Violins can range in price from hundreds to thousands of dollars, a big investment for someone curious about learning how to play.
Alex Davies, a Dartmouth resident, attempted to find a way around the steep price by making his own.
“I was interested in learning the violin for a while, in a vague sort of ‘I’m never going to actually do this’ sort of way,” he said from his workspace near Wyse Road. “Violins are expensive.”
So he took the matter into his own hands and endeavored to make one.
His partner on the project, Tristan Trim, had worked on a paper mache cello beforehand. Trim said the violin was much easier to construct due to its size.
They submitted their violin design to an online contest called The Deconstruction, where they had 48 hours to complete the project.
“We made the deadline, even a little bit under time,” Davies said. “Maybe eight hours to spare, and we even slept once or twice.”
And how did they do it?
Using an open-source design program on a computer, they designed the shape of a prototype violin mould and then, using a 3D printer, created one.
3D printing is a process of making a three-dimensional solid object of almost any shape using a digital model. It’s achieved by using an additive process, where successive layers of material are laid down in different shapes. The technique is taking the technology world by storm as a new way to create virtually anything.
Once their prototype was ‘printed’ they put a paper mache cast over it and voila! A violin.
“One of the things we thought was really cool about the project is that it’s literally paper, cardboard and paste, so you could do it on a budget of basically five dollars,” he said.
Although the violin doesn’t sound as pure as a conventionally made instrument, Trim says it’s only a matter or perfecting their design.
“Honestly I’d like to get a working instrument for $20, that would be a pretty sweet deal,” he said.
“There’s so many interesting things happening with 3D printing and that sort of thing, it doesn’t make sense not to be a part of it,” he said. “When you can go out and buy some materials and access all of the information that people are putting out into the world via the Internet, there’s no reason not to learn and create stuff all of the time.”