The Mostly 3D Printed 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.


12 thoughts on “The Mostly 3D Printed Violin

  1. My first thoughts were “what? a printed bridge? no F-holes?? it’s going to sound horrible!”

    Boy was I wrong! I’m very impressed by the sound…a violin (or “fiddle” as he plays it) is traditionally such an intricately built instrument — I am in awe…the quality of sound is excellent!

  2. Mind blown. I’ll have to download the files and see how they managed the tension and stuff, certainly having a rod inside helps but I’d love to learn more about designing for strength.

    I’m curious what it sounds like without an amp, probably not much. A little pre-amp and some headphones and it’s probably a nice practice piece if you need to be quiet, too.

    1. an electric fiddle sounds flat and reedy without the amp, pretty quiet too. Not really much different than an accoustic fiddle with a very large mute attached to the bridge, except flatter. Compare to an electric guitar (without any accoustic properties) and a wooden accoustic guitar?

      1. Yeah, what Ken said. This one is maybe a little quieter than other electric violins that have more body.

        Funny story. The first two physical prototypes didn’t have truss rods. The second of these was playable, and it held tension for at least a couple of hours, but I had to tune it frequently. Holy smokes, though, it was so light! Then I left it in my car that same, sunny day. Oops. PLA, as some of you probably know, begins to soften at very low temperatures, and quickly ‘creeps’ (deforms slowly) to relieve stresses.

        I’m excited to print it with ProtoPasta’s new filaments:

  3. Awesome, thanks everyone! I’m thrilled for the project to be on hack a day!

    Supershwa, I agree, it sounds pretty darn good! Using quality pickups is important. I also wonder how we could improve resonance in the bridge with some relief like you see traditionally. There are gains to be made for sure!

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