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They're shiny, eye-catching and hold a great tune.
And a leading academic has described the process involved in producing his state-of-the-art guitars as "the next industrial revolution".
Olaf Diegel – a professor based at Massey University's School of Engineering and Advanced Technology – has produced a series of prototypes of 3D-printed electric guitars.
Also known as additive manufacturing, 3D printing is the process of making three-dimensional solid objects from a digital file using a printer that deposits layers of plastic or metal powder, with each layer fused by a precision laser beam.
"The whole purpose is customisation and trying to avoid waste," Diegel said.
"It's the next big thing in manufacturing, because you can create to order and modify the design to suit specific individual requirements, whether it's for a new set of teeth, a door handle or a piece of jewellery.
"It's the next industrial revolution and it's going to completely change the way we do things.
"New Zealand, a country largely made up of small companies making high-value products, can benefit enormously from these technologies, as they will be able to go to market with products without the current prohibitive tooling costs that often prevent them from getting their ideas off the ground."
The guitar's manufacturing process is already used for high-end customised products and medical parts such as artificial hips, hearing aids and dental fittings.
Diegel's faculty has several desktop 3D printers, which students use for small-scale engineering prototype projects.
Last edited by easybeat (2012-05-13 01:14:28)