An ‘unbreakable’ 3D printed guitar has been given the heavy metal treatment by Swedish guitar legend Yngwie Malmsteen.
Built to showcase the manufacturing skills of Sweden’s Sandvik Group, the guitar’s body was 3D printed from a bed of titanium powder, while the neck and fretboard were machined from a solid block of recycled stainless steel in a single process. To add strength, a super-light lattice of Sandvik’s hyper-duplex steel was then sandwiched between the neck and fretboard. According to the company, this lattice is the strongest structure in the world.
“We’ve had to innovate from the top down,” said guitar designer Andy Holt, who worked with Sandvik on the project. “There’s not a single part of this guitar that has been made before. It’s a piece of art, really.
“The weak point in any guitar is where the neck joins the body. Sandvik solved the problem by milling the neck and the main hub of the body as one piece. You could use the guitar as a hammer and it wouldn’t break.”
To put that theory to the test, Sandvik invited fellow countryman Yngwie Malmsteen to blast out some power chords at a show in Miami, before doing his best to destroy the guitar in classic rock and roll style. Despite some fairly brutal treatment, the instrument remained intact. According to Sandvik, it used simulation techniques to model the potential forces on the guitar before it was built, similar to how automotive manufacturers digitally crash-test new models.
“This guitar is a beast!” said Malmsteen, who was named one of the 10 greatest guitarists ever by Time Magazine.
“Sandvik is obviously on top of their game. They put the work in, they do their hours, I can relate to that. The result is amazing. I gave everything I had, but it was impossible to smash.”