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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

Just wanted to share my experience and journey in printing my own mouthpiece ( using 3d printer) , hand finishing it and comparing to a professional 3D mouthpiece ( Windy City 56 Alto )

Automotive tire Synthetic rubber Amber Gas Tints and shades


Here is the creation... As you can see from the photo even after extensive polishing and sanding I couldn't get the flat table. I stopped sanding immediately after mouthpiece passed "suction test".
The surprising bit for me was that it could actually play.

Here is the link of the recording - same song played on WCW 56 mouthpiece and on this home made piece of plastic.

https://soundcloud.com/HMg44
Summary
While everybody can now print mouthpieces at home, they will rarely sound better than stock Yamaha 4c. The hand finishing on a mouthpiece is what makes it sing or make it barely playable.

Here are the photos side by side , you can see how WCW 56 mouthpiece ( black ) had nice rails, table and tip and mine ( orange ) is pretty rough. Mind you it took me 2 hours to get to that stage
Automotive lighting Automotive design Hood Synthetic rubber Automotive tire


Tool Office supplies Tints and shades Cosmetics Cylinder

This was my 3rd attempt ( first two were completely unplayable)...

P.S. The printed ( orange) mouthpiece was much less fun to play with. Even though it has similar to opening it was hard to push the air through ( not free blowing?). In the drawer it goes...
 

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Yes, your experience level at programing, modeling, designing, facing, etc. might give some sort of context to what you are saying.
If you could not get that table flat in 15 minutes or less, then you are lacking some basic skills IMO.
 

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There are mouthpiece DIY-starter kits (I think Theo Wanne used to sell one) for a few hundred bucks which are available online.
You need to at least invest in one of those in order to work up a mouthpiece into usable condition, I'd say.
 

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The quality of infill is terrible. That will have porosity all the way through. You need to revisit your slicing and printer setup. That’s just basic 3D printing. If you plan to print to near net shape, and the product has such high porosity, you don’t stand a chance of filing, sanding, and polishing to a finished product without holes.

That aside, have you visited any refacing websites to get a clue of how to set up a mouthpiece when starting with a blank?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
There are mouthpiece DIY-starter kits (I think Theo Wanne used to sell one) for a few hundred bucks which are available online.
You need to at least invest in one of those in order to work up a mouthpiece into usable condition, I'd say.
Thanks for the suggestion, however at current price it is a little bit prohibitive.
It is sold for 250 USD which makes it 360 AUD without posting... I was hoping to get by with just sandpaper, and low cost DIY gear...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The quality of infill is terrible. That will have porosity all the way through. You need to revisit your slicing and printer setup. That’s just basic 3D printing. If you plan to print to near net shape, and the product has such high porosity, you don’t stand a chance of filing, sanding, and polishing to a finished product without holes.

That aside, have you visited any refacing websites to get a clue of how to set up a mouthpiece when starting with a blank?
I agree with you regarding porosity. see my previous attempt ( white mouthpiece) I was able to make it much smoother ( also different material). Interestingly enough, even this it looks better it has never been able to pass suction test...
Automotive design Wood Fender Bumper Car

Synthetic rubber Tints and shades Plastic Office supplies Carmine


I watched few videos of pros doing refacing... Would you recommend anything specific?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Do you have experience facing and finishing mouthpieces? Odd bit to leave out of an experiment where making a mouthpiece to compare to an existing product is the goal.
Well... I don't have experience. In fact I was hoping I will gain experience that way...
Printing mouthpieces is cheap.. then I can work on them without worrying too much..
The goal of the experiment is too see how far away will it be from professional MPC.
I was surprised that it played. I am not sure that it will play nicely even with proper refacing...

And now I think I am stuck. Shall I print a new one with less porous material? Will it make much difference? Shall I keep sanding it? Can i do it without buying expensive Theo Whane kit?
too many questions....
 

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And now I think I am stuck. Shall I print a new one with less porous material? Will it make much difference? Shall I keep sanding it? Can i do it without buying expensive Theo Whane kit?
too many questions....
It’s not just about printing with less porous material, you also need to adjust slicing and printing parameters. Is this your first 3D printing?

That aside, if you are interested learning about refacing, why not just buy a bunch of inexpensive used mouthpieces, and practice the craft on those, instead of wasting time and resources that fail to produce a blank?


I think there is also a FaceBook group that shares techniques. Talk to @MojoBari
 

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There is a Facebook group, but it is just a random q/a here and there. I got off it a few days ago because it was showing porn photos and it was not allowing me to report them. It may be ok now.

I used to run a Yahoo based mouthpiece work forum before Yahoo stopped hosting them. There are a bunch of files copied from that old forum here:

 

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You need a set of tools if you are even going to bother. Those in the image are a long way from being mouthpieces. Id first suggest getting some tools, then get some old decent but closed pieces that no one wants and practice learning to apply a facing. Then consider trying to turn those into a piece. To be really honest with you, it looks like a lot of work and the need for considerable skill to get those into decent playing condition. In otherwords, they would need work by someone with above average skills, not someone new to the craft. I think you are just looking at a lot of frustration ahead of you. Sadly, there are really no shortcuts if you want a good piece. If you want to make mouthpieces keep going. If you are looking at a couple for yourself you are looking for a long road ahead and that time would be better spent practicing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks, everyone for their brutal but honest feedback!
Here are some closing thoughts:
  1. The printed pieces are too rough. More iteration/calibration are required to achieve proper printing quality
  2. Refacing is a long road that will take years with some supervision/feedback. I still do not mind giving it a go but it looks like some better tools might be required.
  3. It is easier to do refacing on some old/cheap/closed mouthpieces - at least you know they shall sound better. (Maybe I need to buy some used Yamaha 4C and open them up to be 0.075 tip opening?)
  4. I agree that any time I mock around with gear/mouthpieces/refacing - I steal it from practicing. While I agree in principle, I think that investigating gear provides additional motivation to practice. As long as one does not spend too much time playing with gear instead of playing saxophone....
  5. Thanks, @MojoBari for the documents - this is a very insightful and interesting read in the world of refacing...
  6. Overall, refacing feels a little bit of black art, not sure it can be even learned in isolation without a teacher (i.e. experienced refacer)...
 

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You can learn it on your own with resarch online. Of course it will take longer. It takes years to be really good but not years to turn out a decent product. Im not one to lecture too much about stealing time. I stole time and became a mouthipece maker. Its probably a better use of my energy. The world wont miss another mediocre musical talent.
 

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Actually, I was playing and probably no better than intermediate level. I was looking at mouthpieces and got an RPC. I liked it and wanted another like it. I called Ron and I must have caught him on an off day. He told me that as a player I had no business talking about mouthpieces, facing lengths etc... He was pretty grumpy I have to say.

I got off the phone and said, "Fine, I'll do it my damn self". That is when I started fiddling with mouthpieces and it went from there.

So Ron on a grumpy day is responsible for you guys having to put up with me :)
 

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@lostcircuits may have a better recall of Ron Coelho’s origin story, but I recall that he was pretty much self taught as well. I know that he designed and built his own mini CAM setup for desktop machining.
 

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Actually, I was playing and probably no better than intermediate level. I was looking at mouthpieces and got an RPC. I liked it and wanted another like it. I called Ron and I must have caught him on an off day. He told me that as a player I had no business talking about mouthpieces, facing lengths etc... He was pretty grumpy I have to say.

I got off the phone and said, "Fine, I'll do it my damn self". That is when I started fiddling with mouthpieces and it went from there.

So Ron on a grumpy day is responsible for you guys having to put up with me :)
@lostcircuits may have a better recall of Ron Coelho’s origin story, but I recall that he was pretty much self taught as well. I know that he designed and built his own mini CAM setup for desktop machining.
All I know is that he used to work for the Coast Guard. And then for IBM. And he was grumpy and a complete smart ass (no, not Ron! LOL) and got himself fired but they brought him back 2 days later at a much higher level, IIRC, he became the boss of the guy who fired him.

IBM had a small machine shop at the plant with a number of mills and a lathe and eventually they decided to close that plant and Ron offered to take the machines off their hands so they didn't have to spend money on discarding them / or trying to sell them and that's how he ended up with his shop.

At the time he was talking a lot (learning from ) Fred Lamberson but I don't have much detail on that.

The first pieces he made were simply mods of existing MPCs like adding putty baffles etc. before he started buying blanks from Babbit for his roll-over mouthpieces. I know he got acquainted with a bari player named Ed W. in the Vancouver area who was also an ME / machinist and who wrote most of the G-code files for Ron (very nice guy!).

At some point, very early on, he started to talk to Phil Barone (I know he had a lot of respect for Phil), comparing notes on facing curves etc. but eventually he became more comfortable with his own work and started to experiment with different designs etc, eventually leading to the -B (as in Berg baffe).

When I cleaned out his house, there were some really interesting things like the power ring (forget the Klangbogen and heavy mass screws).
Man, I miss the guy!

p.s. @Sigmund451, Ron always had very positive things to say about you, too!
 
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