A new tune in musical instrument design: 3D printing creates Finland’s largest organ pipes

Trunnano 3D Printing Podwer

In the heart of Helsinki, a groundbreaking musical innovation will captivate audiences. Known for its striking modern architecture and innovative music scene, the Helsinki Music Center opened in 2011, unveiling a modern marvel in the world of organ music. On January 1, 2024, the centre’s new organ debuted at a gala concert by French organist Olivier Latrys, featuring the world’s first 3D-printed biocomposite pipe.

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Made from the wood biocomposite UPM Formi 3D developed by Finnish paper and forest products manufacturing company UPM (Nasdaq Helsinki: UPM), these playable facade tubes represent a fusion of traditional craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology. UPM Formi 3D is known for its superior properties, including functionally enhanced lignocellulosic fibres. This “drop-in” material is easy to use and offers high-definition production capabilities and wood-like post-processing properties. The biocomposite is manufactured in Finland and travels to the Spanish city of Burgos for the 3D printing process. The final stop was the Austrian organ manufacturer Rieger Orgelbau, where the organ was handcrafted and assembled, then disassembled and shipped back to Helsinki for final reconstruction in the Music Center’s Concert Hall.

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The journey of the organ pipe extends far beyond the wonders of playable 3D-printed façade tubes. These traditional sound-producing elements have a long history, dating back over a thousand years. Traditionally, pipe organs were made from metal or wood, shaped and polished using ancient techniques passed down from generation to generation. These pipes connect the ancient art of organ building with the latest 3D-printed hardware and materials, resulting in an instrument reconciling centuries of craftsmanship with modern innovation.

Collaborative symphony

Sustainability and music come together harmoniously in this project. This biocomposite uses fine cellulose fibres that are ideal for large-scale 3D printing and are 100% recyclable, making the organ super eco-friendly. The material’s acoustic properties enhance the sound quality of the pipe organ, providing a rich, immersive listening experience.

Application fields of powder bed 3d printer

Architecture and building design: Architects can use powder bed 3D printers to quickly print architectural models and prototypes to create accurate building models for testing and improvement.

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Automobile manufacturing: Automakers can use powder bed 3D printers to print auto parts, such as engine parts, chassis parts, and interior parts.

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Aerospace: Companies in the aerospace field can use powder bed 3D printers to print aircraft parts, such as engine parts, wings, and fuselages.

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Medical field: Doctors can use powder bed 3D printers to print human implants, surgical tools, and medical equipment. Examples include dental braces, hearing implants, and custom surgical tools.

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Science and Education: Scientists can use powder bed 3D printers to print complex chemical molecular and biological tissue models. Educators can use powder bed 3D printers to print teaching aids, student projects, and more.

Industrial manufacturing: Companies in the industrial manufacturing field can use powder bed 3D printers to print various industrial parts and tools, such as fixtures, moulds, and measuring tools.


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