Jun 11, 2015 | By Simon

Among all of the 3D printing projects that provide the best proof that additive manufacturing methods actually “work” in creating ready-to-use products, musical instruments are among the most effective.  

When considering how sensitive a musical instrument is in regards to tuning (and ability to hold tuning), one of the surest signs of the quality of an instrument build - even with traditional manufacturing methods - has been in how well the notes sound based off of the instruments tunage.  If any of the recent 3D printed instruments that we’ve seen are any indication, using a 3D printer to create your next guitar or drum set isn’t as far-fetched of a concept as some might think.  Among other examples, a Polish acoustics engineer recently created his own electric percussion kit through the use of 3D printing technology.  

The engineer, Michał Szydłowski, is currently a graduate student at the Wrocław University of Technology acoustics program and is also a Research and Development Engineer for Toolheads at ZMorph Personal Fabricators.  For his electric percussion kit, which was created as a school thesis project, Szydłowski proved that creating a functional instrument from scratch doesn’t necessarily require a lot of time or financial resources; two factors that he wanted to prove through his project.  

With an extensive background in both 3D modeling and 3D printing, Szydłowski was able to jump directly into the project using Autodesk CAD software and the ZMorph Personal Fabricator ecosystem to bring the product into the physical world.  

Once the 3D models of all of the kit parts were created, Szydłowski used Voxelizer software to quickly drag and drop files to be sliced and prepared for printing.  Although ZMorph features a range of swappable tool heads that are capable of milling or printing in a variety of materials including thermoplastic, chocolate, ceramic, rubber and nylon, Szydłowski chose to go with PLA plastic.  In total, it took him sixteen hours to produce three of the electric percussion drum triggers and one drum cymbal on a ZMorph using 1 kg of the PLA material.  Each part of the kit was made using ZMorph’s single-head 1.75mm plastic extruder.    

While the project was certainly an interesting look at what’s possible for not just traditional instruments - but digital ones as well, it also shows how 3D printing can be used to create products that may be too much of an expense hurdle for one to chase their dreams.  

“The most common reason for not pursuing dreams is the lack of money,” says ZMorph.  

“Many people strongly believe that limited financial resources make it impossible to implement their projects. What they don’t realize is that they can easily overcome this issue by applying new technologies, such as 3D printing. Such solution allows to enliven even the most unconventional ideas.”

With a price of under $2,000, it’s clear that ZMorph’s 2.0 S Personal Fabricator is certainly beyond capable of creating your next great instrument design much like Szydłowski’s.

For those that want to create their own 3D printed drum kit, Szydłowski has provided the necessary STL files as well as printing instructions over on the ZMorph website.  


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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