3D printing has a way of making the most ordinary objects. Even the stately violin gets a dramatic, futuristic makeover when put through the 3D-printing paces.
We've seen it happen once with afrom architecture studio Monad that came out looking like a klingon weapon. Now we see it again with a transparent 3D-printed violin that looks like it would be more at home in a Mars symphony hall than the court of King Louis XIV.
This one, called the 3Dvarius, is a fully playable electric violin based on the storied Stradivarius, known for its craftsmanship and superb sound.
"Combining the precision and power of 3D printing with ancient violin-making skills, its innovative design, in the service of violinist, marks a further step towards the perfect symbiosis between musician and instrument," reads the site for the product.
French musician Laurent Bernadac designed the instrument using 3D-modeling tools. He printed the body using stereolithography, or SLA, which involves printing products a layer at a time by curing a photo-reactive liquid resin with a UV laser or similar power source. He then removed the excess resin, first manually and then using precision tools; cleaned the surface with a high-pressure blowing tool; and sanded the body into smoothness.
Then came the tricky part, stringing the violin and progressively tuning it to get just the right timbre. The result is a lightweight prototype instrument (named Pauline, by the way), whose strings can withstand the tension of being played with abandon -- and produce a pretty ear-catching sound in the process. Watch Bernadac play the crazy-looking violin of the future below.