I’m not sure when we’ll run out of ideas for things we can make with PVC, but I hope it’s not any time soon. I’ve already decided to use a 3D printed PVC connector to create a series of flood-proof living room furnishings and now, with the contribution of a 3D printed mouth and end piece for a PVC flute, I’ll be able to play music while relaxing in my waterproof living room.
The PVC flute in question was introduced by Dalton Bissel as one of his series of YouTube videos “Design by Dalton.” This particular version is a Shakuhachi flute, an instrument that was introduced into Japan from China in the 8th century and has since become closely associated with the Fuke School of Zen Buddhism as an instrument of meditation.
Clearly, it was not originally made of PVC but rather was traditionally carved from bamboo but these days it’s much easier to find 3/4″ PVC piping at your local hardware store than it is to get your hands on a length of bamboo. At least for most of us. The instrument is tuned to a minor pentatonic scale, has five holes, and provides a significant amount of user control over the tone and pitch. Holes can be covered partly or fully and the angle at which air is introduced into the flute can be altered changing the coloring of the notes as well as modifying the pitch produced.
The length of the pipe and the size of the holes also determine the sounds that the flute issues and Bissell is quick to note that the mouth and end pieces could actually be used in conjunction with a tube of any material (including a garden hose) to create a playable flute. The kit for the mouth and end pieces is available through Bissell’s Shapeways store where you can see his other creations such as the 3D printed crawly ball and a number of jewelry designs.
The set of pieces required to turn an ordinary length of 3/4″ PVC into a meditative musical instruments retail for $49.99 on Bissell’s Shapeways store or he can be commissioned to create a set of professionally tuned flutes to suit the user’s needs. And you don’t have to sacrifice style when ordering as the pieces come in a variety of colors that can really make your PVC pipe pop.
So, whether you are finished with a home improvement project that has left you with a lot of stress and a quantity of 3/4″ PVC piping, or just the kind of person who likes to make instruments out of whatever you have on hand, take a minute to check out Bissell’s video.
After all, it looks like he is relaxed and maybe a little meditation music could help do the same for you.
Let us know if you might go zen in your home with this piece in the 3D Printed & PVC Flute forum thread over at 3DPB.com.