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A 3d printed bass guitar


rwillett

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This is my 3rd music <ahem> related project. I've done a six string which is now professionally setup. The chap in the shop loved it, plugged into a large Marshall stack and proceeded to beat the hell out of the guitar. Big smiles all round and an awful lot of laughs. A few people came in and wanted to try it out. All had fun which is just how it should be. Sadly nobody offered my £5K for it :)

 

The bass guitar will be based on the lessons learnt from the six string. Current aims are:

 

  1. Use a Fender MIM Jazz bass neck. A kind bass chatter let me have one for virtually nothing. I also got an Aria Pro neck from him as well.
  2. Use a similar type of construction to the six string. When I started the six string I used hexagons as the design pattern as I bolted pieces together as I didn't want to glue stuff. That was a mistake as the glue is easier and stronger. Now I will use the Voronoi patterns for the body of the guitar. Very organic, very fluid, quite Gaudi like.
  3. I'll try and use pickups that I make myself from the guitar pickup winder I'm making.
  4. It will not be headless. I have all the pieces for a headless bass but I am not chopping the head of a decent MIM Fender Jazz. I have an Ibanez neck for that, but thats for later in the year.

 

Worries or things for me to think about

 

  1. Neck dive. The average MIM Jazz body appears to be circa 2.4Kg with no hardware. I have designed a prototype body based around a jazz design but using A Voronoi infill as opposed to hexagons. According to my slicer, if I printed this even at 40% infill which is waaaay too much it only weighs 1.5Kg. Now I need to add in the middle bits, including a plywood backbone so that will add more weight, but I'm going to struggle to get another 1Kg on this to get it balanced and avoid neck dive.  I could fill one or two of the pockets with epxoy resin to make it a feature OR I could try and get some really lightweight tuners.
     
  2. Its a big thing to print. I may have to do it in 9 (?) sections as it's nearly 500mm wide and 300mm tall.
     
  3. I need to do the electrics. Less concerned about that, but it needs to be designed in. Not sure if I should use a preamp or not, probably not at the moment.  Putting a switch top right on the six string created a lot of routing problems so this time all the electrics will be on the bottom section. I supposed if I concentrates them bottom left, then that will help balance things out.
     
  4. I want to put some body cuts in it to make it easier to play, that will reduce the weight even more :(

 

 

image.png.026ab350890b18099d1eaf6d3753de1a.png

 

Apart from that, its similar to the six string, I need to put brackets for straps, design a pick guard, make it all work, but learnt a lot from the last two I made.

 

Rob

 

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why use plywood ?, a bit of oak or other nice hardwood will add a little bit of weight and as long as it's not all at the neck end won't destroy balance of the instrument and good for taking fixings

if you leave a void for a wooden insert for the controls you could use wood to fill and make a feature of it or fit a J-Retro or similar on board preamp

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@Aidan63

 

Simply because I have some very nice 15mm plywood and I don't have anything else.

 

Wouldn't recognise what oak or any other hardwood even looks like. My woodworking skills are slightly less than a new born baby squirrel, I suppose I could bite it to get it to shape.

 

One option might be to fill some of the voids with a hard wood, but that requires me to make something to fit. See above. If it's on a computer, great, if it requires manual dexterity, I'm dead in the water.

 

Rob

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Lead shot as ballast.

You  print a box that exactly slots into one of the holes, and has a close fitting lid. Add lead shot to balance, then glue the shot in place,  the lid on the box, and the box in the hole.

You could use more than one infill for extra weight or distribution. Lead from fishing suppliers, or some other heavy stuff if you prefer.

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@Richard R

 

Already thought about exactly that. Great minds think alike. I used to teach scuba diving and had a lead shot weight belt. It also came up in an astronomy forum for making counterweights. 

 

The back of the guitar adjacent to the strap button is likely to be a potent shot locker. 

 

Rob

Edited by rwillett
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 Scuba instructor,  astronomer, maker, designer, programmer, sometime bass player.

 

Bloody polymaths! Coming onto our forums and making the rest of us feel inadequate! Send 'em home, or Mensa. 

 

Incompetent of Solihull.

😉

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@Richard R

 

If only that was the case, you missed out annoying git, pedant, bore and person who nobody wants to talk to at a party....

 

...and incompetent bass player and poor guitar player.

 

 

Edited by rwillett
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@Richard R

 

Lead has a density of approx 7800Kh/M^3 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead which is 11.34g/cm^3

 

Wood has a density around 800Kg^m3 - This varies depending on the wood, but no wood approaches lead in density. See previous link.

 

Now if I need to make the body circa 1 -> 1.5Kg heavier (thats a guess and probably too much), I need to probably put 1Kg as far back on the body away from neck as I can, and as low down as I can.

 

If I need 1.5Kg of lead. not shot, but sheet (is that what its called), then I need 1.5Kg at most, which is 1500/11.34 = 132 cm^3. As the guitar is 44mm deep and lets put 5mm each side to cover, that leaves a depth of circa 3.4cm. 132/3.4 = 38square cm, so a area of approx 6cm x 7cm x 3.4cm deep is enough for 1.5Kg of lead, which I think is possibly too much.

 

I need to design in a pocket size of 6cm x 7cm to add enough lead.

 

That shouldn't be too difficult as I'll put it around the electrics bit so it's low down.

 

Thanks for the ideas

 

Rob

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I don't think you need quite that much mass.

What you're aiming for is torque, to counteract the mass of the headstock, so 1.5kg right by the strap button will have a greater effect than 1.5kg over the entire guitar body. 

Lead shot is little balls of lead,might be easier to handle than lead sheet. (Unless you plan to melt it in an old saucepan in the kitchen like my Dad used to, to make different shaped weights. Mum was not best pleased 😁)

 

 

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I think you are right.

 

However I have some lead flashing left over from a new roof, but have sold all my dive gear as my ears had issues, too many dives and far too many ear infections :( So I don't have any lead balls (where is Finbarr when you want him?)

 

If I plan for 1.5Kg but only need 750g, that's fine.

 

Here's the size of the pocket for 1.5Kg, it's not that large an area so I can fit it around the control panel (when I design it).

image.png.929046ca563fbc9dcf02aae6a96dc618.png

 

image.png.1790fd5141ea8543a35a2cd202ebe7bb.png

 

 

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I had a Squier Jazz VM77 over 10 years ago, in natural finish, which had a light body and neck dive (iirc it was soft maple body on the natural finish model instead of basswood used in the painted models) and I stuck a few hundred grammes of wheel balancing weights on the back in the area you have shaded, did the job. I sold it with the weights still on, haven't seen it reappear since so don't know if buyer removed the weights (might have damaged the finish, as the adhesive used on wheel weights is quite strong for obvious reasons) or just played it as it was. To be fair the neck was great and it sounded like a Jazz but only weighed a shade over 7.5lb when i got it.

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I like the idea of wheel balancing weights. My local garage probably has loads when they change and balance wheels. The advantage of a 3d printed body is that I can hide the weights, but if the garage has loads spare that might be easier. never thought of those.

 

I'm also contemplating t;other half coming home to me melting lead on the kitchen cooker. Mmmm..... not sure thats a good idea :)

 

Rob

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36 minutes ago, Richard R said:

If you do melt the lead, wear a mask and have the kitchen back door wide open! But flashing you can cut into little pieces easily.

 

You've clearly never experienced the unbridled wrath of Zoe have you...

 

I'd need the kitchen door open, a very fast car and a one way plane ticket to a plece without an extradition treaty if she caught me melting lead in the kitchen. To be honest, to be really sure, I'd need two major knee ops in advance to make sure I could get to the fast car before she caught me.

 

Hell hath no fury doesn't even come close to what would happen to me.

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Neck dive :(

Adding extra weight just to counter it :( :sad: 

 

If there was only some design approach to move the weight of the tuning heads from the neck to the body ...

la la la la la

 

giphy.gif

 

Mwah ha ha ha

Sam x

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I have all the bits for a headless but let's get the body sorted and using a decent Fender neck and see if it all works then move to headless.

 

Not going to use a Fender nwck for headless..I have some standards, they may be low but at least I have some. 

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So, had some time free yesterday and a few really dull Teams calls, so kept on playing about with the design for the bass guitar.

 

image.thumb.png.0c4fd83bddd671cb060f217fd0e3dad2.png

 

Its getting there and I have deliberately not printed anything yet, or even worked out how I'm going to print this beast or burden. I focussed too much on printing the six string, I feel I compromised the design a little. Hopefully this one is better.

 

I'm also pondering what the wiring will look like. I don't know yet what pickups to use, I'm intending to make my own, coz I have so much spare time on my hands (not). I might make it a Jazz like or something completely off the wall. One of the lessions learnt from the six string is not to do tunnels with the printer as they need to be big and compromise the body, so the control panel here will have a surface 6.25mm socket. At the moment I'm thinking of a Telecaster like control panel with a volume/volume/tone. That also frees up the bottom left for any lead plates to put in to counter neck dive (if needed).

 

image.png.ff49f2ba234a651f3c9a7104b46ae32a.png

 

I'm interested in any wiring that gives me lots of options to try out. I did see this on Talkbass <gulp>

 

image.png.a44df11a3e150b13204b3af3a1e74059.png

 

which led to this beauty...

 

image.png.d20739436efe657ab0c3fad0489cb8a0.png

 

Possibly overkill, but it did make me think, how do I wire it? I know how to wire it as a P or J-bass, but I'll throw the question open, if I can wire it anyway at all, what would be "interesting" and fairly sensible (not sure what that means TBH).

 

What would you do?

 

Thanks


Rob

 

 

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