With two guitars, a drum set and a piano completely fabricated from a 3D printer, a team of students and professors at Lund University in Sweden have brought rock ‘n roll into a whole new realm by putting on the world’s first 3D-printed concert.
“3D printing allows me to make complex shapes that are impossible to do any other way. I can also tailor instruments very precisely for musicians who want their instruments custom-made,” Professor Olaf Diegel notes. Diegel has been involved with 3D printing for nearly two years and uses the process to demonstrate that there is real world practicality in the medium.
In the medical field, 3D printing is already being used for things ranging from hip replacements to hearing aids. Diegel himself has even worked on a project involving 3D-printed shoe inserts for diabetics.
With some initial trepidation from the music community, Diegel believes his landmark concert will help win them over. “Musicians are very creative, but also very conservative, so their reactions have been interesting. They first approach what is essentially a plastic guitar with suspicion. Then, when they have a play with it, they’re amazed that it sounds and plays like a high quality electric guitar.”
Not to mention, the 3D-printed guitars have some nifty features – particularly the steampunk-inspired one which would fit right in at any Maker Faire festivity.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the Maker and music communities coalesce. Recently, a University of Connecticut professor created replica antique instruments using a 3D printer.
Diegel does offer his custom printed guitars for sale online, but the price point is slightly higher than that of an average guitar. Who knows, with the way this technology is taking hold in society, in a year or two you may be able to print your own axe out right at home!
With his first gig in the books, Diegel is seeking to expand his creative process. He is currently looking into 3D printing woodwinds in the near future.
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