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3D Print Your Tunes By Carlie Wagner Musicians are experimenting with everything from 3D printed instruments to records. So, get ready to slap on your headphones, crank up the volume, and enjoy some sweet sounds from a 3D printer. Whether you are talking about sound or style, musicians have long been known for pushing the envelope. It only makes sense, then, that the music industry is eager to embrace technologies like 3D printing. From new instrument design, to at-home prints that help budding musicians get started, 3D printing is poised to leave its mark on your future jams. When looking at the impact that 3D printing is having on music, it makes sense to start with the instruments themselves. In most cases, 3D printing is used to create instruments with unique designs or simply to prove that 3D printing instruments is even possible. Take, for example, the work of Olaf Diegel and his students. Diegel, a professor at Lund University, has designed a number of instruments, including an American flag guitar with an embedded Statue of Liberty and a keyboard with a lacy white floral pattern. Students even used his instruments to form a unique five-piece band comprised entirely of 3D printed instruments. although the printed version produced a slightly softer sound. Other instrument designers are taking the design of 3D printed instruments one step further. Rather than simply replicating existing instruments, these designers are creating whole new forms that take advantage of the unique design properties of 3D printing. Engineer Laurent Bernadac, for example, is a lifelong musician who uses cutting edge technologies to create a more traditional sound – that of the famed Stradivarius violin. Known as the 3Dvarius, this 3D printed electric violin uses algorithms to optimize the sound and weight of the instrument. Just because you aren’t a skilled instrument designer, doesn’t mean that you can’t get in on the fun of printing your very own instrument. Thingiverse, an open source site full of free STL files that can be printed at home, has created a page with a variety of musical instruments. Some designs even include fun “hacks” that show home hobbyists how they can get even more functionality out of their printers. The tambourine, for example, requires that the print be stopped partway through so that the discs can be assembled. Likewise, the maraca requires that the print be stopped to add rice or another noisemaker before the print continues, sealing the noisemaker inside. In 2014, Diegel was challenged by 3D printer manufacturer 3D Systems to design and print a saxophone. Using a traditional saxophone as a guide, Diegel designed and tweaked a copy of that original that was printed in Duraform PA nylon powder. After playing the 3D printed instrument next to the traditional saxophone, Diegel concluded For something even more creative, try printing out this “mixtrument.” Featuring several mouthpieces, that the instruments sounded remarkably similar, 32 www.cadlearning.com