Restoring a Violin with 3D Printed Parts

Violin

 

Every family has an heirloom. It might be a watch, a book, or a stuffed pet. [Mike’s] family heirloom was an antique violin. Well, not an entire violin. This particular violin consisted of a detached neck, a body, and one tuning peg. As far as [Mike] knows, no living member of his family has heard it played.  [Mike] decided to restore it to playable condition.

[Mike’s] violin had been brought over to America when his family emigrated from France. The primary reason it has been saved is because it bears the name Stradivarius.  Stradivarius copies and tributes are plentiful in the wild. Many of the copies are now antiques and good playing instruments in their own right, though not nearly as revered as the real thing. [Mike’s] first step was to determine if his violin was a real Strad, or a copy. Luckily he was able to get in touch with the caretaker of a real Strad in Milwaukee. It turns out that the label on his violin marks it as a copy. According to the caretaker, genuine Stradivarius instruments were signed directly on the wood. The caretaker was further able to identify that [Mike’s] violin was about 100 years old, and a relatively cheap model for the time.

While it wasn’t a real Stradivarius, the violin was still an important part of [Mike’s] family history, and deserved to be played again. Rather than re-create the missing parts to perfectly match the originals, [Mike] decided to use the resources of the Milwaukee Makerspace to create 3D printed parts.

Similar violin parts were scanned at the Makerspace. The final .stl files were sent to Shapeways for printing. [Mike] sent all the parts to a luthier for final fitting and assembly. [Mike’s] family heirloom is no longer an item to be hidden away, but a living breathing instrument for a new generation to enjoy.

 

 

The Mostly 3D Printed Violin

violin

While Thingiverse is filled with Ocarinas, there’s little in the way of printable instruments for more serious musicians. [David Perry] hopes to change this with the F-F-Fiddle, the mostly 3D printed full-size electric violin.

The F-F-Fiddle is an entry for the LulzBot March 3D Printing Challenge to make a functional, 3D printed musical instrument. Already there are a few very, very interesting submissions like this trombone, but [David]’s project is by far the most mechanically complex; unlike the other wind and percussion instruments found in the contest, there are a log of stresses found in a violin, and printing a smooth, curved fingerboard is quite the challenge.

While there are a few non-printed parts, namely the strings, a drill rod used as a truss rod, some awesome looking tuners, and of course the piezo pickups – the majority of this violin, including the bridge, is 3D printed. It’s an amazing piece of work, and after listening to the video (below), sounds pretty good too.

You can grab all the files on Thingiverse and read up on the build at Openfab PDX.

 

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Making a violin mold with a 3D printer

IMG104

Some people see 3D printers as expensive and slow devices for replicating bracelets, whistles, and Yoda heads. Until the world transitions to a plastic octopus-based economy, those of us with 3D printers will have to find something useful for these tools. Bayesian Empiritheurgy out of Halifax, Nova Scotia wanted to do something useful with their 3D printer for the large-scale, distributed hackerspace competition, The Deconstruction. They ended up using their printer to make molds for a paper mache violin, and ended up being fairly successful at it.

The basic idea behind their paper mache violin was to create a plastic mold for exactly half a violin body. This block was covered in newspaper drenched in wheat paste. Once the paste was dry, the violin half was pulled off the mold and another half was created. These were stitched and glued together, resulting in a violin body.

The bridge, tailpiece, tuners, and fingerboard were 3D pprinted and held together with epoxy. The epoxy flexed a lot, so every time a string was tuned it threw out the tuning of the other three strings. In the video after the break, you can check out the paper mache and plastic violin being played. It’s not much for the eyes or ears, but everyone had fun, and the team completed the proof of concept for a fiberglass or carbon fiber violin we’d suggest they try next.

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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.

Laser-cut noise maker resembles violin

This looks very much like a violin but it sounds very much like someone abusing a family of cats. [Ranjit] came with the idea of building a violin using laser cut parts. It doesn’t follow the normal curved shape we’re used to seeing with string instruments. This is because the parts were all cut from flat stock, including the sides of the instrument. The boxy shape that resulted invokes visions of early video game objects and is why this is called the 8-bit violin.

After the break you can see a video of [Bre Pettis] playing the laser-cut instrument. It’s pretty bad, but not in that five-year-old picking up an instrument for the first time sort of way. Yes the best violinists spend a lifetime honing their craft, but they also play on instruments hand carved by master Luthiers who also spend a lifetime perfecting their skills. Don’t get us wrong though, we think it’s just as much fun as that 3D printed guitar.

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Long arms required, electronic trombone

Sadly, the video above is the only information we were able to find on the “Double Slide Controller” trombone, built by composer Tomás Henriques. As well as, the instrument took first place in the Georgia Tech Center Guthman Musical Instruments Competition. Right in front of a Bluetooth bow for violins, and a circuit bending group from New York, and…wait; it beat out our favorite modified didgeridoo? Better luck next year.