Olaf Diegel is already known in the 3D printing world as the guy behind 3D System's iconic 3D printed guitars. The Lund University professor has now taken his musical prowess several steps further to produce the world’s first live rock music concert using only 3D printed instruments - or as Diegel puts it: the first concert with a rock band whacking the hell out of the instruments.
The concert look place at the University featuring band members from the University’s Malmo Academy of Music. The performance consisted of two electric guitars, a drum set and a keyboard.
Diegel says: “3D printing allows me to make complex shapes that are impossible to do any other way. I can also tailor instruments very precisely for musicians who want their instruments custom made.”
Having the ability to create these intricate custom designs increases the scope for instruments to be made specifically for the individual based on comfort and aesthetics with the same level of quality as a traditional instrument. Yet some musicians have needed some convincing.
”Musicians are very creative, but also very conservative, so their reactions have been interesting. They first approach what is essentially a plastic guitar with suspicion. Then, when they have a play with it, they’re amazed that it sounds and plays like a high quality electric guitar”, adds Diegel.
Diegel has been interested in 3D printing since the mid-90s but only began pioneering 3D printed music technology two years ago. Since then his instruments have been used at quite a few trade shows with easy listening jazz style concerts. He has also worked on medical projects in the past including 3D printed shoe inserts for diabetics.
He says: ”Today, it’s expensive and time-consuming to have inserts made. With a 3D printer in the store, it could be done on the spot when you’re buying shoes.”
The music industry and 3D printing have partnered on several occasions over the last few years. In May Broken Bells release files for fans to 3D print their album visuals and Linkin Park recently unveiled a series of limited edition 3D printed figurines.