Week 7: the Selmer mouthpiece

As we have just started the fourth week of our project, we are getting close to some tangible progress. Last friday, Jouke was able to pick up the mouthpiece of a famous professional alto saxophone player! As soon as we get some proper test results, we will be able to name her in this blog..

You could see in our last post that we were able to make a kind of ‘x-ray scan’ of the mouthpiece. The result of this scan is a bunch of images (pixel maps), which we then converted into a 3D-file using Avizo, specialised software. To be able to edit this file, we convert it with Meshlab. This can be used to build a 3D-printable version of the mouthpiece in SOLIDWORKS!

At first however, we did some exercise in modelling a mouthpiece with Solidworks. We received a 3D-file of an original Selmer mouthpiece from our supervisors and tried to make an exact copy with Solidworks. This is Rutger working his ass off in SOLIDWORKS:


And this is us, from back to front: Robin, Garry, Rutger, Marc


After a whole day of experimenting with Solidworks, one of us finally succeeded into modelling an exact copy of the Selmer mouthpiece. The picture below shows the final render of it.

Selmer Mondstuk rutger


Week 6: Fumbling with software and scanning with CT-scanners

This week it became apparent that we would model both baritone mouthpieces as well as alt mouthpieces, this is because we have made contact to two different types of saxophone players. We have been working in Avizo, which is a programme that can read the CT-scans of our mouthpieces. The goal of this week is to connect the two parts of this mouthpiece together with the help of Meshlab, so we can start modelling in Solidworks and produce a geometric mouthpiece that can be 3D-printed. The aim is to be ready with this before the presentation on Tuesday.

Schermafdruk 2014-10-10 15.44.22

On friday we received the alt mouthpiece, we took it to the CT-scanner of the faculty of Civil Engineering.

2014-10-10 14.04.47

We first had to strap the mouthpiece to a piece of plexiglass so it was able to be clambed in.

2014-10-10 14.06.16 2014-10-10 14.09.04

After that it was important to make the right adjustments to the setting of the machine.

2014-10-10 14.22.05

The scanning procedure was done in three steps, each step took 50 minutes and a thousand images were taken in each step. In one step the mouthpiece is rotated 360 degrees, since thousand images were taken within one step, the mouthpiece makes an angular displacement of 0.36 degrees.

Week 5

This week we have been continuing our analysis about the saxophone mouthpiece in general. Furthermore, we have contacted Amsterdam Winds and they seem to be as motivated as we are to work on this project. Also to be mentioned, we have started making further preparations for the project by downloading the required software: Solidworks, avizo and Meshlab. Regarding to Solidworks in particular, since there are two people within the project group who have never worked with this programme before, they will be given a short introduction/tutorial about modelling using this programme by the other two of the project group (that do have some experience with this programme).

Week 4

Parts of the mouthpiece

This week’s purpose is to gain overall knowledge about the saxophone mouthpiece in general. As to be seen in the picture below, a piece of reed is supposed to be placed upon the mouthpiece and be held on its place by the ligature.


Source: http://virtuosso.com/blog/2010/08/20/tipos-de-boquilla-como-elegir-una-boquilla-de-saxofon/


To be exact, the reed is placed on the part of the mouthpiece, which is called the table. On the side edges of the table there are side rails, which make it easier to place the reed on the table. More parts including the baffle and facing are viewed in the picture below.


Source: http://www.doctorsax.biz/musical%20instruments/mouthpieces/mpc_diagram.jpg


The effect of the chamber geometry

The inside geometry of the mouthpiece, the chamber (see the picture above), has great influence on the sound.

mouthpiece 3

Source: http://www.mouthpiecemuseum.com/MouthpieceMuseum/Chambers.html

Big chamber

If a > b, the chamber is called a big chamber. The air pressure increases so that it leaves the mouthpiece through b with a high speed. Big chambers give a relatively soft sound and make it easier to control the low tones. These mouthpieces are quite popular for jazz musicians.

Medium sized chamber

If a = b, the chamber is called medium sized. Air pressure is constant through the whole mouthpiece. The sound produced could be named ‘centered’. Low tones are less outspoken. These mouthpieces produce a sharper transition in tones and are popular for classic saxophonists.

Small chamber

When a < b, the chamber is called a small chamber. Air pressure is low and the air flows slowly through the mouthpiece. This leads to a bright, focused sound. These mouthpieces are used for soprano saxophones and are popular within rock, pop and R&B music.


Project kick-off and planning

To start a research project, one needs a team that is motivated and up to the job! Allow us to introduce ourselves:

  • Garry Lasamahu, a Bachelor student at the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering
  • Rutger Schönfeld, a Bachelor student at the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering
  • Robin van Gameren, a Bachelor student at the faculty of Architecture
  • Marc Goossens, a Bachelor student at the faculty of Technology, Policy and Management

Our supervisors on this project are

Project goals
We will continue on the earlier research conducted on saxophone mouthpieces at the TUDelft. Our goal will remain the same as last years‘, which is:

“(..) to discover how we can customize the mouthpiece for musicians that play the saxophone to their wishes. This will be managed by adjusting the inner geometry of the mouthpieces and making 3D-prints of the new geometry.”

This will be realised with the help and support of Amsterdam Winds (saxophone craftsmanship) and a few professional musicians. These musicians will be named later on, after our first succesful rounds of development with them.

Project planning: 5 weeks
This project will go on for five weeks, in which we want to go through a few iterations of saxophone mouthpieces.

  1. orientation on the project, listening to jazz music, watching a web lecture of a mouthpieces-pro, various
  2. -Meet and greet
    -Further orientation
    -Start making required contacts
    -Bring an original baritone saxophone mouthpiece; scan it; start experimenting with the data
    -Orientation on Solidworks
  3. -Scanning and printing out of a batch: some variations
    -Testing out the 1st batch with experts; collect feedback
    -How to make further adjustments?
  4. -Make preparations for the first presentation
    -Presenting on Tuesday
    -print out the 2nd batch
  5. -Testing out the 2nd batch with experts (1 test day)
    -Preparation for the final presentation (1 day)
    -Documentation for science fair
  6. science fair: presenting the results


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