[Sean Riley] is a violinist who had a problem. He wanted to play one particular piece, but he couldn’t. It wasn’t that he lacked the skill — he a doctoral student at the University of Texas and has two degrees in violin performance from The Julliard School. The problem was that “The Dharma at Big Sur” by [John Adams] is made for an instrument with six strings, while most violins only have four. So he did what any of us would do. He stopped by the local hackerspace and fabricated one. You can hear (and see) [Sean] performing with the instrument in the video, below.
The University of Texas operates “The Foundry” which is a hackerspace with all the usual items: laser cutters, 3D printers, and the like. It is open to all their students and staff. [Sean] needed some help with the engineering, and was lucky to find a mechanical engineering senior, [Daniel Goodwin], working at The Foundry.
It took them a year and help from a sculptor, [Rebecca Milton], but the result was an unusual-looking six-string violin. The electric violin is a combination of 3D printing, cast porcelain, and a handmade pickup. It is great to see a multi-disciplined group come together to create something new and unique and really shows the power of these hackerspaces.
This reminded us a little of the F-F-Fiddle and the more traditional-looking Hovalin. If you are feeling sorry for yourself because you don’t have access to a great space like The Foundry, may we introduce you to the world’s tiniest violin?
Photo: University of Texas at Austin Libraries.