Travelele - The Compact Travel Ukulele

by avocado_boat, published

Travelele - The Compact Travel Ukulele by avocado_boat Feb 11, 2018
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Is this just a other 3D printed ukulele? Will this be great first bigger 3D printing project? Will this be great first instrument? Will teach you new thing about string instruments? Will this ukulele change the way you see the World? I sure hope so!

The key design point of this ukulele was to make it 3D printable, so design has taken account of limitations and possibilities 3D printing gives to designer! This ukulele requires only 200 mm printing area, so it can be printed with normal Prusa i3 or any other smaller 3D printer. And it is only 5 printed parts + string and tuners to play this ukulele. There is also option to place piezo pickup to make electric Travelele.

Main frame of Travelele is 3 parts, frame, neck and truss rod. This ukulele has frame adjustment method similar used is guitars called truss rod, so one can have much more adjustment on instrument. Truss rod attaches frame and neck together allows one more adjustment to instrument, with truss rod you can adjust angle of the ukulele neck relative to body and get the string gap perfect with the adjustments of nut and bridge.

This project is great introduction to string instruments and easy and great way to learn more about them, hardware for this ukulele can be bought less than 10€ and plastic costs are close to same.

If you have any questions about Travelele or ideas how to improve current design, Please contact me! i´m happy to hear what you think!

Print Settings

Printer Brand:










30 - 40 %


All parts was printed in the orientation .stl files are.

All parts were printed using Prusa i3 Mk2s and original 0.4mm nozzle. I used 0.3mm layer height and 220°C extruder temperature and 55°C bed temperature, with cooling fan on.

Frame, neck and rod was printed using 40% Infill but little less or more will do just fine. I recommend printing frame and neck with built-in supports if you use additive printing. Slicer generated supports can be little difficult and can block smaller details and usually generate really much waste and cleanup.

Nut and bridge was printed using 100% infill.


After you have printed all Travelele parts its time to assembly. Assembling frame and neck is really straightforward, you just insert neck to the frame part and drop truss rod in its pocket and install screw. Screw should not be tightened like normal screws, this screw is for adjusting angle of the neck so you can adjust string gap to your liking. For now, just gently tighten the screw and you are ready to install tuners and strings.

Tuning pegs i used and designed Travelele to use are just cheap ebay tuners "Ukulele Strings Tuning Pegs" ones with some fiber friction washer. Tuners are easy to install and screws do not need to be tighten for now, i find it easier to tight them when i have installed the strings.

If you have got yourself piezo pickup for ukulele great time to install it now, or later and practise tuning ukulele little more:) Piezo goes in a little slot under the bridge and cable comes out of back. Installing piezo is easy, just cut the wire, feed the wire thrue the hole and put piezo in its hole and install the strings. Good practice is to install some kind of straing relif to save cable. Now just solder connector you can use with your amp and you are ready to go.

Strings i used are just some 1€ ukulele nylon strings from ebay. Strings i got had no markings of which is which or how to install them. Normal order of ukulele strings is GCEA, so if 1 is fattest string and 4 is thinnest order from left to right or up to down should be 3124.

Now that strings are on places but not tuned its time to check is string gap is good. It should be close but now is time to adjust it if you need. From the first fret gap should be 0,5 - 1 mm and 2-3 mm at the last fret. If gap is too much from the last fret you can afjust it by tightening truss rod, and when you get that close you can file down nut or bridge to get it closet to your linking. Normally you should not need to file down nut or bridge, just just the truss rod screw and get gap good from the last fret.

Now your Travelele is ready and its time to tune strings, this can be done easy by using mobile phone and some string tuner app. At the first you may need to tune your ukulele more freguently because nylon strings and ukulele frame will take some time to settle and hold tune.

Now you are all set and ready to use you Travelele!

  • Frame is designed to fit cheap Ebay friction tuners, ones with friction washer.
  • Strings were regular nylon ukulele strings from ebay.
  • To assemble frame you need one M4 bolt, 20-30 mm long and nut, just something from junk box. Size #8 and 1" long will do just fine, I think.
  • Option to turn this to electric ukule, you need to one ukulele piezo pickup. My piezo was from ebay and about 55mm x 3 mm in size and comes with about 15cm of cable attached.

-Total cost of parts not including plastic was less than 10€

Now we learn

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What kind of hardware did you use on the neck end of the uke?

I used M4x25 Hex head screw and nut. I think its close to size 8

I love your design. As a builder of and travel ukulele enthusiast, I'm a fan.

Great idea but I think you should consider adding a sound board (very thin solid layer that can freely resonate) to the top of the body. This might significantly amplify the sound. Ideally the bridge should be structurally integrated with the sound board and not connected to any solid anchors underneath, although this might take some structural engineering work to get just right due to the loads involved. But regardless, very nice and clever design!

You are totally correct about soundboard, you can get much more sound with good resonator and i was thinking building one at some point, but decided to use electric amplification to get more sound when needed. Now when i try to practise playing i´m not annoying everyone around me so much. I might later to update this with resonator add-on, it will require changes to current body so its not just plug-and-play on current design but should be doable. Thank you!