This semester, the students in computer-aided engineering drafting at MU took on a special project to help a student in the music department. Paul Mento, a freshman music business technology major, sustained serious nerve damage in his left hand and can no longer play his clarinet. Mento began to design a new bass clarinet that would allow him to play again when his music professor, Dr. Christy Banks, put him in contact with Brad Fessler.
Fessler is an adjunct professor in the Applied Engineering, Safety & Technology (AEST) department who is teaching the computer-aided engineering drafting class this semester. He decided to have his class take on the project of engineering and creating a prototype that will replace the keys on the clarinet to accommodate Mento’s disability. The class submitted a project outline to Yamaha to get blueprints of their 221CL Bass Clarinet to help design the new mechanisms for the clarinet.
“This is not an easy thing to engineer because of the complexity of the instrument.” Fessler says, “In a few weeks we hope to have a 3D-printed prototype that we can share with Paul, the music department and anyone else that would like to see the students’ work.”
After the 3D prototype is printed and plans for the manufactured parts are confirmed, Mento will find an instrument maker to produce the actual parts for the clarinet. He hopes after the instrument is created, it will be presented at Made in Millersville in 2019.