2015 Team 2

About the Project

The 2015 BSMET Senior class was approached by a music teacher and Nia, her 3rd grade student. Nia is to begin playing a Baroque fingered soprano recorder, but due to a disability effecting her left hand, would be unable to play a standard instrument. It is the task of the 2015 BSMET Senior class to come up with a device to allow Nia to easily play the recorder, while working within a strict set of design requirements.

Nia holding a recorder

The client’s requirements include:

  • The ability to play notes BCAGFDE
  • To be played with five fingers on one hand and no fingers
  • The device must be able to be disinfected
  • The device must be able to be stored under a chair

The client’s additional requests are:

  • The device could be dishwasher safe
  • The device could be purple, Nia’s favorite color
  • The device could allow Nia to play advanced notes, such as accidentals


 Current Drawing Package

Final Presentation Week 4/27 – 4/29

  • Redesigned German lever design and it played all notes correctly

    Final Design
  • Received stand and attachment clip for support, provides good adjustable support

    Recorder with support
  • Made case from flute case with cube foam

    Recorder Case
  • Prepared final presentation and poster
  • Revised final drawing package

4/20 – 4/26

  • Printed and tested Baroque adaptation of lever design
    Baroque lever design
    • Difficult to seal bottom hole and need to find spring to keep it closed
    • Top notes not sealing well either
    • Tried gel seal but it required too much force to seal

      Gel seal
  • German lever design worked with three levers so we switched to that since little time is left

    Testing German lever design with three levers and weights
  • Added pins to end of levers to cause easier opening

4/13 – 4/19

  • Modified lever design to work for baroque recorder
  • Ordered microphone stand for supporting the recorder

4/6 – 4/12

  • Updated drawing package
  • Continued work on sealing issues

3/30 – 4/5

  • Researched acetone bath for printed parts
  • Worked on fixing sealing issues on new designs
  • Brainstormed baroque recorder solutions

3/23 – 3/29

  • Added attachment for pinky beam and pinky beam to new manifold design

    Manifold with pinky beam
  • Explored possible solutions using German recorder
    • Four levers that push up and close all of the holes above the one pressed down

      Lever design
    • Leaf springs that keep holes closed until you press up from the bottom, opening all holes above pressed button

      Leaf spring design
  • Met with Nia to get feedback on the manifold and beam design

    Nia with manifold design
Nia with beam design

3/16 – 3/22

  • Attempted several different manifold design to reduce whistling while playing certain notes:
    • Made the holes significantly larger, didn’t see an improvement

      Manifold with larger holes
    • Made hole paths as short as possible while keeping triangle configuration, sound was improved but still not satisfactory

      Manifold with reduced path length
    • Only displace the center hole to make a triangle.  All of the notes can be played, but some of them can’t be played loudly

      New manifold design for one hole

2/23 – 2/27

  • Added attachment to manifold to hold support beam
  • Updated support beam to fit new manifold attachment
  • Revised and updated drafts
  • Increased size of manifold holes to improve sound
    • Squeaking was reduced but still a problem
    • Some notes were a lower frequency than they should have been

      Revised manifold with attachment and larger holes
  • Built support prototype from Dunlop harmonica holder

    Harmonica holder support
  • Built and evaluated a prototype of our full design

    Design prototype

2/16 – 2/22 Update

  • Designed and tested new manifold
    • A redesign is needed as it did not play notes correctly

      Manifold assembled with recorder

2/9 – 2/15 Update

  • Decided that the taper reamer would not be a good option
  • Redesigned manifold interior to more closely fit recorder body

    Testing manifold interior for fit
  • Printed prosthetic hand from E-Nable project to see if it could be helpfulhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ci-OHduSdE

2/2 – 2/8 Update

  • Continued work on tapered reamer
  • Increased inside diameter of manifold based off of the taper tests
  • Re-dimensioned recorder CAD file
  • Revisited design requirements to simplify design

1/26 – 2/1 Update

  • Completed CAD design of a manifold attachment to make it easier to use
    • The attachment would go over the holes on the manifold and have seals on the bottom to increase the ease of sealing the recorder holes

      Manifold attachment
  • Purchased all parts needed to construct a prototype
  • Discussed making a tapered reamer to get the correct manifold inside diameter
  • Printed pinky extension and attachment piece
    • Attachment may need to be modified to be more secure

      Printed manifold, pinky extension, and attachment

1/19 – 1/25 Update

  • Began designing a new support due to safety concerns
    • Decided to modify an existing harmonica holder
    • Selected Dunlop harmonica due to adjustability and customizability

      Dunlop harmonica holder
  • Mockup of old support design

    James Rutter with support mockup
  • Printed test tapers to determine how much the diameter would have to be increased in the manifold drawing to fit correctly on the recorder

1/12 – 1/18 Update

  • Ben White left the team
  • Connor Parquette gave us access to his 3D printer
  • Dimensioned 3D printed manifold and determined that dimensions were correct except the inside diameter
    • Researched how to correctly print inside diameters
  • Tried to find pressure regulator to provide constant air flow while testing recorder pitch
  • Revised drafts of all parts

12/8 – 12/12 Update — First 3D Print & Continued Research

  • Researched Harmonica holders for support design
  • Researched magnets to allow rod to collapse on impact
  • 3D Printed manifold design
    • Inside diameter printed too small so the manifold won’t slide all the way on to the recorder
Manifold attached to recorder

12/1 – 12/5 Update — Safety Meeting & Presentation

  • Met with P.E. John Belding regarding safety
    • Support rod needs to collapse if user falls
    • Repetitive motion
    • Avoid single pressure points
  • Researched solutions for support rod collapsing upon impact
  • Calculated for and found springs for potential spring key design in manifold
Cross section of manifold spring key idea
  • Revised drawing package
  • Made project presentation

11/17 – 11/21 Update — Print Package & CAD Models

  • Scheduled meeting time with P.E. John Belding
  • Finished recorder in CAD
  • Completed final assembly in CAD
  • Completed print package
  • Calculated torque for torsion spring in pinky extension
  • Completed initial drawing package and bill of materials
  • Tested materials to compare how well each sealed the holes
    • Drawer stoppers and Neoprene were the best at sealing
    • Polyurethane foam required more distance to seal
Valve tester


11/10 – 11/14 Update — CAD Design & Suppliers

  • CAD design of support stand
    Support Stand

    Support stand assembly
  • CAD design of pinky extension

    Pinky extension bar
  • Researched support possibilities (telescoping rod and strap)
  • Identified suppliers of ABS
  • Brainstormed two new ideas
    • Three pronged apparatus

      CAD design of three pronged concept
    • Manifold

      CAD design of manifold concept
  • Researched instrument ergonomics on injury prevention


11/3 – 11/7 Update — First Mockups & Testing

  • Assembled and evaluated mockup of steel push bar design and hole sealing materials.
    • Potential Problems:
      • How would bars be attached?
      • Very tight on space
      • Difficult to bend small steel bars
      • Design would have to be refined and improved
    • Polyurethane foam – light pressure provides good sound and seal, adhesive is too weak
    • 1/4″ diameter Neoprene sphere – very good seal but may get stuck in hole
    • 1/2″ diameter Neoprene sphere – diameter is too large for a good seal
    • Flat neoprene squares – 30 durometer provided the best seal

  • Reached out to a professional engineer for product safety consulting
  • Calculated the range of length for the support and strap for multiple playing angles and to accommodate Nia through adulthood
  • Researched instrument ergonomics related to repetitive stress injuries and posture


10/27 – 10/31 Update — Research & Materials

  • Ordered materials for mockup
  • Researched spring steels
  • Continued research on ergonomics
    • Used an online human proportion calculator to estimate Nia’s proportions as she grows based on the height chart
  • Continues research on patents
  • Received neoprene material samples*
  • Studied availability of parts

* Special thanks to the Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC) for donating material samples.


10/20 – 10/24 Update — Human Factors

  • Researched ergonomics
    • Used CNC height and weight chart to estimate Nia’s future height based on her current percentile
  • Researched safety concerns for 8-year-olds
  • Researched materials for covering recorder hole
    • Neoprene balls and pads
    • Polyurethane foam
    • Rubber drawer bumpers
  • Continued research on different solutions for the project


10/13 – 10/17 Update — CAD Model & Ideation

  • Designed Yamaha recorder in CAD

    CAD of Yamaha recorder body
  • Brainstormed and modeled several possible solutions
  • Discussed possible design solutions such as:
    • An extension bar that would allow her to easily play the 4th note down with her pinky
    • A rotating sleeve that would play all of the possible combinations for the bottom three hole

      Sleeve Concept
    • Touch sensors
    • Spring steel push bars with rubber seal

      CAD design of spring steel push bar concept
    • Using foot to close an air sac that would seal the holes
    • Buttons on the bottom of the recorder that she could use to close multiple holes with her wiggle
  • Researched patents for harmonica and instrument holders and found a design of a clarinet holder that could possibly be adapted for our recorder

    Clarinet holder patent


10/6 – 10/10  Update — Continued Research

  • Researched PLA vs ABS filaments for 3D printing
  • Ordered three Yamaha recorders
  • Sketched design ideas
  • Scheduled meeting with Martin Wallace to research patents


9/29 – 10/3 Update — Research

  • Emailed music teacher
  • Began researching patents and previous art
  • Researched available products for benchmarking
  • Researched safety of 3D printer materials
  • Discussed using Aulos recorder with customizable hole rotation, however the fingering was different than required on eight of the notes

    Aulos recorder for the disabled


9/22 – 9/26 Update — Interviewing Clients

  • Class interviewed client
  • Took measurements of physical capabilities of the client
  • Talked to the music teacher to clarify some points (playable notes)
  • Researched safety hazards


Class measuring of Nia

About the Team

From left to right: Lucas Jurdak-Roy, Robb Barclay, James Rutter, Ian Redfern, Luke Pighetti, Drew Johnson, Ben White

Ian Redfern

Ian is a senior pursuing a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering technology with a minor in renewable energy science and technology. He is interested in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. Ian currently works in the wood physics lab on campus where he is a research assistant for various projects including determining the specific heat capacity of OSB and plywood at different moisture contents. Previously, Ian has worked as a physics tutor at the University of Maine tutor center.

Lucas Jurdak-Roy

Lucas is a graduating senior in the Mechanical Engineering Technology program. He enjoys outdoor activities, piano and physical sports. As the captain of his highschool hockey team, leadership and maintaining team morale comes naturally. Lucas also handles clients, workforce and finances for a home and renovation contractor. He is responsible for making critical decisions during the design and building stages, and prides himself on his professional communication and project management skills.

Drew Johnson

Drew grew up in Freeport, Maine. He decided to major in MET at UMaine because he enjoys a hands on approach and wanted to get involved in CNC machining. He is also a member of the UMaine Woodsmen Team. In his spare time, Drew enjoys fishing and bicycling.

Luke Pighetti

Luke is a non-traditional student from Falmouth, ME. He transferred into Mechanical Engineering Technology for the “get it done” attitude valued by the program. While he enjoys MET, his entrepreneurial projects often take priority. The MET program has taught him valuable analysis skills and has honed his philosophies of product design to encourage lean solutions to complex problems. His diverse background and academic training translates well into many fields, making Luke a versatile, although often scattered, team member.

Robert Barclay

Robert grew up in Essex Junction Vermont and switched into Mechanical Engineering Technology after his sophomore year in Mechanical Engineering. He likes the hands on and more practical approach to learning. He got into mechanical engineering after being fascinated with how firearms and cars work. He likes to participate in outdoor activities on his time off.

James Rutter

James is a student-athlete who is studying Mechanical Engineering of Technology at the UMaine. He is currently finishing his fifth year of school and will graduate in May 2015. James competes for the varsity Track and Field team for the university as a decathlete.

Benjamin White

Ben is a non traditional student from Hampden Maine. He is majoring in the Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) program. His interests include designing and creating, making MET the perfect fit. Ben has been employed at the Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC) for 1.5 years and he is involved in design and fabrication process at this facility. Responsibilities at the AMC include CAD/CAM work and manual and CNC machining.  Unfortunately, Ben had to leave the team before the second semester.


We would like to thank the following for donating their time and effort to our capstone project:

  • Advanced Manufacturing Center for donating materials and allowing us to use their conference room
  • John Belding P.E. for meeting with us to discuss safety
  • Connor Parquette for printing our parts on his 3-D printer


Please contact us if you are interested in sponsoring this project.



“A designer knows he has achieved perfection
not when there is nothing left to add,
but when there is nothing left to take away.”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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