Build Your Own Xylophone Out of Copper Pipe *
|Time Required||Average (6-10 days)|
|Material Availability||Specialty items: Tube and pipe cutter wheel, or hack saw.|
|Cost||Low ($20 - $50)|
|Safety||Adult supervision required to cut the copper pipe.|
AbstractDid you know that making a musical instrument is not just an art, but a science, too? You can discover just how scientific by building your own xylophone (or a set of chimes) from copper pipe. First you'll need to do some research about the math and physics involved in the sounds of a xylophone. For example, there are equations that describe the transverse (side-to-side) vibrations of a pipe. These vibrations create the sounds you hear. So, to get specific sounds, xylophone makers must apply these equations to calculate the correct length of pipe for a given note. Can you use these equations to build a xylophone with eight pipe lengths representing the C major scale (do, re, me, fa, so, la, ti, do)? How should the pipe lengths change if you want to build a xylophone that plays a different scale? For help on how to actually build the xylophone, and more information about the equations you'll need, read the article by David R. Lapp, listed in the Bibliography. You might just find that playing with equations is music to your ears!
Cite This PageGeneral citation information is provided here. Be sure to check the formatting, including capitalization, for the method you are using and update your citation, as needed.
Last edit date: 2017-07-28
- Lapp, D.R. (2003, July). Building a copper pipe "xylophone." Physics Education. Retrieved March 5, 2014, from http://users.df.uba.ar/sgil/physics_paper_doc/papers_phys/lapp.pdf
News Feed on This Topic
Ask an ExpertThe Ask an Expert Forum is intended to be a place where students can go to find answers to science questions that they have been unable to find using other resources. If you have specific questions about your science fair project or science fair, our team of volunteer scientists can help. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions, offer guidance, and help you troubleshoot.
Ask an Expert
If you like this project, you might enjoy exploring these related careers:
Mechanical EngineerMechanical engineers are part of your everyday life, designing the spoon you used to eat your breakfast, your breakfast's packaging, the flip-top cap on your toothpaste tube, the zipper on your jacket, the car, bike, or bus you took to school, the chair you sat in, the door handle you grasped and the hinges it opened on, and the ballpoint pen you used to take your test. Virtually every object that you see around you has passed through the hands of a mechanical engineer. Consequently, their skills are in demand to design millions of different products in almost every type of industry. Read more
Commercial & Industrial DesignerHave you always loved art? Do you have a good eye for beauty, balance, and form? How would you like to see your designs show up in toy stores? Or in a sporting goods store? Or at a car dealer? Commercial and industrial designers create the shape and form of every type of manufactured good that you can think of—from toys, sporting goods, and medical equipment to high technology products, furniture, toothbrushes, and toasters. They design the form of new products that are as beautiful and pleasing to look at as they are functional. Read more
Precision Instrument & Equipment RepairerOne of the basic truths in the universe is that objects tend to go from a state of higher organization to a state of lower organization over time. In other words, things break down, and when those things are precision instruments or equipment, they require the services of very specialized technicians to restore them to their working order. Precision instrument or equipment technicians often combine a love of music, medicine, electronics, or antiques with delicate mechanical repair work. Read more
News Feed on This Topic
Looking for more science fun?
Try one of our science activities for quick, anytime science explorations. The perfect thing to liven up a rainy day, school vacation, or moment of boredom.Find an Activity