Sound the Alarm

3D Printed Whistle is Louder than Human Pain Threshold

3d printed whistle

Building a better mousetrap is one thing, but building a better whistle? This sturdy 3D printed whistle can melt your eardrums at 118 decibels.

There’s a small item making a great deal of noise on the Thingiverse community these past few weeks; 118 decibels of noise, to be precise.

The MakeItLoud V29 is a 3D printed whistle of completely original design by maker Joe Zisa in Philidelphia, USA. The meaning of “V29” is because, incredibly, this is the 29th (and by no means final) iteration of his design for a survival whistle.

“I designed it to be rugged, easy to make and carry, have a great design and most importantly be very loud,” Zisa says on the MakeItLoud download page. “It is designed to be able to get you noticed in all conditions.”

Zisa tested the ruggedness of the whistle by repeatedly spiking it into the pavement and then running over it in his car. He also left it submerged in water for several hours. Despite this punishment, he claims the whistle still works perfectly.

The 3D printed whistle has a simple and elegant design, with a loop at the back for a keyring or lanyard, and the model is quickly printable in one piece with no supports or rafts required. Before embarking on an adventure like a hike in the mountains, it should be a painless process to just print the whistle and be ready to rock.

Zisa’s inspiration for the whistle was his summers as a teenager working as a lifeguard: “I wanted to design the best whistle I could because I know from experience the demands that they face and what its like to depend on one.”

3d printed whistle makeitloud v29

How does the MakeItLoud 3D Printed Whistle Work?

3d printed whistle makeitloud v29Zisa explains that his whistle has two slightly different tones produced at the same time by separate chambers on either side. There’s no pea sized ball bearing rattling around inside. This is a different order of acoustic magnitude entirely.

The two different tones alternate between amplifying and canceling each other out. This variation creates the shrill sound much like a pea whistle that is more attention grabbing and does not get lost as easily over background noise like a single tone whistle could. Unlike a pea whistle however it does not jam if blown too hard and will not freeze up in cold weather.

In the video below, you can see Zisa testing the volume levels of the MakeItLoud with a decibel meter, where it reached 118.7db. The loudness depends very much on how hard you blow in to it (or the size of your lungs). Another maker on Thingiverse posted a picture of the whistle he made reaching as high as 123 decibels.

To provide some context here, a vacuum cleaner reaches levels of 70 decibels. Anything above that is considered uncomfortable for human hearing. A food blender whizzing up a smoothie is typically 88 decibels. If we go up the charts, a car horn blaring from 1 meter away has a decibel level of 110 dB.

Anything above this point is the limit of the average human pain threshold. A jet-plane taking off from 25 meters away is 150 dB, for example, after which point your eardrums will rupture and you’ll go deaf.

In other words, please keep in mind that these 3D printed whistles are freakin’ loud and definitely not a toy!

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