Wood and metal have pretty much been the materials of choice for craftsmen making acoustic instruments for many years, but the rise of 3D printing in recent times has brought us guitars, violins, flutes, saxophones and even drum kits fashioned from plastic or nylon. Now Australia's 3DLI has created what is believed to be the world's first fully working 3D-printed sitar.
Designed and printed in collaboration with the Mat Creedon School of Music in Victoria, Australia, the 3DLI team used a traditional sitar for CAD modeling, maintaining the wall thicknesses and hollow cavities of the original so that it would retain the distinctive sound and tonal qualities of the original. Though the plastic replica is said to be louder.
The body and neck of the 1.2 meter-long (4 ft) printed sitar are made up of several printed components welded together, with 19 printed tuning pegs (or kunti) placed at appropriate points along the head and neck. The 3DLI sitar is reported to have taken more than 70 to hours to print and used some 3.5 kg (7.7 lb) of ABS plastic. Each layer was printed at 0.2 mm.
Non-printed parts include the strings, the frets and a standard bridge (to help create the distinctive sound of the sitar).
You can see and hear the 3d-printed sitar in action at about the 1:40 point in the video below.