Cat Scans and 3D printing in the service of Musical Organology

February 8, 2016 | 09:00
Cat Scans and 3D printing in the service of Musical Organology
Cat Scans and 3D printing in the service of Musical Organology
CAT Scans are applied in a lot of fields of research such as astrophysics, geophysics and more generally in the mechanics of materials. It provides a high quality image of the whole of an object without destroying or altering it. Organology, which is the study of musical instruments from the point of view of their construction, is a new and unexpected but exciting application of the CAT Scan. Along with 3D printing, it offers researchers an unparalleled tool for studying instruments which are old, rare or have even disappeared. They can thus be reproduced and remade at relatively low cost. An endocrinologist by profession, who is passionate about musical instruments, had the idea of putting the tools he uses in his medical discipline to the service of his musical passion..
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For several decades, all over the world, musicians have been trying to recreate the sound of instruments before the advent of phonographic recordings, without knowing what they sound like.

Their work includes, amongst other things, minute construction details. This is mostly concerned with wind instruments and more particularly their mouthpieces, often badly preserved or lost. Once images can be captured and assembled in a computer, the part is physically recreated by 3D printing. It is thus simple to produce accurate replicas at low cost, or variants, for example for instruments in the same family, but in another register.
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