AMS Spring 2023

Voxel8 Designer 3D Prints an Incredible Electric Ukulele & You Can Too!

6K SmarTech

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When it comes to playing music, I have no talent whatsoever, no matter what instrument it is. My level of experience ends at playing the “finger drums” on my desk while I listen to rock ‘n’ roll. To me, musicians are special people, people who have brains that certainly are more functional than mine, at least when it comes to coordination and musical know-how.

Music is a type of art, and I’ve found that most musicians are also quite skilled when it comes to other arts such as painting, drawing, sculpting, and 3D design as well. This certainly is the case for one man, named Juan Carlos Noguera.

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Noguera is an industrial designer, technologist, and maker, originally hailing from Guatemala. He currently works for Voxel8, which is one of the up-and-coming 3D printer manufacturers on the market. Ultimately he saw existing channels for distributing 3D printable files, such as Thingiverse and Youmagine, as lacking enough freedom to create a good user experience, so he decided to attempt a project on his own. He decided to design and 3D printing an electric ukulele which he calls the “Nuke.”

“It’s hard for designers to create products with value, so I decided to launch [my Nuke Ukelele] as its own minisite, trying to gauge the public’s reaction,” Noguera tells 3DPrint.com. “I then carefully prototyped multiple times until I got a design that was safe to print, easy to slice and set up, structurally stable, and that printed in beds down to 6″ x 6″ with standard PLA.”

eukulele3The idea for Noguera’s ukulele stemmed from his master’s thesis, where he realized that designers can fabricate small spaces and distribution channels for branded and well designed things exclusively created for 3D printing. He believes that by creating products that people want rather than need, designers can bring 3D printing from the realm of the trade show floor and into households everywhere.

The Nuke Ukulele is functional as an electric instrument, but also plays loud enough to work without any electrical hookups. He printed the instrument with a 20% infill in order to provide a sturdy, lightweight design that is “highly resonant.” It was designed to print and be assembled with ease.

“Total print time is around 8 hours, there are 9 parts in total, and they are all fitted with traditional dovetail joints that are Super Glued to be permanent,” Noguera tells us.

He has made the design files available to download for just $5 via his website, and the complete assembly instruction, including the electrical elements, are available to download as well.

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“Simple, fully illustrated instructions teach you how to set up, print and assemble a Nuke Ukulele. We go step by step, and make sure you don’t forget a single drop of glue,” he explains. “If you are relatively new to using your printer, Nuke is a great intermediate project with no guesswork.”

As you can see in the video at the top of this page, the instrument looks great and sounds equally pleasing to the ears. What do you think about this 3D printable electric ukulele? Do you like Noguera’s model for distributing his files? Discuss in the 3D Printed Electric Ukulele forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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