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MMD > Archives > January 2017 > 2017.01.30 > 03Prev  Next

Player Piano Parts by CNC or 3D Printing
By John A. Tuttle

Hi All,  As many of you know, I have been using a CAD program to
get player piano parts and supplies manufactured for almost two years.
Most recently, I had the eight basic parts of the four Ampico A
function switches manufactured on a CNC machine.  (See link below
to the-set-3.jpg.)

I've also investigated the cost of 3-D printing in metal, and it is
not 'inexpensive' by any stretch of the imagination.  I priced this
one part from the Baldwin Manualo transmission frame (see image
frame-9-3.jpg below) and it would cost over $6000 if printed in metal.
The same part will cost less than $700 if made on a CNC machine.

While I firmly believe that the prices for 3-D printed parts will
continue to decrease as the popularity of the printers increases,
I think it will be some time before the costs come down far enough
to justify using them to make replacement parts for player pianos.
Also, 3-D printed parts are rarely "ready-to-use" when the printing
process is completed.  The parts typically need some machining after
the printing process.

Also, someone has to make the CAD file.  The fact is, there probably
a very small percentage of player piano technicians who have a degree
in engineering.  (If they have the degree, they're probably not fixing
player pianos...!)  And, while learning to use a CAD program isn't
rocket science, I find it to be quite challenging.

John A Tuttle
Brick, New Jersey, USA

 [ Four Solid Brass Ampico A Function Switches
 [ Simple Half of the early Baldwin Manualo transmission frame

(Message sent Mon 30 Jan 2017, 18:11:55 GMT, from time zone GMT-0800.)

Key Words in Subject:  3D, CNC, or, Parts, Piano, Player, Printing

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