3D-Printed Violins Have Me Hopeful for the Future of Classical Music

These Gen-Zers are laser-beam luthiers

Nick Wolny
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Photo: Hill Street Studios/Getty Images

I attribute the majority of my professional success to studying music. Even though I ended up not pursuing the arts professionally, learning an instrument taught me rigor, failure, and the power of deliberate practice. It’s a sentiment echoed by many who intensely pursued a sport or extracurricular activity that required mastery and dedication.

As a French horn player, I started fairly late, at 11 years old. To be successful on an orchestral string instrument, you usually need to start way earlier, which is why violins exist in quarter-size, half-size, and ¾-size models. Between replacement parts, private lessons, and evolving school district budgets, it can be a pursuit peppered with challenges.

That’s where 3D Music, a manufacturing startup out of Cleveland, comes in. Using ultra-precise printing technology, the company can produce quality, resonant violins from a single piece of plastic. I recently connected with founder and engineer Matthew Canel and business development lead Ben Kaufman to learn more about what the technology means for the future of fine arts education.

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Nick Wolny
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🏳️‍🌈 Gay dude. Mg. editor, CNET; finance columnist, Out magazine. Sign up for Financialicious, a newsletter some call “the gay Morning Brew,” @ nickwolny.com.