3D printers are currently mainly for hobbyists and geeks, but so is piping for many people, so bringing the two together is only natural, at least to the UK’s Donald Lindsay who recently came up with what are thought to be the first pipes designed for and produced with the new technology.
Lindsay’s not a pipe maker, but an enthusiastic piper and technologist who wanted to add more notes to his smallpipe chanter, and when 3D printing came along it became possible for him to try to design and make not just a chanter, but an entire instrument.
“The impetus behind my involvement in 3D printing has been my smallpipes chanter project,” Lindsay said. “I realized last year, after finding a maker’s lab that I could afford to use in Glasgow, that 3D printing offered a way to prototype ideas relatively cheaply, and relatively quickly. It also offered a way to experiment with ideas that would be well beyond my abilities as a wood turner, and also ideas that quite possibly wouldn’t even work in wood or any other more conventional medium.”
He created an adjustable prototype chanter adjustable that allows him to experiment with variables, without having to “print” multiple copies.
Lindsay said that he will make the printed chanter available on request, with a price comparable to standard smallpipe chanter. He said that he’s speaking with pipe makers in Scotland and the United States about translating his variable chanter design back into wood, if possible.
Lindsay’s Kickstarter campaign has accumulated more than £5,000 towards his project, with contributors receiving various gifts based on the amount given.