As the British Empire expanded throughout the world, the Highland regiments brought with them the plaintive sound of the Scottish Great Highland bagpipe.
Pipers throughout the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and the United States practice their craft at military and formal ceremonies, and as native national folk music proliferates, bagpipes have enjoyed a bit of a resurgence in popularity. Where the sound of the pipes was once limited to Scottish and Irish clans, you can now hear them drone in various other venues.
And just to throw a complete curveball into the mix, at this point, the world's number one producer of bagpipes is located in Pakistan. It's an industry worth $6.8 million, at least as of 2010. There are now electronic and MIDI-driven bagpipes, but it was left to one Donald Lindsay to create the first 3D printed pipes.
Lindsay, who was first exposed to 3D printing via a MakeLab in Glasgow, where he lives, had the first print of his novel instrument done by 3DPRINTUK. And it didn't come cheap. Never one to give in when confronted with a problem, Lindsay is now in search of funds to expand his project and refine the design for his chosen instrument.
"I'm looking to stabilize the instrument in the second register, perfect the tuning, improve the tonal color, and refine a chanter in every pitch that is practical," Lindsay says. "I'm not a pipe maker. Rather I'm a piper, who through a longstanding fondness for Smallpipes – and a strong desire to have a greater range of notes – has spent the last four years intensively studying the acoustics of the pipes, and designing and producing prototype instruments."
You can keep the piper piping by visiting his Kickstarter campaign. Should you be feeling the need to make with some music, you can pick up STL files to let you output a penny whistle, Smallpipes, or even a set of Highland pipe drones of your own.
You can get a set of Scottish Smallpipes through his project for around $830, and they'll come to you ready to play. Lindsay says the reeds were created by Pipe Dreams, the bag was made by James Begg of Piping Perfection and the sticks, stocks and chanter were all 3D printed.
"I've got a Kickstarter project where you can get STL files to print your own penny whistle, smallpipes, or even a set of Highland pipe drones – they'll all work with home 3D printers too!"