If you own a 3D printer you’ll undoubtedly be looking for new projects to work on, and neat things to use and show off. 3D printed musical instruments are one of the coolest things you can create, and with a plethora of options out there, it’s easy to see why.
- We also have a guide to all the coolest things to 3D print.
Many instruments require extra parts like tuners or strings, but it’s amazing what can be accomplished with 3D printing instruments. These range from wind instruments like flutes and ocarinas, to stringed instruments like guitars and basses.
Most of us have at least considered picking up and learning an instrument at some point in our lives. It’s easy to get bogged down in the options available, not to mention how hard it is to think of your instrument as unique when it simply came off a shelf.
This is where 3D printed instruments stand out. Not only will you have made your instrument yourself, but you’ll make it unique to you. These make for good looking pieces that are worth bragging about, even before you pick up and play.
Therefore, here’s 7 of the coolest 3D printed musical instrument projects you can make at home today.
The Black Widow 3D Printed Guitar – A New Take on an Old Favorite
Guitars are often the first thing that comes to mind when we think of musical instruments, and the same goes for 3D printed instruments.
Whether you play or not, you’ll know that guitars come in many different forms. While there are plenty of acoustic and mini guitar models out there to try out, one of the coolest designs for a 3D printed guitar is easily the Black Widow.
Not only does it look cool, the Black Widow has found a good following from many different 3D printing enthusiasts willing to share their advice with others.
This following is thanks to its sound as well as its design. Whether it’s your first guitar or a new addition to your collection, the Black Widow is a great 3D printed guitar for anyone interested in picking up a new axe. You can hear how it sounds in the video below.
With a printing time of 100+ hours, and plenty of opportunities to change the design to your liking, the Black Widow is customizable and fully open to tweaks and touches. This makes it a great choice for anyone looking for a 3D printed musical instrument project with a little extra challenge.
Because it’s an electric guitar, it will need strings, tuners, and various other parts to function. Fortunately, the creator has also linked these along with the free files here.
3D Printed Croaking Frog – A Cute Touch of Zen
Essentially a cross between a washboard and a singing bowl, guiros are a neat instrument that anyone can play. Commonly depicted as a frog, this 3D printed musical instrument doubles as a cute decorative piece.
The frog shape comes from both the ideal shape, and the fact that the noise produced sounds like croaking. Because it’s an easy-to-play percussion instrument with no extra parts, this is a great go-to for a 3D printed instrument for beginners to both music and 3D printing.
The croaking frog is satisfying, even soothing, to play, and the design includes a stick that can be held in the frog’s mouth for both convenience and cuteness. The designer has even included links to separate model hats to decorate your new instrument.
You can find the free files for this simple 3D printed percussion instrument here.
3D Printed Ocarina – Yes, That One
Because of the varieties in density, PLA filaments lend themselves well to fully playable 3D printed wind instruments. In general, wind instruments are great, simple projects to enjoy and show off. The ocarina is particularly cool because it’s both exotic and recognizable.
Despite being around for centuries and coming in a variety of shapes and sizes, the ocarina is best known these days for its prominence in Nintendo’s famous Ocarina of Time for the Nintendo 64.
Unsurprisingly, 3D designers have been preparing and tweaking designs for their very own playable 3D printed ocarina at home.
Even if you’re not a gamer, the simple yet elegant design should appeal to anyone who wants to 3D print their own wind instrument. Made in only a handful of parts and requiring little to no engineering, this fully playable ocarina models come in two forms.
The simplest is the ‘sweet potato’ design you can see being made in the video below.
The other is the updated 12-hole ocarina, which is aesthetically closer to the ocarina we all know and love today.
Simplicity and style aside, these are still fully playable 3D printed musical instruments. You can hear how the 12-hole ocarina sounds in the video below.
Twist-Off Maracas – Twist and Shake this 3D Printed Musical Instrument!
Maracas may seem like one of the most basic instruments available, but the variety of sounds they can make depends on what’s in them.
This design for 3D printed maracas includes a twist-off top that you can fill with anything from buttons to paper clips to produce different noises as you shake.
Testing out which materials and fillings make the best sounds can be a fun and educational activity for kids and adults alike.
The model can be made with any material and only takes around 2 hours to print, so it won’t be too long before you’re free to test out different fillings to get into the rhythm!
The free files for this fun and easy 3D printed instrument are available here.
Soprano 3D Printed Ukulele – Find the Right Chord
While ukuleles may seem like more of a CNC router project, they’re also available as a 3D printed instrument project.
This design model for a full-sized and playable for a 3D printed ukulele has seen great popularity across the internet, with many people making and sharing their own tweaks to make the design more affordable or easier to print.
Ukuleles require extra parts, like soundboards and tuners, which can also be 3D printed for your convenience.
While the initial design was made with an industrial grade 3D printer in mind, the design has been tweaked so more affordable 3D printers can print it.
The video below shows how these changes have been made to suit more affordable machines without detracting from its overall quality or playability.
The files for this instrument are available for free here.
Recorder Flute – an Ancient Classic reimagined as a 3D printed instrument
The recorder was many people’s first instrument, largely due to its age and relative simplicity to learn. So it’s not surprising that it’s a very popular 3D printed instrument project for many people today.
Recorder flutes look sleek, are fun to play, and also look great as a bookshelf or mantlepiece ornament.
Much like the ocarina, there are many varieties and shapes of flute available that can be made of almost any material. Make sure the edges are smooth and sanded down before you play for both comfort and safety, especially if you’re using wood.
Flautists may not be the rock stars of the music world, but after printing your own from the files found here, you’ll soon see why this centuries-old instrument is still a popular choice for modern musicians.
Customizable Music Box – 3D printed musical instrument with a twist
Calling a music box an instrument may not sound quite right, but your mind may be quickly changed when you try out this fully customizable design using built-in combs and music cylinders to play any kind of tune.
Entirely 3D printed, this instrument earns a spot on this list because its design incorporates a click-in slot for changeable cylinders. This means that, with enough knowhow and practice, you’ll be able to design and create your own music to play whenever you want.
From Happy Birthday and Mary Had a Little Lamb, to your favorite TV show themes, and even custom tracks, there are plenty opportunities to let your creativity fly.
This 3D printed instrument also makes for a great educational tool to teach youngsters how toothed instruments work, as well as inspire them to see if they can design their own tunes using a melody generator like the one found here.
The original design found here and can be altered for different materials, or to play longer pieces as you learn and grow.