Parametric Pan Pipes - any scale you like.

by sphynx, published

Parametric Pan Pipes - any scale you like. by sphynx Dec 12, 2012

Thing Info

5126Views 711Downloads Found in Audio
Report Thing


Pan Pipes - any scale, any temperament - takes a list of frequencies and converts it to a set of Pan Pipes.


This thing prints out a set of Pan Pipes from a list of frequencies in Hz. This allows you to print out Pan Pipes with different tunings and completely arbitrary scales. I give the normal equal tempered C scale as an example.

The tinkering bit

When you design a set of pipes, make sure your machine can accommodate them! They can get quite long at the lower frequencies.

If absolute pitch is important to you, it is a good idea to print out a single pipe (say c5) and use a tuner to make sure your machine is calibrated OK.

Each pipe should give a clear, strong tone.

If a pipe doesn't sound, or only sounds with difficulty, it probably has a leak. I had problems with my first prototype with the ends of the pipes being porous. I have now made them thicker and this should not be a problem. Make sure you print with extra top layers. You can also fill the pipes with acrylic varnish then empty it out to fill in any porosity.

I print with 0.8mm wall thickness and 20% fill density. This seems to be a good compromise between density and use of plastic.

The parameters in the SCAD program are:

1) radius - the radius of the pipe. About 6mm works well.
2) wall - the thickness of the wall of the pipe. You should use at least 2mm to give the pipes some mechanical strength and allow them to resonate.
3) notes - an array of frequencies in Hz.

The science bit

The Pan Pipe is probably the simplest wind instrument. It is a pipe that is open at one end and closed at the other. The sound is made by blowing across the open end.

You can calculate the length of pipe for a given frequency of note quite easily:

1) The open end of the pipe must be an anti-node in the sound wave (maximum amplitude).
2) The closed end of the pipe must be a node in the sound wave (no amplitude).

Looking at a sine wave, the distance from any antinode to the next node is 1/4 of the wavelength of the note.

For waves:

wavelength = velocity / frequency

pipe_length = (1/4) x ( velocity / frequency )

Given the speed of sound in dry air at 20C and 1 atmosphere is 323.2 m/s, we can calculate the pipe_length for any frequency.

More from Audio

view more

Thing Info

5126Views 711Downloads Found in Audio
Report Thing


Liked By

View All

Give a Shout Out

If you print this Thing and display it in public proudly give attribution by printing and displaying this tag. Print Thing Tag

They sound just like plastic Pan Pipes. The key thing is to make sure you don't have any holes in the print - the tubes have to be reasonably air tight or they don't work.

Do they sound pretty good?