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REASON FOR ATTEMPTING 3D PRINTING OF A CONCERTINA

Concertinas are too expensive because of complexity and difficulty of manufacture and repair, etc.

So I've decided to start 3D printing parts to create a better kind of 'people's' concertina - it's the start of my Concertina Nova project.

 

It's explorative - 'may take years, but the aims are:

- use 3D printing to experimentally revise the form of the concertina for better ergonomics and easier playing, yet still good sound

- to 'democratize' the concertina by making it available as a cheap, robust instrument at 'guitar prices'

- make them so popular that they'll be seen round every campfire and at every party, in harmony with guitars and voices.

ACTION
Tomorrow I'm paying a local engineering firm, Absolute TOoling Solutions, to copy- 3D-print the outer ends of my tenor-treble, with
- non-conical holes so the buttons won't wiggle
- pinholes for ventilation, to reduce the glaring loudness while still allowing air flow.
That experiment will cost me $400. It gets me
- alternative end pieces for my concertina
- CAD drawings I need for future redos (probably using my own 3D printer later)
SEE THE CURRENT DRAFT REQUIREMENTS SPECIFICATION OF THE CONCERTINA NOVA
SEE THE 3D PRINTERS AVAILABLE IN NEW ZEALAND
I may be buying a 3D printer myself, perhaps the one shown at..
http://diamondage.co.nz/product/moa-3d-printer/ because it can 3D print itself and I might create others to use or sell.
Bruce (Tomo) Thomson
20 Lyndhurst St. Chelwood Village,
Palmerston North, New Zealand
06 357 7773 021 176 9711 palmytomo@gmail.com

 

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Have you considered using CNC-routed plywood or laser cut stainless steel or aluminium? I suspect they would be cheaper to make. 3D printing is very slow and therefore expensive, hence why it is usually only used for prototype quantities in industry.

 

The "3d printer can print itself" claim is a bit of a gimmick in my opinion, because it can't print any of the metal parts or electronics. In fact looking at the link, it appears to have a wooden frame and metal slides with very few plastic parts that could be 3D printed?

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In my opinion a useful approach would be to go first of all for a low-cost all-electronic Hayden-Concertina! I have been playing ES for 40 years, but - if I had children - I would make them learn Hayden Duet, as it simply has many advantages! I have lots of good ideas in the drawer, i.e. a key, which uses magnetic repulsion rather than a spring...

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Having thought about this some more, before you spend any more money on this project I urge you to figure out on paper roughly how much it is going to cost to manufacture a concertina this way (remember that 3D printing is expensive and probably can't be used to produce the reeds, bellows and various other small parts). Multiply the figure by an appropriate profit margin. Look at what concertinas are already on the market in that price range. What selling points make your product stand out from the competition?

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Bruce,

here is my two cents worth:

 

I recall one fellow ( many years ago) from Sydney who had the idea of making an electronic English Concertina... he said it was an ideal instrument and that every kid's mother would be buying them instead of a piano type keyboard... that it was going to take over the world... that traditional concertinas were too expensive etc etc etc.... we all laughed heartily... whilst he believed his own hype.... in the end he stopped the project due to lack of interest in his prototype and started making very traditional Harps;.. it just made more sense and he had a market for that product.

 

Now I'll admit to knowing nothing about 3D printing but I do know about musical instrument making and repairing.... in the end , even if these magic machines can produce enough of the parts at reasonable cost, someone will have to put it all together, tune it and make it play music...

 

The market for the EC appears to be fairly small and there are only one or two makers producing quality models.... the middle of the road market is covered by some hybrids and then the ' wow these things are expensive lets find a real cheap one' market is covered by the Chinese production.The vast majority of us EC players use the instruments made prior to 1940, of which, for the most part, there is a sufficiency of supply to satisfy the market.

 

 

If I were you I'd play my concertina and let other people worry about changing the world ! B)

 

Geoff.

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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Perhaps some people derive more fun attempting to build a Concertina than they do trying to play one ?

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Perhaps some people derive more fun attempting to build a Concertina than they do trying to play one ?

Hey, I resemble that remark! :P

 

I'd just hate to see Bruce spend thousands developing this instrument and end up with a product nobody wants to buy because there are already several very nice hand-made wooden-ended hybrids on the market.

 

BTW I don't know what 'guitar prices' means, but it's a bit of an apples to oranges comparison because of the far greater number of moving parts in a concertina. Also those really cheap guitars are probably made by the hundreds of thousands in highly-optimised factories in a part of the world where labour is relatively cheap.

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BTW I don't know what 'guitar prices' means, but it's a bit of an apples to oranges comparison because of the far greater number of moving parts in a concertina.

 

And (therefore?) guitars are probably much simpler/easier/cheaper than concertinas to 3D-print. Is anybody trying to do that commercilly?

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Before investing any money in this project I would strongly suggest reading through those two threads: http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=16394 & http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=16398

Discussed there, are probably all main problems when trying to mass produce a cheap electronic or "guitar range" acoustic boxes. Including 3D printing production limitations.

 

There was also a thread earlier (probably not a single one), with a thorough analysis of the whole concertina market, with points on introducing new types of instruments in general.

All of the above lead to some quite solid conclusions: cheap market is owned by Chineese and Wakker entry level concertinas; pro market would never turn their backs on traditionally built instruments and those would never be any cheaper due to amount of labour necessary; and last but not least there is no way to build up enough market for a common MIDI instrument, as anyone has different demands and plays a different system.

As to 3D printing itself - unless we are talking about the newest fluid-hardening process or industrial-grade printers, household filament machines have VERY poor resolution and dimension tolerances, thus are completely useless for any serious manufaturing. Technology-wise it is MUCH cheaper to produce concertinas from wood using CNC machinery, than 3D print or cast/mould from plastic, especially given the possible scale of production.

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I saw one of these in a local tool shop.

https://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&ei=g7RWVLCoNImFyQThmYLADg&url=http://www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3DXUhFB5n_2wc&ved=0CCsQtwIwAw&usg=AFQjCNFMWNmmWLgGb7z_3lJj-HdMJkVkzg&sig2=qIts5O0uBSPlV13gGn19jQ

 

I tried to persuade myself that I could pay for one by making signs with it.

 

This could make the ends and the reed pans, but you still need the action, the reeds and the bellows. So maybe 10-20 per cent of the job?

 

Still I really wish you luck.

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If Bruce is enjoying the process and experimenting, and the cash isn't a terrible dent, this at least sounds like an interesting project.

 

Though, as mentioned in last thread, though 3D printing might work for prototypes, would not 3D milling end up being a more durable way to go about it? Not at all an engineering guy, but my impression is that 3D printers take specific (and a limited range of) printing plastics, while with 3D milling you could get a block of Delrin or whatever plastic composition you like, and have a 3D mill carve out the bits.

 

My initial concern would be the reeds: are you considering hybrid (accordion) reeds for the long-term plans? If not, again a lot of very smart folks have tried to figure out a way to mass-produce concertina reeds, but between methods and scale nobody's had a plausible solution yet. I personally don't doubt someone will eventually solve that riddle; if nothing else when we have really good 3D scanners that can get tons of tiny nuances right, CAD out existing reeds, and auto-mill them, but even those would take a lot of skilled labor to tune. Unless, of course, 3D scanning becomes so precise that a fully pre-tuned reed/shoe can be dropped into perfectly formed chamber. But in whatever case, affordable concertina reeds don't sound to be on the 3-5 year (or maybe even 10 year) horizon.

 

 

Not to beat a dead horse, but I'm still of the belief that if we're mass-producing affordable concertina options, MIDI is a way to go. And as conzertino notes, Hayden is arguably an easier MIDI sell as being less tied to tradition than English or Anglo, lacking the available/affordable vintage market, etc. MIDI avoids all the reed issues, opens up a lot of neat modern options for interface, etc.

 

I would like to see an increase in quality-yet-affordability of Chinese models though. The Chinese make those little 7-button melodeons (button accordions) which are suprisingly okay for $20-30, and with $100 of reedwork are actually pretty decent. If the Chinese made something parallel to those, rather than those huge celluloid monstrosities of 20b Anglos they make, that would also be a step forward for the concertina community.

 

 

All that aside, if you're having fun designing and aren't blowing the rent money, I don't see it as being any more directionless than any number of hobbies. I've never understood the whole "building a ship in a bottle" thing, and being able to replace any part of a concertina seems a valid hobby endeavor.

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BTW I don't know what 'guitar prices' means, but it's a bit of an apples to oranges comparison because of the far greater number of moving parts in a concertina.

And (therefore?) guitars are probably much simpler/easier/cheaper than concertinas to 3D-print. Is anybody trying to do that commercilly?

 

Apparently it has been done as a proof of concept. The article doesn't give the total price, but the printing of the plastic parts alone cost $3000. Is that 'guitar prices'? ;)

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-10-11/the-worlds-first-3d-printed-guitar

Edited by alex_holden

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IF and I use caps on purpose it could be done we would have done it. I have an Injection Moulding Factory and a full tool room with 3 C N C Machining Centres and 28 Moulding Machines and more than a passing interest in Tina,s( no jokes please). Hamish Bayne made an acrylic prototype many years ago and the sound was as dead as a Dodo. 3 D printing is certainly not viable as the results are fragile when compared with Timber. I made some reed shoes in IXEF some 25 years ago, Rubbish is the word to describe the sound. An interesting activity akin to killing the cat with "Whipped Cream and Boxing Gloves" Save your money and do not re-invent the wheel, but thanks for trying to move our favourite instrument forward

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When I first became aware of 3-D printing, the first thing I thought of was making concertinas, but I couldn't convince myself that you could make a serviceable reed with a 3-D printer, so I abandoned the thought.

 

Note in today's New York Times, there's an article about HP's plans to make a 3-D printer that's 10x faster and also cheaper than today's models:

 

HP Unveils Plan to Make 3-D Printing an Everyday Thing

 

From the article:

 

 

HP says it has developed a 3-D printer that is 10 times faster than most of today's 3-D printers, while remaining highly precise. The product is expected to be in testing and early production next year, and generally available in 2016. While not disclosing the expected price, HP also said it would be cheaper than what is now on the market.

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as a professional architectural modelmaker with experience of these machines I would say go for it. It is an interesting concept to prove and an exciting project

 

not all the parts will be able to be printed, bellows, reeds and springs to name a few but there is no reason why you cant print the ends, action, buttons and reed pans on one of these machines. You could actually buy a 3d printer, some are not expensive and are consumer products. The best example of this is a fused deposition modeller like you posted. These make strong parts that have a slightly rough surface. I cant post a link on this website today for some reason I will add more later.

 

I had the job of setting up and working out the 3d printer when it arrived in our office. I had not used one before that and it took me about a week of working it out. The reason for this is that we had a cheap as chips very basic one. The one you posted looks very good and is no doubt up to the task.

Edited by Jake of Hertford

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The parts of a concertina that would be amenable to printing are not where the major cost lies. Even things like buttons which should seem printable can't be at all rough, and need to be low friction materials. All the action bits have strength and stiffness requirements ( not to mention creep resistance) that plastics generally don't have. All bearing points need to last through hundreds of thousands of cycles. Case in point being the horrible Bastari/ Stagi actions made from soft aluminum. There is no point in making a bad concertina. I tell my students to get the best they can afford ( not fanciest, but best playing ) because it will make learning easier and vastly more rewarding. Things like reed pans certainly could be printed, but since there can be a dramatic difference in sound between woods, you would have to be pretty lucky with your plastic to get one that worked at all much less sounded good.

Dana

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I think that an inexpensive MIDI tina - first of all a Hayden, my be later a ES - which could be played back over a smart-phone would sell in lager numbers. There could be a cheap version with some kind of mechanical expression and a better version with proper bellows - both using the same ends.

 

This "instrument" wouldn't interfere neither with the cheap Chinese ones nor with the traditional ones, but would allow an inexpensive entry-level.

 

As I pointed out before I am currently converting a piccolo sized treble Aeola ( which came without reeds! ) to midi using some new ideas. There are tiny SMD hall-effect sensors available which could easily be switched which small magnets.

 

Now a word to Oldnickilby: I can get the metal caps for traditional keys. Could you produce / extrude the bits between the caps and the magnets to solve this problem? I could supply a first drawing.... Please PM...

Edited by conzertino

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