Playable Guitar - Printable Without Supports

by Solstie, published

Playable Guitar - Printable Without Supports by Solstie Oct 3, 2014

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I am working on a more refined design. My current guitar warped on me. Before having other people print it, I want to fix it (since this is such a big project). Stay tuned for the update as it will be posted again in the months ahead.

This is a 3D printable guitar!

  • The whole thing is printed. You don't need anything else but some super glue to assemble the guitar.
  • Add some strings and standard guitar tuning machines and you're done!

  • It is about 3/4 scale and is very playable.
  • See a video and hear what it sounds like here: http://youtu.be/_2lzZFKssrQ



I printed the body at 50% fill. I printed it in 3 pieces and super glued them together (attached the files for how I sliced it). No supports are needed, but I did put a small support at the top of the sound hole to ensure it looked perfect. The bottom back portion of the body is a little to steep of an angle, but mine still turned out alright (printed without supports).

You can print without supports. I printed the bottom portion of the neck (the part that is in the body) at 33% since it is supported and reinforced by the body. The main part of the neck and the head I printed at 50% fill. Less may be possible, but I wanted to ensure that it didn't warp. Slicing right behind the nut is a good idea since the alignment of the head is not critical. I included the files for how I sliced the neck.


When super gluing the neck together it is critical that you make sure the neck is aligned perfectly. A neck that is out of place even a little bit will make the frets buzz. If this happens then you can sand the frets that are creating the buzz. Sand a little at a time and work your way up the neck until the buzzing is gone. If you do a good job gluing no sanding will be required.
Strings and Tuners

You will need to buy classical guitar strings with normal tension. The tuners are the standard steel string guitar tuners available everywhere on the internet (should be able to find them for less than $10).

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Hello,I like this guitar very much,and I want to print right now!!!Can you send me an old version file?my email is [email protected] Thank you.

Has anyone who built this used metal strings on it? How does it sound?

i need the files please

why is there only one file

Feb 13, 2016 - Modified Feb 13, 2016

Can you please tell me what dimension is the largest piece? I am thinking of buying a 3d printer (just for printing this guitar) and I was wondering what size of the object does my printer needs to print. Also around what time would the files be available again? (just an estimation would be good) and how much material approximately are needed? Thanks and I really hope you reply to this comment.

Hello. I should have a new files posted in the next couple months. I have gone through a couple iterations already for new designs. Hoping my latest one works. The new design will work with an 8 inch print bed (which is pretty standard these days). If you're printer is smaller, it will be possible to break it up into smaller pieces (slices) and still print and glue it together.

Any luck on the new version? I would really like to try and make one. Even if the old files were available as a starting point, that would be great.

will you be making the files available again?

Yes. Working on the redesign, but been super busy. Will post a new connection design which will include a way to adjust the action height.

Any progress so far ?

hi, any progress on this?

thanks, i bought some carbon fiber filament to print this so it would be more rigid. i'm anxious to start. looks great.

I neeeeeedddd this!!!!!

Missing part of it
PLS replace it

Nov 8, 2015 - Modified Nov 8, 2015

I may have an easy solution for the warping. Why not print the neck (and other troublesome parts) as separate stackable layers? Those layers can then be glued together using a cheap epoxy to increase rigidity. Maybe even leave a groove for a real truss rod? I teach an applied science class at a high school and would love to be able to print these with students. I have a decent bit of luthier experience too and would be willing to help improve the files in any way I can.

How have the frets held up?

Thanks for the offer. I am working on some improvements now, but want to test them. I have never played with epoxy, but might be a good way to stiffen it. I am avoiding adding a truss rod in the center at this point.

The Ukulele is ready to go if you want to print them with your students. I have had mine for years at this point with no long term issues.

Design it with an 6-8 mm threaded rod through the neck which should also help align the neck pieces. Leave a recessed hole at the butt there it attaches to the body for an tensioning nut. You might also consider designing the neck with a (very) slight back bend. Then if you need more curve in the neck you loosen the nut and if you need to take some of the curve out you tighten the nut. You'd have to take the neck off to make adjustments but once it's set it should be good

Another place you want to watch for bowing/warping is around the bridge area so a little extra structure there never hurts.

I have a couple of old necks and I was thinking of 'cheating' and just printing a body although they are full sized and not 3/4 scale which yours looks to be. I just want something like the Martin Backpacker that I can throw in my boat and not have to worry about it getting wet or if it gets broke I can just print a new piece or two.

Printing up the ukulele now. I have a smaller M3D printer so I had to chop up the uke into smaller parts, but it should be fine. I'll put up some pics and a vid when it's done. Thanks for sharing this stuff with us. Hopefully I can print it in glow in the dark filament too and some clear filament to add LEDs.

Look forward to seeing you're print. Adding lights with clear PLA would be cool.

any chance we could have the neck in two pieces? my printers just not tall enough to print the full one but I'd like the least amount of pieces possible. or maybe just make the neck without the head?

Hey all, I was wondering approximately how long it takes to print the guitar. Thanks!

Does anyone know if it prints well without supports on a Robo R1 printer?

After playing around with this piece I can make 1 huge recommendation. Right now the head is its own piece. It should extend down into the neck. There is far to much stress placed at that juncture right now. In addition the major neck piece is about an inch to tall for many smaller printers to handle. Making this change kills to birds with one stone.

What size printer would be recommended for this?

I would recommend a printer with at least an 8 inch length to avoid slicing the body in more than one direction.

For height you will probably need to slice the files to match the max z height of your printer. I would recommend using the "neck total" and "bodyv1p2" files to slice them yourself.

how long does this take to make and are any of the pieces over 6x6x6in?

Yes. The base of the body is 8 inches in length.

I can't remember how long it took me to print all the pieces.

Can anyone offer a suggestion as to how to slice the "middle" part of the neck into two pieces so that it fits into my build volume? Or maybe even slice it for me? I don't have a lot of knowledge of these tools. Thanks...

Hey would it be possible to add square pegs and slots so the neck lines up properly when it's stuck together? And my 3d printer has a 150mm x 150mm x 135mm print volume, is there any way i could still print this?

Yes. I did that on my Ukulele designs. Works for most people but some have tolerance issues with slightly different dimensions on some printers (their scaling is just a little bit off). You could still print this. I would take the 1 piece files and slice them to your maximum volume (you can find software online for free). Although 150mm is going to require many pieces, it is still possible.


I realized the neck's middle part is maybe too tall for my printer, as I have a 195mm Z axis limit, do you think it's safe to slice it into two parts?

That should be no problem. Just make sure you line up the neck pieces perfectly when you glue them together or your frets will hit and buzz when you don't want them to.

Can someone please design added parts to make this look like a Gibson Flying V?

did any one use pla? if so could you please tell me what glue you used and how it has held up?

The one pictured is PLA. It is holding up, but noticed the neck is still creeping and my action is getting hire. I am going to work on a pre-strained version of the neck of the holidays.

Mine kept curving, I had to re tune the guitar every day. I was thinking that re printing the neck with holes in it so I can insert some metal rods could help avoid that, do you think it's a good idea?

I think that would work well. My neck moved a bit too. It stops, but now my action is higher than I like... working on a solution, but haven't had time to test it yet.

Could you file the nut slots down to reduce some of that action?

what is the ILH on the fret board for?

so how has the superglue held up?

Super glue is holding up well. Have used different glues with my ukuleles and have been holding together for over a year now.

I'd like to know the finished dimensions of this awesome little guitar to see if it will fit in my big suitcase, and also the dimensions of the largest piece, so I can get an idea of which 3D printers can make it easily.

the dimensions completed are 74 cm tall and 19 cm wide across the body. Mine is made up of 7 parts, just slice in half to fit your printer. My largest part is the neck at 23 cm in length. All parts are made from ABS, which is far easier to glue together.

Very interesting! Question: How did you screw the tuning machines onto the head? Did you previously drilled the holes or did you screwed them directly? I'm a newbie on this and starting printing one, I will start searching for this geared pegs. Thanks for your work!

I screwed them in directly. Good luck on your print!

Oct 30, 2014 - Modified Oct 30, 2014

Could I convince you to upload a step or iges format of the neck? The middle piece is just a bit too tall for my printer, and I would like to slice the neck into 3 parts that are nearly equal in length. Currently the top is quite short, so if I could cut 1 or 2 frets off the middle and add them to the top I think I will be ok.

use this site:


it will convert the stl's into either format you want.

so i went and bought nylon strings but only the bottom three are nylon the top three are metal. Is this the same as you?

The top three strings are nylon core with brass winding

Yes, that's the way they typically look.

I'm using the davinci 1.0, and I am having some delamination because of the size, I just can't keep it warm enough. I was also wondering if there's any way to get a solid file for this? I want to try some smaller pieces(especially the neck because it doesn't fit in my printer) and modify it with some joinery.

I am also printing this using a davinci 1.0. I plugged every hole I could find on the printer using small towels while it printed. After I started doing that the prints turned out almost perfect. Also, make sure you use a good amount of glue stick on the bed.

I assume you're using ABS and the de-lamination is happening on the body? I experienced the same issues a while back. I had to modify my printer to fully enclose it. I also needed to turn my heated bed way up and also increased my printing speed as high as possible. Even then my ABS de-laminates sometimes.... If you can print with PLA, you will have a lot easier time for the body.

The neck total file is available so you can slice it as you need for your printer height. Netfab has a free version of their software that is easy to use and slice stl. files.

Thanks that's helpful. Unfortunately I haven't jailbroken my printer so I'm stuck with abs and using xyz for slicing, which btw, printed the bottom part of the body too short. I tried to export the stl from sketch up to a dwg so I can open it in inventor but that isn't working, I'm gonna try updating sketch up and see if that helps.

What tool(s) do you design with?

Oct 18, 2014 - Modified Oct 18, 2014
Solstie - in reply to FarrisGoldstein

I used freecad for this entire design. It is a great, simple, open source, CAD package. And is of course free!

Could you tell me what resolution did you use? 0.10, 0.20, or 0.30 mm?


I used 0.2mm layer height.

Would you consider making a version that doesn't have the plastic frets but instead has slotted grooves where you can hammer in real frets? I made a guitar a couple years ago for a fun side project and I then had to slot, hammer and file the edges of all the frets. It wasn't that hard and was kind of fun.

If you could do that it would be awesome because I am not good at 3d modelling and you've already good the skills and familiarity with your own work.

I'd really like to get to a point where I print one of these (again) and it's as polished as possible and worthy of taking on a canoe trip.

Some other feedback I think the body should have some sort of tongue and groove to assemble better.

I'd also like to get to the point where I drop an electric pickup in one of these. I think taking the body model and putting a hole for the pickup and a hole for the jack would be pretty simple.

I am experimenting with metal frets on the Ukulele right now. Once I get that working will update the guitar too.

I agree on the body. Should add some gluing guides. Will add when I get a chance and update the models.

One of the other makes used steel strings, but I haven't done it yet myself....

This uses nylon strings. An electric pickup wont work. Steel strings would have too much tension.

ha that might be my problem

Hey question why is the bridge so high? I can stick my 4 fingers under the strings and I can barely terminate to frets.

I think the bridge is good for a neck that is not bowing out... but even mine is bowing out slightly. Going to experiment with offsetting the neck (rather than lowering the bridge). Will post update when I find a good solution.

You could lower the bridge, but be careful to make sure you get the right clearance to the neck and avoid fret buzzing.

AWESOME! Definitely will Make. We will feature it as a Thing of the Week on the 3D Printing Today Podcast; threedprintingtoday.libsyn.com

Thanks! Listened in last week when I saw the post for the fully 3D printed electric guitar. Will listen in again this week.

How much plastic (fraction of a kg) did this take?
I wonder if there is a difference in sound between ABS and PLA.

I am not sure. Will weigh my print when I get a chance. I believe I used less than 1 kg, but not certain since I used two different colors and they weren't full....

nice design! how much time did it take to print?

With my printer it took about 40 hours.

This is just amazing ! i will print it tomorow in one row :)

@ Solstie
Thanks alot for your instruments here, i also printed your ukulele in several colors and they all sound very nice.


Those look awesome! Thanks for sharing.

This is amazing! Can't wait to remix some new bodies :)

Sounds great. I have been meaning to do the same thing for the ukuleles and this guitar. Would be great to have a bunch of interchangeable necks, stock heads, and bodies. So far I have only done one neck remix of the Ukulele, but more to come!

Oct 9, 2014 - Modified Oct 9, 2014

Anyone care to share how much does it weigh?
And, what is the scale (bridge to nut) ?

21.25" scale length (540mm) It is slightly shorter than most 3/4 scale guitars.

Will weight it soon and post what my print was.

I am curious where you get 540mm? The STL file, as imported into Makerware, measures approx 303mm nut to bridge according to my calculations.

Vey nice design!

Thanks! I really like printing your gadgets.

I'm so much going to make one. Now.

Man I wish I could print this, but my printrbot only has a 6"(150mm) print space.

You could get the neck done in a bunch of slices, but the body would be tough. I will keep this in mind for my next design which I want to try and make print even faster.

That would be really neat. My fear of netfabb'ing the prints into smaller pieces would be the additional weak points where it is glued together.

This is a beautiful piece. Buzz-worthy!


I really enjoy your designs and the presentation of them is second to none.

I love this! Thank you!

You got featured...Congrats. :)

you make cool stuff. thanks a bunch

Curious as to what you sliced these with. Slic3r doesn't like the bottom piece of the body. Wants to completely fill it in as a solid object.

Center and upper body sliced/printed fine, FWIW.

I use KISS which didn't mind the old file, but I tried it in Slic3r and found the same error. Upon review was able to find the error and uploaded the new version today. Checked it in Slic3r and seems to work fine.

Let me know if any other issues. Thanks for printing!

Thanks much! Here's the current state of affairs - http://i.imgur.com/6aprJWX.jpg

Wow! Looks nicer than mine. What did you use to glue each piece?

Gorillaglue brand superglue. Ran an xacto blade to remove my brim, first, then a tiny line of glue, then rubbing alcohol to remove the frost residue, and then I took a small brush and painted a thin line of clear polyurethane into the glue line. (Hides the line a bit.)

Polyurethane is a great idea. Will need to try that on mine.

Oct 3, 2014 - Modified Oct 3, 2014

As I was typing a comment my keyboard died, lol.

Anyway people shouldn't use "Super Glue" for these things as I found a far superior glue for ABS and you buy it at any plumbing place, Home Depot, Lowes, ACE, etc... and is this ... http://i.imgur.com/2WxasQi.jpg (edit: That is the cleaner and you need something like this http://i.imgur.com/ozQPKmM.jpg to actually cement the ABS parts together). That stuff is AWESOME and even holds up to water line pressures but does dry out after a year or so.

Try it I think you will love it and less than 8 dollars for enough to do several life time's worth of ABS gluing, LOL.

For ABS i use acetone, apply twice on the edges with a brush press together let dry with gentle pressure, and the parts are welded!

I tried that but there was no set time as it started melting the ABS I applied it to so I tried this and the ABS just set better and was way stronger in my testing.

I printed the guitar in PLA, but ABS should be fine too based on what I have found with Ukulele prints. If there is a glue with a longer set time would be great to use instead of super glue to allow more time to get the prints aligned perfectly.

Will try the ABS glue you mentioned on my next ABS print. Thanks!

Note: With large prints using ABS make sure you keep the heat up high and the printer enclosed or you will see delaminating/cracking and warping.

Well..... there's probably a reason it "dries out" after a year:


That's pipe cleaner.

Oops, wrong picture though I use that to clean my parts first then use http://i.imgur.com/ozQPKmM.jpg. Yes, it is a cement for ABS pipes but it is a damn nice glue that once set you are not going to get it apart.

Fair enough!

How do you apply the glue precisely?

Usually these have a huge swab that wouldn't work for small part assembly.

I use a little brush like they have for women's fingernail polish because that big ball in the can is just too big for this.

BRILLIANT!! Looks great sounds good too.