# Pre-built designs
# Fingering charts
# Drinking-straw reeds for shawms
# How might I acquire one of these instruments?
# 3D printer advice
# Class notes
# Example milling pattern
Python software to design and make woodwind instruments using a 3D printer or CNC mill.
or install with
pip install demakein
Shawms in alto, tenor, and even bass size, 4mm and 6mm reed size, folk and recorder-like fingering system. Flutes in tenor, alto, and soprano sizes, folk and pflute fingering system, straight and tapered bore. Folk whistles in tenor, alto, soprano, and sopranino sizes (note: I'm still tweaking the parameters on these). (I refer to instrument sizes here by analogy to recorders. The actual pitch is an octave above the corresponding human vocal range.)
Folk flute and whistle fingering system (i.e. penny-whistle fingering).
Pflute fingering system, similar to a recorder.
Fingering system for shawm, similar to recorder.
Fingering system for "folk shawm", similar to penny-whistle.
- If you have a 3D printer, download the pre-built designs (above) and print them out. I have tested ABS plastic, and it makes a very nice flute.
- Find your local hackerspace, and find someone willing to print the instrument or get you started with your own 3D printer.
- Shapeways, etc: Use one of the designs I've already uploaded to Shapeways, or upload a design from the pre-built designs (above). I tested the "strong & flexible" material, and it produces an excellent flute. A number of similar services can be found online.
- If you have a milling machine, install the software, "design" the instrument you want then "make" it with milling parameters appropriate to the materials and mill bits that you have. Demakein will cut the instrument into pieces that can be glued together to make the instrument, and pack them into blocks to be carved.
Joints: Often the head part of the instrument (whistle / flute / shawm) will produce sound, but when further pieces are attached it stops working. This is very probably a problem with the joints, even if there is no obvious leak.
To get a whistle working on my Replicator 2X in ABS plastic:
- I printed with 100% infill, one layer of shell.
- I sanded both the inner and outer parts of the joint somewhat.
- I then wrapped the inner piece of the joint in blue teflon tape, wrapped to extend just slightly above the top of the inner piece.
Whistle (folk whistle / recorder / etc): The whistle has some horizontal overhang surfaces and may need a little cleanup after printing. Remove any loose threads from around the airway. Feed a little strip of sandpaper through the airway and do some sanding.
The head of whistle should sound with just the head piece and with a finger over the end, even without any cleanup. The headpiece will sound a little less readily with with an open end, a little cleanup should get this working. If the whistle will then not sound with the remaining pieces attached, the problem is probably in the joints (see above).
Holes in the wall: A potential problem is that there are tiny gaps in the wall of the instrument. Try spraying the interior of the instrument with some kind of lacquer, or even hair spray. Better: adjust your printer settings so that there are no holes.
These are some notes on medieval and renaissance instrument making, with some practical discussion of trade-offs imposed by instrument physics (effects of tube shapes, hole sizes, bore deviations):
Milling two sides of a piece of wood to make a soprano flute. The holes in the corners are for anchoring pegs to ensure the two sides are aligned.