3D Printing

Band plays "world's first" gig with 3D-printed instruments

A picture of the band, from Lund University's Malmö Academy of Music, in sound-check
A picture of the band, from Lund University's Malmö Academy of Music, in sound-check
View 4 Images
A professor and Lund University, Sweden, claims to have staged the first concert with a band using 3D printed instruments
1/4
A professor and Lund University, Sweden, claims to have staged the first concert with a band using 3D printed instruments
A professor and Lund University, Sweden, claims to have staged the first concert with a band using 3D printed instruments
2/4
A professor and Lund University, Sweden, claims to have staged the first concert with a band using 3D printed instruments
The gig featured instruments created by Olaf Diegel, including guitars and bass guitars, a drum kit and a keyboard
3/4
The gig featured instruments created by Olaf Diegel, including guitars and bass guitars, a drum kit and a keyboard
A picture of the band, from Lund University's Malmö Academy of Music, in sound-check
4/4
A picture of the band, from Lund University's Malmö Academy of Music, in sound-check

Though musicians could probably point to numerous exquisite examples of custom instruments with relative ease, we'd wager that few would compare to those produced by Olaf Diegel. Now the Lund University professor has taken his creations to the stage for what he claims is the world's first gig using 3D-printed instruments.

Diegel has been 3D printing since the mid-90s and began his ODD Guitars 3D-printed instrument company in 2011. As well as commercially-available guitars, Diegel has produced a variety of other instrument prototypes, including a drum kit and a saxophone.

"Musicians, strangely, they're very creative, but at the same time they're very conservative," says Diegel. "They first approach essentially a plastic guitar with a lot of suspicion, but then they have a play with it and they're completely amazed that it sounds and plays like a high quality electric guitar."

The gig featured instruments created by Olaf Diegel, including guitars and bass guitars, a drum kit and a keyboard
The gig featured instruments created by Olaf Diegel, including guitars and bass guitars, a drum kit and a keyboard

The concert at Lund University featured a band made up of musicians from its Malmö Academy of Music. It featured instruments created by Diegel, including electric guitars and bass guitars, a drum kit and a keyboard. Diegel explains to Gizmag that the instruments were designed using the SolidWorks 3D computer aided design software package. This allows him to edit designs much like he would if he were using a graphics package.

When his designs are complete, Diegel sends them to Cubify, the printing service arm of 3D printer manufacturer 3D Systems. The final designs are printed by Cubify using industrial selective laser sintering systems, which are much more accurate and advanced than the 3D printers that can be bought for the home. Once the instruments parts have been printed and delivered to Diegel, they are assembled together with the rest of the (non-printed) instrument components.

A professor and Lund University, Sweden, claims to have staged the first concert with a band using 3D printed instruments
A professor and Lund University, Sweden, claims to have staged the first concert with a band using 3D printed instruments

"3D printing is still a comparatively expensive manufacturing process, so is only worth using if it adds value," Diegel tells Gizmag. "If I were making simple guitar shapes, it would be much more cost-effective to CNC machine them, for example. But the extreme complex details inside my guitars just couldn’t be made with any other manufacturing."

According to Diegel, it takes around 11 hours to print a guitar body and about the same again to paint it. A further day is spent on tasks such as assembling the components and setting the action. The whole process, including the design stage, can take from a matter of days up to a number of weeks depending on the complexity of the design.

In the video below, Diegel provides an introduction to the project.

Source: Lund University

World’s first live concert with ’3D-printed band’

2 comments
EddieG
Soon we'll need a special marcom word, to tell us that a drum is now something more than a drum, something that never existed before, on account of the tool that was used to make it. 3Ddrum? pDrum? Help out with this one.
Rt1583
The title says 3D printed instruments (which means one thing) when in reality they are instruments that are assembled from 3D printed parts (means something else entirely). I wonder, when someone is able to actually print something like this from scratch and in its entirety, what will the title of the article be?