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Homemade Flute Out of Copper Tubing

Updated July 19, 2017

Most musical instruments today are manufactured in large quantities, mass produced and shipped all over the world. In an attempt to produce a unique sound, many artists are crafting their own instruments at home, sometimes using very rudimentary methods. The flute is a beautiful sounding instrument that can be made easily, using copper tubing and an electric drill, in just a few simple steps.

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  1. Figure out the number of notes that will be included on the flute and base the length of tubing on this decision. Plan to space the finger holes 1-1/8 inches apart and add nine extra inches for the ends. Use a hacksaw to cut a piece of 3/4-inch copper pipe to the previously determined length. Smooth out any abrasions with an emery cloth.

  2. Draw a straight line all the way down the tube using a marker. This will ensure that the holes will be perfectly aligned. It can be sanded off after the flute is completed. Mark all the finger holes with a permanent marker. Place the position of the first hole about six inches from the end of the pipe. Space each hole 1-1/8 inches apart. Ensure that there will be three to five inches between the last hole and the end of the flute.

  3. Attach a copper cap to the end that has the six-inch space. Mark a hole about 5/16 of an inch from the end of the cap, aligning it with the other holes. This will be the mouthpiece.

  4. Hold the pipe in place using vice grips and press it down firmly on the designated work space. Use an electric drill with a 3/8-inch drill and drive a hole into each mark. Try using a variety of drill bits to make larger or smaller holes that will create different tones if desired. Drill the mouthpiece with a 1/2-inch bit.

  5. Locate any rough edges and smooth them out using an emery cloth. Use a metal needle file to shape the mouthpiece into a slightly rounded crescent shape so that it will lay comfortably on the lips and produce the desired sounds and tones easily.

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Things You'll Need

  • Copper tubing
  • Electric drill
  • Drill bit set
  • Copper end cap
  • Metal needle file
  • Emery cloth

About the Author

Elizabeth Mackey began her writing career in 2007, working as a writing center consultant. She now writes for the marketing and community relations department of Lutheran Health Network. Mackey received a B.A. in English composition and is working toward an M.A. in rhetoric and composition.

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