New Insights for Music Department: Music Technology, Instrument Maintenance, Metal 3D-Printed Flute

A brand new future for music graduates is around the corner! National Sun Yat-sen University(NSYSU) contracted with IF International Inc. on May 30th, 2016 for the industry-university cooperation of music technology education and instrument maintenance, providing music graduates with more diversity in their careers. The existent production of a high-end flute costs heavily and takes up 5 to 10 years, but with the development of metal 3D scanning and printing technology, it can be shortened to one month along with failure reduction and sound quality enhancement.

IF International Inc. is noted for saxophones and woodwind instruments manufacturing via 3D scanning and printing. At the signing ceremony of the cooperation, the founder of IF, Bao-Chen Chang(張寶誠), gave NSYSU a handmade saxophone engraved with “中山大學” as a memorial gift. NSYSU highlighted that there will be instrument maintenance courses offered in music department, and programs of continuing studies for developing the professional in Taiwan.

Si-Xian Lee(李思嫻), the chairman of music department at NSYSU, said that music students in Taiwan often seem to have limited career choices, which makes “entrepreneurship” essential. Entrepreneurship is not necessarily about going straight for start-ups, but making the most of expertise in music in innovative ways. For example, having people who are proficient at instruments and acoustic aesthetics to repair instruments would be one way in practice. It is also worth mentioning that Bao-Chen Chang, and Hung-Chun Lin(林鴻君), the assistant professor of music department at NSYSU as well as the host of this cooperation, are two of the very four instrument engineers in Taiwan that are officially certified by Straubinger Flute Company.

Hung-Chun Lin said that in the initial phase, they plan to develop head joints and embouchure holes of high-end flutes through reverse engineering, and 3D scanning will be applied to build a database of world-famous flute head joints. After comparison and study of various acoustic designs, reset the parameters of the flute head joint through industrial graphics and test its acoustic response after 3D printing. This approach can effectively reduce cost and time and, at the same time, ensure the stability of sound quality. If the parameters are confirmed valid, proceed to mold development. This procedure is a breakthrough enabling the manufacturer to produce molds after verification of sound quality. It has overcome the considerable risk in traditional process.

Bao-Chen Chang explained that to reach the selling standard of advanced instrument,
traditional production takes around 5 to 10 years to achieve so. However, by reverse engineering, the production can be shortened to roughly a month. Moreover, 3D scanning and printing is able to reduce the risk of failure of mold design, which is another way to keep the cost down.