3D Printed 2-string piezoelectric violin


March 3, 2015

(ED NOTE: Why include this article on a Medical site?  To show how 3d Printing can change instruments to be as precise as a musical instrument; and, aren’t medical devices “instruments” of Medicine, with microscopic precision, to perform a function?  Play, on Medtronic!)

If you aren’t sold on 3D printing just yet, this coming April it will be hard to deny the fact that this technology is here to stay. We’ve seen 3D printed cars, houses, fashion design, and more. We’ve even seen custom 3D printed musical instruments created for superstar musicians. However, in New York City, as part of the 3D Print Design Show, taking place April 16-17, there will be something presented unlike anything we have seen before. Something you won’t want to miss!

Five 3D printed instruments will make their world premier at the show, and quite frankly they have the potential to completely revolutionize music. This work was completed by Associate Professor of Architecture at FIU Eric Goldemberg, and his MONAD Studio partner Veronica Zalcberg. MONAD Studio is a design and research practice which focuses on spatial perception related to rhythmic affect. This installation, titled ‘MULTI,’ will feature five musical instruments unlike anything you have ever seen before. It was developed with the help of musician and luthier Scott F. Hall, along with several students at FIU.

“We are the principal designers and a group of very motivated and talented students from FIU Department of Architecture, who assisted on the design and fabrication,” Professor Goldemberg tells 3DPrint.com.

The instruments included in this 3D printed ‘MULTI’ exhibit are as follow:

  • 2-string piezoelectric violin (seen in the photos provided)
  • Monobarasitar
  • Cello
  • Small didgeridoo
  • Hornucopia, which is a large didgeridoo

At the event — which is run by MecklerMedia and takes place at the Javits Convention Center — there will be three performers playing these five instruments to the amazement of thousands of onlookers.

As you can see in the photos provided of the 2-string violin, these instruments will not look like anything you have seen in the past. They are custom designed in order to play unique tones, while displaying a unique beauty both visually and acoustically. This isn’t all though!


“A framework/rack that holds the instruments is also fabricated, becoming the 6th instrument, playable with piezo mics and loopers + amps,” Goldemberg tells us. “It will be amazing! It will interweave the sonic artifacts within the framework activated by piezo mics that metamorphose into a complex meta-instrument in the tradition of the one-man band. MULTI is a free-standing rack-wall that serves as armature for the instruments; in passive position they complete the sculptural effect of this snaking spine, and the instruments become active when the performers pick them up to play.”

Amazing just might be an understatement. Revolutionary might be the better word, and it is 3D printing technology that has allowed Goldemberg and his team to create such a unique masterpiece.

A strange design session at MONAD Studio to tease out the rhythmic organization & structure of 'MULTI'

The ‘rack’ that Goldemberg refers to measures approximately 12 feet long by 6 feet wide, and is made of 4 articulated panels of high-density foam which has been painted with car paint and populated by spines made of PLA plastic. It features 3D printed components which are plucked and amplified with the piezo mics, loopers, and amplifiers. The violin, cello, and electric bass all feature the same linear components as the rack. The rack is held up structurally by a lattice of PVC tubes, joined together by 3D printed hinges which are located between the panels. The small didgeridoo and the hornucopia — a long, coiling didgeridoo with valve nipples — both coil and latch onto the tubular lattice.

Could this be the start of something entirely new for the music industry?

“Our plans are to develop these products commercially as well as a new set of studio speakers called ‘PYTHON’ which will also be prototyped for the Javits show and integrated onto the rack,” Goldemberg explained to us. “We are now flooded with amazing proposals to collaborate with other musicians who either want us to develop a special instrument tailored to their sound and performance type, as well as opportunities to commercialize a line of products with serious investment.”

Goldemberg is also in the process of writing his second book, titled ACOPLE: From Pulsation to Feedback, which involves a series of projects, essays, and products where the relationship between architecture and music unfolds to reveal a profound meaning and new spatial/perceptual potential.

3DPrint.com will be on hand as Co-Producers of the 3D Print Design show in April, and I’m excited to see this ‘MULTI’ installation in action. For those of you interested in attending, to see this exhibit first hand, you can sign up for free tickets here. Other FIU Architecture students who contributed in creating this installation include: Jack Garcia, Stephanie Colon, Albert Elias, Stephany Sarai Guinan, Zoe Russian, Hex Ceballos, and Manuel Perez-Trujillo.

What do you think about this 3D printed 2-string violin and the installation that will be unveiled in April? Could something like this revolutionize the music industry? Discuss in the ‘MULTI’ forum thread on 3DPB.com.  You can check out MONAD Studio’s previous 3D pritned musical work in the video below.


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