oak ocarina

by ranjit, published

oak ocarina by ranjit Feb 13, 2010

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I had a 20 by 1.5 inch slab of oak, so I designed an ocarina that could be assembled from cross-sections that would fit on it. It's crude but it really plays! Video at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ranjit/4352330523/

I sent around the wrong link for the 2011 roundrect ocarina! If you're looking for that, it's here: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:6182

This is part of my project to make a crude musical instrument every day in February. (More at moonmilk.com)


This was my first try at an ocarina: before you cut, you might want to modify the plans somewhat. It didn't work until I followed Bre's suggestion - I coated it with glue to fill up any gaps where the air might leak out. Then - success!

Modification 1: the bottom of the mouthpiece should slant upwards towards the sharp edge of the fipple. I wasn't sure how much slant to put in, so I left it flat and made a wedge out of scrap wood which fit moderately tightly inside the mouthpiece. That way I was able to experiment with positioning the wedge until I got the whistle to sound, and then glue it in place. If you have more confidence than I did, you could design the wedge right into the mouthpiece. And then, if it works, please upload your design! (See annotated pdf)

Modification 2: the whistle sides layer has flaps that stick out onto the mouthpiece, but they're not necessary since the fingerholes layer completes the mouthpiece. It doesn't really hurt anything, but it makes the mouthpiece wider than necessary. You could remove those flaps if you want. (See annotated pdf)

Materials: I cut from 1/4" oak. The same plans should work for acrylic and for 1/8" materials, though you might want to increase the number of layers to make it wider. Laser time was 8 minutes on the 35 watt Epilog.

Assembly: after cutting, I found it easiest to assemble it in two symmetrical halves, in the following order:

  1. Whistle layer (leftmost pair in diagram) glued on top of whistle side layer (second pair). The whistle layer has a loose bit that forms the top of the mouthpiece- the diagram should make it clear where it goes!

  2. When the glue's hardened on the first layers, flip 'em over so the whistle layer is at the bottom, and then add the fingerholes layer (3rd pair in diagram). The fingerholes layers have two parts, so use the diagram to help you place them.
  • Note: the end caps are nestled inside the fingerholes layers.
  1. Glue the sides layers, and then the end caps.

  2. Coat the inside of each half with glue or other filler to close any air gaps.

  3. Glue the two halves together. You might want to coat the outside with glue too, to make it nice and airtight. (I only did the outside.)

  4. Make a wedge and stick it in the mouthpiece for testing-- unless you designed the wedge into the mouthpiece already. Make sure your wedge fits fairly tightly, or block it with a pin or something; else it'll go flying into the body of the ocarina when you test it, and then you'll have to fetch it out like I did! The ocarina won't whistle until you get the wedge in the right position, though it's not super sensitive. Once you figure out where you like it, glue it in place.

  5. Let me know how it turned out!

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Oakarina! I love it!