Friends, customers, printaholics – lend us your ears and join us along a 3D printed musical adventure!
To place things into perspective, the 3D printable instruments of today are split into three categories.
Firstly, we have ‘experimental pieces’, which don’t have a conventional equal outside of the realm of 3D printing. Secondly, there are ‘enhanced instruments’, which improve the qualities of an already existing instrument thanks to 3D printing’s unique capabilities.
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Finally, we have replications of existing instruments, which have no real added benefits compared to the traditional piece.
Pictured above is a prime example of a 3D printable musical piece still in experimental stages.
This unusual trumpet is reminiscent of a modern painter’s masterpiece rather than a practical musical device. While this aesthetically pleasing instrument is yet to be created, there are others which are already in circulation.
In a different interview, flute player Seth Hunter emphasized the plastic flute’s acoustic similarities to the traditional metal ones. He also noted the slight misplacement of the keys – but remember – 3D printing encourages technicians to fix any minor errors in the subsequent print.
Created by yet another student from MIT, Amit Zoran was not far away from creating an exact replica, and this was way back in 2011. The traditional flute falls under the ‘existing instrument’ category, but our next pick certainly has its fair share of enhancements.
A laser-cut violin made from plywood, this stringed instrument was created by Ranjit Bhatnagar, a sound art enthusiast.
Its’ bulky wooden outer shell provides a stern contrast to the graceful sounds it can produce. Bhatnagar even took his masterpiece to the streets, inviting different violin players to fiddle away. Check out the videos here!
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(Image taken from Thingiverse)
‘Ranjit’ as he is known on Thingiverse, has a personal page chocked full of free designs for different instruments – including an okarina, organ pipe, spiral panpipes and more.
Next up is another piece seeking to replicate an original design, but this one is slightly different. At four feet long, this home-made behemoth requires many printing sessions.
Clearly, this great bass recorder functions well – and the creator has since improved on his original work. The recorer is made up over 48 inches of PVC pipe measuring 1.5″, a few sections made of 2″ and multiple, custom built 3D pieces.
Created by Instructables user ‘sngai’, a quick internet search will reveal that opting to print this object as opposed to purchasing a store-bought one will save players a lot of money.
Who knows what the future holds? PLA pianos, ABS acoustic guitars and printable drum kits may soon become popular. As the number of 3D printed instruments continues to grow, its only a matter of time before musicians hop on the fast-moving bandwagon!