Thunder Maker




A very simple device that makes an incredible rumble. I didn't make this but I figured I'd document how the one I got as a gift was made. I hope to make a bigger one soon though.


Step 1: Find Materials

cardboard tube:
10.25" long
2.75" inner diameter
3.25" outer diameter

Plastic disc for membrane:
3.25" diameter
approx 0.5mm? like milk jug plastic?

20" long
coils are almost 3/8" diameter

Glue able to bond plastic to cardboard

Hot glue.

Step 2: Assemble

Poke a small hole in the center of the plastic membrane (hot needle?)
and corkscrew a few coils of the spring through. Glue it in place.

Then glue the plastic membrane to the cardboard tube.

Put a bead of hot glue on the end of the spring to avoid a sharp end shaking around.

Step 3: Shake Then Paint.

Try it out by shaking. If it works, paint it and make it look awesome.

So this is how mine was made judging by how it looks. Hopefully you can duplicate it since the sound is amazing!

I intend to experiment with making a larger one in the near future. I've got a big heavy fiberglass cylinder as shown in the picture. :-D

If anyone knows about resonance frequencies and has some advice let me know since I believe that's how the dimensions are found.



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    14 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Hi, I'm interested in making this for a school project. Does anyone know the specification for the type of spring used? What thickness of the wire, what outer diameter and type of spring to be used? It seems it is not a kept in stock item, so will have to have one made up, but difficult to guage the size from just the photos! Thanks in advance for your help.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    i made one thunder drum, you could use the springs from the click pen, and then connect it with super glue until it make a long spring


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I tried the pringles can suggestion I saw posted here and a plastic Clorox wipes tube and neither worked. Headed to mailing supply store to see if they carry 1/4" shipping tubes... I think the cardboard is what gives this its resonance... I bought the 20" stock extension springs from (I could not find this spring at my local Lowes). They have a $25 product minimum and they ship UPS... paid $36 total for 10 -3/8" x 20" extension springs. I'm making these as homemade gifts/toys for friends and family, so I decided to purchase the springs... Now the hunt begins for the cardboard tubing.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I'm thinking I want to dig out that Pringles can I threw out yesterday. Is the ratio of the coiled wire and size of the carboard tube super strict?


    9 years ago on Step 1

    go to Home Depot, go to their ropes and chains section, you should be able to find this type of coiled wire there!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Hey Mudmonkey.

    You can use the wire that is used to hang up curtains for this. Normally there will be a plastic casing over it that you will just have to strip off, revealing a wire coil on the inside.
    Good luck


    9 years ago on Step 3

    Yeah - if you are looking for a specific tone, like a note, you'll notice that longer tubes sound lower than shorter ones, right? take the frequency of the note you want - for example, "A" is at 440 Hz - then take this number; 13526.5 (it's the speed of sound in inches, at sea level, at about 70 degrees F) and divide it by the frequency number - you will have the wavelength for that note - in the case of "A", you'll get 30 & 3/4 inches - that's how long the wavelength of "A" is... take that in half, because a tube closed at one end only needs to be a half wavelength long to sound that particular note (15 & 3/8 inches)... then subtract 1/./3 of the bore diameter from that length to account for the open end, and you'll have the correct tuning.

    I hope this helps! ^_^

    For more stuff like this, right about New Year's (it's December '09 as I type this), my site will be up and running - you can find out about other formulas and techniques for making musical instruments of all types there... cymbals, gongs, guitars, xylophones, bamboo (or PVC) saxophones, etc. - check it out soon, eh? ^_~ 

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 3

    Woops - that's supposed to read "then subtract 1/3 of the bore diameter... " :P lol

    Oh, and by the way, KILLER INSTRUCTABLE, MAN!

    One of the posts on the aformentioned blog is gonna be on this type of thing as well - if you like, I'll tell my readers about your instructable and send 'em on over to it... and your YouTube channel as well (I'm assuming that's you in that vid', yeah?) - once again, spectacular work - I hope to spread the word about your page here! ^_~

    You freakin' rock XD 


    10 years ago on Step 1

    where did you find the spring? I'd like to try this...but i'm not sure where to find spring like that.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Any one any ideas on what wire to use for the thundermaker and where to get it


    11 years ago on Introduction

    That's pretty cool. I'd like to know how it works though


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Wow.. dang that looks really cool. I want to do this, but it looks quite dangerous. Haha. But I will favorite it. (favorited)