I was really amazed upon first hearing this thing.
It's very nice sounding and an easy single-evening project.
This instrument is obviously a cousin to the steel drum.

This helium-tank Tambiro is not my idea -- what follows is my take 
on it but after careful internet observation (which tongue sounds 
which note, tongue size & placement etc) my version presented here 
sounds as nice as the ones I hear on the internet.

I'll have more construction & other info shortly, but for 
now, I just wanted to get this on my webpage.

I used an empty balloon-filling helium tank, but it appears
that an empty freon tank would work just the same.
Obvious note of caution here: While helium's fairly harmless,
freon is another matter -- however you do it, make
absolutely sure that a) the tank is dead empty b) it's
amply rinsed/cleaned out. Open the top valve outside in
an open area. Even then, use much caution and drill a
1/16" hole along one of the marked out tongues, taking 
care to use gloves and angle the hole away from you.

Immediately below is a template showing the placement, pitch
and size of the six tongues (notes). When you print it out,
check that the 1 inch scale on the drawing is really
an inch on your printout -- if not, adjust printing process 
accordingly. Now lay a piece carbon paper (or simply heavily 
blacken the back-side of each tongue on the paper using a #2 
pencil) then tape on the template - line the "tank seam" on the 
template up with the actual tank seam then transfer the
template tongue layout & size to the actual tank.
Click here so see this template - and also a small photo of the completed instrument
Drill three 3/32" (or so) holes about 1/2 inch from one of
the tongue line's ends -- tilt the drill to elongate
the 3 holes into a slot into which a metal-cutting saber
saw blade can pass. Carefully cut along the line to within 
a half inch or so of the other end of the tongue's line.
Repeat for the other 5 tongues.

Tuning is easy, but somewhat critical (the pitch moves quite fast).
I just slooowly lengthened each tongue (in small increments
-- testing constantly) until it matched the desired notes as 
compaired to a piano. The trick here is to CUT SLOWLY.

The notes only sound right if you sharply slap the tongues
as quickly-as-possible (as if testing to see if a stove burner 
is hot) ANY dilly-dallying (resting your fingers even momentarily) 
on a tongue will completely kill it's sound. It takes a few
minutes of experimentation to get this hitting bit right.
Also, where on the tongue you tap is important. Experiment.

Whole lot of fun for zero cost!

I have seen a photo of this instrument with a 7th tongue cut -
midway between (& to the right of) the High A and the D notes. 
I tried this but because it cuts through the tank's seam, it 
nearly completely ruined the pitch and nice sound of the other 
six notes! In dismay, I "closed up" the offending 7th hole with 
sheet metal screws and epoxy & this repair worked! I got my nice 
6 notes back.

Google the key-word "tambiro" -- there are a couple of videos of
a Central American fellow playing one beautifully.

More later

Dennis Havlena
 Mackinac Straits, northern Michigan

Click here to access my webpage