Asked by: Lizzie Alton, Glasgow
There is no reason you can’t 3D print a musical instrument.
Cheap violins have been made out of plastic for years, and 3D printing is just a handy way of assembling them. An electric violin converts the string vibrations into an electrical signal, so it doesn’t depend on the acoustic properties of the resonating chamber.
A 3D-printed trumpet might also work well, but an acoustic violin made of plastic can’t compete with a Stradivarius yet. The complex grain structure of the wood creates subtle resonances and harmonics that we can’t recreate with the resolution of current 3D printers.