Musical PVC Bench in the News!

September 25th, 2013 by SLSolarz

A worker in downtown St. Paul takes a break on my bench during the September, 2013 display.

A worker in downtown St. Paul takes a break on my bench during the September, 2013 display.

Hey thanks for checking out my blog!

MPR aired a nice story today on the bench but cut out all 3 of my mentions of Twin Cities Maker at the Hack Factory.  Kind of a bummer.

At least in this short TPT piece you can see the back of my Twin Cities Maker T-shirt!

 

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The final push to installation: volunteers welcome!

September 14th, 2013 by SLSolarz

Hello and thanks for reading my blog!

This is me testing out my bench at the half-way point.

This is me testing out my bench at the half-way point.

At the time of my last posting I had only 2 sections of my Musical PVC Bench completed.  Again, many thanks to the TC Makers volunteers who helped me get to that point!

Here are all 6 sections lined up as they will be when bolted together.

Here are all 6 sections lined up as they will be when bolted together.

Every section is now welded together.  You can see in the attached photo that I still have some sanding to do (mostly of excess PVC cement) and that it will need to be painted in order to hide markings and solvent stains as well as to protect it from the sun.

My mentor, Jantje Visscher, tests out the full bench.

My mentor, Jantje Visscher, tests out the full bench.

Anyone interested in volunteering to help with final steps will be welcomed. Remaining steps are sanding, spray painting, finishing paddles, attaching paddles, welding/cutting metal anchors & bolting sections together by Sept 22.

Willing to help?  Email me at slsolarz@gmail.com.

Building a musical bench: a Twin Cities Maker effort

July 22nd, 2013 by SLSolarz

A couple of weeks ago I posted an invitation to join my effort to build a musical bench of PVC.  Thank you to TC Makers Becca, Bill D, Bob G, Colleen, Jon, McSteve, Roxanne, Scott and Shawnuk for their generous help over the past 2 weekends.

Section 1 (of 6, foreground) is done!  Sections 2-4 can be seen in the background as well as one paddle prototype.

Section 1 (of 6, foreground) is done! Sections 2-4 can be seen in the background as well as one paddle prototype.

Because of them I now have a paddle prototype, 4 sections cut, 2 sections in welding progress and one section complete!

My original plan was to have the bench finished by last night—not even close!  Several complications arose as we started to build:

1.  Two circles = 0 surface area

Fellow TC Maker, Steve M, pointed out to me that before I began solvent welding, it would strengthen the bond if I increased the surface area where each pipe intersects.

There is almost no surface area at the intersection of 2 circles.

There is almost no surface area at the intersection of 2 circles.

I tried using the band saw to shave off some of the pipe exterior and flatten the places where each pipe meets another but that was really messy and slow.

Bill D generously made a jig for me to use with a router which tremendously speeded the process back up.

This is me using the jig that Bill D made for shaving a flat surface into the edge of the PVC pipe using a router.

This is me using the jig that Bill D made for shaving a flat surface into the edge of the PVC pipe using a router.

2.  Four inch diameter pipes are not musical

My friend Shawnuk stopped by the Hack Factory to help me work out details before I geared up to start building.  As soon as he saw my 4” diameter pipe samples, he pointed out that they would have to be much taller than bench height in order to make a musical note.

We tested this out and he was right.  Luckily, I had purchased only one pipe.   Recognizing that a 2” diameter pipe would probably work, I had to re-draw my design in Sketchup.  In order to keep the bench reasonably large, I now need to solvent weld 270 pieces!

My new bench design (foreground) compared to the old design shrunk along the horizontal axis to a 2" pipe diameter. The old design would have been too small if made with 2" diameter PVC pipe.

My new bench design (foreground) compared to the old design shrunk along the horizontal axis to a 2″ pipe diameter. The old design would have been too small if made with 2″ diameter PVC pipe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  Welding pipes takes TLC

TC Maker, Colleen, can solvent weld better than anyone else I know.  She showed me that although bungee cords and rubber bands can be helpful to hold pipes together as they dry, as the welded section grows there is no substitute for just holding the pipes in place until they are dry enough to stand on their own.  This really slows the overall process when I am working alone.

As the size of the section grows bungee cords no longer work to keep pipes in place as they dry.  Here, Colleen holds several pieces together until they can maintain their position on their own.

As the size of the section grows, bungee cords no longer work to keep pipes in place as they dry. Here, Colleen holds several pieces together until they can maintain their position on their own.

Please stay tuned for future volunteer opportunities!

Help build a musical PVC bench, improve a St. Paul community and learn how to solvent weld

July 6th, 2013 by SLSolarz

Hey, thanks very much for checking out my blog!

Last week I promised to discuss the influence of Chuck Taylor shoes on my chair design.  However, I need to take a short break from my rocker to create a bench for a block-improvement effort in the Dayton’s Bluff Community.

This is the bench that I designed for the block improvement effort at Dayton’s Bluff. To construct it, I must solvent weld 210 pieces of PVC pipe. I need a few volunteers to help cut PVC pipe and solvent weld so that I can finish the bench by July 20, 2013.

This is the bench that I designed for the block improvement effort at Dayton’s Bluff. To construct it, I must solvent weld 210 pieces of PVC pipe. I need a few volunteers to help cut PVC pipe and solvent weld so that I can finish the bench by July 20, 2013.

In this post, I will describe the bench design and invite you to help build it!  Interested?  Shoot me an email at slsolarz@gmail.com!

All participants will learn how to solvent weld PVC.  The skill is used to build many exciting maker projects from potato launchers  to musical instruments like the ones played by the Blue Man Group.  In fact, the bench that we build can be used both for rest and to play a few tunes while waiting for the bus!

Two sets of foam-rubber paddles with wood handles will be attached to the bench using a small gauge steel cable.  The paddles create a musical sound when the player strikes the top end of the pipe (the foam rubber must cover the entire opening) forcing the air out the bottom very quickly.  The length of the pipe determines the pitch of the note.  Shorter pipes produce higher notes and longer pipes produce lower notes.

Two sets of foam-rubber paddles with wood handles will be attached to the bench using a small gauge steel cable. The paddles create a musical sound when the player strikes the top end of the pipe (the foam rubber must cover the entire opening) forcing the air out the bottom very quickly. The length of the pipe determines the pitch of the note. Shorter pipes produce higher notes and longer pipes produce lower notes.

 

To make construction easier, I designed the bench in 6 sections.  Each section is 39 inches long and 19 inches wide.  Five of the sections are identical (just oriented differently) and one section is unique. Once I have all of the sections on site, I will bolt 3 pipes from each section to 3 pipes in an adjacent section.

Pink, orange and green colors identify 3 of the 6 sections that comprise the PVC bench.  The bench will be made in sections for ease of transport and installation.  The Dayton’s Bluff Community Council will remove the bench in the winter to avoid damage from snow plows.

 Pink, orange and green colors identify 3 of the 6 sections that comprise the PVC bench. The bench will be made in sections for ease of transport and installation. The Dayton’s Bluff Community Council will remove the bench in the winter to avoid damage from snow plows.

 

The design uses PVC pipes of 5 different lengths with the longest pipes serving as the legs of the bench.  Standard bench height is 18 inches and each section of the bench has four 18 inch-long pipes.  Placement of these bench legs will be important for balance and stability.

 

This is a view from underneath the bench illustrating how many 18 inch-long PVC pipes there are in each section.  Only the longest (18 inch) PVC pipes touch the ground and, thus, it is only the 18 inch pipes that are displayed in this view.

This is a view from underneath the bench illustrating how many 18 inch-long PVC pipes there are in each section. Only the longest (18 inch) PVC pipes touch the ground and, thus, it is only the 18 inch pipes that are displayed in this view.

Please contact me at slsolarz@gmail.com to help build a bench for a better block in the Dayton’s Bluff community!

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