I know.You were probably hoping to see my improvisational flute playing skills in this post. We’ll do that later when you have quick access to a bucket and some earplugs. Today, we’re looking at something that will go down as a turning point in 3D printing history, but not only 3D printing history… all those other histories as well.

For the first time, a fully functional flute has been printed. The process is what you would think – model, print, clean, but then… it’s played. In this case, it’s modeled in Rhino, printed on a Object printer and sounds… well, you’ll see.

Print me some Patillo

Flutes have a long and interesting design history. Amit Zoran (creator of the reAcoustic guitar) with the MIT Media Lab is adding the next layer, quite literally. He has used an Objet Connex500 to print three different materials used on the flute. The objet is able to print all three materials at the same time to give a look, feel and sound of an actual flute. The only non-printed parts are the spring beneath the keys. According to Amit, the process to print the flute took about 15 hours. Four separate parts were created, just like the older French traverso flutes or the more modern Boehm-Lot-Cooper metal flutes.

Here’s the video you want to see, showing the process, the printing, the playing and most of all the possibilities…

More on Flute history

Via Fabaloo


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.