Like many complex 3D-printed projects, this violin isn’t entirely made on a 3D printer but it’s interesting nonetheless. It is a violin that costs about $12 to build and uses paper, 3D printed parts, and some cheap wire to make an instrument that, while not pretty to look at, is definitely capable of making some sort of music.
The project, run by Alex Davies, is definitely in the extreme DIY vein. To make the violin, they 3D printed a mold for the body, laid material over it (in this case, paper) and prepared a neck out of cardboard. Here’s the bill of materials, such as it is:
Flour and water for the wheat paste.
A 3D printer, and maybe 4 dollars worth of plastic.
Some picture hanging wire, pilfered from my room mate.
A drill, with a few drill bits.
A bottle of chai tea liquor.
The team even went so far as to make their own strings using a bit of wire and a drill. They used 3D-printed ABS plastic for some of the parts and used papier-mâché for the body, which seems to work fine. It’s obviously no Stradivarius but the fact that it’s even slightly playable is a great bit of luck and, with a bit of refinement I could see this as a real, usable product. In fact, the paper “exceeded expectations” in the sound department.
The trick with 3D printing is that it can be used to make many things but not everything. Ideally most 3D printing projects should require as little hands-on crafting as possible but this is obviously not always the case. However, the DIY movement has to start somewhere, even if it’s with a poor, beleaguered violinist causing a handmade instrument to yowl in pain. You can read more about the project here.
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