Introduction: Create a Penny Whistle

The following set of steps show how to design a working penny whistle mouthpiece that may be printed on a 3D printer and attached to a length of 1/2 in PVC tubing.

A penny whistle (or Irish whistle, etc.) uses a vibrating stream of air that resonates inside of a tube of a given length to produce sound waves at a given pitch. The distinguishing feature of a penny whistles as compared to other types of flutes is that it uses what is called a fipple to produce the vibrations.

Instructions

  1. Continue to the next step.

Step 1: The Fipple Mouthpiece

A fipple is a type of mouthpiece where a stream of air is blown through a channel and cut by a blade, which allows a thin sheet of air to pass beneath the blade. The fipple makes it easy for the player to set up the vibrations, but gives the player less control over shaping the note, as compared to say, a flute. Above is an animated GIF of a fipple producing vibrations, from Air Vibrations in a Recorder (in Dutch).

Instructions

  1. Continue to the next step.

Step 2: Critical Dimension

There are two critical dimension you need to pay attention to as we begin.

The diameter of the pipe (21.45mm) the mouthpiece will connect with and the small offset (0.2mm) between the blade and the air channel. If either of these dimensions are off your mouthpiece may not function.

The blade must be offset 0.2mm inside the air channel to allow for a small amount of air to travel under the blade and the rest to escape from the top of the mouth piece.

Instructions

  1. Continue to the next step to begin building your mouthpiece.

Step 3: The PVC Pipe

When designing new things we often use things that can be purchased at the store.

These are referred to as "Purchased" or "Standard" components. Standard components are typically used "as-is" within a design. If they are changed it is rare for critical dimensions to change.

For example, we may change the length of the PVC pipe, but the diameter of the pipe will not change.

Instructions

  1. Drag a cylinder shape to the workplane.
  2. Make the cylinder to 21.45mm square and 20mm tall.
  3. To make the cylinder more smooth, set the sides slider in the inspector to 64.
  4. Continue to the next step.

Step 4: Make the Inside of the Pipe

Now we need to create the inside of the pipe and align it.

Instructions

  1. Drag a cylinder shape to the workplane.
  2. Make the cylinder to 15.5mm in diameter and 20mm tall.
  3. To make the cylinder more smooth, set the Siders slider in the inspector to 64.
  4. Set the cylinder to be a hole.
  5. Continue to the next step.

Step 5: Align the Pipe Pieces

Now we just need to cut out the center of the pipe and we are ready to build the mouthpiece that will attach to the pipe.

Instructions

  1. Select both shapes and align their centers using the Align tool on the toolbar.
  2. Group the shapes into a single object using the group button on the toolbar.
  3. Change the color to white to match the color of a PVC pipe.
  4. Continue to the next step.

Step 6: Start the Mouthpiece

We are now ready to begin creating our penny whistle mouthpiece.

Instructions

  1. Let's start with the part of the shape that will connect to the PVC pipe.
  2. In a previous steps you created a PVC pipe. We are going to use a copy of that shape to begin our mouthpiece.
  3. Make a copy of the PVC pipe by selecting the shape and pressing CTRL+C then CTRL+V (CMD+C then CMD+V on mac)
  4. Ungroup the new shape and delete the hole shape from the center, so you are left with the PVC pipe and a cylinder.
  5. Set the cylinder to a hole, this will be the cutout in the mouthpiece that let's you connect it to the PVC pipe.
  6. Continue to the next step.

Step 7: Body of the Mouthpiece

Now we can start building the body of the mouthpiece around the hole.

Instructions

  1. Start by dragging a cylinder shape to the workplane.
  2. Size it to be larger in diameter than the hole that was just created. Since the outer diameter of the PVC pipe is 21.45mm, let's use 26mm for the diameter of the body. This will create a wall thickness of a little more than 2mm which is quite strong after 3D printing.
  3. Set the number of sides to 64 in the inspector, this will smooth the outside of the cylinder.
  4. Increase the height of the cylinder to 30mm.
  5. Lift the new cylinder up off the workplane 5mm. The distance the body is lifted off the workplane will define how much of the pipe is inserted into the mouthpiece. Lifting the cylinder 5mm off the workplane means 15mm of PVC pipe will fit into the mouthpiece when they are connected.
  6. Make the new cylinder transparent by selecting the Transparent checkbox on the color panel in the inspector. This will let us see what's going on inside our shapes.
  7. Align the shapes so their centers are aligned
  8. Continue to the next step.

Step 8: PVC Pipe Stop and Blade Geometry

The next shape we will be creating will serve two purposes. It will be used to create the blade in the mouthpiece and it will act as a stop to prevent the PVC pipe from being inserted too deep in the mouthpiece. If the pipe were pressed to deep into the mouthpiece it would block airflow.

Instructions

  1. Start by dragging a polygon shape to the workplane.
  2. Set the dimensions of the polygon to 18mm deep and 15mm wide and 20mm tall.
  3. Change the polygon to a hole and lift it off the workplane 12mm.
  4. Continue to the next step.

Step 9: Complete Mouthpiece Body

Let's align the pipe stop to the body and combine them.

Instructions

  1. Select all the mouthpiece shapes on the workplane (not the PVC pipe).
  2. Using the Align tool on the toolbar, align the vertical centers.
  3. With the shapes still selected (not the PVC pipe), click Group on the toolbar to create a single shape.
  4. Continue to the next step.

Step 10: Create the Blade

With the body of the mouthpiece complete, we can focus on the blade and air channel.

Let's create the fipple blade and the air escape opening when a wedge shape.

Instructions

  1. Drag a wedge shape to the workplane.
  2. Size the wedge to 20mm deep, 8mm wide, and 20mm tall.
  3. Continue to the next step.

Step 11: Temporary Cut Away

To properly position the wedge we need to access some internal faces of the model. To do this we will temporarily cut away a portion of the mouthpiece.

Remember this is a temporary cut we will remove a little later in the design process.

Instructions

  1. Drag a box hole shape to the workplane.
  2. Position the box near the top half of the mouth piece about half way off to one side.
  3. Group the mouthpiece and box to cut away part of the mouthpiece.
  4. Continue to the next step.

Step 12: Workplanes for Positioning

Now that we can access the internal faces, we can create some workplanes to help position the wedge.

Instructions

  1. Rotate the design to look at the mouthpiece through the opening that was just created in the previous steps.
  2. Drag a workplane to the flat face of the polygon shape on the inside of the mouthpiece.
  3. Continue to the next step.

Step 13: Position the Wedge Shape

We can use the workplane to help position the wedge.

Instructions

  1. Rotate the wedge so the vertical face is facing away from the temporary cut.
  2. Press D on the keyboard to move the wedge to the workplane.
  3. Align the wedge to the middle of the mouthpiece.
  4. Mirror the wedge shape vertically to make the other flat face closer to the top of the mouthpiece.
  5. Continue to the next step.

Step 14: Position the Wedge

Now we can use another workplane to align the wedge shape to the top of the mouthpiece.

Instructions

  1. Rotate your view to look up into the mouthpiece.
  2. Drag a workplane to the top inside face of the polygon cut out.
  3. Select the wedge shape and press D on the keyboard to move it to the new workplane.
  4. Continue to the next step.

Step 15: Cut the Blade Opening

To complete the blade opening we need to slide the wedge out of the mouthpiece a bit, then add the air channel to the mouthpiece.

Instructions

  1. Use the arrow keys on the keyboard to move the wedge out of the mouthpiece.
  2. It may be helpful to group the mouthpiece and wedge to see the result of the cut.
  3. This may help you better see adjustments that need to be made.
  4. If you do group the shapes make sure to ungroup them when finished. We will group the wedge in a later step with the air channel. This will help reduce the number of groups in the design.
  5. Continue to the next step.

Step 16: Air Channel Workplane

In the coming steps we will create the air channel hole using a box hole shape. To begin that process we need to move the workplane back to the bottom of the blade.

Instructions

  1. Drag a workplane to the bottom of the blade.
  2. Continue to the next step.

Step 17: Air Channel Hole

Let's create the air channel for the mouthpiece.

Instructions

  1. Drag a Box hole to the workplane as size it to be 30mm tall, 2mm thick, and 8mm wide.
  2. Align the mouthpiece, the wedge, and the air channel to the center.
  3. Lift the air channel out away from the mouthpiece so it sticks out the top.
  4. While lifting the air channel hole, make sure it intersects with the wedge. This will ensure air flow through the mouthpiece.
  5. Continue to the next step.

Step 18: The Critical Blade Gap

We almost that the air channel completely positioned, but first we need to make sure we have the critical blade gap set properly. Remember how the fipple blade is supposed to work. Most of the air goes over the blade and out of the top of the mouthpiece, but there is a small 0.2mm offset that lets some air escape below the blade.

Let's make sure that dimension is correct now.

Instructions

  1. Look at your design from the front.
  2. Turn on Orthographic View using the button on the bottom of the navigation menu. This will let you see the shapes straight on to ensure they are properly aligned.
  3. Set your Snap Grid to 1.0mm
  4. Select the air channel hole shape.
  5. Use the arrow keys on the keyboard to move the shape 2mm to the left.
  6. Now set your Snap Grid to 0.1mm
  7. Press the right arrow key twice to move the shape back in the other direction 0.2mm to create the needed offset.
  8. Don't forget to set your Snap Grid back to 1.0mm.
  9. Continue to the next step.

Step 19: Remove Temporary Cut Away

Now that we have the air channel, let's remove the temporary cut away.

Instructions

  1. Select the mouthpiece with the temporary cut out.
  2. Click the Ungroup button on the toolbar and delete the box hole.
  3. Continue to the next step.

Step 20: Add Air Channel Material

Let's add some material we can cut the air channel through!

Instructions

  1. Drag a workplane onto the top of the mouthpiece, so we can add material.
  2. Drag a Round Roof shape to the workplane. (optionally the extrusion shape generator can be used for smoother edges)
  3. Rotate the shape to stand on end.
  4. Press D on the keyboard to move the shape to the workplane.
  5. Select all shapes and Align them to the center.
  6. Continue to the next step.

Step 21: Align and Size the Air Channel

Now simply scale and position the air channel material to completely cover the air channel hole, but make sure the hole sticks out of the top of the shape.

Instructions

  1. Use align, scale, and the arrow keys on the keyboard to size and position the round roof shape.
  2. Make sure the air channel hole extend out of the top of the mouthpiece.
  3. Continue to the next step.

Step 22: Group and Align the Shapes

To complete the mouthpiece, select all the shape and group them together into a single shape. Make sure you don't include the PVC pipe! it should remain a separate shape.

Instructions

  1. Select all the mouthpiece shapes and group them into a single object.
  2. Select the mouthpiece and the PVC Pipe and align their centers.
  3. Congratulations! You made it! Continue to the final step!

Step 23: Make It Your Own!

Now take some time to make it your own.

Try some of the ideas below to practice your new skills!

Instructions

  1. Can you add your initials?
  2. Can you add your school logo?
  3. Can you make the mouthpiece more comfortable to use?
  4. How would you customize your Fipple mouthpiece?

Comments

author
Reyce made it! (author)2017-09-07

hi,

I am having difficulty following steps 18-22. Below are pics of my progress. Can you add some detailed instruction so I can complete this project?

Thank you,

Ruth

IMG_6955.JPGIMG_6956.JPG

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