Provide curriculum for 3D printers Schools are increasingly acquiring 3D printers in their Maker Spaces and while this equipment is very exciting, there is often a struggle to find curriculum that combines their teaching goals with this new technology in a relevant way.
Teach about Acoustics The world of musical instruments is an excellent way to engage with basic principles of acoustics. For primary school students, the mathematics of entry-level acoustics are simple, but they allow for an incredible level of increasing complexity for more advanced students who want to explore higher level mathematics and physics concepts.
Engage real-world materials and tools Building things out of common, everyday items teaches valuable lessons in fine motor skills, the limitations of certain materials and structural integrity. Using the materials that are part of our everyday physical world helps students gain an intuitive understanding of the world around them.
Multi-sized shank – Most of the mouthpieces have a multi-sized outer diameter that allows them to be connected to multiple matarials.
Modularity – Materials can be quickly connected and disconnected. New configurations take moments to create.
Safe and simple tools – We have chosen materials that can be cut with inexpensive, easy-to-use tools that reduce the likelihood of injuries – no saws or drills are needed.
Free repository of files – Each mouthpiece has both a solidworks parts file (.sldprt) and a STereoLithography (.stl) file available for download. Most mouthpieces also have OpenSCAD files available for download.
3D Printing – One of the primary advantages to using 3D printing is the speed at which new ideas can be tested.
This project was conceived in the Max Lab at Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics. John Granzow was testing out various mouthpiece prints in the hopes of making a customized mouthpiece for one of our lecturers and noticed a discarded Wet/Dry vacuum hose in the dumpster. He modified his design so that it would fit into the hose and walked around the center bellowing like an asthmatic baby elephant. Sasha Leitman took another mouthpiece and put it into a smaller hose and spun the hose around her head to create a whirling doppler effect.
To a bunch of music nerds, this was obviously a discovery too good to not share.
We were also influenced by the Maker Movement in classrooms. We noticed that while schools, libraries and individual makers were gaining access to 3D printers, most of the online curriculum we found was geared towards getting a 3D printer to work. There seemed to still be a need for engaging and educational activities for 3D printers.
And we are passionate about sound – especially weird and fun sounds. Most children intuitively explore the world through making sound – banging on kitchen pots, blowing on bottles and making noise with their bodies. Acoustics is an excellent way to learn about physics and sinusoidal motion and there is no better way to gain an intuitive understanding of acoustics than to make your own instrument.