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I'm arguing with a friend of mine that insists that Fibracell reeds "must be 3D printed".

Does anyone know how long they have been in business? My guess is 1997 or 1998...as I think I used them around that time or maybe a little later.

Also, I suspect that 3d printing has nothing to do with their manufacturing as its likely they just form these resin substrates and then machine, mill, and sand them down from a slab of stock as you would with blank cane stock.

This friend of mine is a know it all, doesn't even play the saxophone, or know anything about reeds, saxes, or certainly Fibracell but he's one of those know it all types that works in software so he thinks he knows everything about everything.
I want to prove him wrong. Please help.
 

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This is the best information I can find but it doesn't explicitly state how it's done. I suspect it's a trade secret so they don't want to say everything but somehow I still highly doubt it's 3-D printed and I love being right.
View attachment 228128
 

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The Fibracell reeds are made of a material (a type of fibre-reinforced resin) that is exceedingly hard to 3D print in general, let alone to the tolerances required in reed manufacture.

The graphic you posted actually says how they are made, though not in detail. It talks about the material being machined / milled / trimmed etc. like cane. No 3D-printing involved.
 

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Well Pacquito mentions them in the ‘lessons with the greats’ book and it was published in 1994
 

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20 years ago 3D printing didn’t exist , I can’t think how they would give the materials structure to their product
 

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Kind of a thread detour but has anyone noticed a decline in quality of these reeds in last year or so? I have played them for years one reason being I am also a percussionist and nice not to worry about a reed drying out. I have had such good luck with them until recently. It will be sad to have to start searching for reeds again.
 

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Kind of a thread detour but has anyone noticed a decline in quality of these reeds in last year or so? I have played them for years one reason being I am also a percussionist and nice not to worry about a reed drying out. I have had such good luck with them until recently. It will be sad to have to start searching for reeds again.
I've not had that long an experience with Fibracells but I have 7 Fibracells of differing strengths and all play fine to me. Better than Legere for me.
 

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Kind of a thread detour but has anyone noticed a decline in quality of these reeds in last year or so? I have played them for years one reason being I am also a percussionist and nice not to worry about a reed drying out. I have had such good luck with them until recently. It will be sad to have to start searching for reeds again.
I've noticed a slight lack of consistency--maybe someone occasionally gets the labels mixed up that denotes the 'strength of'....!
 

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From https://www.fibracell.info/support-contact/

- NEW REED CARE CONCERN -

Try NOT To TWIST your mouthpiece on or off of your instrument with your FIBRACELL Reed on the mouthpiece. Please REMOVE the FIBRACELL Reed from your mouthpiece before TWISTING It.

Leaving the FIBRACELL Reed on your mouthpiece while trying to TWIST it on or off CAN irreparably damage the bottom of your FIBRACELL Reed.

A VERY Gentle Adjustment of your mouthpiece To position it, should NOT be a problem for your Reed, But Constant And Consistent Twisting of Your mouthpiece with your FIBRACELL Reed underneath a tight ligature can DAMAGE your FIBRACELL Reed beyond repair.​
 

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Actually, the company I retired from purchased a 3-D printer in 1998, although its capability and accuracy was not what it is today. However, for the OP, the last paragraph shown on your "Technical Aspects of Fibracell" page states that the reeds go through cutting, milling, shaping and trimming steps. If this were a 3-D printed part, the cutting and milling steps would not really be needed.

However, based upon how you describe him, be prepared for him to reject your arguments and facts and keep insisting he is correct. A lot of that going around nowadays.
 

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Well, first of all, you can tell your friend he's full of it.

I am not an expert in fiber reinforced plastics, but this kind of reed has been around for at least 30 years. I remember a version called "Fibercane" which may or may not have had a commercial connection with today's Fibracell.

My best guess is that the basic material of the reeds is made by a process called "pultrusion" where the mixture of uncured resin and fiber is essentially extruded through a die (in this case the die would have the basic cross sectional shape of a reed) by a combination of pushing (as in normal extrusion)_ and pulling (as in drawing wire). With this process the vast majority of the fibers are aligned with the long axis of the part, like the fibers of a natural reed are. Subsequent processes would basically be characterized as machining and grinding to shape.

I am not up on the very latest 3d printing technologies, but by now it's probably possible to get printing thread with aligned reinforcement fibers and print with a series of aligned strokes. However, this would be a high cost process compared to pultrusion.

People who don't actually know anything about how things are made are forever hearing about some new technology and deciding it must soon be applied to everything. Thus the nonsense about "3d printed houses" and "3d printed cars". 3d printing is a great technology, we use it in our company all the time, but like every other manufacturing process it has limitations and cost constraints and a set of applications where it is a very good choice and all the rest of the world of applications where it's either not a good choice or completely impossible.
 
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