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SteveS

3D Printer And Concertinas

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And there are already some CNC technologies that do have applications in concertina making if that is the way forward. The ones I'm aware of are various processes for automated cutting of parts from sheet material - laser cutting, water jet cutting, and CNC milling. There are probably more. These three between them seem to have various advantages over older processes for cutting out reed frames, action parts and fret cut end plates and machining reed pans. They have potential for either reducing repetitive manual processes or avoiding some of the huge costs of making the kind of press tools that were used in former times to manufacture metal components. They also make it easier to modify designs as required by simply editing a drawing.

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Whoopee

At last someone agrees with me. "The Emperor has no clothes"

Rapid prototyping has its place to prove a principal but for volume production of small simple parts you can't beat Injection Moulding

We could mould Bellows cards ,with the feathered edge for pence, in a glueable polymer Buttons could be made with an integral spring, think about the switches on your Steering Column. Tooling would be fine in Aluminium, we have Tools that have made in excess of 1,000,000 parts and still in production.

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SoF. WoT.

Edited by RAc

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Thinking about the difference between a keyboard and a piano.

 

I think that the future for plastic in a concertina (if there is a future for plastic in a concertina) then it will be for something more like a keyboard where sound is generated electronically from samples or by synthesis.

 

Yamaha does not try to make a replica of a traditionally made piano out of plastic, they make a keyboard that sort of feels like a real piano to play but that generates sound in a completely different way.

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Yes Don, that is different, Dean Onyons made his Electronic Tina with a Resin end as opposed to an injection moulded one and that was very successful. These folks are wanting to make a conventional Tina with plastic parts, and it ain't going to work M'Duck

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Ooh, something I can talk about from experience.

I have a consumer-grade FDM printer -- that's the most common type; it works by squeezing out plastic filament layer by layer. Think glue gun attached to an etch-a-sketch, controlled by a computer. You're mainly limited to ABS (same plastic as legos) or PLA (like compostable bioplastic food containers). I really wanted to be able to do the kinds of things being talked about on this thread, and my general conclusion is that it isn't worth it for more than temporary fixes. This is just my perspective as a hobbyist.

Pros:

  • You can quickly test out the general size and shape of something you designed. Which is its own kind of satisfying, even if your object is ultimately unusable.
  • For cheaper Scholer- or Hohner-type concertinas, which are larger and have more plastic components anyway, printing replacement parts is more realistic. I was able to print a couple replacement buttons for the Scholer I started out on, but those were large-ish, uncomplicated plastic cylinders that only had to be epoxy'd onto the wooden action.
  • for the bits of the concertina that don't have anything to do with sound, printing can be a lifesaver in dire circumstances. E.g., I broke my wrist last year at the beginning of Morris season. I designed and printed a custom hand bar replacement that fit the shape of my cast and prevented it from sliding around, thus enabling me to at least play melodies with my left hand. To be fair, I could've just carved something out of wood, but hey, I didn't have great use of my dominant hand. Also ended up printing a replacement handle for someone's case.

Cons:

  • Print resolution has been prohibitive. It isn't realistic with an FDM printer to do appropriately-sized buttons for standard instruments with riveted actions.
  • (Lack of) durability. Depending on your printer, your mileage may vary. If you print at really slow speeds and use as tiny a layer height as you can, you might get something usable, but it will be fragile.
  • Ridges. Unless you go nuts with post-processing, you're always going to have the ridges characteristic of all FDM-printed objects, which may bother you if your fingertips are in contact with the printed object for long periods of time.
  • Build volume. Though this is improving, most consumer printers are limited in terms of the size of object they can print in one piece. I haven't tried to do anything big like fretted ends or reedpans (not interested in that sound), but most consumer printers are going to have to do them in two pieces. Edit: RAc seems to have had good results with Shapeways, which is a way you can get around this limitation, but they get expensive (of course, buying a printer is expensive too).

I should say, if you splurge for one of the "prosumer" SLA printers that can do dental-grade prints ($5,000 and up), you'll have a different experience, but it'll still be plastic.

Hope for the future:
I wouldn't say that it's absolutely inappropriate to experiment with plastic instruments, long as it's acknowledged that they're imperfect prototypes. There's even a fully-printable violin that anyone can download. Obviously being demonstrated here by a pro, but it's far from the worst thing I've ever heard. Some people have gotten good results using a specialty filament that's partially made of wood, so that's interesting too.

TL;DR: I wouldn't buy a 3D printer thinking it's going to be useful for concertina repair, but they're their own kind of fun.

Edited by lshillman

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A year ago, I gave a paper at an International Conference in the Vienna Kunsthistorisches Museum and sharing the platform was this guy:

http://www.3dmusicinstruments.com/

He gave a TedEx type lecture about his vision of the future and how people will soon be able to e-mail their instruments and have them printed locally, just before a concert. (Presumably avoiding the problems of taking long, cannon-like woodwinds on board aircraft…) He was full of warnings to the more traditional makers about how we would either have to jump onto his boat, or risk losing the plot in the future. To be honest, I don't quite know what to make of it, I think his achievement is significant in that it has enabled a highly accurate reproduction of a notoriously difficult-to-reproduce woodwind, albeit that by his own admission, the lack of quality scans of original cornettos has hampered the accuracy of his reproductions. (A point that led to a somewhat heated debate between him and the director of the Instrument Collection) On the other hand, I completely go along with Theo's comment in #15 above and I feel too often people seek success in technology to hide their own shortcomings (this applies to playing music too!) and that the Brave New World scenario, often turns out quite different in practice once the limitations of the technology are exposed. A friend of mine is having some lute moulds carved by a 3D shaper/milling device - not exactly biting edge technology, but perhaps an example of another difficult to reproduce object where 3D printing might have a valid role in instrument making?

Adrian

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The printer I'm considering will print ABS, ABS+ and carbon fibre - these materials may be applicable to fabricating concertina parts:

 

Carbon fibre for levers and fulcrum posts

ABS+ for buttons

ABS for bellows cards.

 

My current thinking - it'll need some experimentation so see how suitable these materials are.

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The Electrotina got me thinking about other parts that could be printed -

 

ends

action box

finger rests

switch & circuit mounts

 

There's also available a good range of colours - how about a flourescent green 'tina? :D

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How about plastic reeds?

I remember having a small, all-plastic harmonica as a child. It made sort of musical noises, but not very loud ones - probably a device to preserve parents' sanity.

 

That must have been back in the late 1940s or very early 1950s. I'm sure modern plastics are much better.

 

Cheers,

John

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Alex knew I wasn't kidding.. I have chord harmonica with plastic reeds, works great. Last night I made a reed out of a plastic cup - it gives a bass note so loud and low, that it rattles my teeth if I blow it.

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The physical shape would be easily programmed including the profile to be ready tuned or close to it, and you would not need a clamp and screws as it could be one block. The clearance reed/frame could be very tight.

 

I made a carbon fibre reed for an enthusiast who was into experimentation a few years ago. It wasn't bad for a first effort with a new material; the clearance was probably akin to a poor Lachenal. It worked OK, the most noticeable thing was how little effort was needed to start it. It was not loud and was very easy to overblow upon which point it would distort. I did wonder if a different approach to length of reed and profile might have thrown up a more stable result but making much longer low reeds so they can be thicker would be tricky to put in a regular concertina.

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The physical shape would be easily programmed including the profile to be ready tuned or close to it, and you would not need a clamp and screws as it could be one block. The clearance reed/frame could be very tight.

Great idea to experiment with plastic reeds - and to make the reed as a single block.

I'll give it a go when I get my 3D printer :P

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Great idea to experiment with plastic reeds - and to make the reed as a single block.

I'll give it a go when I get my 3D printer :P

 

If you can make the reed as a reliable single block, maybe you can make the reed pan and all the reeds together as a single block.

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