Friendly Fred

Hi, I'm FriendlyFred and running this blog. I play 'em all from soprano to baritone, acoustic and electric. Yes, big hands can handle small instruments. Enjoy strumming around and have a good day !

How to build your own ukulele – Use A 3D Printer

In the past few years there were lots of technological improvements in 3D printers. Nowadays there's a huge variety of things you can produce with these machines. The printers for home use can print only rather small products. But professional devices are able to print a whole soprano uke ( body and neck/headstock ). Here's an example of a luthier Matthew ( aka Koa Soprano ) who printed his own ukulele in 2013: The YouTube ID of zoiIoK4jrdc#t=32 is invalid.

Sounds pretty good for a plastic uke.

He used a Stratasys Dimension 1200es 3D Printer at his work. For more informations about this project and the downloadable files please vist Matthew's blog. So is this the future ? Will luthiers loose their jobs because of 3D Printers ?Well, I guess not. Although there seems to be a revival of plastic ukuleles in the past few years, wood is still the first choice for quality ukes. Plastic can never sound as good as wood, laminated or solid.Another option to build your own ukulele are ukulele kits ( available on the web ) to produce your own instrument. So back to 3D printers. Beside the problem mentioned above that the machines for use at home are usually a little bit small to build your own ukulele, there's another problem:3D printers emitt ulrafine particles and can be harmful to your health. By the way if you have a laser printer at home, you might consider to change to a inkjet printer because of nanoparticles too. Personally I don't think it's possible to print a proper ukulele that lasts for several years. There are some parts that should be made from metall like tuners or fret wires. But I have to say apart from my Ovation Applause with a plastic back, I never played a plastic uke ( why should I ? ) and never used a 3D printer.I think it makes sense to print your own ukulele parts like nuts, saddles or strap pins with a 3D printer. You find some downloadable files at Thingiverse.   FriendlyFred

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