Jan Schmidt prints violin on 3D printer

The pink plastic violin.

The pink plastic violin.

IT’S a violin orchestrated on a 3D printer – no strings attached, however.

Victorian man Jan Schmidt printed the full-size and operational violin a couple of weeks ago on his own 3D printer at home.

He printed three sections plus the neck in ABS plastic – the same used in Lego – before he added store-bought tuning pegs and strings.

“The most expensive part was the strings and they cost $15,” he said.

“By the time I added the bow and case it cost more than the violin.”

Having refined his own homemade 3D printer since 2010, Mr Schmidt, from Baranduda, said the violin was his most satisfying project to date.

“It was a challenge for my 3D printer; I had to rebuild part of it to do it,” he said.

Mr Schmidt said it was based on a design by American husband and wife Matt and Kaitlyn Hova, who released the Hovalin.

He said it took 50 hours to print the third version of their design.

“Matt is the designer and his wife Kaitlyn is the musician,” he said.

A flautist, Mr Schmidt said he had shown his violin to colleagues at the Murray Conservatorium in Albury.

“It sounds like an $80 or $90 Aldi violin,” he quipped. “Still the students were impressed you can spin one out on a 3D printer at home.

“You could probably get a little fatigued from holding it and also a little fatigued from listening to it.”

A computer engineer who writes software for mostly European clients, Mr Schmidt started printing trinkets and models of Yoda.

PRINT EDITION: Baranduda computer engineer Jan Schmidt has created a violin on his homemade 3D printer. It was made with ABS plastic. Pictures: MARK JESSER

PRINT EDITION: Baranduda computer engineer Jan Schmidt has created a violin on his homemade 3D printer. It was made with ABS plastic. Pictures: MARK JESSER

“My first try at Yoda was an unrecognisable blob; they’ve come a long way,” he said.

“You can easily buy 3D printers but I wanted to build it myself for the journey and the learning process.”

Mr Schmidt is a volunteer repairer of battery-operated appliances at the monthly Repair Cafe Albury Wodonga and a member of Make Albury Wodonga, which invites makers, geeks and gamers to chat about their passions. 

Make Albury Wodonga also hosts open days on the Border to display 3D printable items, electronics and robots.

It has 65 members on Facebook and welcomes new members.

Together with wife Jaime, Mr Schmidt has two sons, Arthur, 3, and Oliver, 1.

“Arthur is a little bit confused about the printer; he thinks all of the plastic things we have come out of it.”

The Border Mail