If you ask me, 3D printing is the future of small-scale and short-run manufacturing. Assuming that the technology can come down in cost and increase in speed, many of the smaller items we use will eventually be 3D printed – at least custom stuff, like these awesome 3D printed guitars by Olaf Diegel.
A professor at Auckland, New Zealand’s Massey University, Diegel created these beautiful and lightweight 3D printed electric guitars using a combination of alumide and polyamide materials with an EOS Formiga P100 selective laser sintering machine – a serious industrial 3D printer. I doubt you’d be able to do something this impressive with a Makerbot, but I’m happy to be proven wrong.
His current designs, the Scarab and Spider, feature a cool open air design, and tremendous depth and detail thanks to the capabilities of the 3D printing tech. I love the tiny insects and plants on the inside of these things.
Of course, while the guitar bodies are 3D printed, the neck, pickups, frets and strings are all standard electric guitar parts. Maybe someday those can be 3D printed too.
I’m not sure if Olaf is offering these guitars for sale, but if you’re interested, he has contact information up on his University web page.