In the creation of musical instruments, using 3D printing applications is still a very new concept and one that might bring initial skepticism from musicians. Musical instruments have been meticulously created by hand and through careful manufacturing going back centuries, so the thought that a printer can replicate this might seem like downgraded quality. What skeptics don't know is 3D printing can create more complex parts that can't be created by hand. In that regard, it could help create new sounds and structures to musical instruments never before attempted.
The road to this started recently through the University of Connecticut where an historical saxophone was re-created with a 3D printer. This mysterious saxophone was very rare and created by Adolphe Sax in the 19th century. Musical scholars had no idea of how it originally sounded until recently printing a replica of the mouthpiece. By scanning the original instrument, they were able to recreate the entire saxophone and hear how it sounded more than 150 years ago compared to how saxophones sound today.
This was just the start in the realm of using 3D printers creating saxophones. A man named Olaf Diegel has been creating numerous musical instruments on 3D printers recently, including drums and guitars. When he created a workable saxophone from a 3D printer, he suddenly changed the game in how we might be able to create instruments. Will we eventually be able to create them on the spot in our homes to make musical instruments more accessible?
Customizing Musical Instruments on 3D Printers
The real beauty to the technical side of printing musical instruments is in being able to create instruments with new sounds and capabilities that were never accessible before. Olaf Diegel above is already planning new variations on the saxophone that could make music of the future quite interesting.
In fact, it's the physical customization that can take the evolution further. This includes printing a saxophone or other instrument with a specific design to showcase on stage during live performances. However, it's not hard to envision a future where musical instruments could be made more accessible to those who want to learn how to play one.
How many times have you wished you had a guitar, saxophone, or a set of drums to play on, yet avoided buying them due to cost? A 3D printer might be able to change that down the road. While it would still cost something to print the instruments, it could potentially be much cheaper, especially when made of affordable plastics. We'd have the instrument we want within a day or two rather than having to order musical instruments online or spend a fortune through a local music store.
But hearing how 3D-printed instruments sound in the future could be even more amazing. Not only will 3D printing change how we view the world in the near future, it may help us hear new sounds on musical instruments that were impossible to produce when built by hand.