This research considers the controversy of modern acoustic instruments, which may have come to an evolutionary impasse, due to its high standardization that makes it difficult to explore design modifications. I explore a new approach for the design and fabrication of the acoustic instrument, using 3D printing, which has the potential to influence new designs, and to lead to new acoustics and ergonomic innovations. The projects below describes the key concepts of this approach, presenting the development process of such a 3D printed instrument—a prototype of a 3D printed concert flute, some other concepts for 3D printed instruments.
The 3D Printed Flute
The goal here was to create a flute using 3D printing technologies – a flute that is compatible with a traditional concert flute, both acoustically and ergonomically. This flute is composed from several materials - a rigid material was selected for the flute’s body, a different one for the mouthpiece, and a soft material for sealing the air properly. Only springs were added manually later.
This project was fabricated with the Objet Connex machine, which can print multiple materials in a single build. The overall process took around 15 hours, creating 4 separate parts that then were assembled to a working instrument. The first step of the process started with a CAD software design, building a digital model of the flute in the computer, and totally re-designing its mechanism to so no assembly will be needed after print, and to fit the abilities of the 3d printer. Then, the final design was sent to the Connex machine, which simultaneous jets of multiple model materials to create composite Digital Materials™ on the fly.
Credits: Amit Zoran
Publication: Zoran, Amit. 2011. “The 3D Printed Flute: Digital Fabrication and Design of Musical Instruments”.Journal of New Music Research (JNMR), volume 40, issue 4, December 2011, pages 379-387. PDF
3D_Print_Flute.3dm (rhino file)
Top: the printed object is covered with a support material that needs to be removed manually using a water pressure.
Top: prior to using the Connex machine, the flute ws first printed in Dimension ABS printer. A photo of the FDM flute’s mouthpiece (left) and a key’s mechanism, using metal spring (center). The right figure (and the video cover below) is the final design printed by the Connex machine.
Top: an illustration of a concept design to be 3D printed (such as the main figure at the top of the page).
reAcoustic eGuitar is a concept design of an instrument that enables players to customize their own sound by assembling different sound cells instead of a single large sound box. Each string will have it’s own bridge, each bridge will be connected to a different cell. changing the cell size, material or structure will allow sound design innovations, re-designing acoustic musical instrument according to the abilities and characteristics of rapid prototype materials.
Credits: Amit Zoran and Pattie Maes
Zoran, Amit and Pattie Maes. 2008. “Considering Virtual & Physical Aspects in Acoustic Guitar Design.” 8th International Conference New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME ’08), 5-7 June 2008, Genova, Italy.
Zoran, Amit and Pattie Maes. 2008. “The reAcoustic eGuitar.” In SIGGRAPH 2008 posters (SIGGRAPH '08). ACM, New York, NY, USA, Article 40.