Carbon Fiber Trumpet

Please vote here: http://www.openhardwaresummit.org/open-hardware-scholarship-voting/

Accompanying video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-1-3z22V6k

The problem with traditional trumpets, and all brass instruments for that matter, is that they really just aren’t great for marching band. They’re heavy which makes them difficult to march with, they’re made of soft brass which restricts their tone and range, they’re made of metal which means they need to be warmed up in order to stay in tune, and they’re easily dented which ruins their sound quality. That’s a lot of problems.

I have a solution. Instead of making trumpets out of brass, why not make them out of carbon fiber? Carbon fiber is extremely light, and extremely strong and rigid. If a trumpet were made out of carbon fiber, it would be much lighter, it would have better tone because of the rigidity of carbon fiber, it wouldn’t need to be warmed up because carbon fiber doesn’t conduct heat very well, and it would resist denting much better because of the strength of carbon fiber. All of this makes for a much better experience for both the musician and the audience.

“This sounds like such a perfect trumpet, why does no one use carbon fiber trumpets?” Great question. The reason is because no one has made a carbon fiber trumpet before. I was able to find a single company who makes a trumpet with just a carbon fiber bell (http://www.dacarbo.ch/en/trumpets), but other than that it has never been attempted. “Why has no one made a carbon fiber trumpet before?” One reason is tradition. In the past brass instruments have been made out of brass and only brass. Other instruments have tried out different materials, but for the most part brass instruments have stayed very much the same. Another reason is because of price. The brass in a trumpet might cost less than $50, but with lots of work put in to build it, the price is brought up to around $1000 for a reasonably good trumpet. While a carbon fiber trumpet may be significantly easier to make than a brass trumpet, the materials going into a carbon fiber trumpet might cost hundreds of dollars, if not more.

This is where I need help if I’m going to create a carbon fiber trumpet. If you are here from my OSHW scholarship submission, I ask that you vote for my project to be awarded this $2000 scholarship. The money would allow me to buy the tools needed to work with carbon fiber (vacuum bagging equipment, mold making equipment, and safety gear) and it would allow me to buy the carbon fiber and epoxy I need. I will keep detailed documentation of the process I use to create this trumpet. All of my documentation, drawings, and files will comply with the Open Source Hardware Definition. I aim to share all of my findings and processes with the online community.

I support the Open Source Hardware Definition v1.0

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