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Recently in Research- Rebecca Mulholland


3-D Printed Piano Action

3D Printing has become a cost-effective option in the building of new materials. Rebecca Mulholland, a Junior in Mechanical Engineering, has decided to use this invention to create a 3D printed adjustable piano hammer that will allow pianos to have a built-in voicing process. This will benefit piano players, designers, manufacturers, craftsmen, listeners, and retailers alike. By creating a 3D printed piano action, Mulholland’s creation has allowed for the everyday consumer to simply tune and voice their piano versus the current method that is tedious and can only be done by a piano craftsman.

To design her action, Mulholland used the process of reverse engineering from a typical grand piano action. By studying the dynamics of a current model and measuring the part dimensions, Mulholland was able to model her own action in SolidWorks™ with manipulated geometries – allowing for the parts to be 3D printed easier. During her research, Mulholland was able to successfully print a working piano action and she has assembled the first prototype of the design.

When asked about the most rewarding aspect of her research experience, Mulholland claimed that it was “…all that I have accomplished and realizing how many skills I have developed. I started the fellowship with no experience in 3D printing and ended with a fully 3D printed piano action.” She went on to discuss how her undergraduate research experience has helped her in her field by saying, “The undergraduate research fellowship has allowed me to explore different sides of engineering and gain more first-hand experience with skills like SolidWorks™. I have learned a lot about reverse engineering, the design process, the research process, and many presentation skills through the fellowship.” Because of her time as an Undergraduate Research Fellow, Mulholland has decided to attend graduate school in the future and obtain a graduate degree in Materials Engineering.

Rebecca is a 2018-2019 Undergraduate Research Fellow with the College of Engineering and is currently being mentored by Dr. Edmon Perkins.

Last modified: March 27, 2019