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#1909153 - 06/06/12 01:18 AM Piano key action model
zerox61 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/08/12
Posts: 59
Hi guys,

I remember reading in this forum where some people wanted them action models for the grand pianos. I also wanted to get my hands on one but I am a bit low on cash after buying my SK7.

I decided to build one and here is a video:

For those who are interested in making one too, I put a full set of instructions on Instructables. Which you can find here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Grand-piano-action-model/

It took 3 weekends to make, from getting measurements to designing the thing on the computer and then to build. I think with just the build from taking my stencils will take much less time.

I plan to make a better one once I get my hands on some new tools (i.e. a 3D printer).

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#1909159 - 06/06/12 01:36 AM Re: Piano key action model [Re: zerox61]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3300
Nice job!
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#1909680 - 06/06/12 08:58 PM Re: Piano key action model [Re: zerox61]
fingers Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/08/04
Posts: 799
Loc: Westchester, NY
Loved the video! Very impressive!

fingers
_________________________
Playing piano at age 2, it was thought that I was some sort of idiot-savant. As it turns out, I'm just an idiot.

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#1909695 - 06/06/12 09:35 PM Re: Piano key action model [Re: fingers]
PaintedPostDave Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/09/10
Posts: 494
Loc: Upstate New York
Three weekends? Wow! Interesting and entertaining video. smile
_________________________
Dave Koenig
Yamaha M1A console
1927 Knabe 7' 8" grand
https://sites.google.com/site/analysisofsoundsandvibrations/

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#1909758 - 06/07/12 12:35 AM Re: Piano key action model [Re: PaintedPostDave]
zerox61 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/08/12
Posts: 59
Thanks guys. Yeah,I only had time to do this project on the weekends. was really fun and beneficial (I get to know how the piano actually works!!)

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#1909929 - 06/07/12 10:39 AM Re: Piano key action model [Re: zerox61]
Pianolance Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 1178
Loc: Nashville, TN
Very impressive zerox61. It would have never occured to me in a million years to make my own piano action model. You are the bomb!
_________________________
Knabe 5'2" Louis XV Walnut circa 1927
Very part time piano broker.

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#1910009 - 06/07/12 01:12 PM Re: Piano key action model [Re: zerox61]
BerndAB Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/10
Posts: 533
Loc: Germany
Cool job!

Some tiny hints: the top of the jack normally is orthogonal to the hammershank knuckle,not beveled. The jack's left edge is pointing to the mid of the knuckle.

The jack does not look out above of the repetition lever window, it is same surface. Or the jack is a tiny bit down in the window, no more than a newspaper sheet. So that the repetition lever during jack lift is set a little bit under tension.

How much is your model key dip? (around 10 mm normally.) How much is hammer-string distance? (45 to 48mm normally.)

The tinny, canny sound could eventually be improved if you use part of a violin string. Try to build a bridge above or down the model, and drive a small sounding board. Maybe use a strip of thin wood so that the air is getting an impulse.

You saved 179 EURO (i.e. ca. 225 USD) by DIY. ;-) The Price of a Detoa (Czech) action model which to my knowledge is the cheapest (in Europe).

http://files.myopera.com/BerndAB/albums/2298701/DSCI0847.JPG


Another action model (Renner USA), press a key down the page..


Edited by BerndAB (06/07/12 01:14 PM)
_________________________
Pls excuse any bad english.

D 1877 satin black plain

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#1910356 - 06/08/12 05:51 AM Re: Piano key action model [Re: zerox61]
zerox61 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/08/12
Posts: 59
Thanks for the tip.

The key dip is about ~15mm I think, I measured my piano to be just a little bit more than my index finger nail so I tried to replicate that. Didnt actually take proper measurements.

Actually, the Blow distance was just placed randomly. I was in a rush to finish this off so didn't take the time to measure it. It is probably in the 50-60mm range though.

I used music wire, which was originally for the springs, but the springs I made failed so I went with coil springs. I didn't tighten the strings really hard because my pinblock sucked, it was on the verge of breaking. It was way too small. I needed space for two pins too, so each side of the hitch pin can be tuned. Right now it is one side tense, the other side floppy. I didn't know the hitch pin is that effective at isolating the tension!

My original plan was to make it with a soundboard, but it is going to be really big if I made extended so I decided to make only a small version this time. Next build I'll definitely put sound boards, Agraffe, felts on the hammer and a much more refined design.

I didn't really understand what you meant about the bevelled jack. can you explain that for me? is is the contact point of the knuckle and jack? I made that round on the left because of my machining limitations and it was also to save time.

Glad I didn't buy the Kawai action. Is for sale at my piano dealer for AU$600.

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#1910391 - 06/08/12 08:59 AM Re: Piano key action model [Re: zerox61]
Pianolance Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 1178
Loc: Nashville, TN
Make 88 more of these and you will be well on your way to making your own piano. You are a renaissance man, a modern day Christofari.


Edited by Pianolance (06/08/12 08:59 AM)
_________________________
Knabe 5'2" Louis XV Walnut circa 1927
Very part time piano broker.

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#1910619 - 06/08/12 04:19 PM Re: Piano key action model [Re: zerox61]
Sir Lurksalot Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 1237
For those (like me) who aren't so skilled but don't want to spend a lot of money for an action model, if you see a piano store that's going out of business, ask if they have any models available. I got mine that way for $30. It's for a grand, and they also had an upright version.


Edited by Sir Lurksalot (06/08/12 04:20 PM)

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#1910646 - 06/08/12 05:08 PM Re: Piano key action model [Re: zerox61]
BerndAB Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/10
Posts: 533
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: zerox61
I didn't really understand what you meant about the bevelled jack. can you explain that for me? is is the contact point of the knuckle and jack? I made that round on the left because of my machining limitations and it was also to save time.


Yes. You should mill the jack top simply orthogonally, like a brick. Make the top flat i.e. orthogonal related to the jack stick direction: By pushing the knuckle, the jack shall not get a force to one side, to "uncouple" - only when uncoupling is demanded, initiated "externally", then the jack goes to the side, but not before, and not because any bevel or rounded top and so resulting in vectorial forces to the right.
;-)

I made a sketch for you.

_________________________
Pls excuse any bad english.

D 1877 satin black plain

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#1910806 - 06/08/12 11:49 PM Re: Piano key action model [Re: zerox61]
zerox61 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/08/12
Posts: 59
Thanks for the drawing. I know what you mean now. Yeah, it was because it was much faster to make it round instead (other solution was that I needed to make the hole in the repetition lever a bit longer, because of the semicircle edge on the left but this is a much longer process). Good one for picking this detail up though =)

BerndAB, are you a technician? you are really knowledgeable in this area!

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#1910920 - 06/09/12 08:36 AM Re: Piano key action model [Re: zerox61]
BerndAB Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/10
Posts: 533
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: zerox61
BerndAB, are you a technician? you are really knowledgeable in this area!


Hi ZeroX, I am no piano tech but a mechanical engineer (manufacturing, numerical milling and latheing) and a hobbyist piano player. Until two and a half year before (Jan 2010) a piano was for me such a black wooden box with some wires and felt inside, but I had no closer idea how this really functioned..

Then I suddenly found my dragon - and the decision to buy such demanded a super fast, extremely rapid, reliable decision on several technical aspects for a five figure buy which took the "surplus money" of several years of hard work. (I am no really wealthy man - even if it may look so, to be a private owner of a S&S concert grand..)

I found out - in my mid 50ies, near retirement - that the mechanism of a grand is a little paradise. I open my grand, pull out the mech - and I am simply happy. Happy to look into this fascinating work of former engineering colleagues.
:-)

I am in a further decision making phase - to give my dragon one or two additional mechanisms, to be built by me in general (above of new keysets to be bought yet): one of the most modern standard with carbon fibre materials, and another to the latest technology of the originator - and the original mechanism from 1877 to keep always in playable condition.

One paradise => three of them..
;-)
_________________________
Pls excuse any bad english.

D 1877 satin black plain

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#1910940 - 06/09/12 09:15 AM Re: Piano key action model [Re: zerox61]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19105
Loc: New York City
I couldn't make one of those if someone offered me a million dollars to do it or said my life depended on it.

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#1911209 - 06/09/12 08:44 PM Re: Piano key action model [Re: zerox61]
j&j Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/09
Posts: 438
Loc: Southwest
Neither could I but for a million bucks, I'd have to try. Even my lame attempts would take much longer than 3 weeks to be sure. Congrats to Zerox61 and BerndAB. I applaud how much you've learned and how determined you both are to aquire that knowledge.

BerndAB - why do you call your S&S the Black Dragon and what do you mean by "happifying" it? Just curious.
_________________________
J & J
Yahama C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
"Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working." Pablo Picasso

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#1911255 - 06/10/12 12:17 AM Re: Piano key action model [Re: zerox61]
zerox61 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/08/12
Posts: 59
haha, I am very curious too!

maybe:

Steinway D = Beast
King of the beast = dragon

??

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#1911322 - 06/10/12 08:02 AM Re: Piano key action model [Re: j&j]
BerndAB Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/10
Posts: 533
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: j&j
Neither could I but for a million bucks, I'd have to try. Even my lame attempts would take much longer than 3 weeks to be sure. Congrats to Zerox61 and BerndAB. I applaud how much you've learned and how determined you both are to aquire that knowledge.

BerndAB - why do you call your S&S the Black Dragon and what do you mean by "happifying" it? Just curious.



Hi JJ,

This grand makes me happy - is "happifying" not the right english adjective? :oops:

"the grand which makes me happy - which is happifying me.."
??

There is a nice jolly instructive book of Edwin Good:

Giraffes, Black Dragons - and other pianos

This made me name the concert grand "black dragon".

Before this his name was "Ol' Joe", a real yankee grand coming from the former Manhattan factory 52th street corner 4th avenue which Steinway built to open in 1860 and sold in the 1920ies.

But because I am in the minimum the sixth owner, probably the grand had a lot of other nicknames..

First owner was a Mr. Strubbs, probably Revd. Stubbs, at that time in 1878 the head of a priest school/ seminar of the Anglican Church of England in Liverpool who probably bought the grand for the seminar's church. Maybe the youngsters there named the grand "Leviathan" ;-)

Next owner was a Lady Vincent, most probably a singer or concert pianist, a young american lady who married into the english high classes. Maybe she named her grand "Scott Joplin" because his skin is silk black? ;-)

Then the grand again was in Steinway Hall London to be sold to Scotland, to a Mr Gibbs, probably the former music store in Edinburgh which no longer existes but there is a pub of same name.. The next owners from 1920 to 2009 are missing.. Who were they? How would they have named the grand? Imagine - Scotsmen.

You are invited to speculate.. :-)
_________________________
Pls excuse any bad english.

D 1877 satin black plain

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#1911327 - 06/10/12 08:19 AM Re: Piano key action model [Re: zerox61]
BerndAB Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/10
Posts: 533
Loc: Germany
BTW Edwin Good transferred an old saying:

because the concert grands grew longer and longer in the mid of the 19th century, the people named them "black dragons"..

:-)
_________________________
Pls excuse any bad english.

D 1877 satin black plain

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#1911915 - 06/11/12 01:29 PM Re: Piano key action model [Re: zerox61]
Goof Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/05/12
Posts: 316
Loc: UK
Interesting. Also your accent are you from S.Africa or Zimbabwe ?

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#1912758 - 06/13/12 09:51 AM Re: Piano key action model [Re: zerox61]
zerox61 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/08/12
Posts: 59
Me? No, im Australian.

I don't really have the accent though, according to my Canadian cousins, lol.

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#1912861 - 06/13/12 01:18 PM Re: Piano key action model [Re: zerox61]
WhoDwaldi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/13/08
Posts: 244
Action models show up on eBay. Three on there now.

I won one a couple of years ago (at a good price) labeled "Falcone" (Asian era, I'm sure).

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#1913268 - 06/14/12 03:56 AM Re: Piano key action model [Re: zerox61]
Goof Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/05/12
Posts: 316
Loc: UK
My daughters moved from S.Africa to Aussie and visiting them in the Syney area I did find that there was practically no diff between their S.A accent and the Aussie.
I did meet some folk with strong Aussie accents and they seemed to be more connected with areas away from the big towns.
On your model: I have a section of Al rod (13mm dia X 125mm long) supported over a grooved piece of wood by two tighly wound cords of 1mm dia. Strike it with a pencil nd it rings at A7.
I see it has been made as a "table chime" by J W Stannard.
Also printed on it is "learning is not a spectator sport"
Maybe an idea for you? In fact if it was any use to you I can post it to you.

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#1915438 - 06/18/12 09:05 PM Re: Piano key action model [Re: zerox61]
zerox61 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/08/12
Posts: 59
Very interesting, I have a few friends from Zambia, It was easy to distinguish their accent, maybe because their accent are pretty heavy so I always had the impression that they were very different.

Yeah, in my next build, I want it to produce a nice sound once it strikes the string. It didn't really work well on this one.

The model you have has a very interesting design. you mean post it to me as in a photo/video right? that would be great. I am very interested to see what it looks like.

If you meant actually post it to me, that would be great too =P

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