Building a simple flute

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Building a simple flute

Post by scottie »

I would like to build a carbon fiber simple 6 hole flute in G major. Does anyone know where I can get info as to the hole spacing, sizes, length of flute as well as the inside diameter etc. Just do not have the funds to buy one at this time with all the expenses at present ?
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Re: Building a simple flute

Post by Tunborough »

I'm curious why you're proposing carbon fibre. It's not the first material that comes up when people are thinking of making a first flute. Are you planning a conical bore body, or cylindrical?

For the inside diameter of a cylindrical bore flute with G4 as its lowest note, you could start with 18 mm. This table refers to whistles, but there's no reason it doesn't apply to flutes, too: ... -Bore.html.

For hole layout, I'd suggest WIDesigner, available at The overall length of the flute (if cylindrical) will be around 40 cm, or 16". There are other flute layout calculators available, but I don't have any links at hand.

Perhaps the most important piece of information, though, is how to cut the embouchure hole. With that, I can't be of much help.
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Tell us something.: Hello. I'm a historian and musician living near Washington DC. I play the bass and guitar and focus on jazz. I'm interested for reasons I can't quite explain in Irish music. I play the flute.

Re: Building a simple flute

Post by PB+J »

Doug Tipple has directions for making a simple flute out of PVC

There is an online calculators for hole spacing at different keys:

Here's another one:

And this guy has detailad instructions for a PVC pipe flute in G
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Re: Building a simple flute

Post by Sedi »

I prefer aluminium over carbon fibre. To "cut" holes in carbon fibre, you need a high-speed milling machine. For aluminium, a simple (less than 100€) box column drill is sufficient. For the hole placement, I use a simple app called "DIY flute" but the overall length you need to get by experimenting, preferrably in a room with the same temperature you wanna play in or the flute will be out of tune. So I first cut the embouchure hole, then cut the tube to size to get the bell note right with my preferred playing style -- embouchure hole slightly covered or not. I'd recommend using a lip plate to get a deeper chimney for the embouchure -- around 3.5 to 4 mm should be okay. It does work without it but the response and tone is much better with a lip plate. But I also made simple two piece flutes just with a tube and a wine cork from plastic. Experiment with the placement of the cork to get the tuning right at the end of the 2nd octave. For a D flute I use 25mm tube with 1.5 mm wall and 22mm inner diameter but that might be too much for a G and the 2nd octave will be difficult to reach. So a smaller size will be better. Bigger holes will make it easier to get the 2nd octave in tune and you can place the cork further away from the embouchure hole which will improve the sound. Be ready for some "trial and error".
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