Monday, October 10, 2011

Mouthpiece Methods

For a couple days I've been trying different approaches to making the mouthpiece for the black Every Whistle. It's not a case of how to make one, but rather how to make them in production mode. The more uniform the better, and the quicker the better. 

I had made one whistle by simply splitting a section of pipe and slipping it over the head. This worked, but the pipe didn't really want to stay round when spread that much. It would go a little oval, and impact the windway height. 

I was thinking of trying some heat to relax the plastic after splitting it to see if it came into a round section easily. Jem mentioned that the plastic can be expanded enough to fit over it's original OD with heat on a mandrel. So I bought a heat gun and had a go at several approaches. 

Two mandrels

The first mandrel was made from aluminum bar and looked really nice all polished up to eliminate extra friction. The problem was, aluminum conducts heat really well, and the mouthpiece would cool as it was pushed over the mandrel, requiring heating one or two more times. The good news is the aluminum doesn't have a high specific heat, so it warmed up quickly and things worked pretty well once the mandrel was warm. I considered, and am still keeping on the back burner, fitting the mandrel to a heat source such as a soldering iron. It could be threaded on in place of the soldering tips. But that might be more work than it's worth.

I thought a Delrin mandrel might work better, leaving more heat in the mouthpiece. So I made one out of Delrin, and it did work a better. Good enough that it shouldn't be too hateful to make a couple dozen at a time. But it also worked nicely to split the mouthpiece and heat it on a mandrel to shape it for the whistle. 

While I was trying different techniques to make the mouthpiece, I was trying different ways of finishing the whistles. 

 Here are three whistles with different treatment of the logo. The left one is painted with cream paint that matches the color of the CPVC I have locally. The middle one is simulating a gray paint. It is really polishing compound left in the engraved logo. The right one is as it comes from the engraver with no treatment by me at all.

 Here is a more distant view of the whistles. The one in the middle was treated with sandpaper and steel wool while on the lathe to make a brushed finish going around the whistle. It reminds me of uni-directional carbon fiber or fiber glass. Not bad looking. Lighter than the native black color. The one on the right is a white color, and no logo in on that whistle because it is the original prototype.

 Here's a long view of the various color and mouthpiece options. 

 Here you can see the second from the left has the split mouthpiece treatment. 

They all play alike, so it's down to how it looks and how easy is it to make over and over again.

I think I'll take some time out from the mouthpiece R&D to lay out the finger holes and make playable whistles out of the ones made so far. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

More R than D

I'm somewhat stymied at the moment. Not that I can't make a whistle, but that I can't find material the color and size of material I would like to use. 

All I really have that I can put to use directly, using the approach in the white Every Whistle, is white. The cream fitting (far right) that I hoped to use is of course the size of the pipe OD, and to achieve the wind way height that I want I need to reduce the OD of the pipe a few thousandths of an inch. Which makes the fitting too big to fit properly.

I also thought that I could use a section of the black pipe split in the back and fit over the head to make the mouthpiece. Not so easy. This pipe is not as stiff as the CPVC, but it is more so than the clear pipe I use for the Ghost whistle. The result being the mouthpiece doesn't stay round, but goes oval, with the sharper ends on the sides and the flatter spot opposite the split in the back. This makes the wind way too thin and might make the attachment of the mouthpiece tenuous. It stays on OK for the moment, but if the whistle is dropped I worry that it might come adrift because it doesn't have enough contact area to cement it in place.

So, the only color combination I can confidently produce at the moment is the pure(ish) white on black. Which was my least favorite option. But I might have to start liking it.

I'm going to try working the section of black pipe so it conforms to the shape of the whistle head a little better. That might be the best option. The logo on the dubh-dubh whistle above is as it comes from the engraver. I might like to fill it with something, even if it's a different kind of dubh. For example, if the whistle is finished in gloss black, paint with flay black, or the other way round.

Regardless, for a name I'm now considering "Every Dubh" (Pronounced sorta like: Duv) so the Every family will have the "Every" and the "Every Dubh" available in the same keys and sets. Yes, I plan to do an "Every Dubh Walkabout" in C and D. What order these will all come about in I can't say. I am thinking about making some of the keys or color combinations made to order.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Yesterday on the way home from the session I picked up the dubh whistles I dropped at the engravers the week before. 

Here's the batch on the workbench - a dozen D whistles, and a dozen each of C and Eb bodies with which to make sets as needed. My approach is to do as little work as possible before engraving so if anything goes awry during engraving I have lost a minimum of work. 

Below is a close-up of the logo. I asked for the engraving to be done rather deep so I could fill it with a lot of paint and it wouldn't rub off. 

Before they are whistles, I need to turn the ID and OD of the top of the whistles to accept the fipple and mouthpiece, cut the wind ways, file the labium ramps, assemble the heads, drill the finger holes and voice the whistles. So don't get impatient, most of the work is yet to be done.