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Hear Heavy Metal, the World's First 3D-Printed Aluminum Guitar

Several months ago, Olaf Diegel, a professor from Sweden's University of Lund, debuted his incredible 3D-printed aluminum guitar. The guitar—a truly beautiful instrument that was decked out in barbed wire and roses—was the world’s first 3D printed aluminum ax. Last month, the team that put it together, Dutch medical 3D printing specialists Xilloc, posted a clip that finally lets people know what the guitar sounds like. You can check it out below.

The guitar, better known as the Heavy Metal, grew out of Diegel's desire to test metal 3D printing.

“[I also wanted] to better understand the intricacies of the whole process, from ‘design for additive manufacturing’, to the actual 3D printing of the guitar, to the post-processing that is required to go from a 3D-printed metal part straight of the machine to a usable masterpiece,” Diegel said.

To print the guitar, Diegel turned to Xilloc, a company known for its 3D-printing breakthroughs with metal, ceramics and carbon fiber. Last year, Xilloc began commercializing artificial 3D-printed CT bones and adopted four EOS M400 3D printers to deal with production. One of those systems was used to make the Heavy Metal, which was 3D printed in a single piece using aluminum power at 0.1-mm thick layers. This was followed by a four-day phase that involved plenty of filing, sanding and polishing. And let's not forget those Seymour Duncan humbuckers!

Check out the video below. Props to the guitarist for playing some Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac ("Oh Well") in the clip!

For more information, plus several up-close photos of the guitar, head here.

Damian Fanelli

Damian is editor-in-chief of Guitar World magazine. From 1998 to 2014, he was one third of Mister Neutron, an instrumental rock act that toured the universe and elsewhere and released three albums via Austin-based Deep Eddy Records. These days he performs with several New York City-area bands and can often be spotted with one of his many, many, many B-bender-equipped guitars. In past lives he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor – and he still can’t believe he got to write the liner notes for the latest SRV box set.