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Steel String Guitar, Take 2

by LoboCNC Aug 22, 2016
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Very Cool. What percent infill did you use?

Different parts require different infill. The Printing Notes discuss that some.

What printer did you print this on?

I printed it on this home-brew printer: https://youtu.be/hdju_6XEHZ4

Hey there. I'm looking at the fret board and it looks pretty long. Did you end up printing that as one piece? I'm printing with a Creality CR-10 300x300x400 high

I was just barely able to print the fret board in one piece on my home-grown 355x355mm printer. You'd need to break it up into 2 pieces for your printer.

Would this versions neck fit on the 1st version guitar

Yes, the necks are interchangable.

Can you upload the cad files, i would like to make a thinner body and make some other adjustments.

Could we get a whole piece file? Not really for full size printing but using scaled down to make other stuff with?

Hello, amazing work! I saw your Take 2 video, and I would love to learn more. Was carbon fiber chosen for structural purposes or for improving the sound or both? Also, what alternate materials have you considered for printing this? Carbon fiber reinforced PLA is quite expensive :(

Carbon fiber (CF) PLA was chosen for both structural reasons (stiffer, less creep) and for improved tone (stiffer = more overtones). I used Robo3D CF PLA which used to be about $50/kg. Still not cheap, but much better that other CF filaments.

Thank you! I hope to get to work soon :)

what temps,I a noob,thx

I think I printed this at 220 or 230c.

What materials do you need? And where can you get them

For printing, you'll need carbon fiber filled filament. As for the guitar parts (tuners, fret wire, etc) I'd recommend Stewart MacDonald. And then you'll also need some aluminum plate for the truss rod which you could get from McMaster Carr, but a lot cheaper if you source it locally. Keep in mind that this thing is far come a complete "how to". You pretty much need to have some experience building a guitar to pull this off.

Could it be printed with normal PLA, or is that not strong enough?

Carbon fiber filament isn't actually any stronger than regular PLA, but it is maybe 50% stiffer. The added stiffness improves the tone greatly.

Nice work on the additional inner gusset , i would guess the resonation would be deeper and sustain a bit stouter.

Thanks. The lattice bracing dramatically improves the harmonics, and the aluminum X-bracing has improved the long-term stability of the top against creep. I've had it strung up continuously for almost exactly 1 year now, and there's been no warp or creep at all.


can you cut the Parts in smaller pieces?
That they can be printet on a normal Home 3D Printer ( 200x150x150 mm).

That would be nice :)

Unfortunately, no. The guitar soundboard is a pretty complicated structure, so it can't really be cut up into little pieces.

actually I printed one myself and did it with smaller pieces. I glued them together then i put many layers of epoxy on it and then wrapped it in carbon fiber.

Can you send me the files of the cut parts? I have a printer with a volume of 25cm x 210cm x 210cm and I would really like to make this. If you can't send the files, even just giving more information on how you printed it would be helpful.

Do you need the truss rod? Because I can't use that.

Yes, the truss rod is mandatory. I'll post a PDF drawing as well.

how is the nut on the fret board assembled? It looks like you just have another piece of fret wire but I would think the strings would need to be higher

The nut is printed as part of the fret board, but it is it is not used to set the string height. String height is set with a "zero fret" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_fret).

No offense, but the UDIO must suck at overhangs, bridges and ETC. How does it work for you? It look like a cool printer though, if it does work I will definitely try to make one.

Actually, there is virtually no difference when printing bridges and overhangs upside down. All of the forces on the filament from stretching, cooling, etc. are much larger than the weight of the filament, so the filament pretty much behaves the same way. Unless, of course, you are trying to do bridges several inches long...

Hey do you have a file with the whole guitar

it's fantastic!. I want to print it as soon as possible. Also i have a very big printer which has 25x15x25 inch print volume. So i want ot print one part body and one part keyboard. Could you please share undivided parts or design files with me?

I don't actually have a full model of the whole body and of the whole neck because they were designed seperately with specific features for joining them. However, you should be able to import the lower and upper bout STL files in their original positions and merge them into a single object for printing using any number of mesh repair apps.

Thats really well done, sounds great too. What was the name of that song you were playing? Wouldnt mind learning it on my boring old wooden guitars! Awesome printer too btw

Thanks! The song is "Trouble in Mind" (1924?) covered by lots of artists over the years.

Nice Guitar... but really interesting printer! As a MakerGear M2 user, I am completely sold on the value of using actual linear motion rails... but I had no idea one could print upside down. I have a sneaking suspicion that might be a particularly good thing for spans.... However, don't you have problems with stuff coming unstuck from the bed? I'm not saying it would happen all the time, but I can imagine very bad things if it ever happened.

PS: the carbon-loaded filament is a good choice that way (it sticks like chewing gum to a heated glass bed), but I think overall the high-temp PLA might be more appropriate... if it sticks to the bed well enough.

The thing I worried about most was a rat's nest of unfused filament falling onto the hot end, encasing it in a giant molten mess. I had this happen once even to my M2 printer. To prevent this, I put a thermally isolated shield over the hot-end with only the nozzle sticking up through. This limits the amount of molten filament that wold get stuck to the print head.

As for stuff falling off the build table, I've had tiny stuff fall off that just falls through to the granite base. Slightly larger stuff would mostly just get pushed around by the Y axis arm. I suppose if something big did fall and get jammed in the mechanism, someone in the next room could be treated to several hours of the sound of stepper motors stalling, but I don't think anything would actually break. Fortunately, large items typically have a sizable build table contact area and are not in much danger of falling. However, if I were, to print, say, a dinette set legs first, I'd probably use a sizable brim.

In all, I've printed many many hours with this printer and none of the bad things that I thought might happen have shown to be a problem.

Hello uploader! It's great to see someone from my home town! I'm actually moving back to Washington this Saturday permanently. Where I'll be buying a 3d printer and going to school to become a design engineer. Thank you for the inspiration!

Do you think there is a way also a smaller printer can print such a guitar? - i know i would have to change the design, but do you think it would work?

It depends on what you mean by: would it work. The top surface of a guitar, and in particular, the large area around where the bridge is mounted, is critical to the quality of the sound. It need to be very light and fairly stiff, and the exact pattern of the bracing ribs underneath can dramatically affect the sound. Pulling on this area are the strings, which exert a total of about 160 lbs of tension. Keeping this area from deforming too much while also transmitting the string energy efficiently across the top surface is a challenge. You could certainly cut the body up into smaller pieces, but at each seam, you'd need to add some additional ribs to both give you more gluing surface area and more strength. But these ribs would also cut right across the critical top surface area around the bridge. It's anyone's guess as to whether this could be done without ruining the sound. My first attempt at a 3D printed guitar split the lower section in two (I still needed a 12x12" printer) but that guitar sounded pretty bad.

So I'm guessing that printing the body pieces vertically on a printer with 12x12x15 print area would result in pieces that wouldn't hold up very well?

No, this design needs to be printed flat.

ok thanks, my biggest concerne was the sound quality because your video is awesome ;) and i dont think that a smaller one would have anything like that...

but thanks for the reply maybe i'll give it a try when i have a rainy weekend or something like that :D

To me this is proof that eventually the capitalist world we live in will change. It wont have a choice. 3D printers are just giving us a glimpse of what the impacts of a better machine that would work at the atomic scale will have. Everything free for anyone that has access to one.
It will happen someday, maybe then we will work just for the fun of it and take care of each other like we should.

Oh and BTW awesome work man! I need a larger printer now :P

I don't know if 3D printers will lead to the downfall of capitalism, but if everyone printed a guitar, there would be more music and less yelling.

Amazing job, congratulations and Thanks for sharing!!

that must be one big printer.. how the heck did you print it all in one shot whats your printer bed like 10 feet by 10 :-)

and a whole 2 spools of filament..?? still cool though but cant replace a real wood one.. maybe in a pinch and a upside down printer.. dont you worry bout the print crashing into the head if it falls....

Small guitars like this weigh about 5 lb or so, so 2 rolls of filament is about right. And hey, Yo Yo Ma plays a carbon fiber cello, so maybe there is a world beyond wood.

As for printing upside-down, so far I haven't had anything fall off the bed. Really nothing too much worse would happen than with a conventional printer. The main problem so far is that you get a crick in your neck trying to peek in to watch your print.

I'm going to print this no doubt...one day.

Sounds great! Using the CF filament is a great idea for sound quality.

Congrats on getting featured

Hey, thanks! I'm guessing there won't be too many "makes" of this guitar, but it's nice to be able to show off what is possible with 3D printing.

If I had the filament and parts I would try to build this, but carbon fiber reinforced PLA is expensive!

I started off testing some high temperature CF filament from Protopasta at $40 / 500g. I then switched to Robo3D CF filament which was $49 / 1Kg. The guitar requires about 1.5kg (not including misprints). Overall I spent $140 on filament, although the first $40 went to testing and 1 very large misprint.

this carbon fiber PLA looks just beautiful! I wonder if it would be possible to program the slicer so that the head makes a nice "weave" pattern on the top surface.

You could always emboss a weave pattern on it. I guess

I don't think that would be possible but it would be relatively simple to wrap the entire thing in CF cloth, which would have the stereotypical carbon fiber weave look that you're thinking of.