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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2017 10:28 pm 
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I'd like to experiment with whistle-making, and I've figured out how I'm going to do most of it, but I'm a bit stumped with the windway of the fipple block. I thought I would get some delrin rods and use those to make the fipple plugs, and while I thought I'd do a curved windway, like a Chieftain or MK whistle, I'd like to up the backpressure to be more like a Goldie. However, I'm a bit stumped as to how to carve a curved windway with any kind of precision. If I used a lathe (which I don't have), it would carve it precisely, but then it would be too small for the pipe (it seems like it needs a curved notch out of the top). If I use a Dremel, it seems like it would be incredibly difficult to match the curve of the blade. Any ideas or advice for doing this?

I was planning to do some practice whistles in PVC before ultimately making a slick looking copper whistle. I don't want an end cap if I can avoid it. A Chieftain V3 is the look I'm going for, maybe in the key of A or G.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 1:55 pm 
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I think that if you want to avoid carving the Delrin, an end cap is the best way to go. I achieve a curved windway with a cylinder of Delrin by reducing the outside diameter of the whistle body to the desired height of the windway. An end cap with the same OD as the main body finishes it off. This method has the advantage of putting the floor of the windway in-line with the inside wall of the whistle.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 8:45 am 
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I've carved a curved windway in wood by using a homemade chisel. I'm not sure how well this will work with PVC and delrin, but it would be worth a try. The blade of my chisel is about 1/8" wide, and the back is rounded. You can just file and sand a piece of steel to make your own. Mine is heat treated high-carbon steel, but for an experiment with soft plastics, I think you could get by with anything - even mild steel. If you want, I can see about posting pictures some time in the next few days.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 3:04 pm 
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I just realized that I didn't read your post very carefully. I missed the part about making a copper whistle, which means you're planning to carve the block, not the sleeve (is there a better term?). For that sort of thing I have a different homemade chisel (same size but with a flat back), but I've found carving fipple blocks to be tricky and slow. You'll probably have a hard time lining the windway up with the ramp correctly.

I can think of a couple of alternatives that don't require a lathe and will maintain the overall look you want:

The first method is to make a half-round windway, and simply sand the top of the block flat. Angle the windway up. Bend the edge of the window so it's not curved and file it to form the ramp.

The second method is to use a second tube inside the head of the whistle to form the windway walls and the ramp. The trick is that without a lathe, you have to source material that already has the right dimensions. This can be a tall order, especially when you're mixing materials (but check McMaster and US Plastic). It also has the downside of limiting your options for tweaking how the whistle plays.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:55 am 
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Thanks for the suggestions. I've got some Delrin rod shipping from McMasters (what an odd thing that they take your order and payment and then let you know what shipping costs and tax will be after you've already placed the order). Shipping wasn't too bad, though. About $8 for four or five feet of Delrin rods.

I'm thinking I'll try to use a file to gently carve the windway. I want a harder blowing whistle than an MK or Chieftain, so I won't need to take off much, I'd imagine. I'm going to try (fingers crossed) to make the whole thing out of a single piece, so the blade and windway will be part of a single plug. I've got some PVC with a similar internal diameter to practice on. I figure I can make ten to fifteen practice whistles with the lengths of PVC I've got. I'm excited. I'm going to aim for a really good alto whistle, and later go for a bass whistle. It should be fun. Right now, I'm just trying to figure out the bare minimum tools I need to do a good job. I'm really thinking I need a drill press. A lathe would be nice for getting the fipple plugs just right, but I'm not sure what to look for, and everything is pricey. I'm not even sure how a lathe even works. I tried to buy plugs very close to the internal diameter of the pipe, so I'm hoping I won't need too much adjustment.

The only other thing I'm trying to figure out is how to (inexpensively) get that cool, curved underside of the beak. For the PVC whistles, it's not so important, but I'd like to do it for the copper ones. It seems like every aspect of whistle making requires at least $100 (lathe, drill press, band saw, etc).

Hopefully, I'll come down with a strong case of beginner's luck and get some really nice whistles out of the process. I'm really picky about my whistles, and there are SO many factors that can influence the playability of the resulting instrument. There's a reason the best makers can charge so much. Making a whistle that plays is easy. Making a whistle that plays well is more difficult. Making a flawless whistle (even by relative whistle standards) is, I'm sure, extraordinarily difficult, requiring more commitment than I can probably muster.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 10:35 pm 
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AngelicBeaver wrote:
Thanks for the suggestions. I've got some Delrin rod shipping from McMasters (what an odd thing that they take your order and payment and then let you know what shipping costs and tax will be after you've already placed the order). Shipping wasn't too bad, though. About $8 for four or five feet of Delrin rods.

I'm thinking I'll try to use a file to gently carve the windway. I want a harder blowing whistle than an MK or Chieftain, so I won't need to take off much, I'd imagine. I'm going to try (fingers crossed) to make the whole thing out of a single piece, so the blade and windway will be part of a single plug. I've got some PVC with a similar internal diameter to practice on. I figure I can make ten to fifteen practice whistles with the lengths of PVC I've got. I'm excited. I'm going to aim for a really good alto whistle, and later go for a bass whistle. It should be fun. Right now, I'm just trying to figure out the bare minimum tools I need to do a good job. I'm really thinking I need a drill press. A lathe would be nice for getting the fipple plugs just right, but I'm not sure what to look for, and everything is pricey. I'm not even sure how a lathe even works. I tried to buy plugs very close to the internal diameter of the pipe, so I'm hoping I won't need too much adjustment.

The only other thing I'm trying to figure out is how to (inexpensively) get that cool, curved underside of the beak. For the PVC whistles, it's not so important, but I'd like to do it for the copper ones. It seems like every aspect of whistle making requires at least $100 (lathe, drill press, band saw, etc).

Hopefully, I'll come down with a strong case of beginner's luck and get some really nice whistles out of the process. I'm really picky about my whistles, and there are SO many factors that can influence the playability of the resulting instrument. There's a reason the best makers can charge so much. Making a whistle that plays is easy. Making a whistle that plays well is more difficult. Making a flawless whistle (even by relative whistle standards) is, I'm sure, extraordinarily difficult, requiring more commitment than I can probably muster.


Do you plan on documenting the process? That would be a great thread to follow. Good luck! I would like to try that some day myself... after I learn how to play.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:07 am 
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I'll certainly document it and share the results, whatever they might be.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:28 am 
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Nice choice of material, since Delrin machines very nicely. Which means it'll drill, cut and file cleanly. Have you considered using a piece of Delrin tube, the same diameter as the copper tubing? You could then make the fipple the same way Guido Gonzato makes his low-tech whistles. Join the copper to the Delrin using a larger diameter tube that is a slip-fit over both. Or perhaps you could use Delrin tubing that fits in side the copper, and a Delrin rod that slides inside that. You'd have to cut a window (and make a lip) out of the copper.

I'm about a month into making GG-style PVC whistles myself (being set off by encountering a gentleman selling hand-made Thai end-flutes at the Chiang Mai Sunday Walking Street market - they're called "Khlui" according to Wikipedia - he had some cheap ones made of plastic he was selling for 30 baht). I made a set of four low-D whistles out of aluminum almost 20 years ago (from instructions on Usenet), and hadn't had much contact with whistles since, though I was a member of the Yahoogroups version of this forum (still am, but no traffic..). So far, I'm hampered by the lack of 12-13mm i.d. PVC, so I've tried making them out of bigger pipe. The biggest frustration is finding dowel and tubing that fit each other without the need for sanding. Can't find Delrin, and the last time I tried to buy something from McMaster Carr, they said they had a new policy - they will now no longer sell to anyone outside the US. They won't even do it if you use a shipping consolidator. So far I have a somewhat successful B-flat alto whistle (17mm i.d.) and a not-so-nice low-D. I've run into the "upper register is flat" problem - I'd read about it but didn't expect it to be this severe, so I've playing with fipple blocks with attached "Fajardo wedges" - it really does work. The first one I made was too extreme, now the upper register is sharp!

Can't wait to go to Chiang Mai again to get some Thai PVC - their water pipe is a nice, light blue color and their electrical conduit a pale yellow. There were even shops selling it a block from where I stayed. Maybe they'll have some small diameter tubing.

By the way, they have another use for the PVC water pipe. This happens in the North East (near Udon Thani):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgNvB3BetR4

Iskandar


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PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2017 9:47 pm 
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So, I finally made it back out to my discombobulated workshop/garage, and lo and behold, the homemade chisels I had mentioned were sitting right there on the workbench (which is not to say they were hard to miss - I'm in the process of remodeling, so everything is a huge mess). And about five feet away was a bucket that happened to contain some 1/2" delrin rod...

First of all, here are the chisels. I know they're not works of art, but they do the job they were designed for, and they didn't cost me anything other than a little time.

Image Image

Maybe I should be embarrassed to show this, but here's the result of my unplanned five-minute attempt at carving something like a windway in delrin. It's... ...rough. That said, I think one could do better after a couple more attempts. At this point I'm not sure I'd ever get anything that would be as good as I can manage with different construction, but it might actually work.

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