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Thread: Chimes

  1. #1


    I came into several pieces of one inch EMT conduit. I have a table of lengths to cut the conduit for three octaves of notes and the table includes the length down each tube for hangers. I would like to build a frame to hold the chimes and a 24 note keyboard with hammers to strike the chimes. Has anyone built such a thing? did you get plans can you post pictures. etc.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SF Bay Area
    Hi- I don't have anything to post in regard to this project, but I'd like to see the result. And, if you'd be willing, I'd like to have a copy of that table of lengths and hangers. Thanks. -Howard

  3. #3

    Perhaps base the design on a Celesta

    Perry Hilbert Jr.

    I've not actually seen a keyboard /chimes. If you have to design it, you might use a Celesta as a model:

    In a Celesta, the key-operated hammers are striking the horizontal sounding elements, similar to a Xylophone and then retracting (escapement).

    Here is a Celesta using tuned metal tubes:

    Another DIY Celesta, but with vertical plates:

    In the homemade Celesta video, the builder is striking tuned, vertical rods. For that configuration, it may be possible to adapt an upright piano action as those are striking the vertical strings and releasing. The consideration there is the piano action spacing- about 15/16" on center, which should be sufficient for the conduit.

    An interesting project.

    Last edited by Alan Caro; 01-09-2018 at 10:25 PM. Reason: additional information

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    TX / LA border.. Toledo Bend
    It seems all the tubular higher quality chimes I've seen use AL.

    Will the steel EMT "Ring" as well ?

    Just askin, I have no idea... just don't want you disappointed by not testing first.


  5. #5
    I got the chart of lengths and idea from here:

    I have a matchlock and the action that lowers the match is an extremely simple toggle system that lowers the match and then raises it again, the several inches of arc action is obtained with only about 3/8 movement of the trigger

  6. #6
    Have you looked at organ chimes?

  7. #7
    An acquaintance worked for an organ company and traveled all over the world installing and fixing organs. Pipes, electric, chimes etc. I do recall that the organ chimes were made out of some special bronze alloy similar to that used for bells. But that is about all I remember. I worked on a reed pump organ and got it playing but they are barely able to make enough noise to overcome the pumping noise. I do have an old wooden pipe from a very old church organ. But that is a different project for another year. A former neighbor made windchimes out of old aluminum tubing from scrapped lawn chairs. At first they were very dull sounding but after a while he learned to tune them and how to hang them at their "nodes" . It got to be quite a racket for folks even a 1/4 mile away. Heck ever hear the stalagtite organ at Luray Caverns. even rock can reverberate in a tune (They do play Rock of Ages sometimes too.) I have heard EMT chimes on a wind chime and they were quite loud. Perhaps not what a brass tube might do, but still respectable. Even heard an piece of old iron pipe ring like a church bell when hit by a hammer.

  8. #8
    I would test out a few test cuts to make sure they "tune" properly at the expected lengths... You may have to "tune" them by slightly shortening them to get the right notes.. Test with a musical instrument tuner.

    Note the "Nodes" where you run the strings through have a very critical position in relation to the full length.... Drill it In the wrong place and your chimes go "clunk"...

    I would guess they use aluminum to save on weight and because aluminum does not "rust" like steel does... The oxide is very thin, uniform, and very hard.. Not big fat ugly lumpy warts..

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