I have made a few different kalimbas. Some from kits, some from Instructables, and some of my own ideas. I always have ideas running around in my head. One of these ideas was sparked when I was in the local hardware store and came across some tiny corner braces. That gave me the idea to sandwich bobby pins between two corner braces. I was just going to mount the corner braces to something using the same screws to clamp everything together, but I thought magnets. Using magnets gives me the ability to be able to mount it to different things and also have it on the outside of an altoids box and then put it inside the box before I put it in my pocket. In this instructable I will show you how I made my kalimba and hopefully give you ideas on how to make one too.
Step 1: Tools and Supplies
This project is not only pocket size, but also very pocket friendly. I spent less than five dollars for the supplies to make one kalimba.
(2) 1-1/2" corner braces
(4) #10-24 x 1/2" long round head screws
(4) #10-24 nuts
(4) #10-24 acorn nuts (these round head nuts will dress it up and cover the ends of the screws)
(4) jumbo bobby pins
(6) 8mm dia. x 3mm thick neodymium magnets
I also made a version using (4) medium bobby pins
The only tools I used were a pair of diagonal cutters, to cut the bobby pins, a slotted screwdriver (commonly wrongly called a flat screwdriver) and a 3/8" wrench, to fit the nuts. I also used a digital tuner, but you could tune it by ear.
Step 2: Cut the Bobby Pins
I cut the bobby pins in the bend. I wasn't worried about how nice the cuts were because I knew I would be trimming off the excess after I tuned the kalimba.
Step 3: Assemble All the Pieces
I put the screws point up thru the bottom corner brace and placed it on my work surface. I then put the bobby pins on top of the bottom corner brace. Then put the top corner brace on top of the bobby pins. Secure everything together with the nuts.
Step 4: Tighten the Screws
Using the slotted screwdriver and 3/8" wrench, tighten it all together. Don't put the acorn nuts on just yet. You will need to loosen and re-tighten these during the tuning process. After you tune the kalimba, you can put on the acorn nuts, to cover the ends of the screws, and to act as jam nuts to keep all the nuts tight.
Step 5: Add the Magnets
I have always loved magnets and I though that this would be a good use for them. Since the corner braces are steel, the magnets stick right to them.
Step 6: Mount Your Kalimba to Something
The (3) magnets make it easy to mount the kalimba to something ferrous, like an altoids box. and make it easy to take it off the box to put it inside the box, for safe travel. If you use (3) magnets on the kalimba, and (3) additional magnets inside something, you can mount it on non ferrous, like wood or plastic. You could mount this on a ukulele or guitar, without drilling any holes.
Step 7: Tune Your Kalimba
I used a digital tuner, but you could tune it by ear.
Step 8: Trim Off Excess Bobby Pins
After you have the kalimba tuned tighten all the nuts, add the acorn nuts, and trim off the excess ends of the bobby pins.
Step 9: Experiment on Different Sounding Surfaces
The magnet mounting method makes it easy to mount to different objects. I had a wooden cigar box that sounded cool, but the back of my tool box sounded really cool. One that I made lives on the refrigerator, and the kids love it, but one note makes the dogs bark.
Step 10: Video
As always, I made a video.
Thanks for viewing and enjoy.