Drone Reeds

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Re: Drone Reeds

Postby pipemakermike » Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:51 pm

I have done a similar data gathering exercise for small d drone reeds. I will probably have to look at reed #022 to see why is is so different to the others. Of course what we don't know yet is how these compare with other designs of reeds.
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carbon d reed stability data.jpg
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Re: Drone Reeds

Postby pipemakermike » Sun Oct 07, 2012 12:49 pm

I have now had time to take some measurements from a traditional all cane reed fitted to a traditional F drone. The drone I used was from my first keyed set that was made to the dimensions in Cocks & Bryant revised 1975 edition plates 8 and 9.
The actual playing length of the drone was 346mm from the tip of the reed tongue to the centre of the top side hole in the drone sliding part. This set of drones, when played using traditional all cane reeds sounds and feels just like any other set.
I have also fitted composite reeds to this drone so that I can get a set of comparative pitch and pressure measurements.
So, there seems to be some useful pointers from this set of data and the experience of collecting it:-
  • On the same body, a carbon tongue is approx 1 full tone sharper than a 0.015" plastic tongue of similar dimensions.
  • The bent tube body seems to give a more stable pitch than the machined body (this may be due to the different radius with the machined one having a larger rad).
  • The plastic tongue on the bent body gives a performance profile very similar to the all cane traditional reed.
  • The bend position and the bridle position of the carbon/bent tube design is much more critical than either the machined body or the traditional design.
  • There is a slight pitch drift with time possibly due to a change of temperature as the reed tongue is flexed.
When looking at the graph it is important to remember that this set of data is taken from only 1 traditional, 1 machined and 1 bent reed design. The yellow line was so good that I went over the data several times as it seemed to be too good to be true, but I was able to repeat it several times.
Here is the graph of the pitch/pressure.
Attachments
old F set G drone reed analysis.jpg
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Re: Drone Reeds testing setup

Postby pipemakermike » Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:44 pm

For anybody who hasn't seen how I do these measurements here is a couple of images:-

test rig 1s.jpg
test rig 1s.jpg (47.55 KiB) Viewed 2418 times

This is a general view of the rig. I have made a special adaptor so that I can fit traditional drones to the stock. The rig works by taking pressurised air at approx 8bar (over 100psi) and feeding it via a very sensitive needle valve to the stock. also in the line are a feed to the manometer, a feed to the reservoir and a safety valve that limits the pressure in the working side of the rig to a maximum of 18" Water Gauge.

digital tuner1.jpg
digital tuner1.jpg (10.01 KiB) Viewed 2418 times

This the tuner app on my laptop that gives me a readout in cents of the error from the note that the tuner thinks I am playing. I don't use the needle on the meter as it is too coarse a measurement.

reeds tested 121007.jpg
reeds tested 121007.jpg (16.52 KiB) Viewed 2418 times

and these are the reeds tested for the graph above
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Re: Drone Reeds

Postby bob Salter » Mon Oct 08, 2012 5:02 am

Where can i get carbon fibre for tongues please Mike.

Bob
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Re: Drone Reeds

Postby pipemakermike » Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:36 am

Hi Bob

The material I use is:-
RUSSIAN UNIDIRECTIONAL CARBON CLOTH
0.08 mm and 0.12 mm thick, width 210 mm
£10.00 per metre plus post.
From:http://www.freeflightsupplies.co.uk/hitech.htm

The layup of the layers is as described on my web page:-
http://www.machineconcepts.co.uk/smallpipes/reed_design/reed_design.htm

I do plan to do a more comprehensive description of how to layup the material as soon as I have time but it is basically 3 layers layed up using laminating epoxy (most model shops can supply) sandwiched between 2 stout aluminimum plates coated with a release agent and left in the airing cupboard for a week. the material I have used for the G reeds comes out at about 0.039" thick

Once I get to the stage where I have a design for all of the pitches of drone and I am happy with the stability I will do a full description of the process and the details of the design but it probably won't be till later this year.
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Re: Drone Reeds

Postby andymay » Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:09 pm

Mike,

I'm following this with interest. This is really interesting research.

Looking at the last graph you posted, it really looks like the plastic tongues give a much less stable result than either all-cane or the carbon tongued versions. The pitch varies a lot more - and this has been my general feeling on many plastic-tongued drone reeds that i've had the chance to try.

Almost shockingly good results from your 'yellow' reed there. Although i guess above 12.5 inches pressure the carbon tongue on the machined body, and the all-cane reed are both almost as good.

What i'm surprised not to see in any of the graphs yet is the '2-pitch' drone reed setup - often i've found with all-cane reeds that when a reed plays one pitch as you start to supply it with air, and then moves, dropping usually, to the correct pitch as air pressure is increased, that those reeds are generally very stable. I think this is probably an indicator of some other desirable characteristic, rather than especially desirable in it's own right, but i have noticed it to be absent with most composite reed types.

Hmm lots to think about!!!

Cheers
A
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Re: Drone Reeds

Postby Richard Evans » Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:37 am

andymay wrote:Mike,

I'm following this with interest. This is really interesting research.

Looking at the last graph you posted, it really looks like the plastic tongues give a much less stable result than either all-cane or the carbon tongued versions. The pitch varies a lot more - and this has been my general feeling on many plastic-tongued drone reeds that i've had the chance to try.



Not so in my experience. This is a sample of one, and I think the 15 thou tongue is too thin and is responsible for the poor performance. 20 thou would give a more stable result and is what I use for the big reeds (10 thou for the small ones). Mike sent me a chart for a big G/20 thou which varied over a three cent range between 17.5 and 11.5 inches pressure. However, that's also a sample of one!

Really good to get a discussion on this!

Cheers
Richard
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Re: Drone Reeds

Postby pipemakermike » Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:53 am

Hi Richard
I agree that the tongue thickness and how that relates to stiffness is probably the reason that the results look a bit different. It is also true that the sample is old and has been out of a set of pipes for some time. When I am back I will repeat the measurements using a new 0.020" tongue.

Here is the graph of one of my bent tube reed bodies fitted with a 20th plastic tongue (from one of the strips you gave me). This set of results was the most stable yet but I will need to repeat the test on more examples before I can say that I have learnt anything. The reed is the one that I left with you with both of the tongues and is numbered 021. I won't be able to do any more testing for a week as I am off to Germany today. It might be interesting if you could try it in a set of pipes and let me know how it performs.

I am taking a set of the school pipes to Germany with me so that should give me time to have a good play on a set. Scare your friends and amuse your enemys<G>

reed 021 with RE plastic tongue.jpg
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Re: Drone Reeds

Postby Seth » Thu May 21, 2015 10:57 pm

This is a very interesting topic as I've bern making SSP drone reeds for many years with a curve in the end of the bodies. This is the same design that developed my Swedish bagpipe reed that's used tactically worldwide now. I don't curve the entire body but the last 1/3 of the end very much like David Daye's no-stop drone reed. I find these more stable and reliable than bent tongue reeds or sprung reeds and as Richard pointed out they are easy to replace as no springing is needed.

Seth
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Seth Hamon
Maker of Swedish, Irish, & Scottish bagpipes
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