Weekly Roundup: Ten 3D Printable Things – Guitars and String Instruments


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RIP David Bowie

January 2016 has been an especially bloody month in terms of celebrity deaths, and it may go down in history as having the highest famous person body count ever. Nerds of course lost their precious Severus Snape, the amazing Mr. Alan Rickman. But the biggest body count has been in the world of music. With the untimely passing of Motörhead’s Lemmy, Eagles guitarist Glenn Frey and of course the legendary and completely irreplaceable David Bowie music is a much smaller place now.

I’ve always been a little obsessed with the timeless music of David Bowie, so his passing hit me especially hard. He’s just one of those icons of music that you never thought we would lose, especially at the relatively young age of 69. And now that we have lost him, the world feels a little smaller because of it. He gifted us with a final album called Blackstar that was just as good as about anything that he’s ever done. But honestly, for me it doesn’t lessen the loss at all, only making it hurt just that much more. F#%K cancer by the way.

So for this week’s Weekly Roundup I decided that what better way to honor all of the talented musicians that we lost this month than by showing off some of the amazing 3D printed musical instruments that the internet has to offer. So here are Ten 3D Printable Things – Guitars and Strings Instruments.


3dp_ten3dpthings_f-f-fiddle_1F-F-Fiddle by OpenFabPDX

Found on: Thingiverse
Cost: Free

This cool electric violin can be built for about $250 and printed on most desktop 3D printers in PLA with no supports. It is a full-sized electric violin, and it sounds great. The creator 3D printed it on his Type A Machines Series 1 but it can also be made on the MakerBot Replicator 2. Depending on the size of your printing bed, you may need to split the body up into a few smaller parts.

3dp_ten3dpthings_f-f-fiddle_2There are complete assembly instructions and a shopping list of components, and there are plenty of other Thingiverse users with makes for this project, so it should be pretty easy to replicate provided you know our way around the electronic parts.

Here is some video of the creator talking about the F-F-Fiddle and the violin in action:


3dp_ten3dpthings_lovecraftLovecraft Concept Guitar by Francesco Orrù

Found on: MyMiniFactory
Cost: Free

The Lovecraft inspired electric guitar is based on the classic horror novel Necronomicon by the iconic and legendary HP Lovecraft, and even unpainted in white material it is still all kinds of creepy. It’s constructed from eight individual parts and is highly detailed, so don’t try building your own if you don’t have a 3D printer on hand capable of producing highly detailed prints. The entire project takes about eight to ten hours to print, and will require a bit of post processing of course.

It used to be pretty hard to 3D print an electric guitar that didn’t sound like crap, but better printers and higher quality materials, not to mention lots of trial and error from dozens of makers, are changing that. I think it would look great in a blood red with a ultra shiny finish. But it could also look great in black, or kept bone-white and still look pretty creepy.

Here is some video of Francesco doing a bit of shredding on the guitar:


3dp_ten3dpthings_banjo_uke_1Banjo Ukulele (Banjolele) by AndreasBastian

Found on: Thingiverse
Cost: Free

No, a Banjo Ukulele isn’t a made-up instrument, it is a real thing that has quite a unique sound. It is essentially a banjo body with four strings and a fretted ukulele neck. This great Banjo Uke is different from a lot of the projects on this list because it is almost entirely 3D printed, including the neck and the tuning pegs used to tighten the strings.

3dp_ten3dpthings_banjo_uke_2The project has plenty of makes from other Thingiverse users, so it should print just fine. Some of the comments do mention that having different infill percentages may change the acoustics of the banjo uke, so it may take some experimenting to get a sound that you like.

Here is some video of it in action:


3dp_ten3dpthings_rockstar_violin_1Rockstar Electric Violin V3 by Rafael Silva

Found on: MyMiniFactory
Cost: Free

This cool electric violin may look like the only 3D printed part is the chin rest, but in fact other than the electronics the entire build is made completely from 3D printed parts. All of the parts were sanded, smoothed and then painted to look factory made. The chin rest was left untouched to add some contrast to the instrument, and I must say that it makes it look pretty great.

3dp_ten3dpthings_rockstar_violin_2There are not a lot of details about the build unfortunately, so this is probably not a good project for a beginner. Still, if it is available on MyMiniFactory then that means that it has been certified as fully-3D printable so there are no worries about the model not printing correctly.


3dp_ten3dpthings_giger_1HR Giger Guitar by Francesco Orrù

Found on: MyMiniFactory
Cost: Free

HR Giger is, of course, the legendary artist who designed the Xenomorph from the classic science fiction movie series Alien, but his design sensibilities extend far beyond that. His style is a disturbing mix of sex and horror that is always unsettling, even all these years later.

There is a good chance that you have already seen this awesome Giger inspired guitar because it went viral a while back, and with good reason. The guitar is just an incredibly cool design, and is a perfect example of how high quality 3D printed parts modern printers are capable of producing.

3dp_ten3dpthings_giger_2While Francesco (the same artist who made the Lovecraft guitar) posted full printing and assembly instructions online, it is still a pretty complex print and build. Of course if you want to skip all the 3D printing, MyMiniFactory is more than happy to 3D print the parts for you over at iMakr for $199.


3dp_ten3dpthings_blackwidow_1The Black Widow 3D Printed Guitar by TechSupportGo

Found on: Thingiverse
Cost: Free

This striking guitar was designed in 3D Studio Max and then sent to Meshlab to apply the voronoi pattern to the model. It’s a remarkably cool design, and since it was printed on a Robo 3D printer, the Robo 3D team invited the designer to show it off at this year’s CES 2016.

3dp_ten3dpthings_blackwidow_2The designer himself admits that it’s a tricky design to 3D print, thanks to the voronoi pattern it takes a lot of careful consideration of where to split the model up into the printable parts. So it may take some trial and error, but I think having a guitar this cool is well worth the 100 plus hours that it takes to make. There are a couple of other builds by Thingiverse users, so it can be done, it just may not be the best project for a first timer.

Here is a video about the project:


3dp_ten3dpthings_fullyprinted_guitar_1Fully Printed Electric Guitar by Shapespeare

Found on: Thingiverse
Cost: Free

Unlike some of the other guitars on this list, this one has both a fully 3D printed body as well as a fully 3D printed neck. In order to make the neck more stable it has two carbon fiber tubes epoxied into it rather than the traditional truss rod. The designer also strengthened the neck by filling the infill area with more epoxy.

3dp_ten3dpthings_fullyprinted_guitar_2The designer admits that the 3D printed neck isn’t the best quality and suggests that if anyone is planning to build this for actual use it’s cheaper to simply purchase a stock guitar neck. But if you’re looking for a fun project to just show what your 3D printer can do, this may be the project for you.


3dp_ten3dpthings_soprano_uke_1Soprano Ukulele by 3DGuy

Found on: Thingiverse
Cost: Free

This great ukulele design is 3D printed in two parts, the complete body and then neck, and they can be assembled without glue. The entire ukulele looks completely seamless when assembled. With no flourishes or fancy bells and whistles, it’s a great example of minimalistic instrument design and plays perfectly. It’s possible to paint it and give it a cool finish, but it looks so good that it is almost unnecessary.

3dp_ten3dpthings_soprano_uke_2The designer does warn that it needs to be 3D printed in ABS at a 0.010 resolution and with solid infill or it would not be strong enough for the strings to stay tightened. So it may take some extra work, but it’s just a great little uke that sounds fantastic.

Take a listen:


3dp_ten3dpthings_banjitar_1Electro-Acoustic Banjitar by alan_one

Found on: Thingiverse
Cost: Free

This crazy mixed up instrument is a combination of a ukulele, a banjo and a small guitar that can be made to be either acoustic or have some electronics added to it. Although the designer said that it doesn’t play very loudly if it is left as an acoustic instrument, it will still play and keep a tune.

3dp_ten3dpthings_banjitar_2While the Thing is pretty light on the printing instructions, and the parts sound a little tricky to print and assemble, it is still a great looking instrument. And if you check the comments a fellow Thingiverse user built his own and added a bunch of assembly instructions that should make the project easier to complete. Proving once again the value of open-source communities like Thingiverse.


3dp_ten3dpthings_strato_les_1Stratocaster/Les Paul Hybrid Guitar by TheWhaleBiologist

Found on: Thingiverse
Cost: Free

This guitar was designed to resemble the classic look of a Les Paul with the electronics and neck of a Stratocaster. Once the guitar is assembled the designer says that it plays virtually identical to his other traditionally made guitars. But it will take a lot of assembling and post processing to get it right. The designer warns that there were a few design flaws that required him to pull out a Dremel to get everything to fit together right, but it is perfect for anyone looking to play around with a basic idea and improve on it. This isn’t a starter project at all, and the model will need to be separated into smaller parts in order to be 3D printed.

3dp_ten3dpthings_strato_les_2Unfortunately there are not a lot of detailed assembly instructions because the designer was pretty new to guitar design himself. But there have been a couple of other designers who took a crack at it and seemed to get a great guitar out of it. Including the guys from 3D Printing Today Podcast, who are no strangers to 3D printing awesome guitars.

Okay, there you go, some of the best 3D printed string instruments to be found! If you make any of these projects I would love to see them so feel free to email me or tweet me @SJGrunewald pictures or video!

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