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Music technology teacher and researcher Harris Matzaridis has harnessed the power of 3D printing to replicate an extremely rare master violin. The Stradivarius Sunrise, crafted in 1677 by the Stradivari family, has been faithfully recreated using a combination of printing technology and more traditional, handcrafted techniques.
“With 3D printed violin replicas, anyone can have a small ‘taste’ of an old master instrument, without wearing out the original,” Matzaridis told Digital Trends. “3D printed violins can incorporate a fresh approach not only in instrument making, but also in acoustic research studies.”
The violin took two years to make, and used more than 40 3D-printed parts. The various parts were then assembled using traditional lutherie techniques, with decorations carved as on a traditional instrument. Matzaridis was careful to use wood for the pegs, tailpiece, ebony fingerboard, soundpost, bridge and endpin, and is pleased to report that the violin shares acoustic and tonal similarities with the Stradivarius.
“The hardest overall challenge was to make a functional violin that does not deform or break under string tension, while sounding rich, fully natural and as least plastic as possible,” he said.
Matzaridis is currently developing a varnish for specific use on 3D printed parts, which will act “more like natural varnish and less like harsh plastic”. He also plans to build more violin replicas, as well as larger acoustic instruments.
“Museums or research institutions can freely ask for their violins to be replicated for their museum indoor use, it is something that can be done as we speak,” Matzaridis said. “Also any organisation or tech exhibition can invite me to speak and showcase my work in their premises. The violin is playable so they can even invite a violinist of their choice to play it so everyone can have a chance to hear it in person. I am currently constantly analysing audio results, making comparative tests between printed and non-printed violins and preparing for academic journals’ proposals to publish those results.”