Hands-on with the EOS 3D-printed Stradivarius violin

Stradivarius

Nate Lanxon

3D-printed Stradivarius violin

Sitting in the Wired office this morning was none other than this: a fully operational 3D-printed replica of a Stradivarius violin (because regular violin production methods are so 2008).

The components of this playable instrument were manufactured by EOS — a German firm that specialises in 3D printing technologies — and assembled by a professional violin maker. Whilst appearing to be built from wood, the material used to construct the body is actually an industrial polymer named EOS PEEK HP3, normally used for high-temperature medical and aerospace applications.

“The violin was a technology exercise,” EOS told Wired.co.uk. “We wanted to test what we can achieve with our technology, which…is ideally suited for complex structures. This is why we chose a complex musical instrument which normally is being made in a very traditional way and with a traditional material — wood.”

Certain parts were not 3D-printed, however, such as the strings, fine tuner and pegbox. These were added by the luthier once the bodywork was finished by EOS.

It’s a sight to behold, and sort of a shame that the first tune it produced in our building was a questionable rendition of Smoke On The Water. Fortunately, at least one recorded performance exists already.

The 3D-printed Stradivarius will be on show — and played! — at Wired 2011, this 13/14 October. Want to come along? We have a few tickets left!