Wood beam (1 inch wide, .5-.75 inch thick)
Polycarbonate sheet .093 inch thick
3D printer filament (PLA will work)
Violin strings (be sure to look on amazon for cheap strings)
Rivet Threaded inserts 1/4-20
Hot Glue (always)
Step 1: Clear and Musical!
Welcome to my instructable on a hand built instrument with a CLEAR body made with hand tools and a drill. No laser cutters, CNC, or anything else needed!! The only thing you need to buy online are the strings (which are incredibly cheap on amazon) - everything else that’s needed for materials you may already posses, or can easily find in a hardware store.
If YOU are a music lover and a builder - this project is perfect. Anyone of all ages can build this instrument with your own flair! Even better, this can have a bridge clip put on the bridge then connect it into a amp, and BAM, electric violin made. This also sounds great as an acoustic, but can easily used as an electric as well.
Attached Below is a video of me plucking and playing the violin, keep in mind I am NOT a professional violinist (I apologize for out of tune notes - I should spend more time practicing than designing)
Step 3: The Design and Basic Structure
It uses 3D printed sides and a polycarbonate top and bottom. To hold all of this together, wooden beams screwed together will hold the structure sound (pun totally not intended..... :D). The 3D printed sides will have holes already in the design so when screwing the screw into the wood, it will not crack the weaker PLA.
The strings will use a custom developed system using nuts and bolts to tune, and the other end will take a nail, slide it through the loop at the end of the string, and hammer it into the wood.
Pro Tip: Throughout this Instructable, drill the screws into the wood slowly or the wood will crack.
Step 4: Printing the Sides
Before anything, 3D print the siding. I designed the sides to be in 2 separate pieces because my printer has a smaller print bed. Feel free to combine them and play with it though. The files for the sides are attached.
For Fun... You could mismatch the colors to make your violin more unique!
Step 5: Wood Framing
The secret sauce with getting PLA and wood to be attached somehow is........You guessed it, Holes!
The holes already printed into the siding will let you drill the screw into the wood without cracking the 3D printed part.
I will not put exact dimensions of the wood beams because you should find the size that fits you the best. To use the dimensions in the one I built, use the dimensions in the CAD drawing.
Pro Tip #2: Use sanding paper to round the wood at the end to fit snug into the siding.
Step 7: Clear Body - Clear Sound
Now for the never seen before part!!
Trace the Framing onto a sheet of Polycarbonate (Preferably Lexan) and use Tin Snips - these can be found a local hardware store - and cut out 2 body frames. Use Big tin snips to get the general shape, and small ones to cut smooth curves.
Step 11: Learn How the Tuning System Will Work
Take 4 nails and hammer them into string ends with the loop, into the wood. this will hold the strings down, and unfortunately this means no fine tuning, but it ensure the strings will be held down.
The tuning system will work by taking a bolt and use it as a "peg" but it doesn't turn. The sequence ON the bolt will go as followed - Nut, Washer, String, Washer, Nut. This will essentially sandwich the string into staying in the place for tuning. Use the nut on the end of the bolt to tune, use a wrench to tune it, one way will tighten it (sharper) and one way will loosen it (flatter) depending on the side of the tuning system it is on
Step 12: Building the Tuning System
Attach a wooden beam on each side of the neck, and drill 2 holes into each. In those holes, use a rivet gun to put a threaded insert in it. This will allow the deadbolt to screw in.
Next, Screw in the deadbolt into all the holes. Put a nut, then washer onto each deadbolt. Now wrap the string ONE TIME around the deadbolt. Finish the tuning system by putting another washer and nut onto the deadbolt.
Pro Tip #3: Slide a straw onto the E and D strings so they don't cut the wood (See Photo).
Pro Tip #4: Start Tuning with the lowest string, then move up to the next lowest and so on. This will not mess up the tuning every time a new string is tuned.
Step 15: Bridge and Balsa!
3D print the bridge attached to this step. It will hold the strings, and not fall over on the slicker surface due to the extra block added on the end on my design. Also my bridge attached is taller than a normal bridge so the bow doesn't hit the sides when playing.
I took a piece of balsa wood from my shed and cut it to the correct angle and glued it onto the neck.
Pro Tip #5: Cut up strips of painters tape to make "tapes" for the finger placement
Step 20: YOU DID IT!!
Enjoy Your FULLY FUNCTIONAL Instrument and play your heart out.
I hope everyone enjoyed this instructable, If you have a question - post in the comments and I will get back to you ASAP.
If you liked and enjoyed this instructable, feel free to drop me a vote in the Rope and Strings Challenge!
Participated in the
Rope & String Speed Challenge