The 3D Printed Ukulele

uke

The creator of everyone’s favorite slic3r – [Alessandro Ranellucci] – has been hard at work putting his 3D modeling skills to the test. He’s created a ukulele that’s nearly entirely 3D printed (Google translation). Everything on the uke, short of the strings and tuning pegs came from a MendelMax 3D printer, all without any support material at all.

In the video, [Alessandro] and uke virtuoso [Jontom] show off how this instrument was put together and how good it can sound. The body of the uke is made of two parts, and the neck – three parts including the headstock and fretboard – all fit together with surprisingly traditional methods. A dovetail joint connects the neck to the body and a tongue and groove-like joint holds the headstock to the neck.

[Allessandro] puts the print time of all the uke parts at about 120 under 20 hours and about 20 Euros worth of plastic. As far as ukuleles go, this sounds just as good as the average instrument, but [Jontom] says the action is a little bit high. That’s why files were invented, we guess.

Thanks [iant] for sending this one in.

18 thoughts on “The 3D Printed Ukulele

  1. Making the ukulele cool again! What? It wasn’t cool before? Making the ukulele cool! Still that’s a pretty good sounding uke and it was a clever design, no support material needed. So when is he printing a guitar? Is his printer big enough?

    1. I think the problem with printing a guitar would be the amount of stress put on the body once the strings are tuned. A guitar neck usually has a steel rod through it for structural support and to correct curvature of the wood. Even with that kind of support the guitar neck and the steel rod will warp over time.

  2. I think is the italian pronunciation for “hundred twenty hours”, also taking into account the size of the pieces should be much more than 20 hours.

  3. Wow, thanks for publishing this! Yes, it took less than 20 hours to print.

    I just translated the blog post to English. The key point here was to inspire people to start making open source musical instruments, which is even cooler than 3D printed musical instruments!

    1. Yeah! 3D printing is the tool that helps us contain craftsmanship in our digital files, lowering the barriers for others to make instruments! The uke sounds great, and I love that with nylon strings there’s no need for a truss rod.

      A few of us in Portland, OR have designed an open source electric violin printable without support material (requiring a metal truss rod). Check it out, here: http://www.openfabpdx.com/fffiddle

  4. Thanks guys for the post. Like Alessandro said, it would be pretty interesting to start developing open source musical instruments. I’m thinking about luthiers and musicians printing new solutions before applying them to traditional guitar making. It would certainly help the research. Not to mention the fact that actually a 3D printed instrument looks pretty cool, indeed!

    1. I’m excited about the thought of open source instruments. Do you think a 3d printed part can eventually produce the same quality of sound as a hand crafted wood instrument? I think of plastic clarinets, oboes, and bassoons which really can’t compare to the qualities of their wooden counterparts.

  5. This is an outrage! Uke control is a serious issue. And now any nutbag with access to a 3D printer is free to stroll right on past security checkpoints and pepper unsuspecting crowds with ironically bad uke covers of Green Day songs. Won’t someone please think of the children!

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