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I have had the opportunity to "play" with a 3d printer. This guy's model is horrible. I'm not even sure what he was thinking if in fact it actually is a 3d printed object. It has the appearance of a paper machete creation, not a printed replica.
For those not aware of how these work, they are fed layers of an object and can build any object you can draw in a 3d cell. Hollow boxes, gear assemblies, fixtures, complex geometric patterns, even a fully functional combination lock. Now then, simplistic 3d design/CAD software could even create an object nearer to an instrument then that. These printers cost upwards of $30,000 US but are as cheap as about $1,200 US. Even the cheaper ones create a better object then you see displayed. Granted, it does come down to the artists skill with Adobe CS6, Storyboard, Autocad, Strata, and more. Chances are, if you have purchased one of these, you probably have some reasonable skill in 3D design and rendering/wire frame technology far superior to what is hanging off this gentleman's shoulder.
The technology is there, but I don't believe any reasonable model would look like this, especially at the overhead cost of the hardware, software and medium outlay.
"I find your lack of Fiddle, disturbing" - Darth Vader
I'm not sure what 3D printed paper would be, so I'm guessing that maybe the first one was something like papier-mache or some other from of paper modelling and that only the fingerboard and perhaps fittings or other parts were done via 3D printing out of plastic.
"this 3D printed violin that costs approximately $12 of capital to churn out, where it relies on a combination of paper, 3D printed parts, as well as cheap wire"
Now, the second one shows some promise. I'd also assume it got real strings instead of "cheap wire". Ok, it isn't going to have the tone of a Strad or etc, since plastics and wood have some definite differences in properties..
But the angles and distances and etc would all be correct. Being made of a solid piece, they wouldn't have seams to split and the bass bar wouldn't come loose.
If they are what the future of 100$ beginner/student instruments might be like, I'd say it has great potential. Since the measurements and angles would be right, fingers would learn the right place to go and it would be at least a reliable practice instrument that *could* be very inexpensive when manufactured in quantity.
Yeah, I prefer pretty wood for acoustic instruments as much as most here would, I think. But the consistency of quality in low priced instruments tends to be very erratic, and 3D printed violins could provide a solid alternative to that.
"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman