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20 March 2013

Print me a violin

von Philharmonie Luxemburg

3D printing is nothing new in industrial circles. But with home 3D printers now available at a reasonable price and and filesharing websites offering templates some people are dreaming of “a radical economic shift as consumers stop shopping and start making what they need.”(MIT Technology Review, 07.01.2013) Not gonna happen, say others, because “[m]ost 3D printers lay down thin layers of extruded plastic” while “so much of what we use continues to be made out of natural substances, and for good reason.”

Hobbyists may be stuck counterfeiting Lego parts for a while but German manufacturer of laser-sintering systems EOS wowed everyone a few years ago when they printed a Stradivarius.

Even if this was just a publicity stunt, the instrument doesn’t sound too bad. Jay Leno uses the technology to reproduce car parts so would it be conceivable in instrument making and/or repairing? Or is there really nothing like the expertise of a craftsman when it comes to choosing the right wood species, using the same tools as in the 17th century and assembling the parts?

(The title of this post is based on an article published on the Economist website: Print me a Stradivarius)