Olaf Diegal, a professor of product development at the Lund Universty, has created a partially playable saxophone through additive manufacturing- also known as 3-D printing. Read the original article here and read my short commentary below.
While I think this is quite promising and I am zero percent surprised having followed 3D printing for a while now (note that article is from 2010), I also think that it will be a good long while before a proof-of-concept level saxophone becomes a good saxophone. The maker here says that his second try will be “near perfect” which I think is a bit of an overstatement. Still, kudos to the guy for doing something quite difficult and having the passion to do something like this for free and share it with the world.
The thing to remember here is that the gap between what is acceptable for DIY and what a consumer expects to get when they pay for a thing is huge. You can build a car in your backyard that will make YOU very happy, but probably won’t sway someone who is enjoying the comforts of their whisper-quiet, powerful, comfortable, safe and beautiful Mercedes.
But as time goes by and additive manufacturing (3D printing) becomes more precise with better materials for cheaper and more people get into it, changes WILL come to our industry. You can take that to the bank.