Author Topic: Building a 200-series from scratch? 3D-modeling?  (Read 255 times)

Offline marathonmusicgym

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Building a 200-series from scratch? 3D-modeling?
« on: November 01, 2020, 07:01:22 AM »
Hi, everyone! I'm new here, but I've been lurking for a little while. Amazing community, I really appreciate the love that still exists for these old machines.

Having rebuilt a few 200-series Wurlitzers, I've noticed that they are becoming much less easier to find, and I've started researching the possibility of building a reed-based piano from the ground-up. A huge undertaking, obviously, but a project I could wholeheartedly get behind.

I built a couple of CNC routers earlier this year, and have access to two 3D printers. From what I can tell, manufacturing the action will be the most difficult part, with perhaps the reedbar following closely. For now, I'm considering trying to source keys and key and balance rail pins from an old piano (and any other parts I can conceivably chop). The rest I'm hoping to machine from whole cloth or populate with existing Wurlitzer parts (reeds, for instance).

I noticed that user cinnanon began a 3D model in this post https://ep-forum.com/smf/index.php?topic=8427.0 -- an incredible effort! Has anyone made use of this model to manufacture any of the more intricate action parts? I see that a few simpler components have been 3D-printed by cinnanon, which is very promising. I would personally be more than willing to pay cinnanon for a copy of his model, I think it's absolutely invaluable as a resource.

VintageVibe is the only contemporary company that I've seen show an interest in manufacturing new-age electric keyboards (like Rhodes- and Clavinet-clones), but I haven't seen them take on the reed-based world yet.

What do you guys think? Any thoughts, comments, or advice?


Offline Alan Lenhoff

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Re: Building a 200-series from scratch? 3D-modeling?
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2020, 12:05:41 PM »
Would you be doing this as a labor of love or a hobby?  If so, go for it, and let us know about your progress! We'll be cheering you on!

If you are thinking of this as a business venture, I'd urge caution.  At the price point you'd likely need to charge, the market will probably be very limited.  Vintage Vibe at least had a large and loyal customer base before they launched the Tine Piano, and credibility from years of experience in restoring Rhodes pianos and selling parts for them.

(This reminds me of the seven years that David Robertson and I spent working on our Classic Keys book.  The book royalties are, shall we say, quite modest. We're essentially being compensated in enthusiastic Amazon reviews. But we knew it was a labor of love. Your project could be a fulfilling contribution to the vintage keys world, too.) 

Alan
Co-author, "Classic Keys: Keyboard Sounds That Launched Rock Music"

Learn about the book: http://www.classickeysbook.com/
Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ClassicKeysBook/

1965 UK Vox Continental;1967 Gibson G101 organ; 1954 Hammond B2; Leslie 21H; Leslie 31H; 1974 Rhodes Mark I Stage 73; 1972 Rhodes Sparkletop Piano Bass; 1978 Hohner Clavinet D6; 1968 Hohner Pianet N II; 1966 Wurlitzer 140B; 1980 Moog Minimoog Model D; 1977 Fender Twin Reverb; Vox AC30CC2X amp.
(See the collection: https://vintagerockkeyboards.com/ )

Offline marathonmusicgym

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Re: Building a 200-series from scratch? 3D-modeling?
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2020, 12:14:30 PM »
This would definitely be a labor of love/hobby, I'm interested in making a complete DIY guide for anyone else who might be interested and documenting the process for posterity. It would be a bucket-list sort of thing, building and playing my own piano.

I appreciate your advice! Got a link to your book?

Offline Alan Lenhoff

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Re: Building a 200-series from scratch? 3D-modeling?
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2020, 12:23:50 PM »
This would definitely be a labor of love/hobby, I'm interested in making a complete DIY guide for anyone else who might be interested and documenting the process for posterity. It would be a bucket-list sort of thing, building and playing my own piano.

I appreciate your advice! Got a link to your book?

Sounds great! You, too, can be lavishly compensated with online praise!  ;-) 

Book links:

http://www.classickeysbook.com/

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1574417762

Alan


Co-author, "Classic Keys: Keyboard Sounds That Launched Rock Music"

Learn about the book: http://www.classickeysbook.com/
Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ClassicKeysBook/

1965 UK Vox Continental;1967 Gibson G101 organ; 1954 Hammond B2; Leslie 21H; Leslie 31H; 1974 Rhodes Mark I Stage 73; 1972 Rhodes Sparkletop Piano Bass; 1978 Hohner Clavinet D6; 1968 Hohner Pianet N II; 1966 Wurlitzer 140B; 1980 Moog Minimoog Model D; 1977 Fender Twin Reverb; Vox AC30CC2X amp.
(See the collection: https://vintagerockkeyboards.com/ )

Offline melveyr

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Re: Building a 200-series from scratch? 3D-modeling?
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2020, 07:21:00 AM »
Have you given thought to taking the opportunity to chase a new tone? We have wurlitzer and rhodes, but i imagine different types of hammers striking new shapes could offer a world of new tones. Might be more fun than trying to recreate what has already been done.

Offline marathonmusicgym

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Re: Building a 200-series from scratch? 3D-modeling?
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2020, 07:12:40 PM »
Actually, this is definitely something I've been considering. I've been able to source some action parts and keys from an old Baldwin spinet, and it seems to me that building something new might be a smart way to repurpose old piano parts. The action of a spinet piano is opposed to the grand-type action we find on the Wurlitzer EPs, though, so I'll necessarily have to re-imagine how to utilize vertically-oriented hammer if I'm going to move forward with these Baldwin parts. I've considered designing a reedbar that can be retrofitted to old pianos, and maybe building the Open Source "Free Wurli" Wurlitzer amp circuit to amplify it.

http://www.kerschhofer.net/wurlitzer-replacement-amp/

In terms of generating sound a la "piano", though, physics seems to have limited us to strings, tuning forks (tines), and reeds. I'm open to any and all ideas, I just happen to really love the sound of the Wurly reedbar over the Rhodes' tines.


Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Building a 200-series from scratch? 3D-modeling?
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2020, 05:52:52 PM »
Acoustic piano hammers are way too large to be used in an ep.
You can't use upright parts in the manner you are talking about. It's just not possible.
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
2017 Yamaha P255
2020 Kawai CA99
....and a few guitars...

Offline cinnanon

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Re: Building a 200-series from scratch? 3D-modeling?
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2020, 02:36:32 PM »
Hey, the 3D modeler here... I do still have the models but when I first made them, I really had no intention of giving them away or even selling them. It was all in the spirit of fun, and just seeing if I could do it.

I have used the models for many many things, including making new pedal boxes, designing a new reedbar for reeds one octave lower on the bass end, and just 3D printing parts that I need here and there. I've also printed an adapter for a Rhodes rubber hammer tip to adapt to a Wurlitzer hammer. Very metallic sound.

Anyways, I hope you understand, and I wish you luck in your endeavour.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2020, 02:38:53 PM by cinnanon »

Offline pablotiburcio

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Re: Building a 200-series from scratch? 3D-modeling?
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2020, 07:09:48 AM »
Congratulations. Perfect job!!! Could you share the 3d model with us? Thank you!!!

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Building a 200-series from scratch? 3D-modeling?
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2020, 03:53:49 PM »
I just want to add to my previous post- a grand piano action is far more similar than an ep action, but again, the parts are just way too large. A Wurlitzer or Rhodes hammer are a fraction of the size of an acoustic piano hammer. And a whip in a Wurlitzer is a fraction of the size of an acoustic piano whip (aka whippen)

The other thing is, ep hammers swing up and away from the keyboard. Grand piano hammers swing towards the keyboard. That makes the dampers farther away, so the cabinet needs to be larger (deeper) than an EP cabinet.
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
2017 Yamaha P255
2020 Kawai CA99
....and a few guitars...