We have been following Donald Lindsay’s Dreaming Pipes project for about a year now, since first hearing about it before it was a crowdfunding project. Now that the project is wrapping up and the STLs and other rewards are heading out to the participants, we wanted to circle back around and share an interview with the creator of this project!
Matt Griffin Interviews Donald Lindsay
Hi! Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Donald Lindsay, and I’m using 3D printing to develop my chosen instrument, the Scottish Smallpipes. Previously the instrument had a range of only nine notes, however as of this week, using a design that quite possibly couldn’t be made in other ways (although we’re going to try!), the Smallpipes can play two full octaves!
Q: What are your go-to machines? (Desktop printers, services, hand tools, etc!)
Ultimaker 2, SeeMeCNC Orion, 3DPrintUK, Pipe Dreams reeds, my Makita hand drill, my chipboard and acrylic build chambers.
Q: And what software do you use to get your work done? (Design packages, CAM software, slicers, host software?)
Q: What is one (or what are some) of your designs that you’d like for everyone to check out?
The Qwistle 3D printed penny whistle v1.0 – this is a thoroughly researched and tested instrument, with a two octave range, smooth register crossing, and well balanced tuning throughout its range ; currently available via my website for a modest donation. Email support for your print and build, and for any post-print tinkering, can be provided (it’s a kit) – wind instruments are very sensitive to any variations in print quality, so unless your prints are as smooth as the proverbial baby’s bottom, be prepared to do a little of that post print tinkering to get the best out of it. Upgrades soon to be available via Thingiverse, including a cool-looking laser-cut triangular-section box.
Q: What are design challenges that you have faced (and perhaps or perhaps not overcome) when creating your work?
How to allow the Smallpipes chanter, which is a cylindrical woodwind (which overblows to a 12th, not an octave) to easily make use of a second register, without the use of any keywork. How to also provide semitones within the instrument’s range, again without the use of any keywork. How to do this in a way which will stand up vertically on the print bed of a desktop 3D printer, without the use of any support (which screws up the tone, and is a no no) – the last one isn’t actually too hard.
Q: What challenge do you most look forward to tackling in the future?
How to provide a set of drones, which can function in any key, while maintaining the basic tone profile of typical Scottish bagpipe drones (i.e. not ‘shuttle’ drones or a Northumbrian style “tuning bead” system). By the way, I’m not worried about including all of this musical & bagpipe-specific terminology. You’ve got Google.
Q: Any pointers for those just starting out with design and 3D printing?
Be prepared to learn all about the printers, because they’re not at the “plug and play” stage just yet, unless you’ve got a lot of money to spare. Probably do what I’m about to do, and build a RepRap, just so you understand all of what’s going on in there.
Thanks again for taking the time to chat with me!
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