The Haunted Crashing Pipe Organ

Ok so we planned to do a Pepper's ghost illusion but ran out of time and money. I had built this Pipe Organ thing From scrap wood and some legs off a trashed table. The ideas and visual plans came from Phantasmechanics. I hated to not use it, so I modified it as a stand alone device. The slower motor has replaced with a stronger, speedier motor (which I salvaged from my daughters outgrown Electric Big Wheel thingy) The motor has a high torque, high rpm motor. The big wheel also had a nice gas pedal rheostat. The rheostat was mounted on the back of the pipe organ.

The script was modified to include a music room. People were beckoned to play something on the organ, when they tried the keys jumped and crashed with a horrific sound. The people jumped back only to realize they were not the only ones in the room. A scream from an actress dressed in black, previously obscured from view by a small fake tree sent them reeling. This also makes a great prank if you're shooting a hidden camera prank show using security cameras to not be seen.

How-to Build it

Again, if you're going to build this for a grim organist, use the link to go to Phantasmechanics website. Ok, go to their website anyway they have better pictures. If you want to build it the way I did, cheaply, I mean as a stand alone, then follow along here. 

Tools You'll Need

A table saw helps

a mitre chop saw

Electric screwdriver




Electric Drill or Drill Press

Materials You'll Need

Dimensions are really up to you

Base 18" X 36" 3/4" Plywood

Sides(2) 9" X 12" 3/4" Plywood

Back 9" X 36" 3/4"Plywood

Keys (36) 3/4" X 4" 3/4" Pine

Black Keys1/2" X 3" 1/4" Pine

36" 1" Dowel

Elmer's Carpenters Glue

(Alot) 2 1/4" sheet rock screws

Computer AT Power Supply

3/4" #6 self tapping screws

12 volt Electric Motor High RPM

Drive Belt (or Large Rubber Band)

36" 1/4" Steel Rod

Table Legs or other Base

Rheostat for speed control or an on/off switch

Mailing Tubes or 2 1/2" PVC Pipe

Wood scraps as needed

Safety Considerations

Computer power supplies convert 115 Volts AC to 5 and 12 Volt DC Leads. Never, Never, Never, Never open one of these up. There is enough power inside to kill you if you touch the wrong thing (like Capacitors). Mount the power supply and use the leads supplied. Also, there should always be a load on the power supply (if the power supply is on, the motor is running or at least some LEDs are on.) If you're uncomfortable with this, use a wall wart rated for the amperage of the motor.

Putting it together

Start by making the Keys. The white keys are 3/4" x 3/4" x 4". You'll need 36 white keys. The black keys are 5/8" wide x 1/4" high X 3". Sand the keys smooth. Paint the keys with enamel paint, 2 coats should do it. The black keys are glued to the white keys as shown below. Each white key needs a 3/8" hole drilled 1/2" centered from back end to accept a 1/4" steel rod 36" long. The rod holds the keys. I put a 1/4" steel washer between each key. Set the keys aside.