There are a few abilities you need to prove you’re a proper rockstar. 1) You need to love rock and roll. 2) You need to know how to play an instrument. 3) You need to learn how to break the freakin’ instrument after hours of rocking it.

Smashing instruments has been the signature move for rockstars since Bach smashed his first piano (not actually true), but for guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen, destroying guitars may be his primary art(?) with playing them coming in a close second. Malmsteen has broken 100+ guitars over the course of his career, so it only made sense for global engineering group Sandvik to use him as the ultimate test for their new “Indestructible” 3D printed guitar. Let’s see how they made it.

How it’s Made: An Indestructible 3D Printed Guitar

The concept of making an indestructible guitar came from Henrick Loikkanen, a giant fan of Malmsteen’s and a machining process developer at Sandvik. Taking inspiration from Malmsteen’s penchant for guitar destruction and by researching the various ways guitarists broke their instruments with in-depth research via YouTube videos, the production team took on the daunting task of printing a guitar which could stand the rage of a thousand egocentric, shredding rockstars.

3d printed guitar

Guitar Body Material: 3D Printed Titanium

The body of the guitar was made using additive manufacturing – more specifically, a Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) process like Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) or Electron Beam Melting (EBM). It ensures they’re able to make the guitar light, strong, and shaped to the specification, plus they sell RP service and products so win-win for them. By fusing the layers of titanium powder with an Isotropic Lightweight Structure (ILS), they were able to achieve a guitar body design that was both lighter and stronger than any body material used for conventional guitars.

3d printed guitar

Guitar Neck Material: Milled Stainless Steel

Since the neck/body joint of the guitar is the weak point of a traditional guitar turned hardware tool, this part was eliminated by the engineers. Instead, the team milled the neck and fretboard together using a single piece of recycled stainless steel, along with a “hub” embedded deep into the guitar’s body. This design was a first and made it impossible for the neck and fret to be separated and so integral to the body that hopes were high it wouldn’t be smashable.

3d printed guitar
3d printed guitar

With the primary structures complete, the neck is attached to the body and tested vigorously (at least, 23 times) before the final guitar is given to Malmsteen.

3d printed guitar
3d printed guitar

Seeing the first guitar you ever made get smashed and thrashed by an iconic rockstar is one part sadness and another part awe-inspiring, but seeing it survive the punishment intact is 100% gratifying. Malmsteen wasn’t able to break the guitar, but he deftly states, you can break a lot of things with it.

This guitar is a beast!” Malmsteen said after abandoning efforts to destroy it. “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.”

– Yngwie Malmsteen
3d printed guitar

After seeing so many guitars meet their untimely death during concerts, its a wonder an indestructible guitar was only made now. A price on the guitar wasn’t given, but Sandvik do hope to see it in a museum someday. They posted an in-depth look at the guitar as well as its production process on their website where you can see an interactive exploded view of the construction as well.

Author

Carlos wrestles gators, and by gators, we mean words. He also loves good design, good books, and good coffee.