Degree show 3D Printed Guitars

An Invergordon design student has used his final year project to investigate whether it is possible to print a guitar.

Michael Smith (21), who is currently studying Product Design at Gray’s School of Art, has developed Rapidly Printed Guitars (RPG), a unique spin on the manufacturing of electric guitars, as part of his Degree Show project.

The former Invergordon Academy pupil merged traditional guitar building techniques with the emerging technology of 3D printing to allow products to be built quickly, with a high level of detail for relatively little expense.

Michael said: “By using this process the end user is able to create an instrument that meets their specifications at the fraction of the cost, time and skill that would normally be needed to build an instrument.

“I really wanted to create an object that gave the end user almost full control over the design – through a mix of processes I feel that I’ve been able to achieve that. While I am happy with the end prototype there is still a lot that I can do to take the project further, such as the machine heads and pickups.”

Michael, whose work is on display as part of the Gray’s School of Art Degree Show until June 28, said his interest in building a musical instrument had been the inspiration behind the project.

He added: “I’ve also been hugely driven over the past four years by processes and making and exploring different techniques so this project allowed me to explore everything that I’ve learned over my time at the university.

“3D printing has been a process that has interested me since I was in school and I saw this as an opportunity to really explore all that it has to offer. I was also interested by the combination of processes (rapid prototyping and traditional methodologies) and how these can be used together in the future to create better products.”

Release by
Jenny Rush

Communications Officer | Design and Technology


  1. Amazing development. Where was it built?

    • callumkellie says:

      We have a range of rapid prototyping machinery here at Gray’s which include a 3D Printer so the guitar was printed by the student within the school.

    • msmithdesign says:

      Hi John,
      The smaller components of the instrument were created on a variety of different FDM machines like makerbots, utilimakers and a larger printer that we had access to in the school. However I had to have the body of the guitar printed by a company called “laserlines” as I was unable to find a machine at the time that had a big enough build platform. The rest of the instrument I used more traditional techniques.

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