Hey! This thing is still a Work in Progress. Files, instructions, and other stuff might change!

Two-octave pentatonic pan-pipes

by NilsR Aug 12, 2015
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Do you need to add supports to get the tops to close? Or will it work fine without them? Having to scale down quite a bit to fit on my FlashForge Finder.

They close up decently without supports if your printer can make bridges properly. Scaling is not recommended, because that will alter the frequencies of the pipes.


I know scaling will alter the sound but this won't fit on my print bed otherwise. It's for a child to play with and learn a little so not worried about it being pitch-perfect this time.

You'll be the one to endure the noise it'll make :-)

If possible try splitting it into parts. Maybe I'll re-draw it in proper CAD and make it a little more fir for smaller printers. Do you have to scale it due to height or XY size?

Height. That would be fantastic! (and luckily this is not for my kid, so the noise will be endured by someone else, their request though so I don't feel too bad).

As pointed out by another user below (sadly I never replied) the frequencies are dependant on the volume, not just height. By increasing the diameter of the tubes I can lower their height, but this will make it more difficult to print without supports. What is your printer's maximum height?

The website's stats say 5.5 inches.
I just verified in my print program that that is the largest it will let me make something (140mm).

I'll create a version that is shifted up an octave and one note. It'll be high-pitched but will fit your printer perfectly.

It's done. Not tried out yet, obviously :-)

I might have to take that back, as the volume may have only a slight impact on the sound. The dominant factor is the length. Maybe I can just alter the heights of the tubes to match your maximum height, shortening them overall (shifting the tones up a step or two).

That would be awesome! I'm printing the scaled version right now just to see but can cancel that to not waste filament. I did add a raft, as suggested, which adds to the height too, obviously. Anyway, thanks so much for helping with this!

Hey there - which version did you end up printing?

I tried the normal one and just cut it into 3 pieces and superglued it together. It looks awful but plays great. Did you upload the modified version? I hadn't re-downloaded yet but if so I can do that and print today.

I updated the model the same day. It's a new file in this project.

When I download I still only get the one .stl and one .scad file. I don't see any new files.

You must go to the thing files. Thingiverse is still full of unresolved bugs.

Got it! Will print today, Thanks!

oh cool! I didn't know, I'll try it right now

How much would I need to scale this up to make it an octave lower?

I want to make a complimentary instrument to go with the first one!

You need to double the height of the instrument, but it won't fit most printers. Even the first one barely fits on mine

So it would just need double the volume? I could scale x y and z by the cube root of 2 (1.26), or I could scale x and y only by a factor of the square root of 2 (1.414). I agree I don't want to print this thing any taller for the sake of time, even though the rostock will do 15" or so. This was already the tallest thing i've printed :p

edit: so it looks like 13hrs scaling xy vs 15hrs scaling xy and z. (original took 8 hrs) I probably won't be doing this any time soon. haha.

BTW, what are the intended notes for each pipe? I'm getting close to a G4 for the longest. Thanks!

The length of each individual tube determines the pitch. So if you scaled the Z axis by another 100%, you'd get a lower octave in total.

The intended notes are:
G4 A4 B4 D5 E5 G5 A5 B5

I would have though volume would have something to do with it too. Just blew on a 2 liter bottle that's maybe 1.5 times the length of the G4 pipe, and getting a G2. Of course the bottle has a relatively huge volume and opening far smaller than the diameter so I realize it's not directly comparable to a pure cylindrical shape. This is really intriguing me right now, do you have any good resources on this kind of thing you could share?

edit: this was an interesting read about the matter of bottles: http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/44601/frequency-of-the-sound-when-blowing-in-a-bottle