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3D-printed aluminum guitar keeps its barbs inside

3D-printed aluminum guitar kee...
Barbed Wire Love: Olaf Diegel's 3D-printed aluminum guitar
Barbed Wire Love: Olaf Diegel's 3D-printed aluminum guitar
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Support material around the pickup area was milled flat, but all other supports were removed by hand
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Support material around the pickup area was milled flat, but all other supports were removed by hand
The result after shot-peening with glass beads
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The result after shot-peening with glass beads
The aluminum body is wrapped around a maple inner core
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The aluminum body is wrapped around a maple inner core
The Heavy Metal guitar was designed to fully test the capabilities of metal additive manufacturing
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The Heavy Metal guitar was designed to fully test the capabilities of metal additive manufacturing
The finished Heavy Metal guitar - a beauty to behold
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The finished Heavy Metal guitar - a beauty to behold
The design was created using Solidworks CAD software and then saved to an STL file
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The design was created using Solidworks CAD software and then saved to an STL file
The guitar as it emerged from the EOS M400 machine
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The guitar as it emerged from the EOS M400 machine
The printed body had to be separated from the base plate using a saw
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The printed body had to be separated from the base plate using a saw
The bottom surface is still rough around the edges
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The bottom surface is still rough around the edges
Due to the complex nature of the design, Olaf Diegel had to remove excess metal by hand
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Due to the complex nature of the design, Olaf Diegel had to remove excess metal by hand
After three or four days of filing and sanding, the aluminum body was ready to be wrapped around an inner maple core
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After three or four days of filing and sanding, the aluminum body was ready to be wrapped around an inner maple core
Barbed Wire Love: Olaf Diegel's 3D-printed aluminum guitar
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Barbed Wire Love: Olaf Diegel's 3D-printed aluminum guitar

We've been caught in Lund University professor Olaf Diegel's creative web ever since first covering the 3D-printed Spider electric guitar back in 2012. Since then, he's kitted out a live rock band and dabbled in smooth jazz with the help of a printed saxophone. Now he's discovered Heavy Metal with what's billed as the world's first 3D-printed aluminum guitar.

The Heavy Metal guitar has been designed to fully test the capabilities of metal additive manufacturing. Diegel opted to make his first foray into metal additive manufacturing a complex piece, designing a Telecaster-shaped body that's home to barbed wire front and back, with the barbs facing away from the player so as not to cause harm, and metal rose blooms inside the barbed cage.

The aluminum body was printed as a single piece by Dutch additive manufacturing company Xilloc using an EOS M400 machine, where a laser is used to trace each layer of the 3D model into aluminum powder, melting the powder at the strike points to slowly build up the shape and design. The metal body came out of the machine with structural supports in place and was stuck fast to the base plate.

The finished Heavy Metal guitar - a beauty to behold
The finished Heavy Metal guitar - a beauty to behold

The first step of the finishing process was to separate the guitar from the base plate using a saw. Diegel then removed all of the support material by hand, which took around four days. The surfaces of the guitar were still pretty rough at this point, and needed smoothing out. Again, Diegel opted for the personal touch and after another three or four days of intense filing and sanding, the aluminum body was ready to be wrapped around an inner maple core.

Completing the Heavy Metal guitar are a 22-fret custom Warmoth Pro Telecaster neck topped by a maple fingerboard, Seymour Duncan pickups (Jazz SH2 at the neck and JB SH4 at the bridge), Schaller bridge and Gotoh tuners. The finished instrument tips the scales at 3.7 kg (8.1 lb), only a little weightier than an American Standard Telecaster, so not that heavy after all.

Source: ODD Guitars

2 comments
wle
so the thinking was, unprinted guitars were not 1. ugly enough or 2. expensive enough wle
Charles Barnard
It's a good test piece as it has a large number of pointed parts which test the ability of the particles to stay in place w/o being attached to any other parts (they must "float" on the powder until the rest of the part is made.