How to Make a PVC Tube Marimba

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If you like to make musical instrument out of unorthodox materials, you can make a tube marimba out of PVC pipe. A marimba is a percussive instrument usually constructed of metal tubing and a brass plate or wood tubing with wooden plates. Constructing a tube marimba from PVC, you will obtain a duller tone than you would obtain from a metal tube marimba. However, you can build in a tuning system that will allow you to adjust the note of each marimba.

Things You'll Need

  • 3-inch diameter PVC tubing, 10 feet long
  • Miter saw
  • 1/2-inch drill bit
  • Electric drill
  • 1/2-inch threaded rod
  • 1/2-inch nuts
  • 1/2-inch wrench
  • PVC cleaner
  • PVC glue
  • PVC caps
  • Circular saw
  • Chromatic tuner
  • Drum stick
  • Cut six pieces of three inch diameter PVC pipe with a miter saw. Cut the first pipe to 4 inches, the second pipe to 6 inches, the third pipe to 8 inches, the fourth pipe to 10 inches, the fifth pipe to 12 inches and the sixth pipe to 14 inches in length.

  • Place a mark 3 inches from the top of each pipe and drill a 1/2 inch hole through each pipe.

  • Clean the top of the PVC pipes with PVC cleaner, then clean the inside of the PVC caps with PVC cleaner. The tops are the ends where you drilled the holes.

  • Coat the inside of the caps with PVC glue, then slide the caps onto each of the pipes.

  • Cut a piece of 1/2-inch threaded rod to a length of 20 inches with the miter saw.

  • Slide the PVC pipes onto the threaded rod, and then secure them together with 1/2-inch nuts. Tighten the nuts with a wrench.

  • Cut six pieces of 3-inch diameter PVC to a length of 10-inches with the miter saw. Cut down the length of each piece with a circular saw to split the PVC pipes on one side.

  • Collapse each pipe and then slide the pipe into the end of the first six pipes you made and connected together. Slide each pipe all the way into the other pipe.

  • Turn on a chromatic tuner, then strike the top of the longest pipe with a drum stick. Slide the tube out until you reach the nearest whole note. Repeat this with each additional marimba.

  • Mark each inner tube with a pencil where it exists the outer tube.

  • Clean the tubes with PVC cleaner, then apply PVC glue to the inner tube. Slide the inner tubes into the outer tunes so the inner tubes line up with the marks.

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