Researchers used advanced mathematical models to create 3D printed flutes with unique sounds

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member
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Researchers from the University of Wollongong in Australia have created a 3D printed flute that’s unlike any other. Aided by advanced mathematical models, the team, led by Dr. Terumi Narushima, has been able to 3D print flutes capable of playing microtonal scales, something that simply isn’t possible on standard instruments.

These fine-tuned flutes have very specific parameters as it relates to diameter, length and where to place the holes. They’ve already been featured in live theatre performances around Australia and will be featured in the Embracing Innovations exhibit at Craft ACT’s Craft and Design Centre next month.

The project isn’t just about creating new-sounding instruments. Global Challenges, Manufacturing Innovation Leader, Professor Geoffrey Spinks said they can see many applications moving forward with areas like custom-made instruments for people with physical restrictions, customized instrument design where alternative designs can be printed and tested prior to production and even print-on-demand options.

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lipe123

TS Evangelist
I wish I knew what the difference was but at least now I know of one thing that 3D printing is good for.
 

MilwaukeeMike

TS Evangelist
Cool... but those aren't flutes. Those are recorders. I even googled 'Australian Flute' to make sure this wasn't me being an ignorant American and not knowing what they called something somewhere else. There are definitely recorders.
 

TrueBooleanFals

TS Member
Cool... but those aren't flutes. Those are recorders. I even googled 'Australian Flute' to make sure this wasn't me being an ignorant American and not knowing what they called something somewhere else. There are definitely recorders.
Recorders are flutes. Flutes are just windpipes that are blown from one end and hit a hard edge (the whistle on top the mouthpiece) to produce sounds. You might be confusing flutes with reeds, which use a reed inside the mouth piece to produce sound and holes to alter the airflow, changing the sound.
 
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JasonT

TS Rookie
Cool... but those aren't flutes. Those are recorders. I even googled 'Australian Flute' to make sure this wasn't me being an ignorant American and not knowing what they called something somewhere else. There are definitely recorders.
Smart....but its Japanese flute. Just in case you missed it, she's Japanese.
 

MilwaukeeMike

TS Evangelist
Smart....but its Japanese flute. Just in case you missed it, she's Japanese.
I googled Japanese flute too... they showed me pictures of flutes. That woodwind instrument played by blowing through a hole in the top (not the end) and held out sideways.

We could argue all day about what a flute is... and I'm not one to tell some musical scientist they don't know the name of the instrument they're playing. But if you've ever seen a recorder you'll note they look EXACTLY like the instrument they're playing.
 

JasonT

TS Rookie
We have two kinds of flutes, straight flute and side flute. only americans call it recorder... what are you recording?