Sweden’s Sandvik Group claims to have developed the world’s first “unbreakable guitar”—and set out to prove it by putting one in the hands of veteran axe-smasher Yngwie Malmsteen. You can check out Malmsteen's failed attempts in the clip above.
For the project, Sandvik reported that they gathered experts from across the company to demonstrate how they could use sustainable, cutting-edge techniques to make something that is both highly precise and amazingly durable.
"We had to design a guitar that is unsmashable in all the different ways you can smash a guitar," said Henrik Loikkanen, machining process developer at Sandvik Coromant. "The engineering challenge was that critical joint between the neck and the body that usually cracks on a guitar."
Sandvik engineers eliminated the joint between the neck and body, instead milling the guitar's neck and fretboard in one machine from solid bars of recycled stainless steel. Both the neck and fretboard extended into a rectangular "hub" that travels into the guitar's body.
Meanwhile, Sandvik created the guitar’s body via 3D printing. According to the company, “lasers traced a design in beds of fine titanium powder, fusing layers of material one on top of the other. The layers, each thinner than a human hair, built up into the body of the guitar.”
"Additive manufacturing lets us create lighter, stronger and more flexible components with internal structures that would be impossible to mill traditionally," said Amelie Norrby, an additive manufacturing engineer who participated in the guitar project. "And it's more sustainable because you only use the material you need for the component, minimizing waste."
Additional components included an Isotropic Lightweight Structure made from hyper-duplex steel sandwiched between the guitar’s neck and fretboard that is “stiffer and lighter than anything we've seen before," said Tomas Forsman, a research and development specialist at Sandvik.
Finally, Sandvik gave the 3D-printed guitar to Malmsteen, who, at a Florida club, attempted to smash it against amps, the stage floor and anything else in sight.
"To break it is impossible,” Malmsteen says in the video. “But you can break other things with it.”
You can check out a video on the making of the guitar below. For more information, head over to Sanvik.