Introduction: 3D Printable Trumpet
This is a project which has been online for nearly a year now and continued like an open source project since its start on 22nd of april 2014 with some people designing and sharing the files, many others viewing and checking them and some others from different countries all around the world, actually building them. First of all, the model files have been produced with great attention to detail, they are checked by many people and their reported mistakes are fixed and as a result several good looking instruments have been built so far. All these people viewing, checking and building the design, I guess have one thing in common, the love of trumpets. Without the effort of all these people this project wouldn't have come to this point. Thanks, all of you.
One day last year, while surfing the net, I saw several commercial plastic trumpets on the market. But they were very nice but expensive. In fact more expensive than an entry level brass instrument. I thought that this shouldn't be the case. I worked in the plastics sector for 10+ years and I know how much does a sack of plastic (50kgs) costs. It is really dirt cheap. With that amount of plastic, one can produce 50 trumpets. Well one can talk about additional design costs etc, come on I'm also in design bussiness for years. That is not so expensive either. We should be able to give a good sounding plastic instrument to masses for, well about 29.99 USD or even, FREE. So I immediately thought of designing a 3d printable trumpet giving the design to people for free. So I started to work for solving this challenge by researching first.
Before proceeding towards the technical details of the job done, I'll start with a prelude to my brass instrument playing. If you want to proceed into the details of the design, you may direclty go to step 2.
My relation with brass instruments started in primary school when I saw the school band playing. There were some buggles at the band. Band members being 11-12 years old, the music they were playing actually couldn't be called music at all but I was hooked. Those old, quite badly dented, sometimes bent & broken brass metal shined into my eye.
it was something like this, these kids are better than we were by the way.
So I've joined the band. But no luck, they gave me a drum. I practiced it for months, borrowing the buggles from my buggle playin friends, trying to get some sounds of it, only to see it was tough.
Then I ended up being a cymbal player. My god, never been able to take the buggle till the end.
Then next year when my mother pushed me to start the music school, instead of the harpsicord she wanted me to play, I fought for joining the trumpet department. And I won.
Later entered the exams and was successful and selected to the music school's trumpet department. A shiny trumpet was purchased for me second hand. Although I left the music schoold after a year, I'm still keeping the old trumpet today, after 33 years.
Then one day last year I've heard a tune somewhere, a movie score by Ennio Morricone. Here it is
I so much wanted to play it, took out the old trumpet off the closet and tried. With no luck. I was barely able to play some notes. Then I started practising again.Everyday. For hours. Trumpet related things filled my mind again after so many years. Then one day I saw a pocket trumpet on ebay. I liked that small cute thing so much that I jumped to buy it and approximately 2 weeks later it arrived. What a joyful little thing it was. It made me want to practice even more :D. Now after a year, I can play the tune above. Not the best I could do still, but I'm getting there.
ok ok I guess you are already bored of my love to my small trumpet (later i've bought 2 more of it, and several cornets as well). Now I'm getting to the main subject.
Step 1: Research and First Designs
After a short research I just discovered that the subject is much deeper than I anticipated. And decided to start designing and printing some simple experimental things while continuing to do further research.
I made a mouthpiece first. It was easy. Just measured a mouthpiece at hand and tried to make one exactly identical to it. I managed to blow some sounds with it as you can see below. It gave me courage :D
Then I made a toy trumpet, with two versions, one just the bell and one with fake valves. It accepts a real trumpet mouthpiece and I thought the first version can be a real mouthpiece buzz bracticer and the second version can be a kids toy. I've printed it, it produced some sounds. Not so nice ones as you might guess. If you want to make it then STL files are here.
My second design attemt was a buggle. I didn't try to build it as it was a bit large for my printer. But the STL files are here if you intend to print or take a look.
Then in the end I decided to stick to the dimensions of a known, good sounding instrument. As my old Selmer's sound is very very good, it was fit for the job, I took it as my master trumpet and tried to match its internal dimensions with the internal dimensions of my printable trumpet. The plastic thickness needs to be greater than brass thickness to obtain a adequately strong structure so the outer dimensions of the instrument are made a bit larger than the Selmer. This resulted a more modern looking, robust trumpet.
Step 2: 3D Modeling of the Printable Trumpet
I've scratch-modeled the trumpet in Solidworks by using the dimensions taken from my master instrument. The interior bore is kept constant all the way from the mouthpiece up out to the beginning of the bell as it should be in a trumpet.
For the mouthpiece, I've inspired from Monette mouthpieces for the exterior form. But its interior dimensions are the same with a 7c mouthpiece which is very commonly used mouthpiece type. The dimensions of the mouthpiece receiver is modeled in such a way that the instrument can also be played with any ordinary real trumpet mouthpiece made of metal.
You can find the step by step process of the 3d modeling of my trumpet above. I highligted each newly added step with blue.
I kept the plastic thickness at around 3mm throughout to obtain a sufficiently strong structure. Also added extra supporting parts & thick braces to give more strength to the areas of need.
I sliced the final 3d model into smaller parts to enable it to be printed by smaller sized printers. Also added extra fixing details to those sliced parts for them to be easily joined back during assembly.
Step 3: The Complete Model
After several days of modeling, here is the resulting 3d model.
Placement of the 3rd valve slide is altered for simplification purposes.
Valves are bottom sprung, they should work with stronger than normal springs and vaseline as oil.
Valve routes are modeled realistically.
All valve slides move in addition to bellbow and main tuning slide to tune the instrument in case it is out of tune.
This printed instrument will definitely produce some sounds.
The STL files of the project can be downloaded from this link.
Step 4: Prints
I've printed the mouthpiece and a 1:12 model of the trumpet but fortunately some other people had time and resources to print the entire trumpet. Actually there seems like a number of copies of the trumpet have already been printed and their photos have been shared online since the project files were published on my website and also thingiverse nearly a year ago.
So far I've received messages from around 10 people who said that they've been building or have built the trumpet. Some of them were kind enough to send me photos of their prints. I did a little google search and found more prints of my design on the web. I feel great.
Just now while writing the instructable, I was about to say that I didn't have a video of my trumpet being played and instead of adding a video of my own instrument being played, I searched youtube to find a video, in which any plastic trumpet being played to add to the instructable. And voila, I found a video of my own trumpet, printed by someone I don't know, being played by a lady (reported as a non trumpet player).
And the result joyfully for me is to see the trumpet actually producing sounds :). Not superb sounds but seems very likely that it can sound much better at the hands of a real trumpet player. I know, anybody who blows a trumpet for the first time produces similar sounds even if that trumpet he or she blewn had been the best trumpet in the world. Thats good news for me :D
I've included the photos of some of them above. Seems like I'd better check the net once in a while for more prints of my trumpet.
If you also print it, please please please send me photos and videos ;)