Introduction: 3D Printed French Horn Mouthpiece

Hello everyone! This is my 3D project for my Honors Seminar class. For this project, I really wanted to combine the abilities that this class provides with my major and the things that I use in my day to day life as a music major. I've been experimenting with different mouthpieces this semester, in order to find the best combination for my sound. I looked online a few months ago to find a plastic mouthpiece for my horn, but couldn't find one that I thought would provide a reliable sound. So, I decided to design and print a custom one of my own!

Step 1: Step 1: Get Some Inspiration

To first get some inspiration for what I wanted to design, I went on to see some other really cool creations. I found a lot of mouthpieces designed for other instruments, mainly trumpet and trombone. I found a few interesting horn mouthpieces designed by other people, and I downloaded two of them in order to use them as models in Tinkercad, the software I used to design my own mouthpiece.

I also gathered some inspiration from physical mouthpieces that I enjoy playing. Using two mouthpieces that I like, I gathered some elements of both that I wanted to include in my own custom design.

Step 2: Step 2: Start Designing

I used Tinkercad to create my design, which is a free cloud-based program available online. First, I acquainted myself with the program and how to use it; there are lessons to complete when you first sign up for an account in Tinkercad that help to show you around the program. Once I did those lessons, I started my own project where I uploaded one of the mouthpieces I "stole" from Thingiverse to use it as a model. This mouthpiece was built from the top down, so I started my own design using the same orientation. After playing around with it for about an hour, I realized that this orientation was difficult to use, and I gave up trying that way.

Step 3: Step 3: Try, Try Again

Next, I opened a new project and used a different mouthpiece; this was built from the bottom up, which proved to be much easier to design. I loosely used the measurements of my model and a mouthpiece that I had in real life to create my own, starting with the rim, then the cup, then the shank, and combining the three sections from there. Once I ended up with a design that I was proud of, I sent it to my teacher, who was in charge of the heavy-lifting in terms of making our creations come to life. My final design is located on the right.

Step 4: Step 4: Print!

After a long process of designing my mouthpiece, I was ready to print it. The physical prototype I have was printed on draft quality, and I'd like to have one that is a higher quality eventually, but there need to be some changes made to the design first. My design works in terms of being able to buzz with it, but it isn't quite usable in the horn, as the bottom wasn't wide enough to sit in the horn the way it's supposed to. I fixed my design a bit and I'm hoping to print it again. I will update when I have a design that works!