More corrugations – Amazon Pack Pipes

Mon, 10 Jan 2011

Octopus parts are cut out and ready for the morning. Meanwhile, I've been experimenting with an on going project, full details of which later.

At the core of the exciting secret project are paper pipes made, in this case, from recycled Amazon packaging. I've tried various length of pipe and it seems that with open ended pipes they need to be at least 10:1 length to width ratio.

The advantage of open ended pipes is that they can be tuned easily. I fit a piece of card into the end as per the picture, it is wedged into place rather than glued so it can be easily moved around. By adjusting the position of the card I can tune up and down just over a semi-tone each way.

The pipe construction is fairly straightforward. A tube folded round and joined with a strip of glued paper. (I didn't use a tab in the card because the thickness of the card makes it difficult to make a proper square section tube. ) The is a 10mm slot 40mm from the end of the tube and an end cap glued into place. A fold of card completes the pipe by making a tapering tube.

The taper works to guide the air flow. Sighting through the end of the air inlet you can see that the lip on the far side of the slot is roughly in line with the middle of the airflow.

Having seen some organ pipes with cut aways at their side I tried that out as well but found that it just makes the sound weaker. I reckon I must have imagined the cut outs.

Extending the fold-over piece so that it covered the sides of the slot restored the sound to its former glory.

And it sounds like this

  To receive new blog posts by email

Comments (5)

  • Brian Ives January 11, 2011 at 11:02 am

    So if you build another 11

    So if you build another 11 you'll be able to make a scale, then you can go on the make a full keyboard set, then you can find out to change the sound to simulate different instruments and build another several thousand to construct a full organ!

    Very impressive! The Amazing Amazon Organ Company.

    Then of course there is the problem of how to get the wind through the pipes. The Victorians used water power.

    Real organs simulate the string sound (i.e. that of violins etc.) by cutting small grooves into the lip of the pipe, parallel to the length of the pipe. I don't know why that works.

    • robives January 11, 2011 at 2:12 pm

      Several Thousand pipes! I’d

      Several Thousand pipes! I'd better order some more stuff from Amazon.

      I didn't know about the grooves in the lips to create string sound, I should be able to try that out using the natural corrugations in the card.

      • robives January 11, 2011 at 9:52 pm

        Interesting pages about

        Interesting pages about organs and organ pipes here.

        • Steamy Joe January 14, 2011 at 7:05 pm

          Your train whistle started me

          Your train whistle started me thinking about organ possibilities – obviously – looking at workshop notes – you're ahead of me. 

          However… I have a set of plans for a 'John Smith' Busker's Organ – wooden construction; fully portable; hand cranked …(no power required)  and the 'toons' are supplied on paper rolls.

          Since seeing the effectiveness of your train whistle I've been toying with the idea of converting these plans to card – but haven't got any further.

          The crank operates the bellows and also winds the paper roll through at a suitable rate  – all air from bellows goes into the top of the air chest and the punctured paper roll runs through the bottom of this chamber.  Each pipe has a corresponding opening at the bottom of the air chest and a hole in the paper roll simply allows air through to that particular pipe – or those particular pipes.


          John is a greatly revered gentleman in the wonderful world of the British Organ Grinders' Association

      • Steamy Joe January 14, 2011 at 7:08 pm



Comments are closed.