Apr. 24, 2015 | By Simon

Of all of the objects that have been created using additive manufacturing, some stick out more than others as being excellent examples of just what is capable when a design or engineer has access to this incredible technology - and among them, are 3D printed electric guitars that can actually be played.

3D printed guitars are such a great example of the technology that they are oftentimes used as sample products by 3D printer manufacturers at 3D printing trade shows...of course, with somebody to play it, too.

However despite the excellent guitars we’ve seen that have been printed using industrial-sized 3D printers, we’ve been yet to see an electric guitar design that was printed using a more common desktop 3D printer such as a MakerBot Replicator II - that is, until now.

Jose Moreno, an electrical engineering student and Vice President of the Purdue 3D Printing Club at Purdue University really wanted a 3D printed guitar.  The problem was, existing 3D printed guitars sold for roughly $3,000 each - more than the price of many 3D printers and even most traditionally-manufactured electric guitars.  Instead, Moreno took it upon himself to create his own 3D printed guitar and used Jimi Hendrix as an inspiration in his final design.   

To begin, Moreno sourced a broken (and cheap!) electric guitar from a local pawn shop that he used for parts that would need to be integrated into the 3D printed body.  Once he disassembled it, he meticulously measured it in order to gather the dimensions to create a CAD drawing.

After a few hours of CAD work, he was able to extrude his 2D layout into a three-dimensional design - however due to the size of the final print, he deemed it necessary to create some test prints to test the fit of the interlocking pieces that would form the final guitar design before committing to the amount of time and material necessary for creating the final product.  During this stage he also created a series of test prints to see how all of the sourced components would fit to the PLA material; if any adjustments were needed he then fine-tuned them in the CAD model.  

Once he had his final measurements locked down based off of his tests, Moreno then moved into creating the final body design.  During this stage, he also took a poster that featured the silhouette of an iconic Jimi Hendrix image and superimposed it onto the guitar body.  Additionally, Moreno added several hollowed-out parts to showcase the capabilities of 3D printing.  Once this was complete, the final design was then exploded into multiple parts that would each be capable of being printed on the MakerBot Replicator II’s print bed.   From here, all that was needed was to print out each of the pieces and finish them with sandpaper as subsequent prints were being completed.

Once all of the ‘puzzle pieces’ had been completed and assembled, epoxy and paint were added to finalize the finish and ensure that the pieces would stay together while the guitar was in use.


From there, all that was needed was to add the wiring and sourced components, then the guitar was ready to be plugged in and played!

“In retrospect, and for being made under the limitations of an FDM Makerbot, the 3D printed Jimi Hendrix guitar was successful for the amount of money put into it,” said Moreno.   

While there is no mention yet of the files being available for download so others can create their own 3D printed Jimi Hendrix guitar, Moreno explains his build process in-full over on his 3D printing blog.  



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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Jose Moreno wrote at 4/29/2015 5:30:18 PM:

I had a lot of fun making it and I'm glad to see people enjoyed it, thanks for the article!

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