Sunday, October 26, 2014

Building Bridges

Powell's pinless mechanism is found on the Handmade Custom and Handmade Conservatory flutes.  It is a mechanism that allows for different movement of multiple keys on one steel. As opposed to being pinned to the mechanism, keys on a pinless mechanism are connected by bridges.  You can read a previous post on the pinless mechanism, complete with links to video demonstrations by Powell's president, Steven Wasser, by following this link.

We stopped by the stringing department to visit with Stefania Iamandei as she was building bridged mechanisms for Conservatory flutes.  

The bridged mechanism is comprised of several different parts that vary depending on the specifications of the flute.  For instance, the left hand piece is different depending on whether the flute has an inline or offset G.  The right hand has an additional piece for flutes made with a split-E.  You will see the bridge components in the photo below.

Stefania was putting together the mechanism for a flute with an offset G and split-E when we stopped by.  We outlined the components in the photo below (left hand piece is red, right hand piece is yellow, split-E piece is light blue). The split-E section that is "upside down" on the bench does not have the long piece yet that is located between key cups, so we have that piece outlined in a darker blue on the mechanism in the photo below.

The two bridges are outlined with red boxes in the photo below.

The next photo shows a close-up of the bridges.  As Stefania builds them, she has to make sure that they have the correct fit and that they function properly.  She also has to check that the bridges (and the entire mechanism) open to the correct height, because once she is done, the flute goes to the finisher.  The finisher ads foam and cork adjustment pieces to the bridges to prevent metal-to-metal contact.

Below, we see a close-up of the left-hand bridge.  Once the mechanism meets the correct measurements and is functioning as it should, Stefania adds beveled edges -- purely for aesthetics.

The photo below shows the left-hand bridge as it will look when it is open.

In the photo below, we see another view of both bridges.  You can clearly see the tabs that function to create key motion.

Finally, we see a photo below of the bridges on a finished Handmade Conservatory Aurumite A9 flute.

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