This titanium 3d-printed guitar claims to be “smash-proof”


rock stars have been smashing guitars for decades, few with more enthusiasm than swedish-born guitar virtuoso yngwie malmsteen. global engineering group, sandvik, decided to test their cutting-edge technologies by building the world’s first all-metal, unbreakable guitar and letting malmsteen unleash his smashing expertise upon it. as you can see in the video above, he had a hard time destroying it. in fact, for the first time — in a series of professional hard rock hammer movements — he failed to do so.


henrik loikkanen, machining process developer at sandvik coromant, has played guitar since his youth, when he idolized malmsteen. to understand what happens when malmsteen destroys an instrument, loikkanen turned to youtube. ‘we had to design a guitar that is unsmashable in all the different ways you can smash a guitar,’ loikkanen said. ‘the engineering challenge was that critical joint between the neck and the body that usually cracks on a guitar.’


sandvik engineers eliminated the joint between the neck and body. instead, the guitar’s neck and fretboard were milled in one machine from solid bars of recycled stainless steel, a guitar construction that had never been tried before. both the neck and fretboard extended into a rectangular ‘hub’ that reached deep into the guitar’s body.


long, slender components like the fretboard and neck are particularly vulnerable to distortion. advanced software allowed sandvik coromant to simulate milling digitally before the first cut was made, enabling the correct choice of tools, saving manufacturing time and ensuring efficient processes. ‘precision was critical,’ said henrik loikkanen, machining process developer at sandvik coromant. ‘our software is built on years of experience, giving tool and the cutting data recommendations that helped us mill the fretboard down to a challenging thickness of of 1 millimeter in places.’


meanwhile, another challenge arose– how to manufacture the guitar body, an extremely complex design due to the need for high strength at low weight. sandvik, relying on its world-leading expertise in metal powder and additive manufacturing, decided to 3D print the body. lasers traced a design in beds of fine titanium powder, fusing layers of material one on top of the other. the layers, each thinner than a human hair, built up into the body of the guitar.


zach andrews I designboom, apr 19, 2019

From Designboom