Ukulele Printed From 3D Printer

Guitars printed from a 3D printer have been available for a while now, but 3D printed ukulele's have been left out in the dark up until recently. Some of the people who have created ukulele's include engineering students from the Rochester Institute of Technology and ErikJDurwoodII, a user on Thingiverse.

Matthew is another person interested in making his own instruments and decided that 3D printing a ukulele would be a good start. Matthew has also created his own violins and other instruments before deciding to 3D print a ukulele.

The 3D printed ukulele that Matthew created was full sized and was 35cm in length. He used the 3D design program Solid Works to make the file for the ukulele, which took about a week to create and 37 hours to print all the components. The printer that was used to create the ukulele was a Stratasys Dimension 1200es 3D Printer.

It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows for Matthew because the 3D printer had trouble printing the neck of the ukulele. According to Matthew the vertically printed neck had a much finer finish, but the printer wouldn't print the frets. “It seems if the neck is in a certain orientation in the printer software the frets were eliminated” said Matthew. He decided to try print the neck horizontally, which worked apparently.

The entire cost of the ukulele was around a surprisingly low US$70 and it sounded good according to Matthew. Matthew wrote, “sounds remarkably like a ukulele”. After he put all the parts of the ukulele together, Matthew had to do some tweaking to get it playable. We will be keeping a closer eye on Matthew to see what other creations he might just make.


It takes usually many months to craft a koa wood ukulele, but three engineering students from Rochester Institute of Technology printed out an ukulele in just one night.

Betsy Khol, Jeet Mehta and Joe Noble developed a 3D model of ukulele in the computer and sent it off to a 3D printer in RIT's Brinkman Lab.

    "Our goal was to have something that was just one piece, so that there was no assembly required. Because it was so small to begin with, we could scale it to a size of the true instrument and hope that it would still play," says Khol, an industrial and systems engineering student.

The printer printed the scale model Using nano-ink, plastic in very fine particles, layer by layer. About midway, they changed the cartridge of black nano-ink for orange to produce the Tiger image on the face of the ukulele. The next day, they added four strings, frets and tuning pegs. In just 24 hours the students have created a scale working model of ukulele.


Watch the first successful tuning and play of Makerlele in the video below. The Makerlele was printed with a Makerbot Replicator 2 in PLA plastic and strung with standard Martin Ukulele strings.  

"You can make more complex geometries on this kind of machine because it does not require tooling, you are just layering plastic or powder," says Khol. "You can even make things with moving parts."

(collectibles: "3ders" and "3dprinterplans" )