Northwest Ohio engineering students create 3D printed violin

The project was a partnership between UToledo students and the Toledo Alliance for the Performing Arts that resulted in a violin with a material cost of under $ 70.

TOLEDO, Ohio – The days of making your own instrument could be here soon.

Engineering students at the University of Toledo pioneered the development of a violin with a 3D printer.

“I never knew that by the end of my college career I would 3D print a violin,” said senior Jessica Billick.

Allison Sugden, Joshua Boulianne, and Billick said they wanted something challenging for their senior project and something that had never been done before.

“We had to fundamentally redesign some parts of the violin,” said Boulianne, “and there were some challenges actually getting them together, but I’m happy to say we did pretty well.”

Merwin Siu, artistic director of the Toledo Alliance for the Performing Arts and second principal violin of the Toledo Symphony, says working with the engineering program was music to his ears.

“It’s amazing that you can take a wooden instrument, a violin, the design of which hasn’t really changed in over 300 years, and then use 3D printing to bring it into the 21st century.”

The cost, emphasized by Siu, is a major obstacle for many families trying to access instruments with a standard violin for about $ 400. So he thinks this is a game changer.

“The design team was able to cut the cost of materials to about $ 68, which is just amazing,” Siu said.

“It’s also a much cheaper alternative if you’re prototyping or trying to try something,” said student Allison Sugden.

According to Siu, the 3D printed violin is very comparable to a normal violin in terms of sound quality and projection. While it won’t replace professional products, he believes it will provide an affordable entry point for people.

“We want to give as many people as possible the opportunity to discover the beauty and joy that making music on these instruments can bring,” he said.

According to Siu, the next step is to work with the students on how to mass-produce these instruments so that they can equip schools, clubs and other organizations.


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