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
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