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Olaf Diegel and Forust Company Showcase 3D Printed Wooden Guitar

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Designed by Olaf Diegel, professor of additive manufacturing at the University of Auckland, this instrument was manufactured using Forust's unusual 3D printing process using wood waste and lignin-based bioresin.

Olaf is fond of designing all sorts of unusual musical instruments, and being an expert in the field of additive technologies, he actively uses 3D printing to make his products and even started a company called ODD Guitars.

Back in 2016, he demonstrated a guitar with a 3D printed aluminum body made using selective laser sintering of metal powders. The design speaks for itself, with the instrument weighing just over three and a half kilograms.

There is nothing particularly new about plastic 3D printed guitars. A variant of such a guitar made of composite carbon-filled material can be easily made on a large-format 3D printer, for example, the Modix Big-40. But wooden 3D printed guitars appear to be the first of their kind.

Forust is a subsidiary of Massachusetts-based developer and manufacturer of 3D printers Desktop Metal, which has been actively buying up industry enterprises to enrich its technology portfolio. The ExOne and EnvisionTEC companies are already part of Desktop Metal. The latter, although known primarily for professional resin 3D printers, developed its own version of Binder Jetting technology using a robotic arm, and now EnvisionTEC's developments have grown into another project called Forust, which is led by Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, the founders of the Emerging Objects studio.

The peculiarity of the new project is that Forust offers 3D printing services with sawmill waste, that is, real sawdust. The sawdust is layered, compacted, and then the system applies a pattern using a head that sprays a binder — a kind of epoxy based on lignin, one of the main polymers in the composition of wood. The result is practically natural wood products, albeit in terms of composition rather than structure. The technology not only makes it possible to dispose of waste and at least somehow reduce deforestation but also obtain products of high geometric complexity, which is seen from this example.

The guitar is designed in SolidWorks and nTopology. The intricate pattern is referred to as a "lattice structure with a thrice-periodic minimal surface". The instrument features a Warmoth neck with Gotoh tuners, Seymour Duncan dual pickups, and a Schaller tailpiece. 

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