GAPPER robot & Harmonica Prototype A#P211
A WORLD PREMIERE!
A robot to adjust the gaps of the harmonicas!?
Ok, it sounds like Science Fiction, except that our chief engineer Jean-Noel Kulichenski was born in the future, so everything is possible !
Between 2 confinements in 2020, we wondered if it would be possible to create a machine that would be taught to adjust the gaps of harmonicas. The constraint was of course that the machine had to tune at least as well as we do. Concretely, it was imperative that it could service in such a way as to obtain all the notes on the harmonica right out of the box! Overblows & overdraws included, of course.
The great advantage we expected from this Gapper was to be able to service all harmonicas in a very homogeneous way, even on large volumes of production.
By the way, this would probably allow us to raise the service quality if the machine was accurate enough.
Where do we stand?
More than a year of work was necessary to realize a first prototype completely functional: robot + learning time.
It is done, we are finalizing its configuration for a setting that optimizes the obtaining of the draw and blow bends, the overblows and the overdraws, right out of the box!
It is currently working on ARKIA Origin and ARKIA Signature plates in C and A.
The robot, which we see in action below, fulfills its role perfectly on a few examples.
In parallel to our research, we are of course patenting it.
The GAPPER in action
We are left with two questions that we cannot answer alone:
1- Does the machine hold the volume? In other words, is it capable of adjusting not just a few Blues Harps but dozens with an acceptable error rate?
2- Will the settings we ask it to make suit harmonicists ?
We need motivated harmonica players to help us finalize the project.
The A#P211 Prototype program
We propose a series of prototype harmonicas under the code A#P211.
A : ARKIA
P : Prototype
21 : year of the program
1 : number of the prototype of the indicated year
These instruments will be accompanied by a stamped and numbered cardboard which ensures that it is a unique A#P211 prototype.
The logo on the back has also been replaced by the mention "A#P211".
- A first series on Origin C plates has been made, there are still a few available.
- A first series on Signature C plates is in progress.
- We are now at the beginning of testing the A key on both models.
These series are made and adjusted by Jean-Noël K., as usual, except for the gaps which are exclusively adjusted by the machine, without manual intervention.
We sell these harmonicas at a special price, and ask in return to the people who buy them to fill in a questionnaire about the setting.
This will allow us to check that everything works, and to refine the settings requested from the robot according to your preferences.
Any possible defect would of course be corrected, remotely or by returning the instrument to the workshop.
2022 update : the prototype campaign has worked perfectly. We have stopped commercialized these prototypes, and we are now using the Gapper for all our harmonicas in C & A.
2023 update : the Gapper has worked perfectly on C & A harmonicas. We are now upgrading it with a optical laser measurement so that it goes faster & can deal with all keys.
In the meantime we'll get back to a manual process to settle our harmonicas in C & A, time for us to integrate the laser in the Gapper.
We hope to finish by the end of the year.