To commemorate the revival of The X-Files, violinist Laurnet Bernadac arranged a haunting cover of composer Mark Snow’s iconic theme. His instrument might look like extraterrestrial technology, but in reality it is Bernadac’s own creation – the 3Dvarius.
Bernadac, an Engineering graduate from the National Institute of Applied Sciences of Toulouse and classically trained violinist, wanted to develop a model that honored the tone and characteristics of an authentic Stradivarius. His 3Dvarius was the result. Crafted out of one solid piece, this is the first fully playable electric violin created by 3D printing technology. “I had just one goal: create an instrument in perfect symbiosis with my needs. Something new, with a more natural playing style,” he said in a mic.com article.
Building instruments with 3D printers has become an exponentially growing trend. It allows musicians and inventors to inexpensively produce working instruments, while simultaneously experimenting with cutting-edge design concepts. A February 2011 article from The Economist brought this innovation to the forefront, and inspired other artists like Bernadac to contribute their ideas.
Olaf Diegel is a professor at Lund University in Sweden, an instructor of Product Development in the Design Sciences department (a division of the Engineering faculty). He used The Economist’s article as motivation to expand on his hobby of guitar designing into an international business. Diegel’s Odd Guitars offers several versions of customizable 3D printed bodies for fully functioning guitars that test the limits of the machine. The availability of desktop 3D printers allows creators to be in control of fabrication and assembly of their products. “No matter how complex my idea and, in fact, the more complex it is, the better, 3-D printing can handle it,” said Diegel to mic.com. “It really removes the manufacturing barrier that normally prevents us from realizing our ideas.”
The University of Connecticut also utilizes 3D printing technology for musical purposes, but not to build new designs like Bernadac and Diegel. Robert Howe, a M.D. and Ph.D. candidate in music history and theory at UConn, noticed CT-scans and X-Rays could be used to study musical instruments in the same manner as examining a human body. This allowed Howe and his colleagues at UConn’s Center for Clean Energy Engineering to manufacture replicas and to preserve out-of-date parts for antique instruments, with the objective of providing listeners with a more genuine classical experience. Click here to read more and watch the video below.