Hey, check out this Rubens' Tube!

What’s a Rubens' Tube? It’s a tube filled with flammable gas with a transducer on one end and holes drilled in the top. You light the gas on fire. When you play a sound into the tube that is a harmonic of the tube’s resonant frequency, you get patterns in the flame!

I built this one at South Side Hackerspace: Chicago with the help of my friends Dmitriy and Josef.

Parts list:

  • Bernzomatic Camping Gas (propane)
  • Bernzomatic torch extension
  • 1 1/2" iron pipe (6")
  • 1 1/2" iron pipe cap
  • Old computer speakers
  • Electrical tape
  • HVAC tape

I started by cutting the end of the torch extension opposite the valve off (so you keep the valve and hose). I drilled a hole in the pipe cap to accept the torch extension hose, and used electricians tape to make a seal. Then I used an angle grinder to grind a flat in the top of the iron pipe, and drilled 1/8" holes at 1/2" intervals down the length of the pipe. I used HVAC tape to seal the opposite end of the pipe, and then broke open the computer speakers, removed the actual speaker, and taped that to the HVAC tape end of the iron pipe.

Next steps: I plan to do replace the length of iron pipe I have with a 1 meter long segment, do some math to figure out the harmonics, and present it at the Chicago northside Mini Maker Faire.