3D-Printed Flutes Can Produce Notes That Regular Flutes Can't

3D-Printed Flutes Can Produce Notes that Regular Flutes Can't

3D printing has been around long enough for playable 3D-printed instruments to exist, but most musicians will still opt for one made using traditional methods. That could soon change, however, as researchers have found a way to design and 3D print musical instruments capable of producing unique notes that traditional instruments can't.

Researchers from the University of Wollongong in Australia, led by Dr Terumi Narushima, started with existing mathematical models that explain exactly how a wind instrument like a flute produces various notes. And using that know-how, they were able to go one step further to create a 3D model of a flute that was specially customised in terms of diameter, length, and hole placement so that it produced unique microtonal notes that are smaller than a semitone.

And these days, once you have a 3D model of something in software, you can easily turn it into a real product using a 3D printer.

Normally the only thing a 3D-printed musical instrument has going for it is maybe a cheaper price tag and a unique design. But this research actually gives the pieces a distinct advantage because they in turn give musicians and composers access to a unique sound that wasn't available before. And because that unique sound can be first developed and honed using software, the 3D-printed version is guaranteed to sound perfect when it's complete. These 3D-printed flutes still aren't going to replace more traditional instruments, but because of their added value, musicians also won't immediately turn their noses up at them.

[University of Wollongong via Gizmag]

3D-Printed Flutes Can Produce Notes that Regular Flutes Can't

Comments

    isn't that a recorder?

    Do flutes have the side hole?

      Close, that there is what we call a misery stick, and from the sounds of that video, they've made a 3D printed misery stick with 100% of the misery

        I'm pretty sure, with the extra notes, that's 115% of the misery

          After further study I've concluded the end result to be 666% more misery.

    Oh good, they made a recorder that is made to be off-key right out of the box.

      lol. like most school recorders in the hands of a kid.

    They thought these printers became dangerous when guns were worked out. Little did they know the horrors which would emerge....

    if youve ever heard a real TIMBER recorder then you might know they can sound very good. plastic ones really are meant to turn kids (and parents) off music lessons ;)

    A recorder belongs to the flute family.
    This article while interesting in content (and a re-run) its premise.is total BS.

    3D printing is NOT needed to make a flute produce "microtonal" notes, any instrument maker can create such a beast. 3D printing just makes it ECONOMICAL, and PRACTICAL to create a one-off flute with specifically designed tonal characteristics, and produce many different instruments, at the click of a button. All that need be done is for the 3D CAD model to be altered "according to the mathamatical acoustic theories" (which are well known) and a new flute/recorder is created, no skilled craftsman/instrument maker needed, modern tech' makes research cheaper, who would have thought.

    I guess the authors didn't realise you can produce microtonal variations by half-covering holes, or in the case of a modern flute, by rolling the mouthpiece back and forth.
    Nice to see 3D printing versatility, but this can also be done with a drill and a parsnip, so meh!

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