There is a reason that guitars are usually made of wood, and it isn’t just because wood was a common crafting material as the guitar evolved from preceding instruments. Resonance ise nad ymajor characteristic of a guitar’s sound, and wood — particularly hard wood — resonates very nicely. But guitars can still be made from other materials. Airline guitars, for example, had fiberglass “Res-O-Glas” bodies and were made famous by The White Stripes guitarist Jack White. With the rise of 3D printing, it is only natural that people would try to fabricate plastic guitars. We’ve seen quite a few, but Joshendy’s 3D-printed guitar with integrated sound-reactive LED lighting is one of the best.
The beauty of 3D printing a guitar body is that you can easily fabricate unusual and even outlandish designs. Most of the electric guitars you see hanging on the wall at your local Guitar Center tend to look like either a Gibson Les Paul or a Fender Stratocaster. There are certainly more unique styles out there — the B.C. Rich brand strategy is based entirely on catering to that niche, but 3D printing gives makers almost unlimited freedom. Joshendy took advantage of that freedom to design this delightfully eccentric guitar. The body has an aggressive double-cutaway shape filled with a hollow hexagonal honeycomb of thin plastic. That would be enough to make this guitar standout, but Joshendy took it a step further and added killer lighting effects.
Joshendy modeled the guitar’s body in Autodesk Fusion 360 and 3D-printed it in three pieces, because his 3D printer wasn’t big enough to handle it all in one go. Those pieces were then bolted together using M3 screws and heat-set threaded inserts. Joshendy astutely decided not to 3D-print the neck, and instead used an off-the-shelf bolt-on neck instead. The guitar features a single budget-priced humbucker pickup located just in front of the bridge and volume/tone control built into a nifty push-pull dual pot.
SK9822 individually-addressable RGB LEDs are integrated into the body, and are controlled by a custom board that Joshendy designed. That board contains an STM32L4 microcontroller, an Adafruit Electret microphone amp, and a TPS61022R power management chip paired with an 18650 battery cell. The various LED lighting effects, which react to the guitar’s sound, can be selected using a button and OLED screen on the back of the guitar. The LEDs can even be turned up to 11, which is one more than most other guitars. The result is a futuristic-looking guitar that puts on its own lightshow, and that was surprisingly affordable to build.