Hi Rey, great to hear you’re doing well with the melodica, and that hear you’re interested in making one.
For 3D printing, I started out using FDM (fused deposition modelling), but it wasn’t accurate enough. For the instrument in the video, I used a process called SLS (selective laser sintering), where a powdered resin is fused together with a laser. SLS is very expensive, but in my experience necessary when you have 34 moving parts which need to create airtight seals.
I change the design every time I make a new instrument, and like to try out different materials and manufacturing processes when I can. Remember, although the 3D printed section is a crucial part of the instrument, it’s only a part of the it. As well as the reeds, I add machined metal parts, leather, rubber, wood and various other materials. These all have to be designed along with the 3D printed parts for it all to work together. When I have all the parts, they never work quite as planned, so I normally have to revisit the design.
I encourage you to go through the same process as I did – make your own file by taking your favourite melodica apart, and recreating it. That way, you’ll gain a working knowledge of the instrument, and be able to troubleshoot when things go wrong. You’ll also then have the confidence and ability to make improvements tailored to your needs and taste.
Please report back here with any progress!