CALM violins

Violins 'printed' in Exeter

The University of Exeter’s new Centre for Additive Layer Manufacturing (CALM) is set to make some noise in the classical music world by ‘printing’ two violins.

The violins were manufactured using cutting-edge 3D printing technology for EOS (UK) Ltd.

South West Music School student, 15-year-old Laura Powell has now given a premiere performance on one of the violins on a piece on CNN.

The violins are made out of a material called PEEK and were manufactured on a machine at CALM called the EOSINT P800. The only machine of its kind in the UK, the P800 can create parts at temperatures up to 385°C and uses high-performance polymers to create products, building them up one layer at a time. These machines, along with CALM’s technical expertise will open up a wealth of opportunities for businesses across the UK.

Dr Sara Flint, Commercial Manager of CALM said: “This wonderful performance perfectly illustrates the potential of 3D printing to make almost anything. Since launching CALM in September we have worked with over 50 clients to produce all kinds of items, from car parts to medical implants, but the violins are one of the most exciting things we have helped to make so far.”

Using 3D printing technology will ensure that it is easier, cheaper and quicker to get a product, such as a violin, from the design stage into market. Manufacturing objects in this way also has potential environmental benefits, as the process wastes much less material than alternative methods, making it very efficient.

The violins are two of only three violins worldwide to have been made using 3D printing.

CALM is supported by EADS and is part financed by the European Union with £1.5M from the European Regional Development Fund 2007-2013, under the competitiveness operating programme.

Date: 27 January 2012