Apr 10, 2019 | By Thomas

Swedish metal giant Sandvik has unveiled what was described as “the world’s first smash-proof 3D printed guitar.”

The guitar’s body was manufactured with titanium powder using a Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) 3D printer. The layers, each thinner than a human hair, built up to make the body of the guitar. The guitar’s neck and fretboard were machined by Sandvik Coromant in one machine from a solid block of recycled stainless steel. The back of the guitar’s neck is hollowed out from the inside and is only 1mm thick in places. The guitar’s volume knobs and tailpiece which anchors the strings, were also created with 3D printing.

“Additive manufacturing allows us to build highly complex designs in small production runs,” said Amelie Norrby, additive manufacturing engineer at Sandvik. “It lets us create lighter, stronger and more flexible components with internal structures that would be impossible to mill traditionally. And it is more sustainable because you only use the material you need for the component, minimising waste.”

To prove their resistance, Sandvik challenged rock legend Yngwie Malmsteen to smash it! The Swedish heavy metal legend is known for his virtuoso performances – as well as the fury he unleashes on his guitars. Malmsteen has produced 30 albums and claims to have broken a hundred in his illustrious nearly four-decade career. That made Malmsteen the perfect choice for Sandvik to test out their 3D-printed titanium guitar.

In the film, Malmsteen plays the guitar in front of an excited crowd in a rock club outside Miami – after which he does his very best to destroy it.

“This guitar is a beast! Sandvik is obviously on top of their game. They put the work in, they do their hours, I can relate to that,” Malmsteen said. “The result is amazing. I gave everything I had, but it was impossible to smash.”

Sandvik engineers teamed with renowned guitar designer Andy Holt, of Drewman Guitars, to match Malmsteen’s exacting musical standards and his lightning-fast playing style.

“We’ve had to innovate from the top down. There’s not a single part of this guitar that has been made before. It’s a piece of art, really”, explains Holt.

The weak point in any guitar is where the neck joins the body. Sandvik solved the problem by milling the neck and the main hub of the body as one piece. “You could use the guitar as a hammer and it wouldn’t break,” Holt said.

The next challenge was to strengthen the fret and neck as they extended into the guitar’s body. That solution took the form of a new, super-light lattice structure that was sandwiched between the guitar’s neck and fretboard. Made from hyper-duplex steel, a recent Sandvik innovation, the lattice structure is the strongest in the world for a given weight.

« We don’t make products for consumers, so people don’t realize how far in the forefront our methods are, » says Klas Forsström, President of Sandvik Machining Solutions. « Creating a smash-proof guitar for a demanding musician like Malmsteen highlights the capabilities we bring to all complex manufacturing challenges. »

Watch how the world’s first smash-proof 3D printed guitar was made:



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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