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3DVarius, the First 3D-printed Electric Violin

lightweight, fluid design... and of course music !

IF WE 3Dprint your own violin, can we play better music?

Laurent Bernadac is an INSA Toulouse engineer, and a virtuoso musician as well (Medal  at the Conservatoire de Toulouse, Jazz Guitar & Violin Section). Laurent had a challenge: design an electric violin which wouldn't weigh more than a classic, wooden acoustic one. After several trials, he found the solution: a 3D Printed Violin. He named his concept 3Dvarius.

The promise is now a success:

  • A Kickstarter has been launched successfully.
  • The first violins will are commercialized to customers all around the world since mid December 2016.


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The feel of the classical violin

Let's come back on this success story with an interview with Laurent Bernadac.

-"Not every musician designs his own instrument. Tell us about yourself and what motivates you."

-"I’m 28 years old, I live in Toulouse and I’m a mechanical and energy engineer, as well as a professional violinist. I play the electric violin, and I was seeking a unique way to play it that differed from the classical violin, which I play as well. I wanted to take the electric violin in a new direction. I love to discover and invent new things, and I’ve always tried to improve details that bothered me in every violin I’ve tried, to add more lightness. I try to reproduce the feeling of a classical violin on an electric violin, which has a more powerful, pure sound. This violin was really a personal project, driven by passion, to create an instrument that reflects who I am. I spent three years designing it, because I wasn’t in a hurry and didn’t have any orders to fill, since the violin was for me. My training as an engineer at INSA Toulouse was obviously helpful."

-"What are your sources of inspiration?"

-"I’m inspired by all of my experiences, and when I am able to produce through precision and effort, by analyzing what works and what doesn’t. Aerospace and space technology were a major inspiration, in particular for the design aspects. The violin is quite sleek – I wanted it to be as inconspicuous as possible, so that it almost disappears behind the musician. Light, yet with a strong identity. That’s why it’s clear and has a few curved shapes similar to aerodynamic designs. In aerospace, we try to achieve solidity and strength, as well as reliability and lightness. I sought to do the same with my violin – the instrument had to have the least amount of material possible, with all the requisite characteristics in terms of strength."

-"How did the creation process unfold?"

-"I used all sorts of digital resources. I did a lot of drawings, a lot of testing, and a lot of research on mechanics and sound waves. My school and former professors helped me a great deal and opened a lot of doors for me. I had originally wanted to make an aluminum violin, but the machining process used at that time unfortunately wasn’t able to produce the design I was looking for. I was also looking for transparency and aluminum was not suitable. In the end, I opted for polycarbonate. The 3D printing technique used is stereolithography, which offers precision as fine as ten microns. This technology uses a UV laser to polymerize photosensitive liquid resin. And I of course designed it on your amazing software: CATIA !"

  • Laurent Bernadac
    Laurent Bernadac
  • Pauline Henric
    Pauline Henric
  • The violin
    The violin

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