Picture of A carbon fibre violin i made from scratch
violin plot.jpg
carbon fibre plate.jpg
Last year i made a carbon fibre violin ,
I started out  by drawing a violin on paper ,  working out the curve heights , plotting the lot on paper ,

Once i had my plans drawn it was time to start making moulds , the violin plate moulds started as block of plaster , that i routed out and fine carved to produce a "plug" , the 1st mould was taken off that  , then fine finishing the top and bottom plate  mould  took about 1 month , and i  still had a lot of fibreglass moulds to make , rib mould , neck mould ,   finger board mould, they all take time. ,
To have a Shop Bot would be a huge help with the mould making  , change the shape slightly on the CAD drawings ,rerun CAM , and watch the Shop Bot produce its magic on HDPE ( only a dream )., using a Shop Bot to draw perf lines , and trim the carbon fibre , i wish i could afford one .

The first plates i made from carbon fibre were way to stiff , "tap tone's " told me it was better used as a brass bell than a violin , after producing about 10 violin plates i was getting into the ball park of tone , a combination of different materials  , laid down in different thicknesses in different areas produced a violin front and back plate i was happy with .

I used the infusion method of carbon fibre making , were you lay all your layers up dry and vacuum bag it , once the vacuum is over 25hg (-12psi) you open the tap to the resin , and the vacuum pulls the resin into the carbon fibre fabric , the laying up of the rib mould took me 5 hours each side to get the fabric to sit in the right position , very fiddly ( pardon the pun) .

The gluing jig was made from MDF with 10mm cup heads sticking through , designed to allow side ways positioning of the rib and neck parts , and the holding down clamps for the top and bottom , the centre part  of the jig was removed to glue the top on, with the 4 hour set time of the resin ,its important to keep it all firmly heard in position. 

The cutting and shaping of the f holes is another reason they call them fiddles , carbon fibre is a bugger to cut , found that if you submerge the carbon fibre in water and use a Flexi Drive bit holder on a Dremmel, it keeps every thing cold , and produces no dust , just ware a rain coat 

After a final coat of clear and a polish it was ready to string up and hand over  too some who who could play it , ive had grate feed back and a few offers for this violin and at the moment are remoulding for violin 2 ,working on the  2nd set of plans  now ,drawing them up on a  low budget Cad , AutoCAD would be a big  leap for me and  used with a Shop Bot would speed up design changes 100 fold , and allow me to produce Cello's and Violas .

All up it took me 10 months of Sundays , from the time i decided to start to finished product , i had never made a violin before , and my carbon fibre skills were below basic , it was a huge learning curve but between the info on the net and getting your hands dirty and " givin it a go" , anything is possible

Dont forget to vote for this ,
by Ken Van Laatum 
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jstanton61 year ago
Found this carbon fiber violin maker who has managed to keep the scroll work on the end of the neck. Pretty rad.
AussieCFviolin (author)  jstanton61 year ago
lol , kickback fund raising for digitizing an existing violin and making aluminium molds , great idea , i went down the track of buying a CNC machine and making a furnace , so i can sand cast aluminium molds , the machine and polish the surface ( 36hours to get too mirror finish ) , im on my 4th CAD drawn violin plans now

CNC ,with CAD and aluminium / diesel furnace set me back , $4000( a lot of work and learning curve ) , lol , less than 1/2 of what hes asking for 1 one set of molds to be made ?
Aussie. Thanks for the great write up. Would you be availabke by email or chat? i'd like to pick your brain on a project i have and it's too lenghty to write here. My email is javier at coachcall dot net
AussieCFviolin (author)  AussieCFviolin1 year ago
the advantage of owning your own CNC is that the inside of plates can be ground down to perfect thickness , and the out line and F holes cut with out any hands on time
Holy.. If I had a violin like this I'd definitely start playing xD
Amazing work!!
Should have made the bridge piece out of carbon fibre though. Would have looked better. But maybe there is a reason it's wood?
redsunmtm1 year ago
really nice work,
a friend of mine made a copy of "Lucille" the famous guitar, but he played only one time with it in concert and got shocked with electricity, so now it is only decorating his rest room... :(
BLUEBLOBS22 years ago
Who doesn't think carbon fiber is awesome? Anyone?
it is, but it is also really cancerous !
Raphango1 year ago
Marvelous! =~~)
Congratulations man! You rock!
nEt4ward1 year ago
Will it work without the vacuum bagging process?
vnams1 year ago
What kind of carbon fibre cloth did you use?
AussieCFviolin (author)  vnams1 year ago
2Ktwill , 12kUni , 6kuni , 2kUni , all sorts
A carbon fiber violin by the brand Luis and Clark was featured in WIRED magazine for $5539!
Aussie I am working on a project where the connecting rod of an engine will be subjected to very powerful magnetic fields. Powerful enough that the eddy currents in a metal connecting rod might generate to much heat. Could a connecting be made out of carbon fiber?
AussieCFviolin (author)  neferkamichael1 year ago
Carbon conducts electricity , so will still have eddy currents , probably worse and more uncontrollable than aluminum / steel
Maybe a Kevlar blend would be better ?
The question is.... does it sound good? I play violin.
crasch482 years ago
you could use sketchup a google cad program. it is free and has a large following. they have an extensive library of drawings, possibly already have a violin or viola to start from. you did a great job! thanks for your instructable!!!
AussieCFviolin (author)  crasch482 years ago
no i dont think you could draw one in google sketch
I'm going to have to agree with AussieCFviolin. I've been using sketchup for 5 years now, have been able to master something as difficult as the attached photo, but the only thing I can figure the program doing with ease would be drawing the several circles to create the paper violin shape.

Wonderful work sir. Thank you for sharing your instructable. :)
Apologies, the photo would not attach. Here is a direct link:
im using turboCADpro to draw them , drawing up my 4th molds this week
i only had a short play with google sketch , with out the type in edit boxes on the bottom most CADs have , it would be hard to position any thing accurately
soouncool2 years ago
jawasan2 years ago
I was the owner of a small, yet successful, carbon fiber parts manufacturing company in the automotive industry, and I must say this violin is EXCELLENT! Very very nice work my friend! Wow.
dunnos2 years ago
I want a guitar like this :3
freeza362 years ago
I haven't done much with CAD, but from what I have... that seems really difficult. Great Job
freeza362 years ago
I haven't done much with CAD, but from what I have... that seems really difficult. Great Job
stickbf2 years ago
Impressed with the project and responses, however the spelling skills are atrocious . Bought a book years ago because of an article in mechanical engineering. The book was a specially designed book of info templates etc. by 2 brothers named Doerr.
stickbf stickbf2 years ago
Actually I've bought many books but I actually bought 2 of the Doerr violin books and donated one to the Carnegie Library of PPittsburgh music Department.
AussieCFviolin (author)  stickbf2 years ago
thanks for the complements , and wow you bought a book once ????
Uptonb3 years ago
Congrats on being a finalist, and good luck!
I would love to hear it played...
I second (or as other have also requested, 5th or 6th) this request. A video of you playing it?
AussieCFviolin (author)  imartens3 years ago
lol i cant play
ok ok , ill dig it out of the shed and restring it , tune it up and play it to the best of my ability , 4 open string notes , i can manage that , the bugs are a bit loud now , but it would be better than traffic during the day , im on to it
Don't do that... Get someone who can play WELL to play it. The violin is beautiful but if the sound quality isn't right then there is no since building it.
AussieCFviolin (author)  mr.incredible3 years ago
well did you hear it ?, oh ,you want to judge the player not the instrument
No judgement at all on your part. Obviously your build skills rock. It is beautiful, I would just like to hear the sound quality.
jimintampa3 years ago
Instead of AutoCAD, you might try BricsCAD, go to It costs $395US & has all the functionality of AutoCAD & none of the attitude.
AussieCFviolin (author)  jimintampa3 years ago
dunno ,Autodesk's AUTO CAD is pretty well an industry standard , they use it at my work now on a self loading CNC robotic cabinet making machine ( different department ) ,i would hate to learn another CAD that isn't used much ,like the one im using now

have you seen Autodesk's up and coming Photo's to 3D addon ?? in testing now at
unbelievable soft ware , take a heap of photos of an object , following there guide lines , up load them , and they come back as a 3d CAD drawing
Wow...yet another piece of awesomeness that I've learned from this incredible Instructable. You've got my vote.

But please do answer the question (that preventec47 asked earlier): so what IS the low cost CAD program that you are using?
Why would you pay that much? Check out DraftSight

It is free and developed by Dassault Systemmes owner of SolidWorks and Catia. It must be missing a lot of what AutoCAD has because it is on 66MB but it works on Windows Mac and even includes deb and rpm files for Linux.

The interface is pretty much identical to AutoCAD 2004 so you wouldn't have much relearning to do.
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