The ukulele is a majestic instrument that has become synonymous with Hawaii's musical heritage. It's also that annoying "mini-guitar" that your drunk friend thinks he can play at 2 a.m. Now it's become another major accomplishment in the world of 3D printing.
The Stratasys blog reports that Matt W. makes instruments as a hobby. He was recently made head of his company's 3D printing efforts, and he took it as an opportunity to design a ukulele with 3D modeling software to see if it was possible to recreate the iconic instrument out of plastic.
In short, Matt was successful. He was able to shorten the ukulele-making process from a couple of months to just a few days. The 3D printed ukulele only cost him $170 in materials so it's pretty cheap as well.
Of course, this all leads us to the question of whether or not 3D printers will impact the traditional instrument construction industry. Matt doesn't think so as he sees there will always be a demand for traditional instruments, but he does feel that 3D printed instruments offer a few distinct advantages over their wooden counterparts. One is that 3D printed instruments can withstand more abuse, and another is that 3D printed instruments present more ways for musicians to experiment with shape and sound.
Here's the finished product being played:
If you liked this, you might want to check out one of the world's first 3D printed guitars.[Image: Gaye Vessels/YouTube]