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TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
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Discussion Starter #1
As you may know, Brilhart Level Air beak inserts haven't been available for a long time. I heard there is a guy who is 3D-printing them. I will post more info when I get it. I just the other day started using one again on baritone, and although I'm using a thin, clear patch, it would be nice to know there is a possibility of getting a new one again. These probably would work on a Runyon Quantum too and any fitting required should be minor. When I was playing one on tenor, I would bite a deep groove in it in a year or two and have to replace it which was cheap and easy then. I finally stopped it by cutting up a cheap plastic mouthpiece and making my own insert out of the harder material. My son played it for a few years after I switched to Guardalas in 1989, and the insert still looks good today. I'll have to get him to send me a picture of it.
No combination of thick patches or anything else really replicates the feel of the original insert. One of the major attributes of the mouthpiece is it is so easy to take more mouthpiece, even planting your upper lip on the smoothly curved for end of the insert. Here's my new bari piece that I got from 'mephipps' on the forum, a reliable seller. You can see the insert is critical to this mouthpiece. Also note the greater angle of the reed table to the bore which places the reed at a more correct angle. What you see on the outside is what you get on the inside - long baffle and abrupt 'step' to a cylindrical bore.

 

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I make and repair them out of a hard acrylic. If the 3D printed ones are a soft plastic, they will not hold up.
 

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I make and repair them out of a hard acrylic. If the 3D printed ones are a soft plastic, they will not hold up.
These days there are quite a few materials that can be 3d printed; some of them may be hard enough to stand up.

Personally for a couple of pieces I would carve the part out of a hard material - like ebonite or something similar. For more than a few I would either make a mold and cast them out of a hard material or have them CNC machined ($$$$, though!)

One of the defining characteristics of the old Level-Air mouthpiece insert, however, was that it was fairly soft. (That's why it doesn't hold up well to teeth.) If you make it out of something harder and more durable will it change the feel of the MP in a negative way? Or would you not notice after the first few minutes? I haven't played a Level-Air in over 30 years and never one with a replacement insert made of a harder material, so I truly have no idea.
 

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TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
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7,435 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
They work better as doorstops without the bite pads...
Its really simple to put a thick rubber mouthpiece patch on the beak when the insert is gone; the Runyon Quantum (Delrin) came without a beak insert - its basically a Level Air in plastic - and they sent a special long, thick patch that also covered the 'wall' at the back. However, there is no substitute for the real thing which is why I'll be protecting mine forever.
I haven't been able to find any more info on the 3D-printed inserts. My son in Austin told me about it so its probably in that area.
 
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