Additively Manufactured Accordion

Music surrounds us everywhere we go. From the first days, most of us hear sounds and aim to understand its meaning. Once we grow up, instruments come into our life.

Especially for accordions, the size of the instrument plays a central role. This size is an issue if kids are young as they cannot grip the keys of big accordions. And when kids grow, the accordion does not. So - how to solve the issue?

From challenges so solutions

From a technical point of view, an accordion needs to provide a set of keys and a belley to create sound. The air is taken into the belley and pushed back out through the sound unit. The components need to be made from different materials to fulfill their functionality which makes it impossible to print such an accordion in one go. The core components are:

  • Keys on the side that are pressed to guide the air into the tone chambers
  • Tone chamber to feed the air towards the reeds
  • Reeds in the tone chamber that create the tone
  • Bellows across the instrument to provide the airflow

The keys need to be stiff and robust against forces from fingers that press them down. The keys need to keep their shape.

The tone chamber needs to be stiff aganist the air that is pressed through. The tone chamber must be neutral to the sound and hold the reeds. The tone chamber needs to be stiff.

The reeds need to be flexible in order to create the tones. They are fixed on one end and vibrate on the other. They must be robust against the vibration.

The bellows need to change the size of the air chamber and pressurise the air. The bellows need to flexible and stable against pressure at the same time.

The selection of materials for the parts needs to balance cost and functionality. For the keys, hard plastics that can be coloured is the first choice. For the tone chambers, plastics as well as metals come into play.