• Fourteen Breath Flute Headjoints
  • Peter Riley Fujara
  • Headjoint Components
  • Lip Shape
  • Tree Frogs

About the Breath Flute

The Breath Flute is a wind instrument that lets players with little or no musical experience create deep, resonant music using only their breath. The design inherits from musical instruments of many cultures, including the Australian didgeridoo, overtone flutes from Slovakia, and the Native American flute.

It is ideal for community music gatherings since it can be played solo, in small groups, or as a large ensemble providing harmonic and rhythmic support for other musical instruments. It also has a role in music therapy, therapeutic music-making, and a wide range of personal breath practices such as yoga and meditation.

Breath Flutes are accessible to players with physical limitations, since they have no finger holes and require no finger dexterity. Most players with no musical experience can create music in the first few minutes and experience the physiological benefits associated with resonant breathing the first time they play the instrument.

Breath Flute Anatomy

Most Breath Flutes have a short headjoint section combined with a long body tube. The headjoint is about 5 in / 13 cm long and can be 3D-printed using free, open-source software. The body tube can be as simple as a length of standard pipe, or as complex as you wish to make it (decoration, curved designs, holes for tuning, etc.) The headjoint press-fits onto the body tube. It converts the player’s breath into a resonant vibration in the body tube that we hear as sound.

The Project

The Breath Flute Project is a free, open-source software package that has all the files you need to 3D-print a Breath Flute headjoint. You can use the printed instruments yourself, for your music gatherings, and even offer them for sale without paying royalties.

The distribution package contains the source code for the components of the Breath Flute and tools for sanding components after they are printed. The distribution package also has extensive documentation, letting you improve the design or adapt it for your needs. This can be done using free, open-source software.

Breath Flute Components and Sanding Tools

You may download, use, modify, and distribute the Breath Flute Project software under a permissive license designed to keep the software free and open. The license encourages anyone to improve the design and share their improvements with the community. See the License.txt file in the distribution package for details.


If you wish to print the Breath Flute Project design, you can use pre-compiled STL files from the distribution package. These files describe the shape — the “three-dimensional surface geometry” — of the Breath Flute. You can use these STL files as the starting point for many of the 3D printing processes. The typical process is to convert the STL files into specific machine instructions (typically G-code) that direct the actions of the hardware you are using to fabricate the Breath Flute.

If you wish to simply fabricate (3D-Print) Breath Flutes, you don’t need to modify any code. The distribution package has pre-built STL files that you can use with your 3D printer.

CSG Tree If you would like to improve the design of the Breath Flute or adapt it for your needs, the source code and extensive documentation is provided in the distribution package. The source code is written in OpenSCAD, which uses Constructive Solid Geometry (CSG) to create the geometric model of the Breath Flute. CSG is a technique that combines simple object — cubes, cylinders, prisms pyramids, spheres, cones, etc. — using Boolean operators — union, intersection, and difference — and transformations such as shift, rotate, and extrude. You would render your modified design directly in OpenSCAD to produce the STL files you need to fabricate your modified instruments.

Fabricator Codes

If you modify the design and fabricate flutes based on your modifications, you are encouraged to get your own Fabricator Code. These two characters printed on the side of the various components identify you and your design, and replace the default “BF” code that identifies “vanilla” flutes fabricated from STL files in a distribution package.

To register your own Fabricator Code, send me an email (clint@goss.com) with:

(a) your name,

(b) your preferred two-letter code, and

(c) your contact information,

… and I will add you to the published list (if possible).


Current Fabricator Codes

BF — The generic fabricator code for “Breath Flute”, intended to identify components printed using unmodified STL files from a distribution package.

CG — Clint Goss, ClintGoss.com

JN — Jon Norris, Jon Norris Music & Arts

VM — Vladimir Mariano, Fairfield County Makers' Guild

Development note: In addition to this web site, this list is maintained in parallel on in BFlute_vvv.scad and render.bat.


The Breath Flute Project GPL License

GPLv3 The Breath Flute Project is Copyright ©2016-2018 the Breath Flute Project Authors (see AUTHORS.txt).

The Breath Flute Project is free software. You may copy, use, modify, and distribute it under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 3 (“the GPL”) or any later version, as published by the Free Software Foundation. Documentation released with the Breath Flute Project is separately licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License version 1.3 (“the GFDL”) or any later version. Font software released with the Breath Flute Project is separately licensed under the terms of the SIL Open Font License version 1.1 (“the OFL”).

The Breath Flute Project is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GPL for more details.

This license, copyright notice, and the GPL cover the design of the Breath Flute, the stylized flute design used in the images shown below this License, and the neologisms “Breath Flute” and “BreathFlute” in upper case, lower case, or any mix of cases, in any typeface (“the Design Elements”). Anyone may use the Design Elements freely in any way they choose, but they may not be registered as trademarks or restricted in any other way. You may use the Design Elements with significant extra words and graphics in trademarks, as you would be able to with words from a dictionary.

The GPL, the GFDL, and the OFL are distributed in plain text with releases of the Breath Flute Project. You can also access the GPL and the GFDL at http://www.GNU.org/ or by writing to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin Street, 5th Floor, Boston, MA 02110. You can access the OFL at http://scripts.sil.org/OFL.


Breath Flute Logo   Breath Flute Logo



SandQ and SandT components

SandY Label

Version 75 Design

Sanding Tool

Magnets on Brim

Version 73 BodyHalf component

Version 72 BodyProx component

Free Cultural Works

Developer's Guide

History and Evolution

BodyProx and BodyDist

Split Headjoint