Manufacturers are getting nervous as 3D printers are getting more and more skilled at perfectly recreating every last detail of a physical object. But on the flip side of that coin is the possibility that musicians might soon be able to afford their own copy of a Stradivarius—made from 3D- printed plastic, not wood.
A company called 3D Varius recently completed what it’s calling the world’s first 3D-printed electric violin. While that claim may be contentious, this is one of the first recreations that sounds as good as the real thing (at least to those of us who aren’t trained violinists).
Accomplished violinists can probably hear the differences between this creation and even an affordable wooden violin from a mile away, but in the hands of musician Laurent Bernadac, it sounds pretty spectacular.
Designed to be as lightweight as possible, the 3D-printed violin was engineered to not only feel great in a musician’s hands, but also to properly resonate while being played. It also had to be strong enough to adjust the strings for tuning, and to allow the strings to remain under tension at all times.
There’s no word on how much one of 3D Varius’ instruments will cost, because this piece is one of the first successful prototypes, and the company isn’t ready to start churning them out yet.
But the design exists as a 3D digital model, so one day you might be able to download a copy and print your own Stradivarius at home—talent not included.