3D-Printed Flexible Bar Posts

Here is another low cost idea turned into reality by applying the new possibilities of 3D printing. My next frame will be equipped with these bar posts.

My collected ideas around the vibraphone can be found here:

Access: Anonymous


You demonstrate a density setting. Did I hear you correctly that by adjusting the density you can influence the amount of shock that travels through the post. And if so, have you experimented with an entire set of bars to determine the significance of the difference between these posts and the standard metal posts?
Regards, Jerry

Hello Jerry,

the question must be answered in detail:
A massive body is more difficult to excite to vibrations than a filigree body or a hollow body. Furthermore, wood, for example, has a higher internal damping than metal. So if you have a frame with solid wooden beams, the acoustically perceptible reaction to an impact is less than with a filigree frame made of aluminum.
So that part of the answer is yes, because with my lightweight aluminum frames the difference is so significant that there is no way I can use rigid support. Whether the acoustic difference is relevant to the owner of a solid wood frame is something everyone has to decide for themselves. In any case, the effect is less, so maybe answer: no.

Then other advantages or disadvantages can be of importance:
For example, flexible supports are much less sensitive during transport and assembly. Some people are bothered by the effect that the bars have more axial freedom of movement than on the original instrument. In fact, the positions of the supports are identical, but they are also axially flexible. In my new 3D-printed supports, I have therefore reduced the axial mobility by shaping them.

Whether you need all the stuff I'm trying around with (tunable tube plugs, extremely foldable lightweight frames, flexible bar posts, twistable flaps, ...) is not important to me - I'm nowhere near good enough at the instrument to need it. I'm just trying to show and test how much development potential is still possible even after about 100 years.

Regards, Paul

Thanks for that explanation. I'm thinking it through!!

In the meantime I hopped over to the link you provided to your website and am checking out your frames. I'm glad to learn of your interest and work in advancing the instrument.

I also watched your how to make pickups video. I made my own for several years. I used the same piezo's you use in your video. I purchased the Ayotte pickups back in the early 80's and just kept making pickups as they broke. I finally tired of making them and decided to go without. Not a good decision for all situations but I do intend to checkout the new Malletech pickups soon.

Thanks and keep up the great work!