Carbon Fiber Trumpets

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by LaTrompeta, Sep 16, 2015.

  1. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006

    I think that you missed my point. The original question was if anyone has toyed around, the answer is yes. Then comes the natural question of why - the answer is not "better" or "worse". Carbon fiber is a technical exercize and is merely different. As far as improvement goes, I think that riding in wagons pulled by animals could be considered an advancement compared to the dramatic effects of modern transportation on the quality of air, social interaction, increase of stress........... It would help humanity if they did replace more things "broken". The problem is that they are too obsessed with disagreeing and not dedicated to "improving".

    Sure, experimenting can result in interesting answers for questions not yet asked. In this case, I have played the DeCarbo and other carbon fiber experiments (a CF bow for my contrabass for instance), I use carbon fiber rotary valves in my picc. I have a prototype valve cluster that I designed for industrial ceramic or carbon fiber (big advantages for industrial ceramics however). If we look at replacing brass/nickle/silver/wood with carbon fiber there will have to be a reason: sound, durability, weight, cost, manufacturing advantage...... These are parameters that (except for sound) can be objectively evaluated.

    One question that has not been asked: can we be sure that no carbon fibres or the polymer binding would end up in our lungs during normal use, after damage? My experience with broken CF parts is that they are like shrapnel. Asbestos was once considered an improvement too..... Before we develop an opinion or disagree, it is useful to get at least all of the known cards on the table.

    Manufacturers and techs will need a new skill set when embracing new technology or maybe they just go under. That is not an argument for or against, it is just another reality. Carbon fiber is reality in the DIY world. Model airplanes, model cars, bicycle parts are all being made with a very high level of accuracy. I am not against evolution, some of it is simply not very well thought out.

  2. Kevin Whiting

    Kevin Whiting Piano User

    Apr 13, 2013
    Greendale, WI.
    Carbon Fiber is repairable. I am also an avid bicycle rider. My bike is an extremely fine bike - Carbon Fiber frame, and extremely light. I let a buddy use it in a race, he crashed it and broke the frame. I was as heartbroken as if someone drove over my Recording. Had it repairs by a really good carbon frame tech, and good as new.

    A good tech, weather a bike or instrument tech, is worth their weight in gold!

  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Hi Kevin,

    I think that damaged CF on something that we inhale around is potentially dangerous. Yes, it can be repaired but all dust and residue must be painstakingly removed/polished so that there is no chance of inhalation/ingestion.

    On a bike, it simply has to bond well and the outside surface be smooth. Dust/residue is no issue.

  4. BachStrad1

    BachStrad1 Pianissimo User

    Apr 9, 2012
    Kalamazoo MI
    The use of carbon fiber for instruments is not new. There is a line of guitars made from carbon fiber that sound terrific and don't suffer from weather, humidity and temperature variations. As for damage, I'm not saying they're indestructible but I know of a guitar that was flung across a room and smashed into a wall breaking the bridge, separating part of the top from the body and breaking some of the internal structure. The guy tried to fix it himself with improper materials that he didn't let cure long enough before he strung it. He traded it to a friend of mine who then used aircraft grade epoxy and had the epoxy fingerprints from the previous attempt buffed out by an auto body friend. The guitar looked and played like new. He sold it when bought a smaller model by the same maker.
    The carbon fiber is coated with automotive type clear coat so you don't have the dust issues.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2015
  5. gunshowtickets

    gunshowtickets Forte User

    Mar 11, 2015
    Tidewater, VA
    Carbon fibre will be a niche material.

  6. Tomaso

    Tomaso Pianissimo User

    Oct 2, 2014
    New York City
    It's really not valid to compare the cost of machining sheet metal (steel, etc, as mentioned above) with forming something out of carbon fiber. We've been stamping out metal parts for a hundred ++ years, but processing carbon fiber is still very new, and only done in small quantities. Give it fifty or sixty years. If the material is still around and cost effective, forming shapes from it will be as inexpensive as stamping sheet metal.

  7. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    The manufacturing cost is 80% lower than steel - it is the Raw Material cost that makes it unviable.
  8. LaTrompeta

    LaTrompeta Forte User

    May 3, 2015
    Colorado Springs
    My road bike is also lightweight carbon. I spent as much on that bike as I would for a new horn!

    Carbon Fiber is neat, but it is extremely painstaking to make and presents minimal improvements to trumpet design. The only uses I can think of are durability and temperature fluctuation resistance, making them perfect for a marching band or drum corps. Will I ever play one in an orchestra?

    Not on my life.
  9. Tomaso

    Tomaso Pianissimo User

    Oct 2, 2014
    New York City
    Yes, but that's because the supply is insufficient at present. When supply catches up with demand prices (and costs) will fall. And the lower production costs should give C.F. an advantage.
  10. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    You speak as if carbon fibre were a uniquely defined material. It's a whole host of different composites with a vast array of different properties. The carbon itself can be in numerous forms ranging from fibrous graphite down to carbon nanotubes, and the matrix in which the carbon fibres are bound can be any one of hundreds of alternatives, all with very different characteristics.

    It's a still developing technology, and who knows where it will ultimately lead? The only thing for sure is that those who try to give definitive views on its ultimate potential today will be tomorrow's fools.

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