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Carbon Fiber Piano
#1125969 06/16/04 12:47 PM
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How about a carbon fiber soundboard? Or a piano made entirely of composite materials? Never happen, right?

Go to www.luisandclark.com. That's a website about carbon fiber cellos and violas made by a member of the Boston Symphony cello section. Click the "Sound" button and view (and listen to) the little videos. Even allowing for tinny computer speakers, and the vagaries of internet sound, you will be astonished by how good these instruments sound. And they are not made by a craftsman with years of esoteric training, but by an artisan who makes three pieces in a mold and bonds them together.

If fine cellos and violas can be made this way, why not pianos?

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Re: Carbon Fiber Piano
#1125970 06/16/04 02:55 PM
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Quite astonishing! I would so love to see a trial piano made that way!!!!! Think of the weight savings! It could use more stable tuning systems. Warantee problems would be greatly reduced. Precious resources would not be used to build soundboards. What posibilities!! wow wow laugh laugh laugh

Re: Carbon Fiber Piano
#1125971 06/16/04 03:27 PM
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You mean carbon fiber doesn't grow on trees?

heres a link for soundboards made of crystal. (though its use in Methodist churches has been banned by the FDA)

http://www.stemco.nl/index.html

Re: Carbon Fiber Piano
#1125972 06/16/04 03:51 PM
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If carbon fiber doesn't grow on trees, then where does it come from, if I may innocently ask?


Write about what you know, research what you don't
Re: Carbon Fiber Piano
#1125973 06/16/04 04:06 PM
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4ever, this link (a page on the site given by MichaelP above gives a simple description of the process:

http://www.luisandclark.com./theinstruments.html

and THIS link, which is embedded in the first link's page, gives a much more detailed explanation.

http://www.chem.wisc.edu/%7Enewtrad/CurrRef/BDGTopic/BDGtext/BDGGraph.html

Re: Carbon Fiber Piano
#1125974 06/16/04 04:22 PM
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I have been trying to interest a friend of mine who won Japan's highest honor in materials science last year and who specializes in carbon structured materials and who also is a very fine musician and instrument maker (violins and guitars) to make me a carbon fiber soundboard for a trial. Too many irons in the fire. What I'd like to try is carbon nanotubes oriented in parallel lines like wood grain. (Expensive.)

Re: Carbon Fiber Piano
#1125975 06/16/04 04:49 PM
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Our friends who posted about starting a new piano company could take this and run. I have been reading the Steinway Saga and the Steinways made themselves into a successful company in 4 years and industry leaders in less than 10 if I remember correctly. This was in some large measure due to innovative technology. In that case it was overstringing and good use of cast iron. With immagination, what could be done today?

Re: Carbon Fiber Piano
#1125976 06/16/04 04:52 PM
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RKVS1

Thank you for the links, I am now able to research for knowledge. I also found google was able to provide links for "carbon fiber". An interesting material. Again, thank you.


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Re: Carbon Fiber Piano
#1125977 06/16/04 05:05 PM
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Chickgrand wrote: "What I'd like to try is carbon nanotubes oriented in parallel lines like wood grain."
Great idea! Copy from nature and than improve upon it! thumb

Re: Carbon Fiber Piano
#1125978 06/16/04 05:55 PM
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For some reason I seem to remember Del discussing this last year here. then again...I might be hallucinating!!!

Del... are you out there??


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Re: Carbon Fiber Piano
#1125979 06/16/04 06:10 PM
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Ovation has been making fibreglass guitars for thirty five years. they don't sound exactly like wood, but they don't sound bad, and they project a lot more volume. maybe a one piece molded rim and soundboard could be done with composite, thus saving a lot of labor.

Re: Carbon Fiber Piano
#1125980 06/16/04 08:26 PM
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Originally posted by Steve Cohen:
For some reason I seem to remember Del discussing this last year here. then again...I might be hallucinating!!!
Yes, we did have this very same discussion this time last year amid the discussion about the "crystal" soundboard, during which I asked Del about composite carbon soundboards, partly in an effort to get info to bolster my argument for the innovation I want my friend to pursue with me. Del's response was generally that the industry is stuck in tradition and that it won't be any major label promoting such a radical change. Kawai's use of ABS in the action was mentioned in reference to the criticism they've taken from competitors in the industry, for doing what I consider logical and progressive. I want to see more such innovation. What would be wrong with a piano that we might even love more? Del even alluded to some experimentation, as did Don Mannino, regarding soundboards. I've been curious all this time if they'd either one experimented with carbon fiber even while no one is likely to market such any time soon. Barring some mutant spruce virus or such.

Re: Carbon Fiber Piano
#1125981 06/16/04 08:29 PM
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Originally posted by foreversilent:
RKVS1

Thank you for the links, I am now able to research for knowledge. I also found google was able to provide links for "carbon fiber". An interesting material. Again, thank you.
Yes, two of the most important products are made from the growth of the carbon fiber tree. The stealth bombers and my bicycle. wink


There are few joys in life greater than the absence of pain.
Re: Carbon Fiber Piano
#1125982 06/16/04 10:13 PM
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I was impressed with the sound. It would be interesting to compare the sound of a good traditional cello and the carbon fiber instrument in the same environment. Those fine cellist's endorsements says a lot already.

It seems that the main objective in using carbon fiber in a piano would be to get a great sounding instrument that is unaffected by humidity change.

Chris, if you were to experiment with a carbon fiber soundboard it would seem that you would have to consider making the ribs and bridges out of the same material too. Either that or engineer a method for allowing expansion/contraction of the wooden components (humidity change) that interface the soundboard. Your thoughts?

JP


"Piano music should only be written for the Bechstein."
-- Claude Debussy
Re: Carbon Fiber Piano
#1125983 06/16/04 10:35 PM
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Originally posted by JPM:
Chris, if you were to experiment with a carbon fiber soundboard it would seem that you would have to consider making the ribs and bridges out of the same material too. Either that or engineer a method for allowing expansion/contraction of the wooden components (humidity change) that interface the soundboard. Your thoughts?
I don't see a Chris around here (I'm Rick, rhymes with Chick), so I'll take a stab. My thoughts would be to the extent that it's possible, the soundboard could be "floated" if in the plane parallel to the strings it remains fixed in the vertical orientation and if the strength of the crown is adequate such that it may not need compression assistance from the rim--so, perhaps, slotted points along the outer perimeter of the board with a bolt arrangement that allows a conventional rim of wood to expand and contract at a different rate from the board, while keeping the board at that precise height in relation to the strings that optimizes downbearing. As far as it goes, the most important relationship is between the plate and strings and the board. I'm not persuaded by either the "circle of sound" attributed to contributing tone with a massive rim "recirculating" vibrations back to the board, nor by the Boesendorfer philosophy about a light rim that contributes in conjunction with the soundboard by transmission. Some data points on some of the acrylic or lucite rim pianos might be interesting. I know nanostructured carbon materials can be both very strong and lightweight (perhaps too strong in conventional thickness dimensions--remains to be seen, but could be engineered to be just right for impedence). What I don't know, is what result that would have on tone. And that's the end goal, so it's critical. Until it's done, we won't know. Until it's competitively affordable, it won't much matter.

Re: Carbon Fiber Piano
#1125984 06/17/04 05:29 AM
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Re: Carbon Fiber Piano
#1125985 06/17/04 05:34 AM
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Thanks Rick for the follow-up. Sorry for calling you Chris. I think the idea would work. Once the basic soundboard manufacturing process is in place, then piano designers could continue to refine the soundboard design to come up with the optimal transmission area. If different soundboard sections (each with their own orientation of the nanotubes) could be fused together somehow, this might provide a mechanism for optimizing the sound transmission area. If this materiel ends up producing a good sounding instrument that is unaffected by humidity change, I think it would have a lot of appeal in the marketplace.

JP


"Piano music should only be written for the Bechstein."
-- Claude Debussy
Re: Carbon Fiber Piano
#1125986 06/17/04 12:03 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Steve Cohen:
For some reason I seem to remember Del discussing this last year here. then again...I might be hallucinating!!!

Del... are you out there??
Oh, yes, I'm here.

Much of what is being written about graphite (or, less specifically, composite) soundboards is quite correct and all if it is intriguing. And, yes, it is a subject I’ve given some thought to. But there’s nothing I’m yet prepared to go public with. Mostly because to date I have far more questions as answers.

Developing a new material to replace a traditional material is difficult. It has to be ‘better’ in all aspects. Witness the complete fiasco that has been made of one promising technology, the laminated wood soundboard.

Hopefully, the transition to composites will be handled with somewhat more finesse.

Del


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Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
Re: Carbon Fiber Piano
#1125987 06/17/04 12:10 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by JPM:


Chris, if you were to experiment with a carbon fiber soundboard it would seem that you would have to consider making the ribs and bridges out of the same material too. Either that or engineer a method for allowing expansion/contraction of the wooden components (humidity change) that interface the soundboard. Your thoughts?

JP
Why would you want to use ribs? One of the advantages of composite construction is the ability to form a panel with carefully controlled stiffness characteristics. Ribs are really not necessary with this construction.

Bridges can be made of most anything, including wood. The expansion and contraction of wood longitudinally in nominal.

Del


Delwin D Fandrich
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(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
Re: Carbon Fiber Piano
#1125988 06/17/04 12:43 PM
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How come Steinway &Sons doesn't make the bracing ribs on the lids of their concert D's a little more aesthetic, like beveling the ends down a little bit? Right now with the lid open, it looks like a crate on the unclaimed freight dock at Union Pacific. (or which ever railroad is currently out of receivership)

Was this off-topic? :rolleyes:

bob

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