PIPERS! To become a Beta tester - click on the green "Back this Project" button, and scroll down the list until you see the Beta tester option!
SCOTTISH MUSIC FANS! Grab a hard copy on CD of the extended range Smallpipes album once made - again, click "Back this project", then look down the list and you'll see it there!
I'm using 3D printing to extend the musical range of a popular Scottish instrument, the Scottish Smallpipes, in ways that previously seemed impossible! Without any keys, the 3D printed chanter can currently play from low D, all the way up to high B - about the same range as the penny whistle, and comparable to the Uilleann pipes or irish flute!
The Scottish Smallpipes are a mellow, indoor kind of bagpipe.
As my Kickstarter project moves towards its last week, I'm looking for pipers to sign up as 'Beta Testers' for the extended range chanter. You'll get two copies - one as it stands now, to Beta-test, and one when the design has been fully refined. A reed by Pipe Dreams will also be included.
I'm not a pipe maker. Rather I'm a piper, who through a longstanding fondness for Smallpipes, and a strong desire to have a greater range of notes, has spent the last four years intensively studying the acoustics of the pipes, and designing & producing prototype instruments
Specifically, I'm working on a design for a chanter (melody pipe) for the Scottish Smallpipes, that will play around two octaves, without the use of keys. The conventional range of the instrument is currently nine notes.
If this project is successful, I will offer 3D prints of the finished instrument for sale to anyone who would like one. Project backers will of course get a discounted price! Ultimately I would like to cooperate with pipemakers to make the instrument available to the piping and musical community more generally, I've already had preliminary conversations with pipe makers, about translating the design 'into wood'.The basic design is settled, and plays around an octave and a half just now, so I'm looking to fund as many iterations of the design as I can to be 3D printed. I'm looking to stabilise the instrument in the second register, perfect the tuning, improve the tonal colour, and refine a chanter in every pitch that is practical, beginning with 'A', and moving on to 'G', 'Bb', 'C' and 'D'.
The cost of 3D printing isn't cheap, particularly when it comes to the more accurate industrial printers that I've been using, so I'm coming to "Kickstarter" to see if I can fund this project to completion. From my experience gathered so far I am able to offer donors a range of 'print-at-home' STL files, as well as a 'ready printed' tried and tested 3D printed 'penny' whistle, and a simple set of traditional parlour pipes. These instruments are printed from original, in-house designs. See the video to get an idea of how the current prototypes sound. The instruments you receive will have undergone a further two to six months of development, and comments and suggestions will be very welcome during this process.
Goal - £5,000
The £5,000 funding I hope to gather is to fund the printing of a series of prototypes of extended range chanters and drones on accurate high-spec commercial printers, and to record an album-length set of recordings of the instrument, playing a selection of music that couldn't previously have been played on Scottish Smallpipes. Guest musicians will be taking part, and names of these musicians will appear on this site as the work progresses.
Stretch Goal 1 - £10,000
In addition to the key of A (above) Produce and refine prototype copies of the chanter in the keys of G, Bb, C, D.
Produce a "tutor book" to introduce pipers to the method of playing the new chanter.
Design and print a modified 3D printed set of drones to accompany the extended range chanter, giving a true bass drone, a 'bass' drone, a 'baritone' drone and a 'tenor' drone.
In return, you can choose from rewards including a 3D printed penny whistle, a copy of the new extended range chanter, and a full set of Smallpipes, including the new chanter, in black or white plastic.
Enquiries from pipe makers, pipers, and any other interested parties, are welcomed.
Risks and challenges
There are few risks to this project. other than those related to the timescales involved. The 3D print firms to be used have been tried and tested to produce chanters and drones of a good quality. The system of testing and development to be used will allow for the instrument to be refined to a very high degree. Accessing the 'low notes' below the existing scale will be a certainty. Access to high 'b' is currently also certain, although it is not yet 'easy to use'.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (41 days)