Overview: what is it possible to 3D print in the music industry?
A lot of experimentations are made on different levels inside of the music industry in order to use additive manufacturing. Here are the most promising ones:
3D printed records
Here is an initiative that could please some records enthusiasts. For the moment the quality of the sound is not good enough. However, tests are quite promising and at least, we now know that it is possible to 3D print music!
3D printed speakers
Aleph 1 is the proof that 3D printing can also impact the sound system business. It is now possible to get speakers with amazing designs thanks to 3D printing.
3D printed headphones
For example, it is possible to get headphones adapted to any morphology or earbuds custom-made, thanks to the additive manufacturing technologies. Check out our customer story with AudioQuest’s for more details about 3D printed headphones.
3D printed musical instruments
Obviously, to make music you need musical instruments, and we will see that it is possible to make amazing 3D printed instruments. It is actually possible to print various instruments, from wind instruments to string instruments or even percussions.
Why can it be a good choice to 3D print musical instruments?
3D printing as an alternative to traditional manufacturing
3D printing can be used to create replications of existing instruments or instrument parts, at a lower cost. For example, with this technique you could recreate the missing part of an instrument at a lower price. But it can also be used to produce and in this case, this technology appears to be a manufacturing technique like another. Using additive manufacturing allows to work with other materials, with a cheaper process.
A great method to work on designs
Additive manufacturing is an amazing technology, that allows to work on crazy instrument designs. For some musicians, the look of their instrument is a priority, because it has to match with the imagery of their music. As 3D printing gives a lot of freedom on this aspect, it appears to be an interesting solution. Astonishing guitar designs like the one in the video below, are easier to produce with this manufacturing technique.
It is an effective way to transform quite faster customer requirements into real printed products We will see later in this blogpost that 3D printed instruments can have really complex shapes. Some designers are making the most of this technique to create instruments with an atypical and futuristic look, impossible to create with traditional manufacturing methods.
One of the biggest advantages of this technology is that it will improve your product development process. It is possible to work and rework on a 3D design before 3D printing it.
Additive manufacturing is allowing mass customization
Additive manufacturing also allows mass customization. Using it to create instruments is a good way to create musical instruments adapted to the needs of the musician. For example, thanks to 3D printing, it’s possible to make lighter instruments. Some instruments such as saxophones or even some Les Paul guitars are quite heavy, and it can become a real problem over time. By choosing the right 3D printing material, you could make instruments that will improve the comfort of the musician while playing.
What 3D printing material to create an instrument?
As Per Naa Songs and Ragala Ringtones Music Website Conducted study If you love listening to music, you’re in good company. Charles Darwin once remarked, “If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.” Albert Einstein declared, “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician.” Jimi Hendrix called music his “religion.”
wide range of 3D printing materials is available on the market, it totally depends on your needs and your project. Olaf Diegel, that you will meet numerous times in this blogpost, uses nylon to 3D print his instruments. He is working with the Selective Laser Sintering technology. If you want more information about SLS and all the 3D printing materials available with this technology, check out our SLS page.
But it is possible to 3D print instruments with other techniques and materials. For example PLA plastic and FDM 3D printing have been used to create some instruments from the MONAD Studio that you will see in this article.
Other example: the violin manufacturing 3Dvarius is 3D printing with resin material, using stereolithography. Each project has special requirements and needs a different 3D printing material.
3D printed instruments: the most impressive creations
3D printed guitars and bass guitars
Olaf Diegel and his amazing 3D printed guitars
Olaf Diegel is a professor in product development, he is also passionate about new technologies and guitar making. Its 3D printed guitars are amazing by the way they look, but also by the way they sound. They are high-quality guitars, totally customisable. Like a traditional guitar, you can play using chords or just with finger picking, it’s actually possible to reach an impressive sound. In this video, Olaf Diegel shows how he is crafting instruments:
If you are interested in these 3D printed electric guitars, take a look at the ODD guitars website!
You can also see in this video that it is possible to play a wide range of musical genres with these guitars, like with a traditional instrument. Indeed, it is possible to get the right sound to play funk, progressive rock, heavy rock or blues.
The 3D printed Hybrid Slide Guitar
This 3D printed guitar is a creation of the MONAD Studio, designed by Eric Goldemberg and Veronica Zalcberg with the musician and luthier Scott F. Hall. It is part of an installation called “MULTI”, that includes different 3D printed instruments, playing on complex and disturbing aspects, but also on sound explorations. This guitar totally reinvents the traditional design of a guitar. It has a fretless neck, as this printed instrument is made to play with a slide technique.
If you’re interested in the sound of this atypical instrument, you can listen to it here:
Olaf Diegel is creating guitars, but also 3D printed bass guitars
The sound and morphology of the instrument are obviously different, but Olaf Diegel offers the same possibilities. It is possible to adapt the design of the 3D printed instrument according to the tastes of the musician. Here is an example with the Atom 3D printed bass guitar.
A student 3D printed the body of a bass guitar
A student decided to create a custom bass guitar body for a school project and he made a complete video about it. He created and assembled it by himself. This 3D printed instrument is fully functional.
You can watch this video to understand the creation process and see a little demonstration.
3D printed pianos and melodicas
3D printing a piano: the example of the Lucid – EXO piano
This impressive instrument comes from the same installation as the 3D printed Hybrid Slide Guitar that we saw previously. This futuristic piano is designed by Eric Goldemberg and Veronica Zalcberg from the MONAD Studio. Because of its size, 3D printing a piano is quite a challenge.
To listen to the sound of this 3D printed piano:
A Steinway piano with 3D printed parts
This example is showing that even a big piano manufacturer such as Steinway is taking seriously the growing use of 3D printing technology. These 3D printed parts don’t have any impact on the sound of the instrument, it is only decoration. Indeed, the 3D printed porcelain parts are here to innovate on the final aspect of the piano. It shows that new technologies and tradition can be used together, to work on the design of an instrument.
The first 3D printed melodica
Daren Banarsë is a pianist, but sometimes, he likes to play melodica. He started to do some experimentations to create a 3D printed melodica because he wanted his instrument to look less juvenile and sound more professional.
You can find all the details about his experimentations and the creation of this melodica, here. Daren Banarsë shares all the steps of his experiments on this website, the 3D modeling process, his desktop 3D printer choice, the printing process, the assembly, and the finishing!
3D printed saxophones
Olaf Diegel and his printed saxophone
This music passionate, that we already know for his 3D printed guitars, also tried to 3D print a saxophone. Once again, his new 3D printed instrument is a success. Olaf Diegel is really gifted when it comes to instruments crafting. This 3D printed saxophone is the result of a meticulous and impressive work. Indeed, this saxophone has 41 components 3D printed in nylon.
Even if it is impossible to sound like a real saxophone made with brass, the sound that Olaf Diegel obtained with this 3D creation is more than correct. You can listen to his demonstration right here:
3D printed violins
Hovalin: the traditional and 3D printed acoustic violin
Hovalin is a little brand created by The Hovas, a couple offering more than 3D printed instruments: they are actually offering a whole 3D printing experiment. Indeed, there are three different ways to get your printed violin with Hovalin. You can 3D print it by yourself. 3D models are free and available on their website, anyone can download these 3D files and then print them thanks to an online 3D printing service. They are also offering to send the whole kit to their customers, or directly, the finished product.
Their creations stay very close to the traditional look of an acoustic violin, and their sound is really close to the sound of a wood violin.
The only 3D printed violin that could compete with a real Stradivarius
3D varius is a french violin manufacturer. These electronic violins are based on the same models as the famous Stradivarius violins. They are customisable, and can totally be adapted to the morphology of the musician. But the design can also be modified for aesthetic reasons, in order to match the customer’s tastes.
Behind this modern look, there is a surprising violin sound. You should absolutely listen to this amazing performance of the founder of 3Dvarius:
The futuristic violin of the MONAD Studio