Build a PVC Flute

Source: Cran Cowan

Type: Investigation

Theme: Music

Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Learning Target: Student will learn how to build and tune a PVC Flute.


Individual project. Compile documentation in Word document.

  1. Select a size and key for your flute.
    Spacing between notes should be less than 35 mm so your fingers can reach the holes. 
    One-half inch PVC - (16 mm inside diameter, 3 mm wall thickness) B5, A5, G5, F5
    One-half inch PEX Tubing - (11.5 mm inside diameter, 2 mm wall thickness) C6, B5, A5
  2. Sketch three designs for your flute decoration.
  3. Obtain a Peer Review before you begin building your instrument.
    How is the spacing between holes?
    How is your visual design?
  4. Determine the effective scale of your flute using the Flute Tuner.
  5. Submission:
    1. Design sketches (3).
    2. A brief demonstration of your instrument. (< 30 seconds)
    3. Highest and lowest note you can play.
    4. Peer review.

Virtual Keyboard


Safety Tips for Working with a Drill Press

  1. Always wear safety goggles or a face shield.
  2. No loose clothing, gloves or jewelry should be worn when working on the drill press.
  3. Tie back long hair.
  4. Be sure the drill bit is locked securely in the chuck. Remember that all adjustments should be made with the power off. The chuck key must be removed from the chuck before turning on the power.
  5. Always disconnect the drill from the power source when making repairs.
  6. Hold the workpiece firmly so that it will not fly or spin off the table. It is generally best to fasten the workpiece securely with clamps or hold it in a vise. This is especially true when drilling or boring small workpieces.
  7. Keep hands and fingers at least 3” from rotating drill bits. 
  8. Adjust the table so that the hole in the table center is beneath the drill, or set the depth stop to avoid drilling into the table.
  9. Use a brush to keep the table and workpiece free of sawdust or chips. Always disconnect the machine from the power source before cleaning.
  10. Never try to stop the machine by grabbing the chuck after the power is turned off. Do not run the tool unattended. Turn off the power, and do not leave the drill press until the chuck comes to a complete stop.
Exit Ticket
CCSS Math Practice
  • I can attend to precision.
  • I can look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.
NGSS Crosscutting Concepts
  • Patterns
  • Energy and Matter