3D-printed flutes hit new notes

They still sound like nails on a chalkboard to our ears, though...

3D printed flute

Hand-crafted instruments are all well and good, but the precision of 3D printing is starting to unlock new sounds.

Leading a team of researchers from the University of Wollongong in Australia, Dr Terumi Narushima took the existing mathematical models used to determine how various notes are produced by wind instruments, and created a 3D model of a flute that – due to its customised diameter, length, and hole placement – produced unique microtonal notes smaller than a semitone.

Once the 3D model was completed, the team was able to 3D print the instrument and indulge their wildest Jethro Tull fantasies.

While the 3D-printed flute's sound isn't exactly what we'd call pleasant, the team's research does open up the potential for musicians to access new sounds via instruments designed and constructed through non-traditional means.

Check out the video below:

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