3D printed Chi flute

http://3dprint.com/91641/ancient-chi-transverse-flute/

Ancient Chi Transverse Flute Gets 3D Printed Reincarnation

If you had been living the high life near the Marquis Yi of Zeng in 433 BC, you might have been lucky enough to hear a performance on the Chi (篪), a transverse flute that was most likely used for court and ritual music. Unfortunately, in the more likely event that you weren’t, the instrument declined in favor, for reasons not entirely certain, and largely disappeared from music history. However, over the last few decades, there has been a small, but devoted, interest in bringing this instrument back to life.

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One person who has shown an interest in this instrument is the musician Cheong Li who decided as part of studying the instrument that he would try to create a 3D printed one. This application of 3D printing technology opens up a world for the study of extinct instruments, as explained by Lee in an interview with 3Dprint.com:

“I’m a musician and a novice to 3D printing. I’m not that capable in woodwork, but 3D printing allows me to draw and design my own instrument easily. One thing I’m particularly interested in is music archaeology. There are quite a lot of ancient instruments that have been forgotten or abandoned in the course of history. It would be very interesting to make them and be able to actually hear what they sound like.”

The Chi is a particularly unique instrument. Unlike the flute, fife, or recorder, the air is introduced into the instrument in the center and the holes for fingering are on either side of the mouthpiece. The ends of the flute are actually closed and the sound is produced as the air is blown into and then escapes from the holes that are used for fingering. Information about the flute is scarce and Lee is having to discover the instrument’s secrets the old fashioned way: trial and error.

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The position of the holes doesn’t seem to have much impact on the pitch but rather it is their size that has the greatest effect. The fingering itself is irregular, meaning that rather than playing a scale by lifting successive fingers, each note has a unique fingering configuration. As part of understanding the instrument, Lee has created a fingering chart in an effort to codify the relationships between pitch, frequency, and finger position.

He described the process of designing the instrument in preparation for 3D printing:

“I’ve been using Rhino for Mac. It wasn’t too difficult to draw a simple tube like this. However, the most difficult thing is to determine where I should put the finger holes. I’ve spent some time studying pictures of Chi from various sources and tried to figure out the exact measurements. The tuning is not quite accurate yet and I think I’ll need to rework it.”

He printed his instrument as a single piece with the exception of a final cap for the end which was printed separately and then glued into place. The printing was done via 3D Hubs on a FlashForge Creator Pro and took only a few hours to complete. The instrument Lee printed is created entirely in PLA and the interior dimension is 14.2 cm with an extra centimeter on each end that acts as the wall.

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Now that his flute is printed, it seems to have raised more questions than it resolved and Lee plans on diving further into understanding its mysteries.

“There are quite a few questions about this instrument that intrigue me,” Lee notes. “For example, why is the fingering so unpredictable? How does a closed tube sound different from an open tube? To understand these things, I may need to collaborate with a scientist to calculate the physics behind it. It may help to solve a mystery in music history, and if possible, I hope that this instrument can be mass produced and played by more musicians. I’d love to write a tune for it as well!”

This is the third instrument that Lee has created through 3D printing; the first was a Xun, which is an egg-shaped blowing vessel, and the second a sliding whistle. The opportunity to truly understand an instrument that is presented through creating the instrument itself adds a new level of interaction that is open to more and more people through 3D technology. We may never know the way this instrument sounded when it was played 2,000 years ago, but thanks to 3D printing, we can hear it as it has been reincarnated today.

What do you think about the use of 3D printing to re-create ancient instruments? Let us know your thoughts in the 3D Printed Chi Flute forum thread over at 3DPB.com.

3dprint.com

by  | AUGUST 27, 2015

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3D Printed RayGun Shoots 7 Rubber Bands!

http://3dprint.com/62498/3d-printed-rubber-band-raygun/

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This 3D Printed RayGun Shoots 7 Rubber Bands in Quick Succession

Creativity is endless when a skilled 3D artist is provided with a 3D printer, allowing him/her to turn their virtual models into tangible, real life products. The technology has brought to life some incredible inventions and innovations which have greatly enhanced the lives of others. At the same time, 3D printing has also allowed for these creative minds to have a little fun in fabricating things that would have only been dreamt of a few years ago.

For one freelance 3D artist, named Aiman Akhtar, who specializes in modeling characters, 3D printing allowed him to create a toy gun unlike anything we’ve seen before. Akhtar, who writes a monthly column for 3D World Magazine on the topic of 3D printing, seems to thoroughly enjoy the challenges that come with designing new products.

“Every month, I challenge myself to print something I have no clue how to make, then figure it out and take the readers on the journey with me. In the past months I’ve created an iPhone case, bobbleheads, fully articulated characters, 3D printed trophies, eyewear, and am currently tackling jewelry and wearables,” Akhtar tells 3DPrint.com.

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When you think of 3D printing, there are a ton of designs out there for objects that are cool to look at, but only a small percentage of the objects out there are actually functional. One of Akhtar’s latest projects was for something that not only is fully functional, but something that is a ton of fun to play with as well. He designed and 3D printed a rubber band raygun.

“I recently moved to Los Angeles and decided to visit the Rose Bowl Flea Market which takes place bi-weekly in Pasadena,” Akhtar told us. “There, on display, I saw some hand made, wooden, rubber band shooters and instantly knew I had to make my own custom 3D printed version. That’s the great thing about 3D printing, inspiration can come from anywhere and it’s the fastest way to go from an idea to a prototype. I took the toy apart that night and started redesigning it for 3D print.”

To design the gun, Akhtar searched around the internet for photo references of other raygun designs. He then used Photoshop to sketch out his various ideas. Once he had come up with an idea that satisfied him, he used ZBrush to sculpt the shape what he needed, before exporting it as an OBJ file into MODO to start building its functional parts. After all of the parts were designed, the models were brought back into ZBrush to key them all together, before exporting each part out as a separate STL file.

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In all, there were 21 separate pieces that needed to be 3D printed, including the trigger, hammer, barrel, sights, grip, internal keys, and more. Akhtar tells us that he could have easily 3D printed it in just five or six parts, and even perhaps as a single object, but he had a desire to make it as colorful as he could. Breaking it down into many individual pieces allowed him to do so.

Surprisingly, Akhtar doesn’t own a 3D printer himself. Instead, for this project, he used 3D Hubs to find an affordable printing service close to his home.

“I landed upon a small buiness called Cybertech, and submitted an order though 3D Hubs to their print lead, Israel Pena,” Akhtar tells us. “I gave clear specifications and color notes on how I wanted each part printed, and Israel took care of the rest. He used a MakerBot 5th generation, switching out the various color plastic spools as specified.”

After receiving the parts back, Akhtar put them together but found that the trigger was not flexible enough. It was too weak to stop the hammer, and upon trying to fire the gun, it snapped off. He quickly redesigned the trigger, and just as quickly had the new design printed out by Cybertech. He tells us that it “worked brilliantly” after receiving and assembling the revised trigger. It can shoot up to 7 rubber bands in quick succession, and it is one of the most beautiful toy guns you will ever see.

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The complete detailed tutorial on making this gun can be found in 3D World Magazine, issue 194, which can be purchased through iTunes or ordered as a physical copy through MyFavouriteMagazines. What do you think about this incredible design? Discuss in the 3D Printed Rubber Band Raygun forum thread on 3DPB.com.

3dprint.com

by  | MAY 5, 2015