One of those offbeat ideas - a dust-collector-powered pipe organ?

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Bob Hammond
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One of those offbeat ideas - a dust-collector-powered pipe organ?

Post by Bob Hammond »

Every once in a while, a semi-crazy idea pops into my head. I was thinking about one of my high school teachers who had built a new house for himself - around a church pipe organ that he'd bought (Really!). So it occurred to me that it might be possible to build one using a dust collector blower for the air source. Is there information about making experimental organ pipes?

Hmm, my teacher must be enjoying the heavenly music by now, but I wonder who bought his house, and if they play the organ.

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Steve Sawyer
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Re: One of those offbeat ideas - a d/c-powered pipe organ?

Post by Steve Sawyer »

That's a very interesting idea, but I'm not sure a DC blower would be appropriate unless there was a way to "bleed off" air when the pipe valves are closed. My understanding is that DC blowers will overheat if the air isn't moving, providing a load. You can ruin your motor if you run a DC system with all the blast gates closed. Kinda noisy too! :)

I remember the compressor for the huge pipe organ at our church when I was a kid. It sat at the bottom of a closet. Couldn't have been more than 3'x2' in footprint, and it was incredibly quiet. What are the requirements for a pipe organ (PSI/CFM)?
==Steve==

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Jim McConkey
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Re: One of those offbeat ideas - a d/c-powered pipe organ?

Post by Jim McConkey »

How much air is needed entirely depends on the size and number of pipes. Have a look at this discussion on portative organs, which are small, easily carried organs. There is plenty of info on-line about making organ pipes.

If you can find a suitable pressure gauge, it is always possible to put the DC motor in a control loop that tries to maintain constant pressure in the air box. If the box fills up, like when the organ is not being played, the motor would stop until it is needed, which would prevent it from being damaged.
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Mario Proulx
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Re: One of those offbeat ideas - a d/c-powered pipe organ?

Post by Mario Proulx »

You don't want to start and stop the motor constantly...!

All you need to do is build a waste gate the bleed-off excess pressure. Like on an engine with a turbo..

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Steve Sawyer
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Re: One of those offbeat ideas - a d/c-powered pipe organ?

Post by Steve Sawyer »

Mario Proulx wrote:You don't want to start and stop the motor constantly...!

All you need to do is build a waste gate the bleed-off excess pressure. Like on an engine with a turbo..
The motor on my DC system is labelled to not cycle on/off more than six times an hour.
==Steve==

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Jim McConkey
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Re: One of those offbeat ideas - a d/c-powered pipe organ?

Post by Jim McConkey »

I don't know about this particular motor, but DC motors are used all the time in CNC machines with motor controllers with no problem. The controller are more of a fancy automatic speed control that constantly regulates the pressure as needed rather than a crude on/off switch.
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Steve Sawyer
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Re: One of those offbeat ideas - a d/c-powered pipe organ?

Post by Steve Sawyer »

Jim - DC here is referring to dust collection, not Direct Current! :)
==Steve==

Mario Proulx
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Re: One of those offbeat ideas - a d/c-powered pipe organ?

Post by Mario Proulx »

The "DC" here is "dust collector".

Also, the lag time in starting and pressurizing would make the organ useless, musically....

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Steve Sawyer
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Re: One of those offbeat ideas - a d/c-powered pipe organ?

Post by Steve Sawyer »

Mario Proulx wrote:Also, the lag time in starting and pressurizing would make the organ useless, musically....
I keep thinking along the lines of a compressor rather than a blower. Something with a reservoir.

The psi/CFM requirements for a given set of pipes would tel the tale.
==Steve==

Bob Hammond
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Re: One of those offbeat ideas - a d/c-powered pipe organ?

Post by Bob Hammond »

Hmm, the first question is to determine the pressure & maximum flow rate after determining how many ranks of pipes are desired. Maybe a simpler way would be to make a mechanical bleed valve, with the issue of keeping bleed off quiet.

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Barry Daniels
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Re: One of those offbeat ideas - a d/c-powered pipe organ?

Post by Barry Daniels »

I am sure that a pipe organ is more of a low pressure/high volume application which would be in the range of a blower instead of a compressor. Something more like a squirrel cage fan would probably be applicable.
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Mario Proulx
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Re: One of those offbeat ideas - a d/c-powered pipe organ?

Post by Mario Proulx »

All the huge pipe organs use blowers, not compressors.

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Barry Daniels
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Re: One of those offbeat ideas - a d/c-powered pipe organ?

Post by Barry Daniels »

In my old day job I bought a few industrial blowers for my environmental remediation projects. We used a type called regenerative blowers. They could operate continuously for a few years. Looks like they're all made by Fiji now.

https://www.grainger.com/product/FUJI-E ... er-1-5F241
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Mark Wybierala
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Re: One of those offbeat ideas - a d/c-powered pipe organ?

Post by Mark Wybierala »

How about buying an old rusty pickup truck and building an organ in the back running off the exhaust system???
Or even better, a steam powered pipe organ.

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Jim McConkey
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Re: One of those offbeat ideas - a d/c-powered pipe organ?

Post by Jim McConkey »

The "DC" here is "dust collector".
Ah! That is why is we strongly recommend taking the time to spell out all but the most common abbreviations. Not only do different people use different abbreviations for the same thing and the same abbreviations for different things, but our foreign readers often have no idea of what the abbreviations mean at all.
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Karl Wicklund
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Re: One of those offbeat ideas - a dust-collector-powered pipe organ?

Post by Karl Wicklund »

To be fair, “dust collector” is in the thread title and in the original post.
Kaptain Karl

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Jim McConkey
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Re: One of those offbeat ideas - a dust-collector-powered pipe organ?

Post by Jim McConkey »

It is, but DC used in connection with motors almost always refers to the power source. The whole point is spelling things out only takes 2 more seconds, but prevents a lot of confusion.
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Matthew Lau
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Re: One of those offbeat ideas - a dust-collector-powered pipe organ?

Post by Matthew Lau »

It's a lot of work.
This is on my "do not build list"

http://www.rwgiangiulio.com

Steven Smith
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Re: One of those offbeat ideas - a dust-collector-powered pipe organ?

Post by Steven Smith »

Matthew Lau wrote:It's a lot of work.
This is on my "do not build list"

http://www.rwgiangiulio.com
Only took him 5 years :roll:

Bob Francis
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Re: One of those offbeat ideas - a dust-collector-powered pipe organ?

Post by Bob Francis »

I thought this was an interesting question and discovered that there is a lot of info on-line regarding CFM requirements.
They seem to tie to the volume of the largest pipes (ranks) and how much air is required to play and hold a chord.
Interestingly I saw a comment about Dust Collection blowers on The Organ Forum.

I am with Matthew as to my do not build list.
Bob

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