3D printed guitars hit the road

3D printed guitars are on the road for the first time as part of Klaxons tour, thanks to experts from the University of Sheffield

The UK indie rock band made a tongue-in-cheek announcement last June that their next tour would be played entirely on 3D printed instruments, but their fantasy has been turned at least partially into reality with the help of 3D-printed guitar company Customuse and 3D printing experts from the University of Sheffield.

The band’s announcement in June was made not long after University of Sheffield graduates Mahdi Hosseini, Sophie Findlay and Justas Cernas set up their new company, Customuse, (www.customu.se) to design and create custom 3D-printed guitars. Mahdi came up with the idea after realising that his dream of a personalised guitar was financially out of his reach – unless he could get one printed.

As a Sheffield student, Mahdi was lucky to have on hand Professor Neil Hopkinson, who is not only a renowned expert on 3D printing but also plays electric bass guitar. Professor Hopkinson had already supervised an undergraduate project to design and print a guitar and so was well-placed to provide Customuse with technical advice.

Customuse used guitars printed at the University of Sheffield to showcase the concept to potential investors and clients in the run-up to their crowdfunding campaign, which will be launched in December. Klaxons then selected the company to produce one-of-a-kind, custom lead and bass guitars for the band’s 3D printed tour, with each instrument personalised with the band’s own insignia.

Professor Neil Hopkinson said: “When the Klaxons announced their tour would be 3D printed, they didn’t seem to really believe it could happen, but for guitars at least it’s a very achievable goal. 3D printing is the ideal technology to create personalised instruments of this kind, as it allows you to have an intricate design with a lightweight body while retaining the necessary strength to ensure the guitar will work well.” 

Mahdi Hosseini said: “When we set up Customuse just a few months ago, we never imagined two of our guitars would be on the road with a band like Klaxons so soon. But having a guitar made to your individual design isn’t just for rock stars. With 3D printing, amazing designs can be created while the price tag remains realistic.”

After playing the guitars for the first time, Jamie Reynolds, bassist for Klaxons, said he was “absolutely blown away”. Bandmate and guitarist Simon Taylor-Davies compared them to the boundary-pushing guitars of the 80s, remarking that “3D printed [guitars] are about as magical as it gets”.

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