UConn Researchers Use 3D Printing and Imaging to Recreate Antique Instruments

Share this Article

Sina Shahbazmohamadi, an engineer and the University of Connecticut's director for advanced 3D imaging, looks at a CT scan at UConn's Depot Campus in Mansfield, Conn., showing a mouthpiece for a 19th-century saxophone built by inventor Adolphe Sax. Researchers at the school are using CT scanning and 3D printing to study and reproduce antique musical instruments. (AP Photo/Pat Eaton-Robb) (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Sina Shahbazmohamadi, an engineer and the University of Connecticut’s director for advanced 3D imaging, looks at a CT scan at UConn’s Depot Campus in Mansfield, Conn., showing a mouthpiece for a 19th-century saxophone built by inventor Adolphe Sax. Researchers at the school are using CT scanning and 3D printing to study and reproduce antique musical instruments. (AP Photo/Pat Eaton-Robb) (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Researchers from the University of Connecticut are using 3D printing to bring antique instruments back to life. After seeing 3D imaging in action at his medical practice, Dr. Robert Howe, a reproductive endocrinologist, thought it would be a great idea to apply the technology to antique instrumentation.

Howe, who is a doctoral student in music theory and history at UConn, told his music history professor his idea. The professor, Richard Bass, thought it was worth a shot, so he contacted his colleague, Sina Shahbazmohamadi, UConn’s director of advanced 3D imaging, for assistance. Working together, Shahbazmohamadi, Howe and Bass came up with a viable process. The process, which the UConn researchers are trying to patent, allowed them to create 3D images of antique instruments and print working versions of them using 3D printers.

Before the UConn researcher’s process, making copies of antique instruments was expensive and time-consuming. To make replacement parts, for example, an artisan would have had to measure the part that needed to be replaced by hand with calipers and other instruments, which could damage and mark-up the antique instrument. Then those measurements would have to have been used to try to recreate the part.

One of the instruments that the UConn team was able to reproduce was an 18th-century English horn. Only a few of the original horns still exist. At first the team ran into trouble trying to reproduce the horn when traditional computerized tomography scans didn’t pick up all of the instrument’s intricacies such as the metal and wooden pins that held it together. Then Shahbazmohamadi came up with a process that allowed the team to scan metal and wood at the same time.

An original mouthpiece for a 19th-century saxophone built by Adolphe Sax, second from top left, sits among 3D copies on at the University of Connecticut's Depot campus in Mansfiled, Conn. UConn researchers are using CT scans and 3D printing to help study and restore antique musical instruments. (AP Photo/ Pat Eaton-Robb) (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

An original mouthpiece for a 19th-century saxophone built by Adolphe Sax, second from top left, sits among 3D copies on at the University of Connecticut’s Depot campus in Mansfiled, Conn. UConn researchers are using CT scans and 3D printing to help study and restore antique musical instruments. (AP Photo/ Pat Eaton-Robb) (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Shahbazmohamadi’s breakthrough allowed the team to 3D scan and print a mouthpiece from one of the first ever saxophones.  While some of the original saxophones still exist, only three of these original mouthpieces are currently known to exist, so musicians have had to make-do with modern mouthpieces on antique instruments with mixed results.

Music historians are optimistic that the breakthrough will help experts understand what centuries-old music was meant to sound like. With this new technology, a repository with 3D schematics for instruments could be created and people would be able to make exact copies on demand of these ancient instruments. Discuss this story in the 3D printed instrument part forum thread on 3DPB.com.

 

Facebook Comments

Share this Article


Recent News

3DPOD Episode 11: Interview with Xometry’s Greg Paulsen: 3D Printing Applications and Processes

Fortify Closes $10M Series A Funding Led by Accel



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

EOS Explains the State of Industrial 3D Printing in Latin America

Back in 1989, Hans Langer’s vision of going straight from CAD to manufacturing without tooling for the fabrication of physical components led to the creation of Electro Optical Systems (EOS...

Thixotropy, Nanoclay and the Optimal Parameters of 3D Printed Concrete

In ‘The Effect of Material Fresh Properties and Process Parameters on Buildability and Interlayer Adhesion of 3D Printed Concrete,’ international authors strive to understand more about materials and parameters in...

3D Printed Stainless Steel Microreactor

International researchers are exploring the creation of microreactors in ‘Simple 3D printed stainless steel microreactors for online mass spectrometric analysis.’ In this study, they analyze the functionality of a stainless...

Singapore: Effects of Porosity on Mechanical Properties in FDM 3D Printing

Authors Xue Wang, Liping Zhao, Jerry Ying His Fuh, and Heow Pueh Lee lead a complex discussion about porosity in 3D printing in their recently published article, ‘Effect of Porosity...


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.


Print Services

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our 3DPrint.com.

You have Successfully Subscribed!