Technical Brief

Reverse Engineering and Geometric Optimization for Resurrecting Antique Saxophone Sound Using Micro-Computed Tomography and Additive Manufacturing

[+] Author and Article Information
Frank Celentano

Mechanical Engineering Department,
Manhattan College,
Riverdale, NY 10471
e-mail: fcelentano.student@manhattan.edu

Richard DiPasquale

Mechanical Engineering Department,
Manhattan College,
Riverdale, NY 10471
e-mail: rdipasquale.student@manhattan.edu

Edward Simoneau

Mechanical Engineering Department,
Manhattan College,
Riverdale, NY 10471
e-mail: esimoneau.student@manhattan.edu

Nicholas May

Mechanical Engineering Department,
Manhattan College,
Riverdale, NY 10471
e-mail: nmay01@manhattan.edu

Zahra Shahbazi

Mechanical Engineering Department,
Manhattan College,
Riverdale, NY 10471
e-mail: zahra.shahbazi@manhattan.edu

Sina Shahbazmohamadi

Biomedical Engineering Department,
University of Connecticut,
Storrs, CT 06269
e-mail: sina@engr.uconn.edu

Contributed by the Design Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF COMPUTING AND INFORMATION SCIENCE IN ENGINEERING. Manuscript received December 17, 2016; final manuscript received June 23, 2017; published online July 20, 2017. Editor: Bahram Ravani.

J. Comput. Inf. Sci. Eng 17(3), 034501 (Jul 20, 2017) (6 pages) Paper No: JCISE-16-2153; doi: 10.1115/1.4037180 History: Received December 17, 2016; Revised June 23, 2017

The saxophone mouthpiece is an important, sound generating component of this instrument. The structure of mouthpiece has undergone several design changes since its invention by Adolphe Sax in the mid-18th century. Very few antique mouthpieces survived through the years, and unfortunately, those available are not playable on modern saxophones due to geometric discrepancies. This paper investigates the possibility of using three-dimensional (3D) X-ray tomography and 3D printing combined with solid modeling and reverse engineering concepts to bring back the sound of saxophones as intended by its inventor. We have imaged the interior and exterior of an extant mouthpiece nondestructively using 3D X-ray tomography, and used solid modeling and reverse engineering along with sound testing, to optimize the geometry of a mouthpiece that is faithful to its original design and yet playable on a modern saxophone. To perform sound testing of our design iterations, 3D printed prototypes have been used and proven to generate sufficient sound quality for testing. We have successfully obtained the optimized geometry after a series of iterations that taught us valuable lessons about modeling for 3D printing and correlating geometric features of a mouthpiece to its sound quality. Though the developed principles are applied to saxophone mouthpieces, the present work can be readily extended to various musical instruments that have evolved through time, particularly woodwind instruments and instruments with mouthpieces.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME
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Fig. 1

Zeiss Xradia Versa 510 interior

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Fig. 2

Antique (left), modern (middle), and initial “hybrid” (right) mouthpiece interior and exterior design

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Fig. 3

Important design parameters of a mouthpiece

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Fig. 4

Antique (top) and modern (bottom) tip openings

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Fig. 5

Antique (top) and modern (bottom) chamber cross sections

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Fig. 6

Lofting between planes to create a solid body

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Fig. 7

Revolved cut to create chamber

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Fig. 8

3D lofted cut to complete internal geometry

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Fig. 9

3D lofted cut for chamber and tip opening

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Fig. 10

Three design iterations: (a) liner tip opening with a curved front up, (b) extended base and bore with much more tip opening with 6% reduction of the chamber, and (c) remodeled chamber, shifted ramp for larger reed constraint

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Fig. 11

Final design iteration remodeled chamber for continuity, walls thickened

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Fig. 12

Sound analysis of the final iteration showing minimal discrepancy from desired values



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