Student Work

Design, Analysis, and 3D Print a Musical Instrument


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The goal of this project was to develop a high-quality violin that can be 3D printed and assembled at a low cost. This low-cost alternative to the traditional wooden violin might allow financially underprivileged people to participate in, and experience music and music education. Given the increase in accessibility of 3D printers, the focus was on modeling a violin that can be 3D printed and constructed with off-the-shelf parts and a non-commercial 3D printer. During the creation of the model, simulations were performed of the governing physics and physical analyses. These physical analyses involved testing of the constructed instruments, measuring the sound acoustics and quality compared to a traditional violin. The structural and frequency simulation analyses allowed us to modify the prototypes without the need for numerous physical models as the shape of the violin was experimented with. The target was to build the violin for less than $50, making it nearly a quarter of the cost of an inexpensive traditional student violin. The methodology started with measuring a traditional violin and using the measurements to develop 3D printed violins using different modeling methods. The first method was a mesh model created in Blender, which allowed for the complex curves and angles of a violin to be created and modified. The second modeling method used SolidWorks, which is a traditional CAD modeling environment, and involved creating and modifying solid geometries to create the violin. Once printed, sensors were used to measure and collect data on the instrument, such as the strength of the adhesive bonds, as well as its waveform, sound, and frequency responses. Structural and frequency analyses of the virtual models were conducted and compared to those available from the literature for traditional wooden violins. An analysis was also conducted to see how the acoustic pressure, tension and frequency change over time for a given instrument and its material composition. The designs were revised through multiple iterations to accommodate issues encountered during the design and testing process. These modeling adjustments included the placement and alignment of the strings, the body wall thickness and infill to better match that of a traditional violin as well as creating more support for the neck of the violin due to material differences. Additionally, the model was modified so that the 3D printed violin’s waveforms were close to its wooden counterpart. The prototype models were tested and assessed by independent music professors.

  • This report represents the work of one or more WPI undergraduate students submitted to the faculty as evidence of completion of a degree requirement. WPI routinely publishes these reports on its website without editorial or peer review.
  • E-project-042822-130024
  • 65316
  • 2022
UN Sustainable Development Goals
Date created
  • 2022-04-28
Resource type
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