World's first 3D-printed saxophone

Olaf Diegel, Professor of Product Development at Lund University, took just sixc months to develop a prototype from which he created the world's irst 3D-printed saxophone.

World's first 3D-printed saxophoneThe saxophone was printed in nylon from 41 different components, weighing 25 per cent less than the weight of a real saxophone. And while it sounds impressive, Diegel is already planning another prototype, with both mechanical and aesthetic improvements.

''The next version will be even better looking, as 3D printing allows me to create shapes that would be impossible to make with traditional manufacturing'', says Professor Diegel.

Diegel has previously printed other instruments, including guitars, and says one major advantage of the method is customising instruments to individual needs.

''One day, we could see people starting to get involved in the design of their own products so that the products suit their needs or personalities better'', says Diegel.

How does the 3D printing process work?

Diegel explains, ''I first designed the saxophone in 3D CAD software. Then, I sent the model to the 3D printer which sliced it up into very thin slices, and then "printed" each slice, one on top of the other until the whole sax was printed.

"In this case, it "printed" each slice by spreading a very thin layer of plastic powder, and a laser then scanned the shape of the sax for that layer. After that, it spread another layer of powder on top of the first, and repeated the process again and again until the whole sax was done.''