The eChanter was designed as a cheap, simple electronic woodwind practice instrument, so that anyone could build it, and anyone could hack it! Here are some of the hacks I know about:
This one is pretty easy and a great alternative for those of us who are 'tool challenged.'
Yup, the screw touch sensors were actually a hack! So were the copper rod sensors. Thanks to Jerzy and Mark McLane.
That real chanter on the front page is Mark's eChanter with the copper sensors. Nicely done.
Jerzy's original build with screw sensors was made as a Swedish bagpipe electronic chanter. He used the WAV table utility code here to create pure sine WAV tables for the Swedish chanter's tuning, then simply swapped them with the samples in the source code. This is a great hack! By swapping out samples and reconfiguring sensors, just about any instrument can be made, keyed or keyless. The limit is the I/O pins on the 'Duino.
Heat Formed PVC body
A fun hack, but do this outdoors or in a well ventilated space. Basically, PVC pipe can be heat formed into some interesting shapes ..... it can be stretched, tapered, bent, expanded and compressed. Simply heat, distort, then hold the distorted shape until the pipe has cooled. The cooling can be helped along with cold water.
Here's what I do: Heat the PVC pipe on my BBQ. The pipe needs to heat evenly - rolling helps. When the pipe is supple enough to flop around like a rubber tube, I quickly stretch it out into a long taper. I get the taper by messaging and squeezing the pipe as it stretches. When the taper looks about right I spray the warm pipe with water from the garden hose. The taper will be permanently set when the pipe is completely cool.
This is one of mine, but it's only loosely based on the eChanter. The chanter was made from DIY Micarta and cast, thickened epoxy. Making a Micarta object is really easy. First make a form of the object, then saturate the material (in this case paper) with resin (epoxy). Wrap the saturated material tightly around the form, removing excess resin. Ideally the wrapped form would be put under pressure in a mold and allowed to cure (this squeezes out excess resin and makes a stronger product).
The Micarta eChanter (above) was made wireless using a WiiMote and a Bluetooth adapter on a Personal Computer. The chanter sends note change triggers to a bit of software on the PC via the WiiMote's bluetooth. The PC software then plays high quality WAV samples of a real bagpipe for each note change.