Mouthpiece Production Methods


Ever wonder why there aren’t more large-chamber mouthpieces in the market place? Mouthpieces are made primarily in three ways. 1) Investment casting 2) Injection molding 3) CNC milling machines and lathes. Here is a brief explanation of each procedure, just skip past this section to continue on with the historical development of the mouthpiece.

Investment (lost wax) Casting: Similar techniques were used for all large chamber vintage mouthpieces from the 1930’s to present. Most were made in two halves, and then soldered together. The problem with that, is the casting process is not accurate enough to get the two halves aligned the same on every mouthpiece. Hence every mouthpiece has a slightly different width and thickness to it, and plays differently. Here is the technique I used for the first ‘AMMA’ model which was a one-piece large chamber casting.

  • First you make your prototype – your model to be copied. This must be made approximately 6% to 10% larger than your finished model as there is shrinkage during two of the steps in the casting process.
  • A mold is made of the prototype. The mold is split in some way, so that the prototype can be removed from the mold. This can be tricky with large chamber mouthpieces as the interior is larger than the opening at the ends of the mouthpiece. So it is a challenge removing the core of the mold from inside the mouthpiece prototype. We ended up using a combination of techniques to remove the interior mold from the prototype which included:
    • Removable core – a plug is put inside the soft mold core. When removing the interior mold, the solid plug is pulled out allowing the core to ‘collapse’ in on itself do to the resultant void from removing the core. The interior mold can then be removed from the interior of the prototype, the spring back into shape once removed.
    • Soluble core – the same general concept as a removable core, but the plug gets dissolved in a solution again leaving a resultant void in the center of the mold allowing it to collapse to be removed from the prototype
  • The mold is now a ‘negative’ of the prototype. The prototype would fit inside the mold. Now the mold is reassembled WITHOUT the prototype in it and clamped together. Wax is poured inside the mold and allowed to cool. The mold is removed and now you have a wax version of your prototype. Again, though, a removable and/or soluble core is needed in order to remove the mold from the interior of the wax model.
  • Now a ceramic (or similar) mold is made around the wax model – again with the removable/soluble core. This ceramic mold is then placed in an over and the wax model melts out. Then the brass or bronze is poured inside the new ceramic mold. When cool the ceramic mold is removed along with the new removable/soluble core and… Whala….you have your mouthpiece.
  • There is material shrinkage primarily in the initial ‘soft’ mold and in while the molten brass/bronze cools. This is why the initial prototype needs to be 6%-10% larger depending on specific materials used. Now the finishing work is needed to make the facing curve, correct the baffle/rails/window and polish the mouthpiece.

Injection Molding
: This is a MUCH simpler process as material is injected inside a mold – then simply removed. This is much cheaper to make, however, there are severe limitations as to material that can be used in injection molding which is why most injection molded mouthpieces are made from either a plastic or from a soft ‘white-metal’. There are also limitations as to the resultant shape possible, and a large chamber mouthpiece just cannot be made with this method.

CNC Machining: Up until the new Wanne mouthpiece line, CNC machining has only been used to form small and medium chamber mouthpieces. The reason is simple- tooling cannot reach into the chamber or window of the mouthpiece to create complex shapes. Hence a ‘true’ large chamber mouthpiece simply cannot be made. Also, nicely rounded inner side walls cannot be made even on the small and medium chamber mouthpieces. The new ‘AMMA’ mouthpiece is made using CNC machining and our solutions are so complex and advanced we have a Process Patent pending just on how we make our mouthpieces. We are now working within the Aero-Space community in the Pacific Northwest, the home of Boeing Airlines, in order to maximize the use of current manufacturing technology.


2 Responses to “Mouthpiece Production Methods”

  1. Jim Cameron Says:

    Can’t wait to play one!

  2. DAVE H Says:

    LIKE WISE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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