Build a Simple Organ Pipe
"A cross between a flute and a pennywhistle"
by John Kleinbauer (MMD 000304)

For four years,  I have tried to come up with a simple organ pipe design.  Every design I tried had one or more drawbacks.  I felt certain there was a simple design out there, just waiting to be uncovered.

When I was young, you could buy a wax flute for a dime.  In school we were taught how to play the Flute-O-Phone.  This instrument was a simple whistle with a tube attached to it.  The tube had eight holes in it.  This flute could play simple tunes.  I tried to make this type of design but it was too complicated.

Years ago my Dad brought home a vortex valve from work.  A vortex valve can turn compressed air into hot or cold air.  After seeing this device and five dollar laser pointers, I feel anything is possible.

Yesterday I was watching a PBS show about life.  The man was talking about epiphany experiences.   He explained how you can be thinking about something for a long time and suddenly the answer appears.  Well it did!

Right after the show I was sitting thinking about organ pipes, whistles and flutes when the design appeared!   The next morning the thought returned.  I went to my workshop and built the pipe.  The pipe is a cross between a flute and a pennywhistle.

The organ pipe is a piece of 1/2" PVC pipe with a 1/4" hole in it.  The hole is drilled in 1" from the end.  A piece of 1/2" doweling 3/4" long is turned to 0.48" and put in one end.  This piece of dowel (the fipple) has a 1/4" wide flat side.  This flat side can be carved or sanded.  This flat side lines up with the 1/4" hole.  (See diagram.)

At this point, I am sending a drawing of the pipe to MMD.  The pipe is perfect for MIDI or other experimenting.   The rest is up to you!  I have a use for this pipe and it will be used in my next monkey organ design.  I invite you to make one of these pipes and to e-mail me.

John Conrad Kleinbauer
Sat, 4 Mar 2000 10:49:56 -0500

klein_whistle2.jpg (69 kb)
4 March 2000