundamental (Hanover College)
http://psych.hanover.edu/classes/sensation/MissingFundamental_files/frame.htm#slide0001.htm

Fletcher/Munson Curves   Fletcher/Munson Curves with ISO 

Large Chime Set

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Leland Hite (Lee) K8CLI
All Rights Reserved 1996/2014

 

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