May 19, 2017 | By Tess

Harris Matzaridis of ViolinoDigitale has unveiled an incredible 3D printed violin that quite literally brings music to our ears. The project, which took over two years to complete, was realized through a combination of digital manufacturing processes (such as 3D printing) and more traditional luthier handcrafting techniques.

While this is not the first 3D printed violin we’ve seen (check out the 3Dvarius), Matzaridis’ creation unarguably has the closest resemblance to traditional violins, both in look and sound. The music technology researcher said he was inspired to recreate the original Stradivarius violin (named Sunrise and made in 1677 by Antonio Stradivari) with the help of digital technologies.

“The violin body was built from scratch, for the purpose to propose to the world a different approach in using modern technologies. Instead of just printing ‘ready to be used’ 3D items, the parts come out of the machine in a ‘primitive form’ and then hundreds of man hours and "traditional" specialty knowledge are utilized to create a handcrafted item of art,” he says.

3D model designed to help assemble the violin

As he continues to explain, the violin is made up of over 40 individual parts, many of which were 3D printed on a RepRap FDM 3D printer using a wood filament. The black decorative elements on the violin, however, were reportedly carved using traditional methods, and the pegs, tailpiece, ebony fingerboard, bridge, and endpin were made from real wood.

Once the 3D printed parts were complete, Matzaridis used “Systema Cremonese,” a traditional luthier method, to expertly assemble the violin. “For such thing to succeed, several proprietary modifications were needed,” he indicated.

To finish the 3D printed instrument, Matzaridis used a varnish made from a two component synthetic epoxy resin, though he says he is still working on developing a more natural varnish that more closely resembles the original violin but that can also work on plastic 3D printed parts.

3D print test with wood filament

The 3D printed instrument, which undoubtedly required hours, months, and even years of painstaking work, is stunning, to say the least. When placed in capable hands, it also sounds pretty beautiful.

While my non-expert ears might struggle to hear the subtle different between one violin and another, Matzaridis assures that his 3D printed violin does bear some acoustic and tonal similarities to the original Sunrise Stradivari, one of the most famous violins in history. The 3D printed violin, which is reportedly heavier than the original, does have a distinctly lower volume.

Varnish and dye test on 3D printed wood filament


Currently, Matzaridis is working on improving and finalizing his 3D printed violin, as he hopes to improve the sound (which he says is “a little harsh”). Still, we can’t say we’re not impressed by both the look and sound of the violin. You can hear it for yourself in the video of musician Korina Papadodima below:



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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