Musicians all over the world opt for designing and building their own instruments instead of purchasing store-bought instruments, instilling a sense of pride and artistry. Plus, handmade instruments can be a fun and creative way to make interesting tones and sounds. A great place to start when beginning in this endeavour is a copper flute. With its inexpensive, simple design and construction, a copper flute takes very little time and produces great-sounding melodic notes.
Decide how many notes you want to include on your flute, and figure how long to make it (plan to space the finger holes 1 1/8 inches apart and add 9 extra inches for the ends). With a hacksaw, cut a piece of 3/4-inch copper pipe to the desired length. Smooth down the cut edge with an emery cloth.
Mark all the finger holes with a permanent marker. Start with the first hole about 6 inches from the end. Space each hole 1 1/8 inches apart. Leave a few inches between the last hole and the end of the pipe. Use a ruler to make sure the holes are perfectly aligned.
Secure a copper end cap on the end with the 6-inch space. Mark a hole about 5/16 of an inch from the end of the end cap, aligning it with the other holes. This will be the mouthpiece.
Secure the pipe with vice grips and lay it down. Drill all the holes marked by driving 3/8-inch drill bits into the marks, starting with the first hole marked. Use various sizes of drill bits to produce higher and lower notes and tones, if you want to get creative. Drill the mouthpiece with a 1/2-inch bit.
Inspect the entire pipe and smooth down all rough edges with an emery cloth. Shape the mouthpiece with a metal needle file, forming it to a slightly rounded crescent shape so it will fit comfortably in the mouth and produce the desired sound.
Things you need
- Copper pipe (3/4-inch diameter)
- Drill bit set
- Metal needle file
- Copper end cap
- Vice grips
- Emery cloth
- Permanent marker