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.
Aside from the obvious initial investment of the 3D printer, there are only three essential tools required:
1) PVC/Tube cutter (approx. $20USD)
The PVC/Tube cutter looks like a large pair of scissors with one blade replaced by a curved plastic jaw that holds the pipe in place. It works for cutting both the PVC pipe and the vinyl hose. It is a simple tool to use and the curved jaw makes it very difficult to lose control of the parts or injure yourself.
2) Small Leather punch (approx. $8USD)
3) Rubber mallet (approx. $8USD)
We struggled for quite a while trying to figure out how users could create sections that had tone holes without having to worry about drilling into a round surface. Drilling into curved surfaces is not a trivial endeavor and requires a more advanced level of skill with tools than we wanted to assume. Fortunately, the vinyl hose is ridged enough to be used in a fashion similar to the middle section of a recorder – complete with fingering holes. The finger holes can be cut using a leather punch tool and a hammer. A square dowel is inserted into the hose to act as a sacrificial surface that prevents the punch from cutting two holes across the circumference of the hose. While this might seem like a small feature, it has a big impact on creating instruments that can play multiple pitches.