Big big thanks to Chris Schuermans for having taken the care and the time to answer us.
The Bocarina® is a super good nose flute, certainly the best manufactured one. Why did you decide to create a new one ?
Thank you for the compliment! There were a few factors that prodded me in that direction.
It was blatantly obvious that there was room for improvement. Practically as soon as the first design went into production, I realised that it is not a great design and the playability of the Bocarina® is not ideal.
The high notes are difficult to control and come out harsh because the instrument has to be blown hard in the high range. This also means it uses a lot of breath to play the instrument.
The other problem was the ergonomics; the old model did not fit well on many face types because the nose saddle was too narrow.
Lastly, I did not like the look of the insert on the face side of the Bocarina®. The joint gaps are unsightly.
The new and the original nose saddles:
When did the process start, from the first idea until the production ? What were the different steps of this process ? What is the reason of the wavy labium ?
I guess it started when I made a ceramic Bocarina® that played better than the mass produced plastic model. The high notes were sweet and it was almost effortless to play and control the high notes. Furthermore,
I could play the instrument very softly. (whistles tend to squawk when they are blown softly)
This initiated the search for a better fipple. That was about three and half years ago... I did a lot of experiments with clay whistles but I could not figure out what worked and what did not. I needed a more scientific approach so I resorted to 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD). My first few 3D CAD models were printed with a 3D printer. However, the resolution of the 3D printer was just not good enough and it was too expensive so I decided to buy a CNC (computer numeric controlled ) milling machine.
I started experimenting with ocarinas because they are easier to mill than nose flutes. My aim was to make the fipple as efficient as possible, so I applied a few basic principles of aerodynamics to my fipple designs. I filleted the corners of the air passage and the fipple.
I also figured out that a straight line for the labium edge was not ideal. I tried a U-shaped labium edge but I got much better results from a wavy labium edge. I also curved the fipple surfaces outward to allow the air to expand as it leaves the end of the airway.
I have a feeling that this new fipple design could set a new standard for all whistle and flute makers.
Renderings of the WIP and final fipple design:
I know you encountered a bunch of difficulties that you overcame with success: please could you detail ?
There were some challenges and a few bumps in the road.
Firstly, to get the instrument to fit as many different faces as possible became very challenging because I could not get any facial ergonomic data about the average human face.
Once the design of the new Bocarina® was finalised the mould design for the toolmaker had to be done. This became a major obstacle. I eventually found a German toolmaker/ mould designer who took on the work, however, he gave up after about 20 hours of work. Eventually, I had to design the punch and cavities for the moulds. By the time I finished the designs, the toolmaker who made my previous mould couldn't slot in my work because he had taken on a big project. This presented me with the next challenge; to find a toolmaker who was interested in taking on a difficult project.
There were also a few hiccups and delays with the mould making process.
The new Bocarina® has got a peculiar design! Why did you use two different materials ? Which are they ?
The aim of the two part design is to improve the ergonomics and aesthetics.
The intention, is that by having a flexible body, the instrument will fit on more face shapes.
The air passage is made of a hard ABS (Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene) plastic which is over-moulded with a flexible TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer)
This nose flute is clearly « pure, sharp and quick » oriented… Is it a « professional » model ?
(if the Bocarina® was a Grand Tourism Ferrari, is this one the Formula 1 model ?)
I appreciate the comparison -- Thank you for the compliment Antoine!
The goal was to make an efficient nose flute. I do hope that eventually it will be used professionally.
It is more difficult to master than the 'old' Bocarina® so it is not intended for beginners.
How should we call this new flute ? « the new Bocarina® », « Bocarina® II », « Clarytone® » ?
I have already been asked this question and I'm still not sure.
The name Bocarina® is derived from Boca or Buca, Spanish and Latin for mouth and ocarina (closed vessel flute), suggesting that the Bocarina® turns your mouth into a closed vessel flute.
I was hoping that this would end up being the generic name for nose flutes, because technically, I think, the name nose flute is not descriptive enough -- the instrument is merely blown with the nose and the mouth forms the sounds.
So, at best it should be called a nose and mouth flute.
Clarytone® is the name of my business but it could also serve as the name of the 'new' Bocarina®
How about Bocarina® Pro?
How many colours will be available ? Which ones ?
The colour choice was not easy to make, so I decided to try a fruit colour scheme.
Here are the proposed colours:
Intermediate renderings for the colour chart:
When will they be released and available to the public ?
I already have some that are available to the public but they are not perfect. There are still a few issues with production and the moulds.
As you will notice on the instruments I sent you, there are flashes of plastic on the edges where the mould shut off surfaces are. You will also notice that there is a problem with the injection point, which will probably have to be moved.
The over-mould material (TPE) is also an issue -- I have to find the correct one that will chemically bond with ABS plastic and it must be:
·Smooth, not sticky or tacky (good haptics)
·Shore 60-70 hardness
·Hopefully available in South Africa
I have already tested 5 different grades of TPE and only one of them is silky smooth -- but it is relatively expensive because it has FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approval.
I plan to test a Urethane Based TPE within a week or two.
Production can be finalised once I have decided on a over-mould material and once the mould has been modified.
Will the regular Bocarina® still be produced ?
Yes the 'old' Bocarina® is still going to be produced. Its popularity is growing, especially in Japan. Furthermore, the 'old' Bocarina® is easier to play and is well suited for beginners.
Thank you a lot, Chris! Now, we're all impatient to see this new nose flute available on the retail market!
Related links :
- The Bocarina® Pro - Part I : A new star is born !
- The Bocarina® Pro - Part IIa : Reviews
- The Bocarina® Pro - Part IIb : Reviews
- The Bocarina® Pro - Part III : Prototypes
- The Bocarina® Pro - Part IV : Interview
- The Bocarina® Pro - Part V : Ceramics