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Re: Sand casting, vacuum casting and cast iron [Re: MetalMan] #1874877
04/06/12 08:26 PM
04/06/12 08:26 PM
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That was an interesting article, Kurtmen. Thanks for posting it...

In fact, this thread has been very educational and informative. Thanks to all the participants.

Rick


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Re: Sand casting, vacuum casting and cast iron [Re: MetalMan] #2459353
09/13/15 06:07 AM
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This was informative indeed

I think plates are expected to "damp" the mechanical impact tone, , which is the most noisy moment in tone.

I did read an article that say the depending of the fixation of the plate and its design, it will be more or less allowed to be put in vibration hence color the impact of the hammer (the plate is heard a lot in the treble generally, it is false to say it is not participating to the tone, he do not radiate indeed, not much but its imprint is present and radiated by the soundboard).

I have seen 1920 old French piano with a very thin and small plate, that was giving the piano a very juicy tone.

Yamaha grand plates are typically vibrating,they are decoupled from the soundboard but may play a role of acoustical ballast nevertheless)

Boesendorfer plates are very massive and designed to not vibrate at all. Then the wooden rim and the wooden braces are having the "damping" role and the tone of the piano is warmer.

those are conclusions, I still need to research and ask confirmations from some builders I could know

finite element analysis of Stuart piano plate (showing where break is likely to occur )

nice read :

Strand7 - Suart concert grand plate

surprised that the plate have no diagonal reinforcment to avoid warping

Last edited by Olek; 09/13/15 06:09 AM.

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Re: Sand casting, vacuum casting and cast iron [Re: MetalMan] #2459399
09/13/15 10:49 AM
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Thanks for the material!

My understanding of the casting process is that the slower the iron cools, the softer the metal. I was told that wet sand casting cools slower because the volume of sand in the mold is higher thus more insulating affect. With slow cooling the carbon forms larger balls in the structure is what I was told.

What do you all know of this?

The V-process plates are definitely harder because when you go to shape the V-bar you can feel the hardness by how the file cuts and by the sound of the file cutting.

I have found a direct link between the plate hardness at the V-bar and the coloring to the tone caused by longitudinal string modes. Also the knock noise of hammer impact is noticeably different between V-plates and wet-sand.


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Re: Sand casting, vacuum casting and cast iron [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT] #2459432
09/13/15 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Thanks for the material!

My understanding of the casting process is that the slower the iron cools, the softer the metal. I was told that wet sand casting cools slower because the volume of sand in the mold is higher thus more insulating affect. With slow cooling the carbon forms larger balls in the structure is what I was told.

What do you all know of this?


Not so much, just that the wet sand process is allowing slower cooling which favor or create lamellar graphite structures (may be the iron is softer too) with about twice the damping characteristics than spheroidal iron (also grey )

I wrote to a founder that is specialized is casting in metal molds, his process create also grey graphite lamellar iron, but less porous and the lamellae are thinner , which can be useful for many applications.

A second cooking also make a modification that release eventual stresses and make the iron easier to bore, cut etc.

I look for more material and information and will keep you posted.

I did not find the name of that founder that work for most European makers in Hungary, but when I will I will try to join them.

Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT

The V-process plates are definitely harder because when you go to shape the V-bar you can feel the hardness by how the file cuts and by the sound of the file cutting.



Yes it can also be a separate hardening process (with heat) that create that hardening, but I did read something about the ratio difference between external an internal of the V Cast iron being larger than the eventual one with sand casting (a French founder told me that sand casted grey iron was considered an homogenous material, they also said that the metal used was less pure 100 years ago, containing phosphore that rise the risk of breakage if the plate is heated )

Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT

I have found a direct link between the plate hardness at the V-bar and the coloring to the tone caused by longitudinal string modes. Also the knock noise of hammer impact is noticeably different between V-plates and wet-sand.



Great to read that the impact tone is concerned, I asked Alex Galembo about the role of the resonance tone from hammer head and shank, and he told me the mos annoying tone did came from the plate, particularly in high treble. (I noticed that evening the tone of the shank/hammer assembly makes the voicing more even immediately)

The plate seem to act vs the impact noise as the soundboard vs the sound.

DO you think the coloring is mostly due to longitudinal modes ? It is possible, that there is a strong connection indeed, I really feel that waves go along the string up to the pin and are reflected from the pin, which make the tone way cleaner and "purer" when the tuning pin is correctly torqued /stiffened.

DO you think that "test blows" or similar strong blows pass relatively easily the bearing points and rest felts because of the waves going along the wire? I imagine a sort of "whiplash" happening, and that we use for moving the pin the tiniest amount;

(and if "test blows" are used to " final tune", to rise the tension in the NSL and the pin as a last action, beginners are often given instructions to "set the pin" that way, this is more approximate but easier than doing it with the tuning lever manipulations.)

Regards


Iron is hardening in time, when I think of it that may explain why the plate resonance of that French baby grand (with a very thin and light plate) was so much noticed; It made an interesting tone but the voicing needed to be powerful or the plate was really too much present with a metal tune tone during impact.


I also understand that wet sand process leave some room for the graphite to "grows" in lamella (gill, slat, I don"t know what is the correct term for the graphite) Vacuum and metal modling oblige the iron to be thinner more concentrated, plus a faster cooling , that is how the process creates the smaller lamella they say (no place for expansion)

There is a rough description of the process in the Fenner book, where he explains that warpage is anticipated as possible, we are used to plates warping high along the string plane, I would not be surprised that the original shape used to create the mold is warped in the opposite direction; with 1% retraction, there are deformations that occur indeed.




Last edited by Olek; 09/13/15 12:41 PM.

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Re: Sand casting, vacuum casting and cast iron [Re: MetalMan] #2459440
09/13/15 12:50 PM
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WHile searching, I find a book on the Allichamps foundery , based on the archives

It contains sketches , references for all pianos models, it seem that this was THE French founder that did work for most if not all French piano builders

Fonderie d'Allichaps, Pleyel Gaveau , Erard etc

In French of course - I ordered it.

The founder is possibly in Teheckia and not Hungary, I diod read that to make the optimal "counter" the positive of the wanted plate used to create the sand imprint) months are necessary as the "counter" bowing of the braces is experimented degree by degree.


Last edited by Olek; 09/13/15 01:31 PM.

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Re: Sand casting, vacuum casting and cast iron [Re: MetalMan] #2459451
09/13/15 01:14 PM
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Exactly when did Yamaha and Kawai go to the vacuum cast method?


WhoDwaldi
Howard (by Kawai) 550-C 5'-10"
Re: Sand casting, vacuum casting and cast iron [Re: WhoDwaldi] #2459459
09/13/15 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by WhoDwaldi
Exactly when did Yamaha and Kawai go to the vacuum cast method?


They are making pianos for so long , difficult to say, May be KawaiDon (on PW) can ask and obtain the answer.


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Re: Sand casting, vacuum casting and cast iron [Re: MetalMan] #2459501
09/13/15 04:17 PM
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Most old plates are "crowned" across the strike line. I have been told by Henry Wickham that most grand plates do some of that curve due to the differential cooling raters inherent to the usual shape.

Mr. Wickham also said no plates are heat treated for stress relief. I think it would result in a hopelessly warped shape

I have no evidence that longitudinal modes can pass beyond the duplex string felt to the tuning pin. I do believe on pianos with no felt between the duplex rest and the tuning pin that they do.


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Re: Sand casting, vacuum casting and cast iron [Re: MetalMan] #2460078
09/15/15 11:41 AM
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MetalMan,

I just wanted to say thank you for all the great info on this subject. Hugely informative.



1926 Steinway R (138cm upright rebuilt in 2015)
Re: Sand casting, vacuum casting and cast iron [Re: Rickster] #2461771
09/20/15 06:19 PM
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Rick, the old farm tractors also benefit from aging. Also when you rebuild an old cast iron block, the rings have work hardened the cast iron over the lifetime of the block. Just skimming the surface of the bore leaves behind most of the work hardened metal. Same is true to a lesser extent for the heads. By the way, the old Ford foundry for engines was still in operation when I was in Cleveland. I suspect is still cranks out blocks and crank shafts.


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Re: Sand casting, vacuum casting and cast iron [Re: MetalMan] #2461773
09/20/15 06:31 PM
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There is also the issue of aging the cast iron for strength and stability. If heat treatment is not in the cards, this is one way to improve the cast iron quality. This creates an enormous inventory headache however. Old plates should be somewhat harder and more stable than new ones, all other things being equal. Of course, the old plates also had more impurities (phosphorous) which clouds the issue.


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Re: Sand casting, vacuum casting and cast iron [Re: MetalMan] #2461775
09/20/15 06:36 PM
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Another point in favor of vacuum casting in particular, and metal-mold casting in general is that cooling channels can be put into the mold and the cooling rate regulated in places where it is needed. This really isn't an option in sand casting.


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Re: Sand casting, vacuum casting and cast iron [Re: Ed Foote] #2739435
05/25/18 02:38 PM
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I find this 2012 thread to be very informative.
.
Originally Posted by Ed Foote
Greetings,
I think the sand cast plates are less likely to have their own resonant frequency. At least, not enough of one to produce a noticeable sound. This is not the case with the vacuum castings. There are a number of C7 Yamaha's that exhibit a distinct "boing" anywhere from the upper fifth octave to the mid 6th. I have seen the same in other brands, but never in a sand-cast plate. This may be coincidence, but I don't think so.
My logic tells me that the sandcasting produces a less consistent product, not only on the macro scale of plate accuracy, but also on the microscopic scale of internal stresses occurring in a more random manner. That may be wildly off base, but in any event, I think the reliance on sand casting, particularly for the high end concert grands, springs from acoustical reasons more than economic ones. The manufacturers don't go to extra effort for nothing...
Regards,


From what I have read Ed Foote's statement about sand cast plates having less resonant frequency giving them potentially better acoustics than vacuum cast is probably accurate. I have also read that if the thinner vacuum castings were cast as thick as sand castings this advantage would vanish. Any thoughts on this?

Last edited by Sanfrancisco; 05/25/18 02:40 PM.
Re: Sand casting, vacuum casting and cast iron [Re: MetalMan] #2741625
06/02/18 06:46 PM
06/02/18 06:46 PM
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Ah, this topic brings back some old memories of me doing my master's work at Georgia Tech studying the vibration modes of beams under various forms of loading, as well as future work researching the vibration modes of the Space Shuttle.

Re: Sand casting, vacuum casting and cast iron [Re: MetalMan] #2741644
06/02/18 08:24 PM
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This study could be very important in deciding what type of plate should be in the piano in the space station.

Last edited by Sanfrancisco; 06/02/18 08:27 PM.
Re: Sand casting, vacuum casting and cast iron [Re: swampwiz] #2741693
06/03/18 02:10 AM
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Originally Posted by swampwiz
Ah, this topic brings back some old memories of me doing my master's work at Georgia Tech studying the vibration modes of beams under various forms of loading, as well as future work researching the vibration modes of the Space Shuttle.

I had to manage with planes (A330/340) as we don't do space shuttles this side of the pond !

Just about everything has resonant frequencies and you won't stop those. What you can do is design something to have a low Q and give it plenty of mass to lower them out of the audible range. I should have thought that the bigger and longer the plate, the easier it is to design out these problems. Did the 19th century concert grands have these issues ? I've never heard that they did


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Re: Sand casting, vacuum casting and cast iron [Re: MetalMan] #2741817
06/03/18 05:22 PM
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Quote
From what I have read Ed Foote's statement about sand cast plates having less resonant frequency giving them potentially better acoustics than vacuum cast is probably accurate. I have also read that if the thinner vacuum castings were cast as thick as sand castings this advantage would vanish. Any thoughts on this?


Piano plates are the most neutral component in the piano. The piano strings cannot generate any frequencies that can make the plate generate sympathetic resonance, Regardless the casting method, plates don't generate frequencies.
Vacuum castings are much more slender, have less defects, but the tensile strength is slightly lower due to the lower cooling rate. In most situations the overall strength of a better casting is equivalent or higher than that of a casting containing porosity. The cast iron piano frame is not a strength critical component. It is a stiffness critical, and acoustically irrelevant.


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Re: Sand casting, vacuum casting and cast iron [Re: Kurtmen] #2741880
06/03/18 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Kurtmen

Piano plates are the most neutral component in the piano. The piano strings cannot generate any frequencies that can make the plate generate sympathetic resonance, Regardless the casting method, plates don't generate frequencies. <snip> The cast iron piano frame is not a strength critical component. It is a stiffness critical, and acoustically irrelevant.


Greetings,
Hmm, this is food for thought, as it contradicts my experience. There is more than stiffness involved in the resistance to the strings at the capo sections, there is tension as well as. compression. However, to say that plates can't generate frequencies is certainly true, yet also, incomplete. I believe that plates can certainly resonate with frequencies generated by the impact of hammers, and produce audible artifacts of that impact at pitches that have nothing to do with the frequencies of the string.

I say this because of the recurring incidence of extraneous, lower, pitches in certain 7' pianos in recording studios. Tuning in near anechoic conditions, I have become very aware of the "boing" sound that is humming after the note in the range of mid-fifth octave up to the bottom of the 7th. When I rap the plate with my knuckle, the exact same "boing" is heard. When I apply tension or compression to the plate struts, the "boing" goes away. What would one make of this other than the plate is being energized at the frequency of the impact? That is where I have arrived, and if others have a more logical explanation, I would really like to hear it, too.
Regards,

Re: Sand casting, vacuum casting and cast iron [Re: MetalMan] #2741982
06/04/18 08:29 AM
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Normally the simple grey iron (GG25) has a good damping factor. To save weight and to add other properties, the piano makers sometime deviated from the simple grey iron, may it be only to reduce transporting costs related to weight. Bigger weights with same plate dimensions puts the flat structure of a plate into higher frequency ranges.

The other factor is the implicite stiffness which is quite granted by designs like the Steinway "Cupola" one. This design also puts resonance frequencies to a higher level (Hertz level, not meant is "more noise"...)

My super old concert grand has nothing of any plate resonances. ... even if Theo Steinway had used a "special" mixture with said double strength compared witrh grey iron. The cupola design (i.e. that a plate is in real not a "flat" one...) provides strength and an implicite hogher resonance freqwuency, but it is hindered by the fixation of the plate at the rim substructure, so no problems.

But we should take into count that the cupola design once was made for a "100percent fireproof design" and once was done without optimization by modern CAD-CAM-FEM means..., and the plate of the Centennial concert grand so might be one of the heaviest single parts in whole piano history. It is a one-part-six-hundred-pounds beast...

Let me tell you a story of a completely other field of vibrations... I once had a university professor for mechanical engineering (owner of a Steinway grand) talking about piston pumps and lorry engines design, and about vibrations and machinery dynamic behaviour.... He was in his former life a design engineer for the Krupp Company in Essen which was forbidden to produce tanks and canons after WW2, so they decided to go into car making. They had in 1952 a new smaller truck type which made a lot of problems with the cardan shaft. It broke quite often... They had tried and tried, and made the tubes and the welding seams thicker... but to no avail. Then the young engineer came, did some calculations - and proposed to weaken the cardan axle significantly... What happened? The resonance frequency went lower, down off of the often-crossed range of 25-30 mph..., and the cardan axle was fine.

Machinery design dealing with vibrations is not as easy as many do think... ;-)


Pls excuse any bad english.

D 1877 satin black plain
Re: Sand casting, vacuum casting and cast iron [Re: MetalMan] #2742019
06/04/18 10:42 AM
06/04/18 10:42 AM
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BerrndAB,
Would that "young engineer" be you?

The metal of Yamaha plates at the V-bar I have tested by attempting to shape it with a file indicates it is much harder than many other piano plates. This harder nature affects string durability, treble tuning smoothness, and tone.

Literature I have read indicates the plate is the significant element to coupling hammer knock noise into the air. My own testing supports this.

Longitudinal modes are very "sneaky and leaky", and they are at their highest comparative proportion of mode energy compared to the Transverse modes in the shortest strings. This makes for a harsher treble tone even though L-mode frequencies are above human hearing in most of the treble strings. Ears and brains can be damaged and tired by exposure to high frequencies one cannot directly hear. Not sure a piano can produce L-mode energies high enough for brain damage but I do know tuning a Yamaha tires my ears much quicker than pianos with softer V-bars.

If V-process can produce cast iron that is nice and soft and maintain the high degree of precision, I would think that a plus. But all the V-process plates I have examined seemed much harder at the V-bar than is good.


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According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
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