Drafting and Design Technology Prints Valencia’s First 3D Electric Violin

wc-electric-violin-collage-groveA message from Falecia Williams, President, West Campus

If you can think it up, we can print it out.

At a time when the prior stuff of science-fiction films has now become reality, the drafting and design technology program on Valencia College’s West campus has developed a capability to create products from which untold facets of society could benefit.

For a few years now, the engineering, computer programming and technology division, under the guidance of Dean Lisa Macon, and in particular the drafting program under program chair Andy Ray, professor of building construction technology, has produced 3D prints in the forms of models, like biplanes or a miniaturized copy of Shakespeare’s Globe. But now the page has turned, for the school has produced a tool that can be used to produce something else. In this case, it’s music and the College’s first, 3D printed electric violin!

Patricia Lynch, instructional assistant, senior, in the engineering division, was instrumental (excuse the pun) in making this happen, as it was Pat who obtained all the necessary pieces to put the fiddle together. The 3D musical instrument is composed of three parts: the wood-like substance coming out of the 3D printer, a metal rod connecting the “wood” throughout the whole of the violin and the various electronics and tuning devices needed to bring the instrument, long regarded as “the closest thing to the human voice,” to life.

After printing out the random pieces for the base of the violin — Pat explained that they just happened to print out in “Captain America colors” due to availability of materials — from a design obtained online, the steel rod and electronics were inserted, and presto — an electric violin that really works! Like most electric violins, it is battery operated, but Neal Phillips, professor of English, a string-instrument enthusiast, said, “It sounds as good as or better than my $800 Yamaha electric violin.”

At a total cost of around $150, the Valencia 3D violin, Captain America edition, is extremely cost effective as violins go. And if a violin can be printed out and assembled cheaply, then what about other musical instruments? And could they be sold? Or better yet, could enough instruments be printed to outfit a school orchestra? Multiple schools? The possibilities are endless!

After highlighting the success of the violin with a brief performance at the West Campus Welcome Back event, Neal used the instrument at the WOLF 103.1 Songwriter Rounds in Orlando and at other venues.

“People were more interested in that violin than anything else I’ve ever experienced,” said Neal. The success of the 3D printed electric violin reaffirms that Valencia College is not only a great place for students to carve out their futures, it is a place where the future is literally being carved out as well.

Watch the 3D violin in action below.

1 Comment

  • Karen Murray said:

    Very cool, Engineering, Computer Programming, and Technology, and my colleague, Neal!!

    PMThu, 17 Sep 2015 20:28:06 +0000Thu, 17 Sep 2015 20:28:06 +0000pm15,8:28 pm

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