Update 4: Printing Recorders

Plastic Fantastic? Replicating Historical Musical Instruments logo

Web Update October 2019

In late August, we were finally able to print a useable recorder block, thanks to our colleagues in Engineering Science. 

We had five versions of the recorder printed:


From top – Replica 5 (ABS), Replica 4 (Visijet M2R-TN Tan), Replica 3 (Visijet MT2R – WT White), Replica 2 (Accura 25), Replica 1 (Ultimaker PLA), Original ivory instrument

table for pf

Blocks were fitted to each – because of the difficulties we had encountered in deriving a printable block file a certain amount of post-processing (sanding and shaping the upper surface of the block) was necessary.

All five of the recorders were played, together with the original ivory recorder from the Bate collection, at a public event in the Pitt Rivers on the 14th September, as part of Oxford open doors event.  Musician Chris Evans played a sample of Telemann’s Recorder Fantasia No.3 on each instrument, and the public was invited to judge which replica they thought sounded most like the original.

There was a clear winner – the recorder made from Visijet M2R-TN Material, a tan coloured resin used for making dental models.  More surprising was that one of the replicas, that made from Visijet MR2-WT, a standard white printing resin, was generally judged to be a better recorder than the original, with a better tone.

graph for pf