How to Make a PVC Pipe Transverse Flute

Written by kochava r. greene
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How to Make a PVC Pipe Transverse Flute
Simple PVC flutes (bretpimentel.com)

The transverse flute---of which the modern flute is a prime example---is played by blowing across an opening at one end with the body of the flute extending to the right of the performer, rather than by blowing downward into a flute held vertically. In this article, you'll learn how to make a simple transverse flute out of PVC or CPVC that can play two octaves.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • ¾-inch PVC or CPVC pipe, 16 inches long
  • Cap to fit pipe
  • Saw
  • Drill
  • Clamp
  • Sandpaper
  • Plastic pipe cement or glue
  • Measuring tape
  • Dowel

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Cut the PVC pipe to 15 9/16 inches. Sand the ends of the flute while holding it under running water to avoid breathing in the dust.

    How to Make a PVC Pipe Transverse Flute
    The raw materials and a finished PVC flute
  2. 2

    Secure the pipe in the clamp. Mark the following measurements: 6 7/8 inches from the left end of the pipe, 8 inches from the left end of the pipe, 9 1/8 inches from the left end of the pipe, 10 ¾ inches from the left end of the pipe, 11 ½ inches from the left end of the pipe and 12 ¾ inches from the left end of the pipe. These measurements may seem very precise, but they will make your flute play in tune.

    How to Make a PVC Pipe Transverse Flute
    A diagram showing the location of the holes for this flute
  3. 3

    Drill the following holes in the flute at the places marked above: 3/8-inch diameter hole at the 6 7/8 mark and the 8 mark. Drill a hole 11/32 inch in diameter at the 10 ¾ mark, a hole 7/16 inch in diameter at the 11 ½ mark and a hole 5/16 inch in diameter at the 12 ¾ mark.

  4. 4

    Rotate the flute on the clamp 25 degrees and drill a hole 3/8 inch in diameter at the 9 1/8 mark.

  5. 5

    Push the dowel through the flute to remove any bits of PVC left inside from the drilling. Wrap a small bit of sandpaper into a cylinder and use this to sand the insides of the holes very lightly.

  6. 6

    Glue the cap for the pipe onto the left end and let dry. When the glue is dry, clamp the flute and drill a hole 7/16 inch in diameter through the cap and pipe body, starting 5/16 inch away from the end of the pipe. Sand the opening until smooth. Your flute is ready to play.

Tips and warnings

  • Always wear safety glasses, gloves and a mask when sawing or sanding PVC pipe.

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