Live Looping With The World’s First 3D Printed Violin

This video captures violinist Laurent Bernadac doing a looping jam with the 3D Varius, described as the first playable 3D-printed violin.

Bernadac uses a BOSS looper, along with a variety of playing techniques and effects, to create a layered looping performance.

The 3D Varius is based, in part, on the acoustics of a Stradivarius, but it departs from traditional musical instrument production technology by designing the body to be printable as a single piece. Additional parts, like tuning pegs and strings, are added once the body is complete.

Here’s an overview of the construction process:

Check out the demo and let us know what you think! What instrument or music gear would you like to see 3D printed?

16 thoughts on “Live Looping With The World’s First 3D Printed Violin

  1. One downside of 3D printing I keep pointing out but falls on deaf ears.
    It is a bunch of dots glued together.
    i only say this because of those concerns about 3D printed guns.
    Now if this was done with a 3d router or machine it would be a different story

    I am just getting tired of the over-hype, not saying #d printers are bad, but it is like the iPhone which is more over-hyped than actual

    1. What’s the ‘over-hype’?

      To me, this is much more newsworthy than somebody doing another 808/909 drum library or releasing Euro copies of stuff that was done 50 years ago.

      It’s really a pretty impressive feat that they can now 3D print an instrument that can handle the tension created by those strings, and still look good and sound good.

      3D printing can’t get here quick enough, in my book.

      A Euro manufacturer told me that the electronics in a module – the stuff that actually affects how it sounds – cost him about 5% of what his modules sell for. What you’re paying for is custom panels, packaging, shipping, logistics, dealer markup and hopefully some profit.

      I don’t know if that applies to synth keyboards and other instruments – but it sort of boggles the mind.

  2. Not quite sure why you say it is a downside? Why would routing be better?

    Looks like a lot of hard work went into this though. Not your simple ABS filament printing! We put together an ABS 3d printed electric ukulele last week. Good fun. Not going to worry a professional instrument by any means, but it was fun to make and looks pretty funky. I say, “more power to the makers!”

    I’ve also got some cool brackets I printed for my Korg nano kontrollers that hold them firmly to a shelf at about 40 degrees, and some 3d printed Eurorack panels.

      1. You are asking the wrong questions – you don’t cast or forge violins!

        The types of questions we should be asking are:

        When does this technology become a viable solution for making instruments?

        Do new technologies like this make possible new types of instruments?

        Does 3D printing let us make instruments stronger, better, harder, faster?

        What types of things can be printed on-demand now that would be useful to electronic musicians?

        1. that’s the point I was trying to make.
          I hear so much how 3D printing is such a hot thing, I have looked at several examples and although cool they were also fragile. And the items in which people are saying 3D printing can make as it would be the same as something mad another way, just make no sense.
          Most musical instruments have some kind of structure stress and with 3D printing I can’t see it handling it.
          Now with 3D controlled routing or machining I could see some possibilities to make some great instruments.
          Now with the violin , watch the show about the stradivarius, he figured out a way to make it much better but took the secret with him.

    1. That’s my thought exactly.

      This uses electronic pickups on the strings right? So the body does nothing for the sound.

      Granted, you need a violin shaped…thing, to be able to play and articulate with strings.

      Still pretty cool looking and makes me wish I hadn’t stopped violin in grade school.

    2. 3D printed Electric Violin would be more accurate than violin style controller. Same idea as an electric guitar being the same class as an acoustic guitar, despite it only need strings, neck, bridge and pickups to transmit its sound.

  3. A misuse of the -“varius” name, especially since Strads are all about timbre. Sounds great though, like an expressive electric guitar, and I’d be happy to hear it in a rock/jamming context. But the same applies for any electric violin. I guess the real point here is the ability to 3d print playable musical instruments.

    1. Watch the show about the stradivarius, he figured out a way to make it much better but took the secret with him.
      The researchers found that he did things different than others and it is the reason they sound so great.
      Allot to do with off center shaping and the sound post not being centered

  4. I wouldn’t get too bogged down trying to compare this to a violin or what it should be called. The most important part is that it is possible to create an interesting instrument using such a process.

    Unfortunately, it isn’t that impressive when you consider that almost all the components responsible for the actual sound (strings, bow, pickups) were not part of the 3D printing process. It’s simply the container/case for these parts.

    However you could look at this an avenue by which more people could be exposed to the violin. It would certainly cut down the costs for what might be an entry level/learning instrument versus a genuine violin. Of course there are pratfalls to learning it with a simulation of the real thing.

  5. It has to be molded plastic if it were to be cheap. 3d printing would be slow and expensive at the production scale. It is the ability to realize new designs on demand that makes 3d printing attractive.

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