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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2021 6:39 pm 
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Also to my knowledge most viruses dont live very long on not living things. So by the time it gets to the next person most of anything in the whistle will be dead.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2021 5:10 am 
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Also to my knowledge most viruses dont live very long on not living things.


Coronavirus will survive up to 72 hours on plastic and some metals. Where I live the postal system still manages next day delivery most of the time. YMMV. I am no germophobe but currently it's probably best to err on the side of caution when sending around things you blow droplets into.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2021 5:40 am 
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Seems to me that Covid or pre-Covid or post-Covid it's doing your due diligence to sanitize new or borrowed whistles.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2021 12:19 pm 
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While I've seen many data sources say COVID will survive only about 3 or 4 days on "non-living" surfaces like kitchen tables, door handles, packaging surfaces, etc., presume it could survive longer in areas of trapped moisture or organic accumulations, such as in the nooks and crannies of mechanical devices musicians or homeowners use that collect saliva, finger oils, small shards of nachos or popcorn husks, etc., you know what I'm talking about. It could be a whistle, or it could be water taps in the kitchen, or the fridge door handle, computer keyboards, computer mice, etc.

So I'd err on the side of caution when buying something, and when receiving something, give it the required 4 days before opening, then if it's a used item such as a whistle, take apart anything that can be taken apart, clean them with strong cleansers that typically kill organic material instantly, dry them, inspect them to see that there are no areas where dirt could get trapped, and then let the item sit another four days before using it .......... especially with anything you're putting in your mouth, inhaling through, putting in contact with your skin, near your face, etc..

If for any reason you need to use the item sooner, such as to protect a warranty or "return free within 7 days" deals, then use maximum precaution to protect yourself, act as if the COVID virus is there, and work around it.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2021 12:05 pm 
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While I appreciate and support the caution folks express toward sharing of wind instruments at this time, I think some of the thoughts expressed above are overkill. Speaking as someone in the medical arena as well as a former Quality Control analyst in an ISO-6 cleanroom, a brief soak in 70% or greater isopropyl alcohol will kill any coronavirus particles. “Industrial strength sanitizer,” like the peroxidized vinegar we used in the cleanroom, is absolutely overkill and has a tendency to corrode many different materials.

There are currently NO reported cases of anyone becoming infected via the mail. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened, or that it couldn’t happen, but it does inform what level of caution is appropriate.

A whistle tour from me would include instructions for safe handling, including sanitizing the whistle and its case, and a recommendation that particularly vulnerable parties leave the package in a warm place (70F or above) for five days before opening, and repeating the sanitization before playing.

The tour would also be divided by region - UK folks will be playing the UK whistle, Continental lads the US one etc, both for postage efficiency and keeping transferred materials within their own epidemiological bubble.

Also, I realized last night that I missed a conversion factor which (bleep) up 3 days worth of math for the tonebodies, so there will be plenty of time to agree on a safe protocol and get full informed consent from those participating.

Edit: what is this “bleep” business? We’re not twelve.


Last edited by MadmanWithaWhistle on Fri Jan 22, 2021 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2021 2:45 pm 
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3 days of math? Damn, are you using WIDesigner? It was way too complicated for me so I resorted to using a much simpler app called "Do-It-Yourself Flute" from google-play. The rest was trial and error. Worked out fine in the end and saved me from a lot of head-scratching, I guess :thumbsup: . But the material I use is cheap, so making more than 20 prototypes was not really a big deal. Too bad Covid came along and messed up my plans of turning this into a business, as shipping became too expensive (I never checked if the prices came back down again however). But it was/is fun. I'm getting "the itch" again, so I might make another flute soon but a bad allergy knocked me out for over 2 months from making any whistles. I just had enough energy left for my day job.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2021 3:18 pm 
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Sedi wrote:
3 days of math? Damn, are you using WIDesigner?


Got it in one lol! WwID is actually great once the order of operations is understood; the documentation could definitely be improved, and I'm taking extensive notes both to remind myself HOW I was doing all this, and to use it as a case study that's a bit more step-by-step.

The math f u c k u p was totally me; WwID calculates total whistle length from the splitting edge, whereas I prefer to run the CNC hole-milling program from the terminal end of the whistle. This necessitates some conversion that accounts for the intermediate material between the splitting edge and the beginning of the brass body tube. (I have since discovered WwID can somewhat account for this) Since no woodwind calculation can ever be perfect, it's good to not base your measurements on something you might have to trim later to allow for tuning, or at least not until you're done with everything else. Both in entering my previous hole calculations for optimization and in converting the output for milling, I failed to account for this intermediate length. I don't know if I can blame dyscalculia directly for this one, but certainly the extra care required may have distracted me from that little factor.

Thankfully (or perhaps not?) it's really just the "manual labor" of moving these measurements into WwID, performing the optimizations, and transferring back to the mill. Some might rightfully question why I'm taking such an overbuilt approach to this, and it's because I just don't have the ability to "guess and check." I live in a small apartment and use a friend's mill, so I can't just spend all day ruining brass in a shop I don't have; I've got to be efficient in how I use limited time, materials, and access to equipment.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2021 4:53 pm 
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Ah, yes, that's understandable that you don't wanna waste material with that approach. That is much more technical than what I did. My most sophisticated machinery is a box column drill and a vice. And lots of files (the metal grinding type, not the computer.version). And luckily I have room in the basement for a small workshop. I can make as much dirt as I want there and I keep the dust in one room. I always wear one of those huge masks you normally wear for painting cars to keep the aluminium dust out of my lungs. Brass is a nice material but I couldn't find the right size for the windway cover and using aluminium led to contact corrosion. So I reverted to using aluminium. I also made one whistle in stainless steel. But it's tough to drill.
The app I use never gets the overall length correctly, maybe because it is for flutes originally but when using it for flutes, the overall length was still not correct but the measurements from the bottom end to place the holes are spot-on. So what I do when making a flute or whistle is -- I first make the head and then tune the bell note. Not the optimum but it worked out in the end. Another problem I faced was temperature since the basement is colder than the living room.
Getting a bit off-topic here however. Maybe we should start another whistle-making thread.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2021 9:13 pm 
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Sedi wrote:
Ah, yes, that's understandable that you don't wanna waste material with that approach. That is much more technical than what I did. My most sophisticated machinery is a box column drill and a vice. And lots of files (the metal grinding type, not the computer.version). And luckily I have room in the basement for a small workshop. I can make as much dirt as I want there and I keep the dust in one room. I always wear one of those huge masks you normally wear for painting cars to keep the aluminium dust out of my lungs. Brass is a nice material but I couldn't find the right size for the windway cover and using aluminium led to contact corrosion. So I reverted to using aluminium. I also made one whistle in stainless steel. But it's tough to drill.
The app I use never gets the overall length correctly, maybe because it is for flutes originally but when using it for flutes, the overall length was still not correct but the measurements from the bottom end to place the holes are spot-on. So what I do when making a flute or whistle is -- I first make the head and then tune the bell note. Not the optimum but it worked out in the end. Another problem I faced was temperature since the basement is colder than the living room.
Getting a bit off-topic here however. Maybe we should start another whistle-making thread.


I will admit to having done unspeakable things with a Dremel, down in my apartment's bike storage where the walls are concrete. Thankfully I work mostly with 3D printing these days, making blanks that I hand-finish. I'd love to have the time, money, and opportunity to become a master woodworker or machinist, but I got a day job and I'm not waiting till retirement to play a decent instrument!


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2021 11:03 pm 
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While we are derailing the thread with whistle crafting. I did a ton of testing using 3d printed headpieces. I learned basic cad in highschool and became a 3d printing hobbyist for a while so my cad skills were good enough to make almost any headpiece I could want. Which was almost perfect. But I dont view 3d printed objects as food safe meaning to me its not mouth safe either. And coatings and stuff are also fishy, and its hard to smooth and coat the inside of a windway. So now I'm just back to making a mess in my parents basement with my Dremel belt sander and drill press haha. I just got a wood lathe for making better tuning slides and trying to make more professional mouthpieces. Havent got to use it yet tho because I need to move my setup to the barn or something so I dont take up too much space inside (or make too much of a mess haha). I know wood lathes arent the best for whistle and flute making but for my uses should be a big improvement. And I may dabble with wood turning, sound fun. For hole location I've a actually just been using 'the low tech whistle' dimensions. My tubes are usually different sizes but in the end if I stay true to it as I can, I get a good oxx ooo, which I didnt when I strayed from his numbers. Its just depending on what size my tube is the holes are either smaller or larger than intended. I'm trying to figure out how to shift them without messing up oxx ooo. I've always had a hard time with the whistle hole calculators. I've dreamed of selling them as a pro maker but thats not very likely, seeing as nothing I make comes out that professional and takes me too long, so it wouldnt work out very well haha. But I also make my life too hard. I try to make super cool delrin mouthpieces instead of using normal tube over tube designs. Not that the tube over tube designs end up being easy anyway because all the perfect tube dimensions takes a lot of tooling because most tubes wont fit perfectly and tightly. I made a D shaped windway one, like my tilbury, but as a low whistle it just plays badly. I may convert it to be a discount thunderbird style (flat hammered) but then I feel like I'm just copying. but I hurt my thumb earlier (un related to whistles) so now I cant work on anything so I'm just sitting here monologuing on forums haha...

Best of luck on your whistle making adventures. I look forward to your being for sale, they sound like they should be very legit.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2021 11:09 am 
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I’ve done a lot of research into the safety aspect - you’re correct that many 3D printing materials are too reactive or otherwise inappropriate for mouth contact scenarios. I would obviously prefer to make my instruments out of the most safely-edible material possible, but I can’t polish the biocompatible materials that print at sufficient resolution, and the other biocompatible materials can’t be SLS’d.

However, “food safe” at least in the US is a very specific definition that a surprising amount of everyday items don’t meet, and is evaluated in the context of much rougher everyday use than an instrument would see without breaking.

The risk of repeated ingestion of particles, for example, is a much greater concern with a cutting board than a whistle. FDA’s food safety designations are overkill for a reason - they want to account for the worst possible abuse of a material by the most clueless possible end user. I could eat that entire cutting board piece by piece, and experience no more harm than an uncomfortable experience a few days later. I don’t think I could say the same for my wooden flute, especially given the aerospace lubricant Windward uses to seal them.

So, here is my methodology for creating a safe final product: I deliberately chose a Formlabs printer, which due to the high power of the laser can have much less reactive prepolymers than other SLA printers, making for a very inert final product. Formlabs doesn’t sell the dental version to consumers, but I have it on good authority that there is not too much difference between the standard resin and the dental version, which actually contains a (more reactive) plasticizer to improve flexibility. Much of the safety data concerns liquid resin, which is indeed irritating before cure (and I use a UV curing oven to precisely control final cure). I also seal the entire thing with a biocompatible top coat, and with these measures taken into account, I am confident in its safety. I will also disclose this information, along with the MSDS of everything used, on my website so people can make an informed decision.

It’s worth noting that despite the fear attached to “synthetic chemicals,” many commonly used materials, such as nickel and cocuswood, have far more potential to cause irritation. (In fact, no cases of irritation have been reported from any solid Formlabs resin product). Also, unless you’re regularity sealing your wooden utensils and cutting boards with a proper compound, they’re not really “food safe” under the FDA definition, either.

Edit: you mentioned the “three tube” method of mouthpiece construction - it’s very commonly used because it’s the simplest way to make a playable whistle head with common subtractive shop equipment. However, this method limits the possible curvatures of the airblade. Airblade curvature and undercut were a huge contributor to the desired sound of my final design. I’ll be publishing a detailed account of my design and research process after I get a wee head start on making these, but here’s a hint in the mean time:

The ideal curvature of the airblade does NOT correspond to the curvature of the bore.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2021 11:34 am 
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Interesting about the very different approaches. I used square profile tubes because it is much easier to get a perfectly straight blade and windway. I'm pretty happy with the results.
But it's a nice thing there are so many different ways you can make a whistle despite the fact it's such a simple (construction-wise) instrument.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2021 4:20 pm 
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Ya I will agree that the definition of 'food safe' is pretty over the top haha. I always read that SLA resins were too unsafe though for me to consider using, but I'm definitely no guru on the toipic. And if it has a safe coating on it anyway, people shouldnt be exposed to that anyway. I've always hard a hard time getting good coats on anything though.

Maybe you guys can help me think of a way to improve my current mouthpieces. A way I found that I got good results for delrin mouthpieces is just straight cutting the top of the mouthpiece off, carving a windway, and then re attaching it. but I cant find a satisfactory way to re attatch it. I think this may be how reyburn used to make his wooden ones. I originally used a 'non toxic when cured' epoxy but I feel like its just not professional and not 100% safe. So even though I'm overkill on the safety I feel like I wont be happy until my product could meet the excessive fda standards. Because then I really have nothing to worry about haha. I'm currently using tiny nails but it just looks bad. And while these are limited by my novice craftsmanship, the results can be fine tuned very well and it seems to have a lot of potential (and isnt very hard to make which saves time).
Heres a picture to show what I'm talking about.
https://imgur.com/a/uHlOXYn
The left most plays very well. The third plays the worst but looks the best. Its just too limited by the windway shape. Its too quiet, and to make it a wider windway id need to make it taller. The right most is my super old initial test of the concept thats epoxy'd on. It plays surprisingly well but its super un legit so I want to replace it haha.

I'm thinking it could be possible to melt weld the two parts together (with a gas mask and outside because the fumes are really bad) but I'm not a plastic expert so I'm not sure if after melting, if the plastic is safe or will have fishy leeching or something.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 12:15 pm 
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You’re correct that I wouldn’t touch most 3D resins with a ten foot bass drone; Formlabs is the exception rather than the rule.

That’s a very interesting approach, Narsog. Are you milling the windways or cutting by hand? You might consider making a cowling (as I call the outermost ring in a 3 tube design) that not only covers the windway but wraps around and is retained via press-fit. Delrin can deform substantially so it’s an easy solution until you get your final design down. Also, absolutely nothing sticks to delrin so don’t even try adhesive. Pins or some kind of indexed press-fit to prevent rotation is the best option IMO, but I’m much more of a designer than a craftsperson.

As far as tone goes, pay special attention to the windway exit, blade position vertically in the airstream, and sharpness of the blade. Start with a short window length and work backwards, sharpening and dulling as you go to test the sound. You don’t have much airblade to work with (mine is 25° and nearly a third of an inch long) so do try to be consistent about it.

What tools/machines do you have to work with?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 2:53 pm 
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I'm hand cutting the windways, but milling would be 100x better haha. I just havent found a budget mill and it doesnt currently fit into my budget. With every attempt I find a less bad way to cut the windway, so some day I'll be able to do it quickly by hand at least. Technically I've been using Acetal not Delrin, which is what comes up 99% of the time you google to buy Delrin. So most people just call Acetal Delrin. But it also shouldn't stick to adhesives but I actually found it sticks to PC Clear epoxy. Which even though they say is 'non toxic when cured' I still dont trust it enough to put it in my mouth haha.

One of my issues with trying to make an over tube design is my ability to make the over tube. My aluminum alto tube I bought perfectly fits tighly in holes drilled by my 3/4 bit. But all the other tubes I have fit loosely with my closet fitting bits. A similar thing I thought of though is to make a recorder block (like the one here if u scroll down in this link http://www.flute-a-bec.com/bouchongb.html). This way I can drill a hole to fit it in, and just file a windway up. And then I can file up the lip of needed to get the locations correct. This might be too much effort though, not sure. My current method of making a solid mouthpiece and creating the windway by cutting a piece off is super easy. If it doesnt seal perfect on my tube I can just use plumbing tape. And then I dont need to worry about assorted tube fitment because the inside is just 2 different hole sizes (the tube size and a slightly smaller one to file the windway up into), and filing a straight lip. The issue there is my issue of attaching the top without it looking stupid haha.

My tools are pretty limiting. I have a cheap junk harbor freight belt sander and drill press. An old dremel with tungsten engraving bits that I cut the base windways with (which actually works really well with some practice). And some assorted hand saws and stuff. I did just get a Turncrafter Commander midi lathe, but the drill chuck and chisels it was supposed to come with are on backorder so I get to wait a while. It is a wood lathe so its not going to be perfect for outside precision work. but I think it should do well for drilling perfect centered holes (better than my drill press which I always drill slightly off), and it can save time on trimming the outsides and being symmetrical. And making tuning slides significantly better than my belt sander.


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