3D printing offers new opportunities to build musical instruments. Here are the most beautiful 3D printed instruments.
Building instruments is an artform in itself. On the one hand, it can be very traditional – just think of building a violin, a craft which hasn’t changed since the 17th century.
3D printing instruments now replace wood and ivory with PLA and ABS. Makers can print the bodies of their instruments themselves. Wind instruments, string instruments and noise makers of all sorts are especially easy to 3D print. Here are ten beautiful 3D printed instruments to make music.
3D Printed Instruments #1: Guitar
Why 3D print it? Acoustic guitars are built from mahogany, maple, rosewood, alder, ash. The wooden enclosure amplified the sound in a pleasant way. This concept totally changed with electric guitars – and 3D printing again is a game changer for that industry. 3D-printed are mushrooming. These guitars aren’t cheap, but sure are visually stunning!
Can I print it myself? You might, but you have to be an experienced maker.
3D Printed Instruments #2: Violin
Is that really a violin? Yes, what you see is a two-stringed 3D printed violin. The project was used at a fully 3D printed art installation at the 3D Print Design Show Javits Convention Center, New York.
Can I print it myself? No. The files aren’t publicly available.
Where can I get it? You probably aren’t able to buy it. But you can contact the builders at Monad Studio.
3D Printed Instruments #3: Alto Recorder
What instrument is it? It’s a completely 3D printed alto recorder tuned in F. The recorder has been printed on a home made 3D printer – a Reprap Prusa i3. The instrument is fairly well tuned and can reach all the way to the third octave.
Can I print it myself? Oh, yes. 3D printed wind instruments are moderately easy to print and to assemble.
Where can I get it? Download the 3D model from Thingiverse and print it yourself.
3D Printed Instruments #4: Ocarina
What instrument is it? Ocarinas are instruments which were played through the history of mankind. Ocarinas became popular again with Miyamoto’s “The Legend of Zelda – Ocarina of Time” and it’s re-releases in the last years.
Can I print it myself? Yes, these 3D printed instruments relatively easy to print and to play. Just don’t expect any magical things to happen or Epona to show up.
Where can I get it? There are plenty of design files for 3D printed ocarinas on Thingiverse. Pick one yourself.
3D Printed Instruments #5: Ukulele
What instrument is it? This 3D printed Les Paul ukulele was used for the Lulzbot March 2014 3D printing musical instrument design contest featured on reddit.com.
Can I print it myself? Yes. The Les Paul style the pieces fit on smaller printer beds (220mm x 115mm x 50mm is minimum build volume).
3D Printed Instruments #6: Saxophone
What instrument is it? It’s once again Olaf Diegel’s creation – the guy who sells the 3D printed guitars. In 2013, he was challenged by Avi Reichental, head of 3D Systems.
Can I print it myself? No. Saxophones have a lot of moving parts within the valves, which makes it a difficult instrument to reproduce. And the air leakages can sound pretty annoying.
Where can I get it? Nowhere, as it’s not manufactured. But there’s an interesting article on Cubify about it.
3D Printed Instruments #7: Mouth Harp
What instrument is it? It’s a vietnamese mouth harp, also known as Dan Moi.
Can I print it myself? Yes. And it’s a fairly easy print. You might want to experiment with your filament to get good results.
Where can I get it? Right here at Thingiverse.
3D Printed Instruments #8: Kazoo
What instrument is it? Kazoos are heavily linked to singer-songwriter tradition. So pick up your guitar, get some fakebooks and start to sing!
Can I print it myself? Yes. Should be fairly easy.
Where can I get it? Here’s one of the most popular designs.
3D Printed Instruments #9: Trumpet
What instrument is it? It’s a 17 part trumpet.
Can I print it myself? Whereas mouthpieces for traditional brass instruments are easy to print, the whole instrument is still a tough task for 3D printers. If you manage to print and assemble it, it still sounds pretty bad.
Where can I get it? Right here.
3D Printed Instruments #10: Croaking Frog
What instrument is it? It’s used as a percussion instrument. It is also called guiro. You scratch the wooden ridge with the small stick in its back.
Can I print it myself? Yes. Should work like a breeze.
Where can I get it? Get the frog design files at Thingiverse.
License: The text of "10 Beautiful 3D Printed Instruments (To Make Music)" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.