Canadian Organization Wants to Put 3D-Printed Violins in Students' Hands

By Anya Wassenberg on December 19, 2022

3D-printed violins offer a win-win solution to make music education more accessible, according to the Montreal-based AVIVA Young Artists Program.

3D-printed violins offer a win-win solution to make music education more accessible, according to the Montreal-based AVIVA Young Artists Program.

The Canadian organization is launching an initiative they hope will put music education — and the latest tech — within reach of every student.

The cost of instruments is one of the major and persistent barriers to music education for many, whether it’s from the perspective of individual students or that of an entire school board. AVIVA Young Artists Program has been researching ways to counteract that issue, and the organization recently presented their solution at the Acoustical Society of America’s conference in December 2022.

The idea: a low-cost pattern to make 3D-printed violins.

Mary-Elizabeth Brown, director of AVIVA, gave the presentation titled “Old meets new: 3D printing and the art of violin-making.”

“The team’s inspiration roots in multiple places,” said Brown in a media release. “Our goals were to explore the new sound world created by using new materials, to leverage the new technology being used in other disciplines, and to make music education sustainable and accessible through the printing of more durable instruments.”

The design is simple:

  • The violin prints in two pieces;
  • The body is produced in a polymer material using the same techniques that produce traditional instruments;
  • The neck and fingerboard are printed in smooth ABS plastic that is meant to be comfortable.

The sound the printed violin produces is mellower and darker than that of traditional instruments made with wood.

The initial design comes in at the cost of $7 USD printed and under $30 fully assembled.

“The next step is to explore design modifications as well as efforts to lower the costs of production while making such instruments more widely available, especially in the realm of education,” said Brown.

The plan is to make the pattern available publicly, so they can be printed by anyone, anywhere. While they make last-minute tweaks to the design, interested parties can stay in touch with developments here.

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