[OLD VERSION] Sopranino folk whistle

by pfh, published

[OLD VERSION] Sopranino folk whistle by pfh Jan 29, 2013

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Tiny folk whistle in G.


Instrument is 225mm high. It can be printed in two sections, maximum height 134mm high. It may be possible to print in 4 sections, maximum height 74mm (this requires holes overlapping joints, which might not work).

The generously large holes help with expressive techniques such as sliding, cutting, and tapping. The trick with this kind of instrument is to never stop blowing. It's meant to be raw and wild, it's all about analogue glitch.

In order not to cause pain to people of a delicate disposition, this instrument should be played outdoors.

Fingering chart:

The joints have 0.35mm clearance all around. They need to form a tight seal. Blue teflon plumbing tape appears to work quite well for this.

Even tiny holes can cause an instrument not to produce sound, or to only produce high muffled sounds. If it isn't working, this is one likely reason.

It is also possible to make this instrument by milling wooden pieces and gluing them together. This is a little more involved than 3D printing, so email me if you are interested in doing this.

I expect to refine this design. The pitch may be slightly off A440. I also expect that various parameters of the whistle shape can be improved on.

This instrument was designed using a software package called "demakein", more information here: http://www.logarithmic.net/pfh/design

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I love this but I can't seem to print a working fipple.

I print that part (four piece file) vertically fipple end up. Blowing in to the fipple produces no noise.

I could use some help.


Ah, I have a solution for making much more reliable whistles, just haven't updated this instrument yet. Solution is printing the tip of the instrument as a separate piece.

Will try to get a new version up in the next few days.

That would be fantastic. I want to make one for a friend of mine. We're both in to penny whistles.

I printed one on my Replicator @ at 0.27mm with 10% infill.

It doesn't fit together tightly? Else it came out nice.

I had some problems with instruments being too tight, it's quite dependant on good calibration of the printer, so the tolerance all around is 0.35mm, which is fairly generous. It also lets you put something that will tend to prevent leaks in the gap. I'm recommending blue teflon tape. Waxed string would be traditional (or cork, with a larger gap).

We printed one off, only the top few keys work, the rest don't seem to have any effect. We played around with masking tape to modify the holes and smaller seems to help a bit. When we taped the end shut it definitely helped out with more resonance.

I think it's likely a leak somewhere below (or possibly above) those first few holes, either in the join or the wall itself. Try some blue teflon tape or wax in the join, and try coating the bore with something to close any tiny holes. I've used hairspray in the past! I imagine any sort of enamel or paint spray would work.

Taping the end shut will definitely make it sound more easily. However it won't be in tune!

Try to dip it in water before playing that would close the holes and sound much better.

Wow. I just had to try and print this. Pulled it off the bed and it worked straight away. No cleaning up or anything ! Now when I say worked, it isn't a pretty sound... yet.

Printed it on my MM1.5+ with 0.3mm layers. Biggest issue was the slicing. First attempt produced a beautiful tube with no holes. Later attempts with other slices worked but too thin walls. Work to be done.

Biggest problem I think I have is a few droops on the bridges (even though they are quite small).

Printed in 2 parts - and the pitch is I think too high, so when I add bottom half it is airy below first couple of holes. I want to play with the whistle with a file and see if I can improve it.

Frankly I am impressed. It worked very well ! Thanks.

Very pretty. What did you print it with? It looks like wood (very pretty), did you paint it?

It's CNC-milled from a 180x90x12mm piece of Tasmanian Oak on a Roland MDX-20. My demakein software creates two-sided milling patterns to make segments with semicircular cross-sections, which I then glue together. (The MDX-20 required quite a lot of fiddling to get working reliably, not a machine I would recommend wholeheartedly.)

It's finished with boiled linseed oil. (Not the linseed oil with toxic metallic drying agents and a tendency to explode that sometimes gets called "boiled", linseed that has actually been boiled.)