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PVC Aeolian...those Loud Noisy Things.

Posted: Tue, Jun 10 2008, 03:28 PM
by Drachenschwanz
I had a lot of requests for instructions on the creation of these wierd natural instruments at the Naperville kite festival so here we go...

10' of any size PVC pipe you might have or want to use. Pick whatever size you can fit in your car and you can afford!
2 "T" shaped connector pieces (that match the size of pipe you are using :-D )
1 cruciform connector, the type that has openings to join 4 pieces at the same time...looks like a "+" sign. (again in the size to match your pipe)
1 mess of curly ribbon like you'd use in wrapping birthday presents. Try other string like stuff, there isn't a specific size or type necessary.
1 pole to drive into the ground to mount your fabulous new air-powered noise maker.
1 hack saw

Thats all you need, if you find a sale, all the parts should run about $10

Step 1 Workshop :arrow: Take your 10' tube and cut off a 1 foot section and a 3 foot section. Then cut the 1 foot section into 6 2" pieces. These will be the plugs that hold the ribbon in place. Please sand the cut edges so it won't cut the ribbon. If you're feeling particularly artsy at this point you can paint or decorate your aeolian any way you chose to reflect your inner muse (or child as in my case!)

Step 2 Put it together :arrow: Put the cruciform connector on one end of the 6' section, this will be the bottom. Place one of the "T" connectors on the other end so that one opening sticks out and the other is parallel to the tube. It helps to assemble on a flat surface so that your fittings all lie on one plane (flat). Insert the 3 foot section into the top connector then place the remaining "T" on the top of this section so that there are 2 openings available to the left and right.

Step 3 Stringing your creation :arrow: Take those 2" plugs you made earlier and set them by the 5 openings. (Yes there is an extra plug. If you're concerned about the remaining piece, think of it as an extra in case one gets lost in your kite bag or plan ahead and cut the others 2/5ths of an inch longer! :rotfl ) Now, the fun part. Take your spool of curly ribbon (or whatever) and hold the end across the opening of the connector on the 9'side so that it's parallel to your tubes and you have a couple of inches for adjusting, and cram a plug into the hole. Unroll enough to reach to the opposite end, cut it off and again hold it across the opening parallel to your tubes and insert another plug. Don't be too concerned about tension, as you play with it, you'll get a feel for what sounds you like.
For the side with the 2 sections of ribbon, it's easier to start in the middle instead of the end because you have two strings in it. This way you can adjust the tension from the ends and not have to worry about keeping track of 2 ribbons at the same time.

That's it. Drive your stake/post, stick your aeolian on it and be ready to mystify the neighbors and bask in the glory as people from near and far rush to your side and shower you with adulation! :rotfl :rotfl


Wider ribbon will create a lower pitch. (Yes, narrower ribbon will sound higher, very good!)

Higher tension will create a higher pitch.

In higher winds, if you turn your aeolian so it's perpendicular to the wind the ribbons won't slap against the tube.

I've gotten many of my ideas for kites and Aeolians from Ciel Libre (Free Sky). You'll see a picture of the "lawnmower" rotor kite I've been trying to recreate from the picture.

I guess there's some mathematical stuff for tension and lengths of tube you can use to create a perfect chord or tones but I'm going out to fly a kite.....

Any questions or comments or humorous asides are welcome! I'll respond when I get back in, outside there's not a cloud in the sky, it's 75 degrees and the wind is a steady 14mph so it might be a while.


Re: PVC Aeolian...those Loud Noisy Things.

Posted: Tue, Jun 10 2008, 03:53 PM
by Jeff
Thank You! I was going to post about this!

Do you have a picture of the completed project? I should have taken one this weekend, but forgot.

Re: PVC Aeolian...those Loud Noisy Things.

Posted: Tue, Jun 10 2008, 05:57 PM
by Drachenschwanz
I'll take a couple and get them up this evening. We have a "Concert in the Park" but after that I'll take the time to add some illustration that should clarify the pieces and steps.

Re: PVC Aeolian...those Loud Noisy Things.

Posted: Tue, Jun 10 2008, 10:26 PM
by Drachenschwanz
I forgot to mention that this is how Paul Fieber told me to make these simple aeolians.

Thanks Paul!

Re: PVC Aeolian...those Loud Noisy Things.

Posted: Tue, Jun 10 2008, 11:29 PM
by Frodos Majik
Thanks Rick for posting in great detail for all to build from. :up:

I know I will be making some in the near future. :mrblue:

Re: PVC Aeolian...those Loud Noisy Things.

Posted: Wed, Jun 11 2008, 11:47 AM
by Drachenschwanz

The PVC structure is merely the framework to hold and stretch the ribbon. It really has nothing to do with the sound so you can use any dimensions or materials you want to.