DIY Musical Instruments!

Last week, Larry and I held our Musical Instruments workshop. We had been planning this event since last semester and it was a great success! Students were introduced to the basic physics of wind instruments and the motivation behind equal temperament.

Next up students could design their own graphics and texts on a template in CorelDraw for engraving on an acrylic tube. Larry and I machined a special grip that holds on to the acrylic pipe and fits onto the laser cutter’s rotary stage. The rotary stage was designed to only engrave objects like vases. Although Larry and I figured out a way to also get the laser cutter to make holes in the acrylic tube, we decided to use the CNC mill for this task.

Here is a video of an acrylic tube being engraved!

Next, the holes are cut into the acrylic tube using a CNC mill programmed to produce a Western tuning. The design of the recorder is modeled after the Thai “Khlui” or traditional flute that uses the traditional Thai 7-note scale. We used a modified design to produce a Western Diatonic scale.

Then, the student used hand tools to carve out a mouthpiece. This stage required some patience, fine tuning and adjustments.

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At the end of the workshop, every student had working and custom engraved recorder! It was a very fun and enjoyable experience and Larry and I were very happy that the workshop was a success. We are now planning a Music Instruments Workshop II where we will make a laser cut reeded instrument!

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