How They Made It: The Indestructible 3D Printed Guitar
There are a few abilities you need to prove you’re a proper rockstar.
1) You need to love rock and roll. 2) You need to know how to play an instrument. 3) You need to learn how to break the freakin’ instrument after hours of rocking it.
Smashing instruments has been the signature move for rockstars since Bach smashed his first piano (not actually true), but for guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen, destroying guitars may be his primary art(?) with playing them coming in a close second. Malmsteen has broken 100+ guitars over the course of his career, so it only made sense for global engineering group Sandvik to use him as the ultimate test for their new “Indestructible” 3D printed guitar. Let’s see how they made it.
The concept of making an indestructible guitar came from Henrick Loikkanen, a giant fan of Malmsteen’s and a machining process developer at Sandvik. Taking inspiration from Malmsteen’s penchant for guitar destruction and by researching the various ways guitarists broke their instruments with in-depth research via YouTube videos, the production team took on the daunting task of printing a guitar which could stand the rage of a thousand egocentric, shredding rockstars.
Guitar Body Material: 3D Printed Titanium
The body of the guitar was made using additive manufacturing – more specifically, a Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) process like Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) or Electron Beam Melting (EBM). It ensures they’re able to make the guitar light, strong, and shaped to the specification, plus they sell RP service and products so win-win for them. By fusing the layers of titanium powder with an Isotropic Lightweight Structure (ILS), they were able to achieve a guitar body design that was both lighter and stronger than any body material used for conventional guitars.
Guitar Neck Material: Milled Stainless Steel
Since the neck/body joint of the guitar is the weak point of a traditional guitar turned hardware tool, this part was eliminated by the engineers. Instead, the team milled the neck and fretboard together using a single piece of recycled stainless steel, along with a “hub” embedded deep into the guitar’s body. This design was a first and made it impossible for the neck and fret to be separated and so integral to the body that hopes were high it wouldn’t be smashable.
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