This is a great story, one that sounds great too! Hat-tip to 3ders for sharing this story, and be sure to give the video below a watch and listen. This 3D-print sounds fantastic for what it is: a glue-less, friction-held-together musical instrument with acoustic vibrating strings!
Making beautiful music has taken on new meaning for one 11-year-old violinist, who has combined his love for music and engineering to build his first 3-D printed violin.
Dane Jarvis has been a student of Lisa Bayer of the Prelude String Orchestra for the past three years. Bayer had been researching the 3-D printing of musical instruments over the summer and mentioned it to Dane.
Immediately, this enterprising fifth-grader at State Road Elementary School in Fenton
began saving his money to buy his own 3-D printer. His $200 became the seed money for a $600, 3-D printer and the start of Dane’s own business to build 3-D violins.
“We’ve been working on it since July,” said Bayer, who invested the other $400 to get the 3-D printed violin business started. “We got mine done first; now we’re working on Dane’s.”
The duo began working with 3-D printing instructions to produce the Hovalin, a functional acoustic 3-D printed violin, inspired by the Stradivarius violin model. Hovalin is the designer of the 3-D violin plans.
To listen to Bayer play her 3-D violin, you’d never know it wasn’t a finely crafted wood instrument in the Stradivarius tradition. “It’s a little bit quieter, that’s all,” said Bayer. “Violins tend to be super loud.”
Bayer’s violin is made out of half-spools each of green and white filament, creating her own signature Michigan State University Spartan violin. A 3-D printed violin can be made in just about any color, or combination of colors, even “glow in the dark.”
The total cost of raw materials for a Hovalin is about $70. Bayer and Dane plan to charge $250, accounting for at least a small portion of the time and skill it takes to create each one — still more affordable than an intermediate level violin, which can cost $600 or more.
The process for making a full-size violin built to Bayer’s high musical standards is long, and fraught with trial and error. The body of the violin takes a full 18 hours to print, and the neck about five to six hours.
The printing process is an additive one, creating the violin by laying down successive layers of filament under intense heat, about 410 F. “The neck alone has 180 layers,” said Bayer.
After the printing, the instrument needs to be sanded to smooth all the bumps. Then there’s the delicate task of stringing the instrument.
“Dane has figured out a lot of the glitches,” said Bayer. “You don’t just press a button and the violin prints. There are lots of things that can go wrong during the process. I’m just trying to stay out of his way.”
Bayer added that Dane is handling the research and actual printing, while she is the businessperson and coach. “We’re putting our heads together,” she said.
Their vision for the Prelude String Orchestra, for third- through eighth-graders, is that each violinist will have his or her own 3-D violin. “They’re much more durable than a wooden violin,” said Bayer. “Plus, kids can have the fun of choosing their own colors.’”
Presently, Dane can only print full-size violins, but is planning calculations to downsize so he could print quarter or half-size in the future. “Right now, we’re limited to full-size violins,” said Bayer. “We don’t have the printing capability to do cellos or basses.”
Read more here at 3ders.