Steam Fife

This auto-flute does it with steam. Well, electricity gets its piece of the action too as the tone holes are opened and closed using a set of solenoids.

We’re at a loss on how the sound is actually produced. We would think that a penny whistle has been used here, except if that were the case the solenoid nearest the kettle would have no use. Then again, after watching the demo after the break we’re not sure that it does have much of an effect. It may be meant to stop the sound but it doesn’t really work all that well.

At any rate we’d love to see some spin-off hacks. Assuming the plastic can stand up to the steam heat this would be a perfect robot controller for recorder controlled snake. You can get a recorder for a buck at the right dollar store, and solenoids can be made out of simple materials. If you know of a way to produce the sound yourself, all it takes are a few careful calculations to place the tone holes.

[via Presurfer]

14 thoughts on “Steam Fife

  1. Really great idea shame its completely tone deaf. Looks like there’s not enough pressure regulation. Wouldn’t using steam in a standard whistle require modification due to the differing density in relation to air.

  2. Here’s an idea – a little synthesis. Get one of these to produce clear tones, then have something listening to those tones, process them with a Goertzel Algorithm (from the musical key box) and perform an action.

    For example, a remote controlled car that listens to sound waves instead of radio.

  3. One time at band camp… never mind, anyway pretty cool, like a little home Calliope, and just like the calliope he should try compressed air next, to get more control over the tone.

  4. *braces for some epic arabian tune*

    Oh… well, the mechanism is cool. Seems like more steam (pressure) is needed, and faster rhythm. Still, that hack does way better than me, I never was good with flutes and the like.

  5. Only the first note sounds at all. This kettle could not develop the whind necessary, without a reserve. Seems that the solenoids don’t close all the way. The flow out the end is amusing and artistic but unreal, as there is no airflow out of the open end of a flute or organ pipe when played.
    Steam is a gas but not enough of it is a watery mess, any wind band player on a cold day will know. The flute should point down, like a retort.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.