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 Post subject: Carbon Fiber Flutes?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 3:43 pm 
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I came across one, Carbony, and it looks like there are significant advantages to using it as the material.
This makes me wonder why they are not catching up as fast (even as fast as Delrin), and/or why not more makers are adopting these.
Are there any major concerns?


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 Post subject: Re: Carbon Fiber Flutes?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 3:46 pm 
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tradlad123 wrote:
I came across one, Carbony, and it looks like there are significant advantages to using it as the material.
This makes me wonder why they are not catching up as fast (even as fast as Delrin), and/or why not more makers are adopting these.
Are there any major concerns?



I'm not convinced of the advantages over, say, delrin. Carbon fiber would I think be lighter, but there's a lot of epoxy or glue in any carbon fiber object which I think might have a dampening effect? The strength to weight ratio of carbon fiber doesn't seem to me to be all that crucial in a flute compared to, say, a guitar soundboard which has to resist the pull of strings for decades


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 Post subject: Re: Carbon Fiber Flutes?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 6:32 pm 
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I have an F carbony that I enjoy a lot. There is a youtube video of Sean Gavin playing one out there somewhere. I have often thought I'd buy a low D if I were in the market for a travel flute. They are light play easily.

I have a F and G whistle as well. I enjoy them very much.


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 Post subject: Re: Carbon Fiber Flutes?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 7:24 pm 
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Not sure why it isn't more popular. Maybe its a challenging material for the flute maker to work?

Carbon fiber is certainly very sturdy and seems to be pretty adaptable for complex shapes.

As far as weight goes, my carbon fiber keyless flute is quite a bit heavier than my delrin keyless. I suspect that's mostly due to the heavy stainless steel slide and rings on the former, versus silver on the latter.


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 Post subject: Re: Carbon Fiber Flutes?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:49 pm 
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I've seen other instruments made with it such as guitars and its a lively acoustical material. Rob Gandara does quite good with his instruments and I am pleased that he has a reachable low whistle with these. I looked into it myself once but decided I didn't really want to be around the sheets nor the raw epoxy resins used. I am now using Urethane acetate resins for the 3d printing which are considerably less toxic than the epoxies in the uncured form. Someday I would like to see Rob's shop and how he does his instruments.

Casey


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 Post subject: Re: Carbon Fiber Flutes?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 10:52 pm 
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I believe he uses a shaped mandrel to form the carbon fiber “wet,” which automatically shapes the bore. It machines just fine, but I would be hesitant to work it dry without an excellent dust scavenger - aerosolized carbon fibers are not something you want in your lungs.

I think the reason it’s not popular is simply due to the fact that wood is “good enough” for most cases. A lot of instrument makers started out as craftspeople or engineers, and they tend to work with what is most comfortable or familiar to then.

Plus, most people don’t have a Boeing hookup where they can get it for $2 a pound. I think it will be great for making the “cannoneer” Flemish-style drones more comfortable on some pipes I have planned. Maybe I can give the 3D printed chanter a surface wrap to make it match...


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 Post subject: Re: Carbon Fiber Flutes?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 9:31 am 
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MadmanWithaWhistle wrote:
I think the reason it’s not popular is simply due to the fact that wood is “good enough” for most cases. A lot of instrument makers started out as craftspeople or engineers, and they tend to work with what is most comfortable or familiar to then.


Resistance to synthetic materials by consumers may also be a factor. Some of us just prefer the aesthetics of a wooden flute. I admit it's mainly an emotional attachment and not completely rational, but that's how many purchase decisions are made.


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 Post subject: Re: Carbon Fiber Flutes?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 9:33 am 
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I think the most important question is how it sounds.
Never played the stuff myself.


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 Post subject: Re: Carbon Fiber Flutes?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 9:39 am 
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Carbon fiber flutes, at least the Carbony ones, aren't exactly cheap, you know. List at $730, which is higher than at least some of the other non-wood flutes available. That's also higher than some maker's wood flutes. This might be one reason for a possible lack of penetration into the market. Non-traditional appearance could be an additional factor. Also, I've heard (no experience) that while strong in many applications, carbon fiber items can be prone to fracture upon impacts, more so than say, Delrin.

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 Post subject: Re: Carbon Fiber Flutes?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:34 am 
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Conical bore wrote:
MadmanWithaWhistle wrote:
I think the reason it’s not popular is simply due to the fact that wood is “good enough” for most cases. A lot of instrument makers started out as craftspeople or engineers, and they tend to work with what is most comfortable or familiar to then.


Resistance to synthetic materials by consumers may also be a factor. Some of us just prefer the aesthetics of a wooden flute. I admit it's mainly an emotional attachment and not completely rational, but that's how many purchase decisions are made.


This is definitely a big deal. I was starting a line of Delrin headjoints for Boehm flutes many years back, and even though players admitted that they sounded great they simply didn't want them because they were plastic. There were exceptions here and there, but the overwhelming majority of players wanted wood or metal. How the headjoint sounded was not even part of the equation--it was (as you point out) an emotional/philosophical decision. As time went on I also found myself having very mixed feelings about using Delrin (at one time I used a lot of it) and I've phased it out entirely except for making small flute parts on rare occasions. My decision was about waste, disposal and exposure to the fumes, dust, etc..

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 Post subject: Re: Carbon Fiber Flutes?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2020 3:33 pm 
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re: delrin

I find it to be pretty acoustically "squishy." I own a delrin flute and a delrin set of flemish bagpipes, so it's not like I reject the material out of hand, but stiffer materials transmit more of the resonance that comes when a note is really "in the notch." Whether this translates to a different tone inherent to the material is up for (endless) debate, but as far as player feedback goes, carbon fiber and wood are much more "alive" under the fingers.


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 Post subject: Re: Carbon Fiber Flutes?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2020 3:51 pm 
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My customers are rushing rushing to order wood Folk Flutes before I change these over to 3D printed plastic. I've set a tentative deadline in a month or two - based on when I get the plastic ones up and running without trouble. I have way too many orders for the wood ones to fill usually and the effort is wearing out my joints - which is why I am going to plastic for the flute bodies. These will still be hand tuned and voiced.

If its a matter of aesthetics of wood over plastic, the choice of wood will still be available though a bit more expensive - I will simply be rebranding my $700 flute currently available in 3 or 4 sections as the Classic Folk Flute by Casey Burns and this will be available in other woods besides Blackwood and Boxwood - and also be upgradeable (keys, tunings slides and bands). The price will not change unless the Dollar collapses.

My Folk Flute model was always intended as an entry level instrument that plays well and is easy on the hands and embouchure. That won't change. The choice of plastics and the possibilities of surface details such as going for a semi-translucent flute that is fluted and faceted like some of the glass flutes by Laurent are some avenues that I plan to explore soon. After some 2000 of these in wood, however, I am ready for a different medium - or an available apprentice! The one I had intended is stuck in Canada brewing beer for people to bathe in.

Casey


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 Post subject: Re: Carbon Fiber Flutes?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2020 4:52 pm 
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As a beginner, I've had nothing but positive experiences with my delrin flute.

Its a fairly subjective thing, I realize. But it sounds good (per my family); its light weight and easy to handle, and its virtually zero maintenance.

Two advantages for the beginner with a non-wood, low maintenance first flute:

1. You spend all your time actually learning to hold and play the flute, not dealing with instrument maintenance
2. You never wonder if you sound bad because the flute is reacting to temperature and humidity conditions. You just sound bad because you aren't playing very well yet.


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 Post subject: Re: Carbon Fiber Flutes?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2020 5:40 pm 
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I’m pretty sure that Carbon fiber is indeed denser than delrin, that means that you don’t need as thick of stock for the same strength. If you made it using the same diameter as a delrin or wooden flute of a that design, it would be heavier.

When I compare the Carbony Flute that I own, to the other flutes I own, the Carbony flute has the thinest body at the first tone hole. The diameter is 1mm less than the Cochran delrin, 2mm less than the Copley Eb Delrin that I own. And even greater at 3mm on the Casey Burns ABW Rudall that I own.

As to the sound of the Carbony, Rob told me he based the design on the Pratten bore design, from drawings that Terry McGee sells, all my other flutes in D, are based on Rudall designs. I was wanting to try something different, more of a Prattern and the Carbony fit the bill. Over all I like to play the Carbony, for me it has a strong voice and I like the tone. I couldn’t say I like it better than the Cochran Delrin flute, so I still have both. Casey’s flute in ABW is my main flute, which I prefer over either of the others, but I’m not going to take it camping or some where it might get damaged, so that’s when I use either the Carbony or the Cochran flue.

The one thing I find with the difference in the diameter of the Carbony, is the transition from playing the Burn’s flute to trying to play the Carbony. The tactile feel of the flute takes some time to adjust to. If I were to go somewhere and wanted a back up flute I’d take the Cochran. So the Carbony is the Camping flute.

As Kevin suggested, I’m not feeling a great advantage of one over the other. I was able to work a trade with Rob, so it was worth it for me to give it a try.

MadmanWithaWhistle ~ Now every time I pick up one of my delrin flutes, you’ll have me wondering if it’s acoustically "squishy."


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 Post subject: Re: Carbon Fiber Flutes?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2020 7:07 pm 
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I wanted to point out that when the Carbony flutes were being developed, there was some discussion here on C&F regarding fractures & breakage. From what I recently reviewed, the carbon fiber used is wrapped in a way that makes breakage extremely unlikely. The same may not be true for instruments using other construction techniques.

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