While the first few years of the dance between desktop 3D printing and music tended to focus on whistles, building cases for electronic instruments, or building accessories for existing musical instruments, maker Brent Rosenburgh (“Erik J Durwood II“) — best known for designing the R. Maker mascot for MakerBot back in 2011 — decided to tackle an ambitious entirely-3D-printed traditional instrument.
His small-but-larger-than-platform ukulele, re-engineered from the ground up to take advantage of 3D printed material properties, is a staple side project of 3D printing enthusiasts and hackerspaces all over — and you’ll see half-complete instruments and ideas from this project popping up all over: the Makerlele – MK1 by ErikJDurwoodII!
This fully 3D printable ukulele (save for bolts and strings) uses an acoustic transducer to carry the lower frequency sound created by the strings to a very thin membrane on the bottom of the body. The sound is focused and projected out of channels in the body to (hopefully) create a fuller tone with reasonable amplitude.
I am still working on the design of the head and tuners. Right now, to have a good gear ratio for the prototype, I made the gears almost comically large.
UPDATE!! I’m refining the design of the geared tuner head but I wanted to test the tonality to see if I was getting somewhere so I quickly designed a test friction head and tuning knobs to try it out.
I have uploaded all the current parts for everyone to TEST this EXPERIMENTAL design! Have fun!