By Paula Rothman
BU News Service
LAS VEGAS—During 17th and 18th century Italy, the Stradivari built a name as one of the most renowned luthier families in the world. To this day, their Stradivarius violins inspire musicians, craftsmen and — as seen this year at CES — even startups.
Combining parts of traditional Italian design with modern manufacturing technology, a group of French entrepreneurs came up with 3DVarius, a transparent electric violin whose body is built entirely with a 3D printer.
“A violin made out of a single piece of material has better sound quality,” said Laurent Bernadec, one of the founders of 3DVarius. A mechanical engineer and musician himself, he spent three years researching the best way to print a musical instrument.
The final 3Dvarius is designed after an original Stradivarius that was 3D-scanned and used as a model. Bernadec and his team made some adjustments to allow for some degree of customization for each user — such as the chin support.
The printing process uses a high-definition epoxy resin and takes 24 hours. Then comes the assembling and setting phase, a 20-day process where the strings and any metallic pieces are attached to the instrument.
Since last year, 3DVarius has been selling its violins in Europe. During CES this week, they sold their first piece in the United States. The violin retails at $8,000 and is compatible with standard guitar effect pedals.