Mixtrument: A 3D Printable ‘Mixable’ Wind Instrument Designed by a Nuclear Engineer

Share this Article

mix1While 3D printing has been touted for its tremendous advantage over other manufacturing techniques, when it comes customization, not everyone is utilizing the technology to its fullest potential. Over the past few years, we have seen our fair share of 3D printed musical instruments, many featuring custom designs, and even custom elements for unique sounds. However, what one man–who happens to hold a PhD in Nuclear Engineering–has developed takes the entire idea of customization to a whole new level.

mix3Kent Wardle, who has plenty of experience with 3D printing, having used it to design and prototype advanced concepts for equipment used to process nuclear materials, decided to use the technology for a less serious creation. In doing so, he came up with a design for what he refers to as the Mixtrument.

“I have two young sons (ages 5 and 3) and only one toy instrument called a ‘saxoflute’,” Wardle tells 3DPrint.com. “I play my clarinet sometimes and when I practice my boys will play their own little musical instruments–with only one mouthpiece for the saxoflute, that led to too much fighting. So I needed a second whistle mouthpiece. Once I had that, I decided to make a bunch of other pieces to see what works. Plus, I didn’t like the finger-hole sections on my son’s toy–the raised holes on mine are much easier to use and I can put multiple holes on a single section.”

Mixtrument is a 3D printable kit that provides for many different combinations of mouthpieces, different bells and sections with holes, to create different looking and sounding wind instruments. All of the pieces can be 3D printed on virtually any FDM/FFF-based printer and fit together perfectly when printed correctly. While Wardle tells us that some of the combinations work better than others, all of the possible instruments will play come kind of sound when the pieces are assembled together. He advises against creating an instrument that is “too long,” as these tend to require more air control than the shorter instruments.

“I think this particular design may only work well for woodwind style instruments which tend to have a large inner diameter,” Wardle tells us. “I did make the trumpet-style mouthpiece but am not sure it works just right. I have noticed that brass instruments tend to have tubing with a smaller diameter so I may need to make a separate version. Like I said, I would love to make a trombone-style slide of some sort, but need to give that some thought on how to make it workable but still sealed. I did just upload an as yet untested flute-style mouthpiece as well–your question about other instrument types triggered the idea.”

mix2

While there are already quite a large range of combinations that can be created with Wardle’s current version of the Mixtrument, he says that he may come up with some additional ideas in the near future as he and his sons experiment with his creation further. He is also open to ideas that the 3D printing community may have on improving or adding to his design.

In the meantime, anyone is free to download and 3D print the Mixtrument as they please from Thingiverse. Discuss this story in the Mixtrument forum thread on 3DPB.com.

 

Share this Article


Recent News

VELO3D’s Metal 3D Printers Bought by Two Aerospace Customers

Wayland Additive Sells Electron Beam Metal 3D Printer to First Customer



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Guns

3D Printer Reviews


You May Also Like

Featured

An Unforgettable AMUG | 3D Printing Leadership Redefined in 2021

“Please wear a mask in public spaces,” the Hilton Hotel lobby signage makes it pretty clear upon arrival that they want their guests to feel comfortable and safe while on...

Laser Wars: ScanLAB to Democratize Powder Bed Fusion?

We’ve all been a party to the laser wars, in which a tiny clique of powder bed fusion firms are outdoing each other on seeing how many lasers they can...

FIT AG and pro-beam Team up for (DED & PBF) Electron Beam Metal 3D Printing

The world of electron beam 3D printing is suddenly becoming larger. Whereas it was previously dominated by a single company, GE’s Arcam, there have been a number of new entrants...

AZO and AddUp Partner to Automate Powder Handling for Metal 3D Printing

Metal powders are some of the most finicky materials in the 3D printing industry in that, not only do the metal particles require a high level of consistency, sphericity, and...


Shop

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