Hand made carbon fiber violin is a stunning work of craftsmanship

carbon-fiber-violin

Building a violin by hand is no easy task, but constructing one out of carbon fiber is an amazing feat! Carpenter [Ken] had never made a violin before, nor built anything substantial out of carbon fiber, and he figured the best way to learn was by doing.

He spent a good bit of time measuring and drawing out his design before making fiberglass molds of the violin’s front and back plates from carved plaster plugs. The process was extremely time consuming, requiring him to make 10 different infusion-molded carbon fiber body plates before he was satisfied with the sound they produced.

With the larger parts of the violin’s body built, he started on the rib molds, which took him 5 hours apiece to set up before injecting the resin. With the body complete, [Ken] was ready to cut the f holes into the violin – a process that required a lot of time hunched over a tank of water with Dremel in hand.

As you can see in the picture above, the final result is stunning – we just wish we could give it a listen to see if it sounds as good as it looks.

Comments

  1. WyreTheWolf says:

    That is amazing. Very well done.

    Would like to see a video.

  2. GameboyRMH says:

    Wow, I didn’t know a violin could look badass until now! Really amazing work, especially considering that it was his first job, CF is a real PITA to work with.

  3. jim says:

    now i really want to hear it

  4. Alex Rossie says:

    I hope it sounds as good as it looks

  5. Patrick says:

    Nearly the same, but from a german hanggliding company, which is specified on carbon manufacturing. Click on “Galerie” for more images.

    http://www.diamo-violins.de/

  6. dcj2 says:

    “wow” seems insufficient, but its all i got. besides the drool, that is :)

  7. David says:

    Although I like the way it looks, I bet it sounds horrid. Hope I’m wrong.

    • Colin says:

      I play the violin and I think you’re right. Wood needs to be specially treated to properly transmit sound. The only way I see this one playing well is if was made electric. Then no problem.
      (Hell, could be wrong though – first time I see CF violin! As far as aesthetics go: sexy as hell.)

  8. SunGod says:

    Now Paint it with A “Clear” UV reactive paint (orange/ulra violet blue/red?) Then HACK THE WAND! Battery powered , Diffused UV LEDS in a row the entire length of the wand, made out of carbon fiber aswell.

    It would be a soft diffused hearing impaired EQ. And the natural real carbon fiber thatch would look dazzling.

  9. derpa says:

    CF instruments can sound very pleasant. It’s a shame he didn’t use the higher strength as an opportunity to deviate from the standard design – it would lend itself well to finite modal analysis to *really* tweak the sound.

  10. DIY Blog says:

    Wow, that’s incredible. Hopefully this could one day bring down the price of violins.

    • patman2700 says:

      The cost of the materials isn’t so much a determining factor for the quality of the instrument as is the workmanship that goes into it. Granted, a cheap plywood violin sounds like crap both because it’s made of plywood and because it was probably put together on an assembly line.

      As with most things in life (and ESPECIALLY musical instruments), you really get what you pay for. If you make your living by playing music, expect to pay more for a violin than you would for your car.

  11. Eddie says:

    What the Hell is beneath the violin?

    Doesn’t look like a hand.

    Looks creepy.

  12. theodore says:

    No comment I can write can convey the amount of respect I feel towards work like this violin.

  13. Pajamas quid says:

    F-ING WOW.

  14. jzoe says:

    As everybody else has said, bravo and wow!

    I first saw CF string instruments a few years back, and from what I’ve read they’re quite well received. Here’s a company that makes them- http://www.luisandclark.com/

    Their violin goes for over $5500, and although theirs seems to have a bit more polish, I think yours looks great too.

  15. andrew says:

    Why did he have to haunch over a tank of water to cut the holes? Do you have to cut CF underwater for some reason?

  16. N0LKK says:

    I’m not sure what if any instructables contest in which this would be a valid entry. I suspect all the other entrants went oh sheet upon seeing this. Even when I bother to rate an intructable it’s never a 5, but here I actually made an effort to rate this at a 5. Perhaps I’m reading it wrong but this statement in the instructable doesn’t seem right, “Basicly Carbon fibre cloth is like any other cloth (soft) and once its set in resin ,it gets its strength”, The long name is fiberglass reinforce plastic, I assume the long name is carbon fiber reinforced plastic. The finished item its the strength from the fabric, not the plastic. the plastic serves to prop up the cloth in a usable shape. Not that statement disrupts my world, but beginners might get the a mistaken idea how something works. As compared to how I learned, and understand anyway.

    • Aaron says:

      @N0LKK his description isn’t incorrect, though maybe incomplete. The whole point of things like fiberglass and CFRC (Carbon Fiber Re-enforced Composites) is you can get the best of 2 words. High strength of something like a brittle glass or carbon structure (fiber) and some of the damage resistance or toughness of a resin (matrix). Ultimately the load is transferred from matrix to fiber throughout the system. So the system doesn’t “get” its strength from any one component but from the marriage of everything

    • error404 says:

      My opinion would be that this instructable rates a 2, certainly not 5. Yes the end product is incredibly impressive, but the *instructable* provides almost no information at all beyond basic ‘plan, make parts, glue them’ steps. He doesn’t provide his plans, doesn’t divulge his CF techniques and doesn’t even really provide any generic information on violin building or CF use. It’s really not ‘instructable’ at all, just a basic description of his process.

  17. Hirudinea says:

    Amazing, just amazing.

  18. kabukicho2001 said, says:

    any test of sound? or not yet too.

  19. abc123 says:

    Top notch workmanship.

    HOWEVER… I can’t fathom any inherent advantage to using CF in the manufacture of musical instruments, other than perhaps weight savings.

    You can get much of the same characteristics with fiberglass.

    More traditional materials might even be superior in some respect and cheaper.

  20. Brandon R says:

    Totally wow, and great job, but it is strange to me that so many people are judging this without hearing it.

  21. echodelta says:

    Having heard the use of tap tones as a means of setting the center of action on the front soundboard, I can’t help think this shooting in the dark. Has any modal analysis been done on the final forms?

  22. lejupp says:

    That thing has brass parts, wonder why HaD don’t call it “steam punk” as they usually do with everything that has a bit of brass on it…

  23. dcj2 says:

    lots of comments along the lines of “if it sounds like crap then its no good”. let’s not lose sight of the fact that its his first violin *and* his first work with CF. ASAIC, even if it *does* sound like crap, its still every bit as impressive piece of work. and for the obvious care and attention to detail that went into it, i seriously doubt it sounds like crap (but a clip proving such would be very welcome indeed!!!)

    • Cynyr says:

      If i posted a vid of me playing a violin, I’d bet it would sound like crap regardless if it was a stradovari, or made from plywood.

      Perhaps he isn’t very good at the violin?

  24. draeath says:

    Incredible! Shame he didn’t put some piezo pickups in there while he was at it (or actual coil pickups) – works pretty much just like a guitar, and sounds very natural. Though that CERTAINLY does not diminish this work!

  25. slashsplat says:

    Commendable work, regardless of sound. WOW.

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