As anybody who has ever heard a ripping guitar solo knows, anything (including the air) can become an instrument. Instructables user John Granzow has gone one step further and made a substitute that can actually play. One of the traits that makes designers a ‘different’ sort of people is the ability to see connections between what others see as unrelated objects. When Graznow saw a bin full of discarded portafilters, he didn’t see espresso, he saw music.
The portafilters came from expired espresso machines and immediately called to mind the frame of a banjo for Lilliputians. As a result of this visual connection, Granzow “decided to make appendages to transform this transporter of coffee into a transmitter of the plucked string.” After all, music and coffee go together beautifully.
The next step was to create a soundboard wrapper for the instrument. He created a 3D model and has provided the STL file for those who have a portafilter of the same dimensions as the one he used. The soundboard is designed to snugly fit over the chamber that previously held the coffee grounds allowing it to act as a resonant chamber. The diminutive fret board for the neck was also created for 3D printing.
The muses of music were in Granzow’s corner when he approached the creation of the audio hook up as the 3.5 mm audio connector from Philmore fit like a dream into the coffee outlet in the portafilter. Since he had calculated the distance for the frets necessary to make the neck functional for playing, he was able to then take seven A4 dowel pins and press them into the depressions that had been left in the print.
Of course a Javalele doesn’t assemble itself and so the next step was the attach the piezo disc to the audio jack placed inside the portafilter. After testing to make sure the connection is clean, the piezo is glued into place directly behind the hole left in the soundboard. For the bridge of the instrument, Granzow has provided an STL file but has also noted that a wooden bridge could be used as well.
When breaking new ground, one of the designer’s best resources is the modification of existing parts to new uses. Granzow pulled some ¼ size violin pegs together so that the instrument could remain true to the notes (important both for actual playing and so as to not make enemies of all who hear it). The pegs were still too large to be immediately functional and had to be adapted by drilling new holes for the strings.
At long last, when the strings are attached and the instrument tuned, you are ready to pluck out a tiny version of “Hello Hawaii” or possibly “Stairway to Heaven,” depending on your ambitions. I don’t expect that this will replace any current instruments in any garage bands in the near future. However, given the movement to create lower-cost instruments out of recycled materials it provides a prototype for the addition of 3D printing to the toolkit of the ‘junk’ musician. So keep your eyes open the next time you are at a flea market or junk store…you could be right in front of the perfect frame for something even bigger.
Is the Javalele an instrument that might hit the right notes for you? Let us know if you might make your own over at the 3D Printed Javalele forum thread at 3DPB.com.
You May Also Like
Using Ultrasonic Waves to Analyze Residual Stress in 3D Printed Metal Parts
Researchers from the Czech Republic and Brazil have come together to highlight ultrasonic testing for stress analysis in ‘Residual stress analysis of additive manufacturing of metallic parts using ultrasonic waves:...
Velo3D Secures Further $12M in Funding for Metal 3D Printing
After already securing $28 million in a series-D round of investment just this April, Velo3D has announced an additional $12 million in funding for the series. This brings the total...
3D Systems Streamlines Software for Reverse Engineering
3D Systems has announced the latest versions of its Geomagic Design X and Geomagic Wrap software, this time claiming “first-to-market capabilities” for streamlining workflows and improving design precision. New features...
3D Printing News Briefs: May 12, 2020 Nanofabrica, Voxeljet, Elementum, AMPOWER
We’re all business today in 3D Printing News Briefs – Nanofabrica has raised $4 million in funding, and voxeljet is expanding its presence in India. Elementum 3D has achieved an...
View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.