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Evaluation of 3D printed mouthpieces for musical instruments

Antonio Bacciaglia (Department of Industrial Engineering – DIN, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy)
Alessandro Ceruti (Department of Industrial Engineering – DIN, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy)
Alfredo Liverani (Department of Industrial Engineering – DIN, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Article publication date: 8 January 2020

Issue publication date: 3 April 2020



The purpose of this study is the evaluation of advantages and criticalities related to the application of addtive manufacturing (AM) to the production of parts for musical instruments. A comparison between traditional manufacturing and AM based on different aspects is carried out.


A set of mouthpieces produced through different AM techniques has been designed, manufactured and evaluated using an end-user satisfaction-oriented approach. A musician has been tasked to play the same classical music piece with different mouthpieces, and the sound has been recorded in a recording studio. The mouthpiece and sound characteristics have been evaluated in a structured methodology.


The quality of the sound and comfort of 3D printed mouthpieces can be similar to the traditional ones provided that an accurate design and proper materials and technologies are adopted. When personalization and economic issues are considered, AM is superior to mouthpieces produced by traditional techniques.

Research limitations/implications

In this research, a mouthpiece for trombone has been investigated. However, a wider analysis where several musical instruments and related parts are evaluated could provide more data.

Practical implications

The production of mouthpieces with AM techniques is suggested owing to the advantages which can be tackled in terms of customization, manufacturing cost and time reduction.


This research is carried out using a multidisciplinary approach where several data have been considered to evaluate the end user satisfaction of 3D printed mouthpieces.



Authors thank the following students of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the School of Engineering and Architecture of the University of Bologna for their support to the research: Michele Ascani, Luca Crudeli, Lisa Lucci, Sarah Merighi, Davide Neri and Giovanni Santucci. A special thanks to Mr. Lorenzo Rocculi, who played the musical pieces and to Professors of Music involved in the evaluation of sound quality.


Bacciaglia, A., Ceruti, A. and Liverani, A. (2020), "Evaluation of 3D printed mouthpieces for musical instruments", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 577-584.



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