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I'm designing an electronic musical instrument and need to injection mold the mouthpiece. This is my project: Multiwind. The mouthpiece needs to be safe to go in the mouth, opaque (preferably black), durable enough not to wear excessively if the user rests their top teeth on it while playing, and maintain good dimensional tolerances in molding. Other manufacturers such as Yamaha and Roland make mouthpieces that appear to have these properties. What resin should I specify for the molding?

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  • $\begingroup$ Acoustic mouthpieces which are designed to be extremely rigid. Do you need that, seeing as your optosensors would move with any deformation of the package? I'll further warn you (as a longtime musician) that what you're creating is a brand-new interface between mouth muscles and an interpreter. The physical characteristics of a clarinetist, flutist, trombonist, etc. will never be realizable by a human using your setup (even with machine learning on the back end) . So, why use a mouthpiece as opposed to a far more easily controlled set of gloves? $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Jul 18 '18 at 14:58
  • $\begingroup$ yes preferably the material would be rigid but slight flexing would not significantly affect the performance. $\endgroup$ – user6342345 Jul 18 '18 at 15:11
  • $\begingroup$ The goal of the project is not the goal to exactly emulate the feel of a particular instrument. It's to capture features of embouchure to map in various ways to control the sound during which time the hands may be fingering the notes. In prototyping I've found it can provide much of the expressiveness a wind instrumentalist can get from their mouthpiece while being much easier to learn. I've also found that it feels much more intuitive shaping sound with the mouth than with the hands possibly because of the way the brain is wired to the mouth muscles. $\endgroup$ – user6342345 Jul 18 '18 at 15:32
  • $\begingroup$ Of possible interest: carolinaclarinet.org/mpc_matl.pdf $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Jul 18 '18 at 18:48
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I would imagine that the professional mouthpieces are compression molded with Ebonite (see wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebonite). My late father worked on a customer's mouthpiece with this material focusing on the vibrational properties.

If you must injection mold this piece, then you are limited to less rigid and durable materials, because they need to flow down the channels of the injection molding device. Plastic utensils are made with polystyrene and a pigment can be added to turn it black.

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I think I found a material. Protomold suggested looking at their list of medical grade injection molding resins. The best one for my requirements seems to be Makrolon grade 2458-550115. It's clear but can be tinted black and remain medical grade, and it's tough and molds with good accuracy. This is probably what I'll go with. If anyone thinks this is not a good option please let me know.

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