Week 9: reflection

Looking back at the whole process of producing 3D-printed mouthpieces, there were some problems we encountered. The first to be mentioned is the fact that it took us more time than necessary to get hold of the needed software. Besides that, getting familiar with the software and transforming it into a model that we could work further with were also time consuming. Another problem was the fact that it was really difficult to get our hands on the available data of the baritone mouthpiece, which cost us quite some time. Also to be mentioned, is the fact that it took us more time to get into contact with the saxophonists than expected.

These problems has caused us to run behind schedule in producing the 3D-printed models. As to be seen in the planning we made, we would have liked to already have some printed models, the first batch, that are also had been tested before the first presentation. Because of the fact that we lagged behind only one model could have been printed and presented (not even tested yet). This has caused a further lack in progress since only one batch of mouthpieces could be tested in the very end. Furthermore we encountered a number of failures in printing out the mouthpieces 2 days (weekends excluded) before the final presentation / science fair. In the end it turned out that one baritone mouthpiece was not successfully printed out and all alto mouthpieces were to thin to be used (some of them even broke during finishing).

In the future it would be wise to immediately start downloading the needed software and getting familiar with it. For this particular project three specific programs were needed, namely Avizo, Meshlab and Solidworks. Regarding to Solidworks particularly, we planned to have a short tutorial for those who have never used it before, given by the others which did have some experience. When we started modelling the mouthpieces, it became immediately clear that there were a whole lot of features that the ones with some experience with the program had never heard of. Because of this, the whole modelling was the most time consuming part of the whole process. We could have worked more efficiently if the necessary features of the program was discussed beforehand.

As it had been mentioned above, it was quite difficult to get our hands on the available data of the baritone mouthpiece. In the end we managed to contact the group which had also worked with the same mouthpiece we would have liked to work with; the idea was to continue the progress that had been made last year. In the future it would have been a lot better if we contacted the last year group at the very beginning. An even better solution could be that all files regarding to this project is stored somewhere only the project group of the year could have access on, so that every new groups could use the previous data which had been collected previously.

Also mentioned above was the fact that it took us more time to get into contact with the saxophonists than expected. While working on this project it did not came to mind that the musicians have a pretty busy and hectic life. Getting into contact with them and have them test our mouthpieces could not be arranged within 1 day. We should have been consulting our supervisors and contacted these musicians at the very first start of the project so that the process could run smoothly.

To be concluded, we should have put more effort and immediately get to work at the very first day of this project. If we had done so, the whole process would have progressed more efficiently. Then we would also had more time left to make several try outs on the actual 3D-printing of the models. In the end we could not produce any alto mouthpieces that are usable. The baritone mouthpieces, except for one that was broken, were perfectly printed out (some of them were even better than the original and last year’s best mouthpiece). They however, did not fit perfectly onto the neck of the saxophone and needed a little adjustment. We still had some time left to make these necessary adjustments, print them out 3 dimensionally and show them during the science fair. We do not have enough time left to let our saxophonist test these adjustments, though, before the science fair. So again, if we had worked more efficiently we could let these adjustments be tested first before they are shown at the science fair on Tuesday 28th.


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