Nov 22, 2015 | By Kira

Back in Feburary 2014, maker and amateur musician Javier Munoz traveled from Colombia to New York’s 3D PrintShow, where he was blown away by Olaf Diegel’s 3D printed Americana guitar, a one-of-a-kind instrument that proudly displayed the Empire State Building, Freedom Tower, Statue of Liberty, and other great NYC landmarks, all in bold Red, White and Blue. He even got to have a short jam session with other musicians at the stand.

Inspired by 3D printing technology and full of national pride, Muñoz returned to his home country determined not only to make Colombia’s first 3D printed guitar, but to make it 100% Colombian in design. The final 3D printed instrument, named the El Dorado, includes allusions to Pre-Columbian figures, national culture, and the great Randy Rhoads.

“After returning to Colombia and discovering many other achievements in 3D printing technology, I became even more in love with my country and with the idea of making projects inspired by what I saw at the [3D printing event], including the 3D printed guitar,” said Muñoz. “With this technology, I saw an incredible potential in creating customized products.”

He first began by researching as much as he could about Olaf Diegel’s 3D printed guitars, including the Americana and his famous 3D printed Scrab and Spider electric guitars. However, what he found wasn’t exactly good news. Diegel’s guitars are produced on a sPro 230 3D printer from 3D Systems, using SLS 3D printing technology and raw powder materials that are simply too expensive for Muñoz. For a while, it seemed as though he might have to put a stop to his project altogether. Soon after, however, he discovered a 3D printed guitar in Argentina made on a desktop 3D printer with FDM technology—something much more accessible to the young maker.

Javier used the facilities at 1/4Tech Makerspace to 3D print his design

Now that he knew the technology was possible, he had to get to work on the design. “I wanted to capture something about our culture, the first 3D printed guitar in Colombia had to be 100% Colombian in design,” said Muñoz. He then turned to his deep respect and appreciation for pre-Columbian artifacts—the visual arts of indigenous peoples of the Caribbean, North, Central and South Americas prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. Not only is Muñoz a fan of their aesthetic, but also their manufacturing process and what they express. “Additionally, I have great admiration for our ancestors who valued and cared for our land above all. For this reason, I decided to do a pre-Colombian design.”

Of course, he also drew some inspiration from his American heavy metal fandom: The shape of the body is based on Ozzy Osbourne-guitarist Randy Rhoads’ infamous Flying V guitar.

In order to create the 3D model, Muñoz used Autodesk Inventor. He then shared his project with Ana Maria Muñoz, founder of ¼Tech (um cuarto tech), the only makerspace in Bogotá equipped with the 3D printing machines to realize his dream. 3D printing the entire guitar took around 70 hours total, spread over two weeks. After watching some how-to videos on YouTube, Muñoz was even able to do the wiring himself in order to complete the playable 3D printed guitar. He brought it to the 2015 Salón del Ocio y La Fantasía en Corferias (an artistic, cultural and technology exhibit) in order to share his lessons in 3D printing technology with the community.

“At the event, it was exciting to see my dream realized. I must say that at several times, I thought I might shed a tear to see people admiring the guitar I designed as a tribute to our Colombian culture and the great Randy Rhoads,” he said.

However, Muñoz is not stopping at just this 3D printed guitar. He is working on many other 3D printed projects in his home country, and wants to inspire others to do the same: “This project, as well as being a personal dream, is a message to all Colombians: engineers, designers, marketers, doctors, architects, students…be daring, unique and dreamers! We all can be. Technology is just a tool, the talent is and always will be in our minds and our imaginations.”



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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