Asee peer logo

MAKER: Interdisciplinary Senior Design Project to Print Mozart's Fortepiano

Download Paper |


2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Make It!

Tagged Division


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Yalcin Ertekin Drexel University (Tech.)

visit author page

Dr. Ertekin received his BS degree in mechanical engineering from Istanbul Technical University. He received MS degree in Production Management from Istanbul University. After working for Chrysler Truck Manufacturing Company in Turkey as a project engineer, he received dual MS degrees in engineering management and mechanical engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology (MS&T), formerly the University of Missouri-Rolla. He worked for Toyota Motor Corporation as a quality assurance engineer for two years and lived in Toyota City, Japan. He received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from MS&T in 1999 while he worked as a quality engineer for Lumbee Enterprises in St. Louis, Missouri. His first teaching position was at the architectural and manufacturing Sciences department of Western Kentucky University. He was a faculty at Trine University teaching mainly graduate courses as well as undergraduate courses in engineering technology and mechanical engineering departments. He is currently teaching in Engineering Technology Program at Drexel University. His area of expertise is in CAD/CAM, Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining, rapid prototyping and quality control. His research interest includes sensor based condition monitoring of CNC machining, machine tool accuracy characterization and enhancement, non-invasive surgical tool design, reverse engineering and bio materials.

visit author page


Warren Rosen Drexel University (Eng. & Eng. Tech.)

visit author page

Dr. Warren Rosen received his Ph.D. in physics from Temple University. He has served as Assistant Professor of Physics at Colby and Vassar Colleges where he carried out research in solar physics, medical physics, and instrumentation. Following this experience he was a research scientist at the Naval Air Warfare Center in Warminster, PA where he established a laboratory for research in high-performance computer networks and architectures for mission avionics and signal processing systems, and served as the Navy’s representative on several national and international standards committees. In 1997 joined the staff of Drexel University, first as a research professor in the Electrical And Computer Engineering Department and later as a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Technology. Also in 1997, Dr. Rosen founded Rydal Research and Development, Inc., which has carried out research in networking devices and protocols for the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Office of Naval Research. Dr. Rosen is the author or co-author of over 80 publications and conference proceedings and the holder of six U.S. patents in computer networking and signal processing.

visit author page


M. Eric Carr Drexel University (Eng. & Eng. Tech.) Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Mr. Eric Carr is an Instructor with Drexel University’s Department of Engineering Technology. A graduate of Old Dominion University’s Computer Engineering Technology program and Drexel's College of Engineering, Eric enjoys finding innovative ways to use microcontrollers and other technologies to enhance Drexel’s Engineering Technology course offerings. Eric is currently pursuing a Ph.D in Computer Engineering at Drexel, and is an author of several technical papers in the field of Engineering Technology Education.

visit author page


Michael Cassidy

visit author page

I am a continuing education student in the Drexel University Electrical Engineering Technology program.

visit author page

Download Paper |


The desired current set of skills required of modern engineers and technologists has been steadily expanding. In addition to familiarity with manual machining and prototyping techniques, mastering CAD/CAM, Computer Numerical Control (CNC), automation methods, and embedded control are increasingly becoming essential tools in the design, prototyping and manufacturing of complex systems. In this paper, we describe an inter-disciplinary senior design project aimed at using modern techniques such as 3D printing and electronic signal processing to build a hybrid replica of Mozart’s piano with accurate feel and sound quality but at an affordable cost of ~$2,000. Accurate reproductions of Mozart’s piano are available but these can cost in excess of $60,000 new, due to the large number of parts that must be hand carved from wood, as well as the string/soundboard system. The high cost limits the availability to academic musicologists or anyone simply interested in hearing the music the way it sounded to Mozart, Beethoven, and Haydn. The keybox and soundboard are accurate reproductions of the original, but to reproduce the proper feel for the keyboard the expensive, labor-intensive parts of the key action are made using 3D printing, namely Fused Filament Fabrication technology, as well as hand crafting out of wood. In place of the strings, an electronic key velocity sensing and sound reproduction system was designed and developed.

The significance of the methodology to be applied in this capstone course project is to combine theory and practice to prepare the students to become better problem solvers and obtain practical solutions to real life/simulated problems using a project based approach. Students in the Mechanical, Electrical, and Industrial fields along with many others can learn many new skills from multi-disciplinary projects such as the design and development of a musical instrument. Such projects show students how to use different types of technology, and demonstrate how advanced technology can be used in an innovative application. Overall, many different fields of engineering, academia and artists can benefit from this application, enabling the development of skill and knowledge in many different engineering aspects and processes.

Ertekin, Y., & Rosen, W., & Carr, M. E., & Cassidy, M. (2016, June), MAKER: Interdisciplinary Senior Design Project to Print Mozart's Fortepiano Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25625

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2016 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015