First 3D printed guitar in Holland auctioned off for charity

First 3D printed guitar in Holland auctioned off for charity

It might have been inconceivable just a few years ago, but 3D printed instruments like guitars are slowly but certainly becoming more commonplace. While not as affordable as conventionally produced guitars, 3D printing gives guitars a whole new artistic dimension. Why put stickers on your guitar or spray-paint it, when you can even shape its body into whatever form you desire?

We've seen some incredible 3D printed guitars created by visionary mechatronics designer Olaf Diegel, but last month another spectacular guitar appeared, and has realized by a collaboration between designerGiovanni de Reus, Guitar builder Eugen Wulff, software company SAS and Dutch 3D printer expertsAssembl3d. While absolutely stunning (featuring a gorgeous body inspired by the city of Haarlem), this guitar is also so spectacular for its purpose. You see, the guitar was designed and constructed to be auctioned off as part of the Dutch Serious Request charity event.

For those of you who’ve never heard of it, 3FM Serious Request (to include its full name), is an annual charity event held during the six days before Christmas in ever changing Dutch city. Aside from a serious of charity auctions, three popular radio DJs are also voluntarily locked up in ‘the Glass House’ located in the main square of the city for the duration of the event. Living on a juice-only diet, the DJs provide a 24-hour-a-day interactive, themed broadcast through a continuous audio and video live-stream. Funds are raised by callers who make donations in return for playing requested songs, but many people simply donate regardless of the music.

All the funds that raised are donated to a new cause every year; the 2014 (held in Haarlem, hence the guitar design) event focussed on women and girls who are victims of war and sexual violence. And the event has proven to be very successful over the years; in 2012 84% of the Dutch population promoted the event or donated money to it, while the event has raised € 76.8 million over the past ten years alone.

But of all the items and celebrity events auctioned off as part of Serious Request, this 3D printed guitar – that features a heavily overhauled Les Paul Gibson design – was definitely one the most original entries. It’s open-body design shows off many references to the city of Haarlem and the Serious Request event, including ‘the bells of the old clock tower of Haarlem, the shape of the city, the weapon of the city of Haarlem, a painters palette which refers to the world famous painters who lived in Haarlem (like Frans Hals) and many more references.’

As the team behind Assembl3d explained to, it took them a total of 76 hours to 3D print the guitar in nylon material, using an SLS 3D printer. "This seems like a long time, but when you realize how many incredible details are included in the design, it becomes obvious that it would be impossible to achieve similar effects with any other manufacturing technique." explained Maarten Verkoren. "With those, every attempt to even approach the complexity of this design would have taken many more hours to make than this 3D printed approach has now done."

The guitar body was subsequently coated in iron powder and then topped off with a coat of iron paint. The whole body was treated with an acid solution afterwards to start a rusting process. "That’s how we achieved that look of old iron and rust. The result? A very special electric guitar that looks like it dates back to the age of electricity." Verkoren said.

The guitar also has an open body allowing you to see through it, though you can still see how the whole guitar has been put together, in terms of the neck, electric wiring and other components.

But the story doesn't even end here, as the next step was increasing the guitar’s already considerable value! Various Dutch musicians and bands were given the opportunity to play the guitar and make it a more enticing purchase for fans. As you can see in some of the footage below (Of famous Dutch acts BLØF and The Common Linnets), they absolutely loved it. Many artists reportedly could not believe that such an intricate and very-playable guitar could be 3D printed.

And at the conclusion of the event, one lucky fan was able to take this gorgeous guitar home for the respectable sum of €5,750, all of which is currently being used to improve the lives of women and girls who have been (sexually) victimized in the war-torn regions of the world.


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