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3D-Printed Instruments Used in Live Concert

Lund University professor Olaf Diegel and a band comprising students at the Swedish school's Malmö Academy of Music recently put on what they called the world's first live concert of its kind, using only 3D-printed instruments. A drum kit, a keyboard, and two electric guitars, were part of the September show.

Diegel, a design engineer who teaches courses in product development, has been working with 3D printing for almost a decade but began printing 3D instruments about three years ago. He created what he called the world's first 3D-printed saxophone in July, starting the design in “a virtual world” of 3D CAD software before sending the model to a 3D printer. A selective laser sintering (SLS) process was used for printing the sax as well as the other instruments in Diegel's ensemble.

In 2011, Diegel started his own custom guitar company, ODD Guitars, which produces 3D-printed guitars. The SLS process is explained on the ODD Guitars website: SLS “builds the components by spreading a thin layer of nylon powder that is fused in the correct locations for that particular slice of the component. The layer is then dropped down a fraction of a millimeter, and another layer of powder is spread on top of the first. The process is repeated until the component is built. The typical layer thickness is 0.1 mm.”

Hardware used on the guitars (pickups, bridges, necks, tuning heads, etc.) is off the shelf. All of Diegel's guitars have a wooden-core insert, which joins the neck to the bridge. According to a 2013 Premier Guitar article, “acoustically the guitars are akin to a standard small-bodied electric guitar.”

In a Gizmag interview, Diegel indicated that the process of printing a guitar body and then painting it can take about 22 hours. Additional time is required to assemble the components and set the action. Prices for a custom 3D-printed guitar can range from $3,000 to $4,000.

Diegel worked on a project that involved 3D-printed inserts for diabetics and sees the potential for additional medical applications of 3D-printing technology.

To read the rest of this article, visit EBN sister site EETimes.

8 comments on “3D-Printed Instruments Used in Live Concert

  1. Ariella
    October 13, 2014

    Nice, I took some photos of 3D printed instruments at the 3D printed expo in NYC this year, though for most the printed aspect was just decorative and not functional.

  2. Ariella
    October 13, 2014

    To really gain an appreciation of what goes into making instruments, you can tour the Martin guitar factory (no charge or reservations required). Even a standard instrument there costs about $4000. Anything custom costs more, and prices can go as high as $25K just for opting for rarer wood in the guitar. 

  3. Eldredge
    October 13, 2014

    What a cool way to use 3D technology! Every design could be unique.

  4. Daniel
    October 14, 2014

    “Lund University professor Olaf Diegel and a band comprising students at the Swedish school's Malmö Academy of Music recently put on what they called the world's first live concert of its kind, using only 3D-printed instruments. A drum kit, a keyboard, and two electric guitars, were part of the September show.”

    Amy, great. So they have proven that 3D printed devices can perform well also.

  5. Daniel
    October 14, 2014

    “To really gain an appreciation of what goes into making instruments, you can tour the Martin guitar factory (no charge or reservations required). Even a standard instrument there costs about $4000. Anything custom costs more, and prices can go as high as $25K just for opting for rarer wood in the guitar. “

    Ariella, they are also using 3D printing for making the guitar or traditional methods.

  6. Ariella
    October 14, 2014

    @Jacob no 3D printing there, though they use technology for more precise cutting. You can also custom order a guitar to exactly reproduce an older model. That would be made by hand from start to finish and likely costs $40K or more, depending on the model.

  7. t.alex
    October 14, 2014

    I'm very impressed with how people use 3D printer for instruments. It was definitely a good use and to prove where 3D printer industry is heading. I hope to see companies will make more mass produce for the technology in many different ways that consumer can actually see the use of it.

  8. Daniel
    October 15, 2014

    “no 3D printing there, though they use technology for more precise cutting. You can also custom order a guitar to exactly reproduce an older model. That would be made by hand from start to finish and likely costs $40K or more, depending on the model.”

    Ariella, thanks for this clarification. That means handmade devices are cheaper then 3D printing.

     

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