Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Inside the Tube

We recently caught up with our repair technician when she was in the midst of disassembling a flute for a COA.  We spotted a pinned mechanism at her workbench, which prompted us to think a bit more about pinned and pinless mechanisms.  All Powell Signature flutes are pinned, but Conservatory and Custom flutes are pinless.

Seeing the pinned key mechanism sparked our curiosity.  Our technician explained that the pin holds the key in place on the outside "mech tube."  But, just where exactly is the pin going?  Having read about the different feel and operation of pinless and pinned mechanisms, we wondered what other differences there might be in these mechanisms that are not exactly visible from the outside.

Our technician explained that with a pinned mechanism, the outer mech tube has an inner steel running through it.  To hold the key in place, the pin goes all the way through the key, outer mech tube, and inner steel.  The mech tube, complete with pinned keys and the inner steel, is then held into place between the posts with pivot screws.  With a pinless mechanism, there is also a long steel inside the mech tube, but this steel (itself) actually screws into the posts.  There are no pins (obviously) running through the mech tube and its inner steel.  The keys operate with a bridge mechanism.  The pinless bridge mechanism also has small pieces of cork on the back -- which your repair tech works with to make adjustments. 

We had an excellent three-part series on the pinless mechanism written by Powell's president, Steven Wasser, for our Flute Builder blog.  There is also a terrific two-part video of Mr. Wasser explaining the differences between pinned and pinless mechanisms on our YouTube channel.  Make sure to take a look at the posts, and definitely check out the video!

Links to Blog Posts from Flute Builder: Pin Pals,

Links to Videos on Pinless Mechanism: 

Pin Holds Key in Place on Pinned Mechanism

Underside of Pinned Key
Pivot Screw in Post to Hold Mech Tube with Inner Steel
Inner Steel from Pinless Mech Screws Into Post and Runs Through Mech Tube
Pinned Mechanism on Assembled Flute
Bridge from Pinless Mechanism on Assembled Flute

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