Griffith design student’s 3D-printed guitars hit a sweet note

A Griffith University design student has produced the first two 3D-printed guitars on the Gold Coast.

The guitars were engineered with the skill, passion and commitment of third-year industrial design student Adrian McCormack under the direction of Associate Professor Dr Jennifer Loy at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University.

Griffith student's 3D-printed guitars hit a sweet note
Griffith design student Adrian McCormack shows off his 3D-printed guitars (Photo credit: Griffith University)

The bespoke guitars highlight the limitless possibilities of 3D-printing technology and had their first public outing at the Blues on Broadbeach Festival recently.

The first design was brought to reality with help from Brisbane guitar builder and technician Rohan Staples at the renowned Guitar Shop in Paddington and printed at Griffith’s Gold Coast campus in seven components, while the second was printed in one complete piece by Belgian company Materialise.

Adrian says his wave design was inspired by the Gold Coast’s rich surfing culture, and explains he spent plenty of time studying the playing style and technique of blues guitarists.

“It was clear that arm support within the design was vital along with overall strength and of course, aesthetics,” he says.

“For the model printed overseas we used a bio-compatible and food-safe material called polyamide, which also ensured the body weight stayed roughly the same as a generic Telecaster body.

“For the locally printed guitar, once the model pieces had been tested and prototyped, they were printed over the course of eight days on campus, with around 200 hours of printing.

“This guitar print also featured a unique process called ‘hot swapping,’ which created the unique red and white finish,” he says.

The locally printed guitar will stay on campus, finding a home at the Griffith Red Zone, while the second guitar will be offered as a prize for a Festival-goer to be announced later this month and presented at Griffith’s Open Day on July 24.

According to Associate Professor Loy, Griffith is working hard to develop graduates who have specialised skills in this area.

“Our industrial design and 3D design digital media students are learning world leading software for additive manufacturing, and gaining hands-on experience of designing with advanced digital technologies, including 3D Printing, scanning and electronics for new design applications.

“3D printing is not just an add-on technology within the digital landscape—it has matured and now completely changes what is possible.

“We envisage that the students of today will have the jobs of the future, ones that may not even exist yet, but that are clearly on the way, with 3D printing alone being forecast as a 7-billion-dollar-a-year sector by 2020.”



About the Bachelor of Industrial Design

In this degree, students will combine a creative engineering approach with industrial design innovation and will graduate with a unique ability for innovation and creativity in Industrial Design while working within the principles of engineering. Students learn through project-based design studios and technical learning studios and learning through making, as the degree takes a hands-on approach to teaching that uses advanced technologies such as 3D printing, while also experiencing traditional engineering learning.

Bachelor of Industrial Design students will learn about design process, material characteristics, mechanics and electronics as well as 3D computer modelling, creative thinking and digital media. This degree also incorporates an international focus on digital and advanced technology manufacturing, giving you the chance to develop an understanding of how a product is created, from design to delivery, in a global context now and in the emerging advanced manufacturing environment.

Program: Bachelor of Industrial Design
Location: Gold Coast, Queensland
Semester intakes: February and July
Duration: 3 years

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