Uni student designs Gold Coast’s first 3D-printed guitars

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

Adrian McCormack. PHOTO: Supplied by Griffith University

Adrian McCormack. PHOTO: Supplied by Griffith University

The bespoke guitars were engineered by third year industrial design student Adrian McCormack under the direction of Associate Professor Dr Jennifer Loy at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University.


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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. “We used a biocompatible and food-safe material called polyamide, which also ensured the body weight stayed roughly the same as a generic telecaster body.

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.

“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 was 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.”