Sunday, July 20, 2014

3 D Printer Guitars

Here are some truly Unique Guitars that have been developed through the use of the 3D printing process. Current printers can transform a design on paper into a full scale guitar body. The material used is made of nylon composite. The procedure is slow, but the results can yield a design that would be nearly impossible to create by hand.

Olaf Diegal is a professor of mechatronics at Massey University in Aukland, New Zealand, who has been using 3D printing for more than 15 years. He is also a guitar player. He realized that he could create complex designs for commercial products through 3D printing and got the idea to develop a guitar using this technology.

He states, "The old style of [subtractive] manufacturing is you start with a block and cut away the material you don't need. With 3 demensional printing you start with nothing and add material one layer at a time until the object is finished."

The 3D process works a little like inkjet printing, but instead of ink squirting out of the print head, successive layers of plastic or metal powder are deposited according to the CAD file's instructions. Layers are fused together by the heat of the molten plastic or with a precision laser beam in a process called sintering.

Basically he begins creating electric guitar bodies using this process of spreading a thin layer of nylon powder is ejected and it is fused together in the correct locations. Subsequently another layer of nylon powder is applied within millimeters below the first.

This powder is also fused correctly by computer directed 3 D printer CAD program. This process is completed until a guitar body is complete. Dr. Diegal utilizes and open-source technology known as the RepRap Project housed at the University of Bath.

Diegal believes in the future of the 3D guitar and has developed his own company, known as ODD Guitars, to sell his creations which are indeed odd, but extraordinary. He says his Spider guitar is made of a single piece of a substance known as polyamide; a tough and durable form of nylon. The body looks like a spider web, with little spiders crawling around inside.

Inside the body frame is a block of wood which allows for the attachment of a custom made Warmoth neck and a place to anchor the pickups, bridge/saddle and end piece. The center block and neck can be made of mahogany or maple, depending on specifications for a warm or bright sound.

ODD Guitars currently offers five models, which are inspired by existing instruments. These are the Atom, the Hive, the Scarab, the Spider and the Spider LP.

The company also offers 3 bass designs; the Atom, Hive and the Spider LP. The customer can add options or modifications to the instrument at no extra costs.

The necks can be mahogany or maple and the electronics are customized for the player. The weight of the instrument can be adjusted. Cost of an ODD guitar is from $3,000 to $3500.

More info about ODD Guitars can be found at and at

Scott Summit is perhaps one of the leading authorities on 3D printing and design. His job is creating prosthetic body parts by utilizing 3D printing technology.

During a vacation he spent time on his laptop creating a 3D model of his ideal acoustic guitars.

Through his connections, he was able to send his computer design to 3D Systems which used its massive 3D printers to transform the computers directions into an actual acoustic instrument that Summit can play.

In fact he was surprised, since he thought it would probably sound like crap and break under the pressure once strings were tuned and tightened. But no it worked just fine and sounded pretty nice.

3D Systems recently acquired Summits business start-up and Summit. Summit’s one-off acoustic, printed on a 3D printer utilized about $3000 worth of material. The head stock was 3D printed with sterling silver and the plate on the neck was 3D printed out of stainless steel.

Somewhere down the road he envisions that people will be able to use software to pick out what sort of treble, bass or sustain they desire and print a guitar to match those qualities.

AweSome Musical Instruments is a manufacturer of high grade electric guitar pickup switching devices and circuitry that they guarantee will put more tone in your electric guitar. This company has just introduced its version of the 3D printed guitar which utilizes the companies circuitry.

Though it resembles a solidbody Les Paul style instrument, the guitar is actually hollow. The neck goes through much of the body to reinforce the pickups and bridge/saddle tailpiece. It is only available in natural white at the current price of $4,800 USD with an eight to ten week wait.

What is next?   Could it be this?  Here is an article from Forbes.

Could Fender be Next?


Ditones Shred said...

Wow! That's amazing! I wondered about 3D-printing guitars but never saw one before!

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