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 Post subject: 3d Printed whistle.
PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:20 pm 
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So, in 2015, I made a joke April Fool's Day post about making copies of famous whistles and selling them on the cheap. I thought it was clever and fun (but then again, I usually do think I'm clever, whether I actually am or not).

That's only about 4 years ago. Who knew technology would catch up to me and make my joke closer to reality than I could have possibly realized?

https://youtu.be/zLv1AHlKNiQ

:shock:

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 Post subject: Re: 3d Printed whistle.
PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:10 pm 
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That's pretty neat, Greg.

We have a bunch of 3D printers at work. One of my colleagues prototypes any of his complicated pieces on the 3D printer before having a machinist cut any metal. Next complex thing I design, I'll do the same.

How did you do the CAD for the blade? Did you intersect a cone with a cylinder?

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 Post subject: Re: 3d Printed whistle.
PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:22 am 
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Should be interesting to see the final version(s) of whistles 3D printed. I'd be interested if you're selling whistles.


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 Post subject: Re: 3d Printed whistle.
PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:47 am 
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chas wrote:
That's pretty neat, Greg.

We have a bunch of 3D printers at work. One of my colleagues prototypes any of his complicated pieces on the 3D printer before having a machinist cut any metal. Next complex thing I design, I'll do the same.

How did you do the CAD for the blade? Did you intersect a cone with a cylinder?


Intersected a box down through the body at the angle I wanted.

ytliek wrote:
Should be interesting to see the final version(s) of whistles 3D printed. I'd be interested if you're selling whistles.


I'm hoping to eventually sell them. But there's a fair bit of work to do still. The first octave is a bit weak, and the octave break is well below the in tune sweet spot. So, once you break over to the next octave, you gotta still push quite a bit to bring the whistle up into tune (so, there are notable spots in the recording where I'm flat in the 2nd octave). These are things I'd criticize in a whistle I was reviewing, so I'm going to work to get them fixed before I consider anything for public consumption.

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 Post subject: Re: 3d Printed whistle.
PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:51 am 
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Speaking as someone nearly ready to launch a new whistle brand, I'd say that 3D printing is better for prototyping than producing. Layer height is extremely important, and few printers are fine enough to produce a precise, playable instrument. I used 3D printing to prototype my whistles, because as a young person living in an apartment and working full time, I really don't have the access or time to develop precise machining skills*. I do work out of a community makerspace for some of the tooling, but I'm trying to remove sources of error (me) as much as possible. This also offered the benefits of not being limited by the geometries my limited machining tools can produce.

As far as printing one-off copies of famous brands, I think it's easier said than done. I build my whistles according to a process that helps my 3D modelling program work with - rather than against - my design. It's not always obvious how to accurately reproduce the geometry we see in real life digitally, and you have to be very, very good at measuring things precisely and accurately. This takes more than just calipers, and is extremely time consuming. For whistles that are made of rolled or folded metal (like Copelands), the wall thickness of the metal is too small to reproduce with most 3D printing methods; it would just collapse during the process, so you'd have to model the internal geometry and add supportive exterior geometry. The body tubes for most of these couldn't be made on the printer, so you'd have to scrounge up the right tube stock and drill it yourself (or, better yet, use a milling machine). If it's a conical whistle, well, you're in for a fun time.

So, at the end of the day, the answer to "Could I just print whistles by famous makers" is "maybe." 3D printing, however, has created an absolute Renaissance for bagpipe makers though, as the parts are typically thicker and sturdier, so more kinds of printers can handle them. People are trading STLs of measured museum pieces, tweaking them, improving them, and sharing back. You still gotta make reeds the old fashioned way, though!

For the curious: I'm using a vat polymerization method on a Formlabs Form 2


*please don't take this to mean I am not developing my skills on various machines, I am, just more slowly than is feasible for this project.


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 Post subject: Re: 3d Printed whistle.
PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:08 am 
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I'd agree that a lot of what you say is true, if I were 3d printing with FDM (filament deposit of melted plastic). They have a very poor resolution. But I'm 3d printing with an SLS machine (laser sintering powdered plastic) that has a .06mm layer height and requires no internal supports to build things like tubes and the like. It will make thin features. I think I fairly accurately captured how my O'Riordan looks and plays, including some of the same flaws.

Image

The SLS printer was able to make that thin bit of mouthpiece and the entire windway channel without any issues at all. The whistle head is a single print, and not something assembled (like the Quistle, for instance). All I had to do was adjust the blade until it played a note. I am confident that with enough time I could 3d print a whistle head in one piece that played right out of the box. After all, injection molded whistles (generation, oak, dixon, etc) do it. I just need to nail down the geometry precisely so that I don't gotta take jewler's files and exacto knives to the thing. At least, not to the extent that I had to with the first prototypes. This isn't exactly my first rodeo with trying my hand at making whistles.

The final texture of a 3d printed object is a bit 'grainy', and there's some work to be done there polishing, I think, in a final product. I also 3d printed with a cheaper and grainier plastic, because I was in the exploration/prototype phase. I wasn't even sure I would be able to get something playable at all--though was extremely chuffed when I did.

Now, don't get me wrong. My 2015 joke post was all about "copying famous makers", but that isn't really my intention here. I mostly wanted to use the O'Riordan as a starting point for all of the numbers, but I absolutely intend to tweak the model until I get something that is more to my personal liking. I don't have any desire or intention to try to copy all the famous makers with 3d printing. (And I certainly couldn't do it for $35/whistle! SLS powder ain't that cheap. hah)

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 Post subject: Re: 3d Printed whistle.
PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:57 am 
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Very, very interesting project! I hope you will one day sell these. Oh, BTW - the high D Qwistle head is one piece. The low D is two pieces. But overall the high D is put together from three pieces. Judging from your pic, I'd say your head is thinner. I think it is also different material.


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 Post subject: Re: 3d Printed whistle.
PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:07 pm 
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I'd love to get my hands on SLS technology at some point - my smallpipes were made that way and I really like how the finished piece feels.

As for whistles, I am hoping I can pressure cast them in some kind of two-part mold with indexing elements. Casting is something I'm familiar with, which I could do at home instead of driving to the shop. I hope to send one out for a whistle tour soon, and I'd love to try one of yours sometime.

Mine aim to fuse the lightness of the Generation whistles under your fingers with a more refined, but still lively sound. Although people compare Sindts and Killarneys to Generations in terms of tone, I find they're quite different in the feedback they give the player, and they have a much less aggressive attack than Gens. Apart from those, loud, wide-bore, hard-to-blow whistles have really taken over the market it seems, and I'd like to bring back some of the classic whistle qualities in mine.


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 Post subject: Re: 3d Printed whistle.
PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:49 pm 
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Sedi wrote:
Very, very interesting project! I hope you will one day sell these. Oh, BTW - the high D Qwistle head is one piece. The low D is two pieces. But overall the high D is put together from three pieces. Judging from your pic, I'd say your head is thinner. I think it is also different material.


Thanks for the correction! The STS files I have for the qwistle is an assembled head, but I didn't look that closely to see if it was a low D or high D whistle.

MadmanWithaWhistle wrote:
I'd love to get my hands on SLS technology at some point - my smallpipes were made that way and I really like how the finished piece feels.

As for whistles, I am hoping I can pressure cast them in some kind of two-part mold with indexing elements. Casting is something I'm familiar with, which I could do at home instead of driving to the shop. I hope to send one out for a whistle tour soon, and I'd love to try one of yours sometime.

Mine aim to fuse the lightness of the Generation whistles under your fingers with a more refined, but still lively sound. Although people compare Sindts and Killarneys to Generations in terms of tone, I find they're quite different in the feedback they give the player, and they have a much less aggressive attack than Gens. Apart from those, loud, wide-bore, hard-to-blow whistles have really taken over the market it seems, and I'd like to bring back some of the classic whistle qualities in mine.


Sounds exciting! I had at one point considered casting a head, or having one molded. Even though I've made whistles before, I wouldn't consider myself an artisan. By the time I had to fold up shop to move to Virginia, I hadn't yet developed the skills that would let me make and sell a top-notch whistle (and I hope the price I sold them at the time at reflected that).

I'm much more at home behind a keyboard--it was a lot easier for me to discover the angle of my O'Riordan's labium by using inverse trig than it was for me to figure out a way to measure it directly. And certainly a lot easier for me to model that precisely than it would be for me to cut it precisely by hand.

With a really good digital micrometer, you can get about 90% of the measurements you need to build a basic whistle with careful and direct measurement. Some whistle geometries would be more difficult than others, for sure, but I imagine I could make a conical whistle model pretty simply. The body geometry (whether straight or conical bore) is just not that complicated to model. The head, on the other hand, is a bit more work.

There are some things that are pretty difficult to measure, like if the finger holes are undercut, or the amount of undercut on the labium. But I'd consider those things part of the voicing process, and something I'm just going to have to develop more of a skill for. I don't imagine I'll ever be able to create a whistle to my own standards that can be printed and shipped with no real involvement from me.

But, you never know :D

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 Post subject: Re: 3d Printed whistle.
PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:18 pm 
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Wanderer wrote:

Sounds exciting! I had at one point considered casting a head, or having one molded. Even though I've made whistles before, I wouldn't consider myself an artisan. By the time I had to fold up shop to move to Virginia, I hadn't yet developed the skills that would let me make and sell a top-notch whistle (and I hope the price I sold them at the time at reflected that).


I haven't ruled out casting a blank and then hand-finishing it with the aid of some kind of jig for consistency, either, though of course I'd prefer not to for time reasons. Getting access to this shop, which was formerly part of a local community college's "Pipeline to Boeing," has allowed me to start trying to make inventions I've had in my mind since I was a kid. From affordable flat-pack reptile enclosures to synthetic Uilleann and Smallpipe reeds, my to-do list is pretty full.


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 Post subject: Re: 3d Printed whistle.
PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:26 am 
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I find it crazy how much the blade geometry makes a difference on tuning.

I got some new jewler's files in today from Amazon, and decided to give the 'crap' whistle head a tuning to see if I could do something about it.

It's still chiffier than the first one. But I took about first .5mm of the labium to a steeper angle, and it brought both octaves closer together in breath and tuning, and strengthened the first octave D and E notes at the same time. I didn't do or change anything else.

Even if i never sell one of these as 3d printed whistles, I think printing a bunch of (6 more on the way) will prove invaluable to the kind of experimentation and experience I wasn't really able to get when I was trying to learn OJT back when I last made whistles.

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 Post subject: Re: 3d Printed whistle.
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:51 am 
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Good luck. I think this is what Jerry Freeman was planning. viewtopic.php?f=1&t=107663&p=1209909


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 Post subject: Re: 3d Printed whistle.
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:37 am 
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technowhistle wrote:
Good luck. I think this is what Jerry Freeman was planning. viewtopic.php?f=1&t=107663&p=1209909


I don't think the two projects are really comparable. Jerry seems to be taking the "tweaking a Generation" thing to the logical extreme, as per a post of his recently:

Quote:
I installed a filler lattice under the windway. People stick a ball of poster putty to fill the cavity under the windway, and that cleans up some of the unstable notes. But poster putty or any solid filler deadens the sound. It took me ten years to finally come up with a solution I was satisfied with. I needed something transparent to sound waves, but that an airstream would see as a solid surface. Finally, I figured out how to create an open lattice that attaches under the windway. It works perfectly without altering the original plastic in any way.


My project, although devoid of "filler lattices," CT scanning, or university funding, is an entirely new design focusing on reproducing certain playing characteristics of the old Gens as identified by strong players, and fusing that with a sound inspired by - but not bound to - the legacy instruments. I respect what Jerry's doing, and it's way beyond anything I'm working on currently.


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 Post subject: Re: 3d Printed whistle.
PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:11 am 
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Greg stopped by yesterday and showed me his 3D printed whistles. I'm lucky to have him living fairly close and we've become face to face friends and session mates.
That first black whistle he made isn't a bad whistle at all,apart from an unstable low D note. It's fairly quiet which could be a plus or minus depending on where you'd want to play it. He left me one body and three untweaked (and unplayable) for me to experiment with which should be fun.
Greg also told me he found a 3D printing company which can produce finished metal parts in various metals. He's going to try some of his whistles, and if the quality is good it might be a less expensive alternative for my metal fittings, which have become VERY expensive to have made. I have good 3D drawings of the parts with all dimensions, but not CAD files yet.

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 Post subject: Re: 3d Printed whistle.
PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2019 11:22 am 
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brewerpaul wrote:
Greg stopped by yesterday and showed me his 3D printed whistles. I'm lucky to have him living fairly close and we've become face to face friends and session mates.
That first black whistle he made isn't a bad whistle at all,apart from an unstable low D note. It's fairly quiet which could be a plus or minus depending on where you'd want to play it. He left me one body and three untweaked (and unplayable) for me to experiment with which should be fun.
Greg also told me he found a 3D printing company which can produce finished metal parts in various metals. He's going to try some of his whistles, and if the quality is good it might be a less expensive alternative for my metal fittings, which have become VERY expensive to have made. I have good 3D drawings of the parts with all dimensions, but not CAD files yet.


Have you considered just getting a little tabletop metal lathe? The fittings on your whistles don't strike me as terribly difficult to make with just a lathe and file.


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