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tinkeranything
05-24-2015, 09:42 PM
I've been working on a project for the past 8 months to design a bamboo ukulele that plays well, sounds good and..is entirely cut on a laser cutter, requiring no special tools to assemble.

It started as a way to challenge myself to learn some digital design tools, but quickly grew into a very fun and challenging project.

The ukulele assembles in about 4 hours, and depending on your level of finishing, takes another day or so to complete. Here's a link to some pictures of the instrument in all stages of construction.

https://flic.kr/s/aHsk1oWdg1

Give me your feedback!

weerpool
05-24-2015, 10:48 PM
i love the design. groovy looking uke. any sound sample?

greenscoe
05-25-2015, 12:04 AM
I can see you have put some effort into this project and produced an instrument that many will have fun building. I've read your previous posts to see whether you were a teacher (of children) as the surroundings and your helpers suggested this. It sounds as though you have an interesting job.

Anything that gets others interested in making or playing ukes is to be encouraged. Keep up the good work.

photoshooter
05-25-2015, 12:55 AM
Congrats! Looks like your project is a success.

ksquine
05-25-2015, 04:27 AM
Interesting design. I love how the neck is put together. I wonder if you could cut the box joint corners at a 45deg angle....for that instant rope binding look when put together
Now you have to design a laser cut case for it

tinkeranything
05-25-2015, 06:22 AM
Thanks for the kind comments. Yes, I work with kids and teach a tinkering class on far-ranging subjects, sometimes smokeless stove design or puzzle making, sometimes instrument making. ksquine, i like your idea. I'll have to play around with that.

I'll get working on a sound sample..

Lori
05-25-2015, 01:50 PM
Hi Tinkeranything
Welcome to UU. What a fun project! Laser engravers are great.
I have a laser engraver, and I have a few ideas for you.
1. you can engrave guides for placement of the braces, once you have established them. That will make assembly even easier.
2. I would suggest a more symmetrical design even if it means a slightly quieter instrument. I don't mind the off center sound hole, but the body and neck relationship is maybe not quite as pleasing for the average person.
3. You could have more fun with the sound hole shapes. That could really liven it up, and laser engravers can cut some pretty detailed shapes. You might experiment with an over all pattern of cut-out shapes on the sound board and see how that affects the sound.
4. Do you think this design could work in sheet acrylic? Might be an interesting option, and a chance for color or transparency without paint.

Keep up the great work!
–Lori

P.S. How does the neck feel when you play it?

tinkeranything
05-25-2015, 02:47 PM
Hi Tinkeranything
Welcome to UU. What a fun project! Laser engravers are great.
I have a laser engraver, and I have a few ideas for you.
1. you can engrave guides for placement of the braces, once you have established them. That will make assembly even easier.
2. I would suggest a more symmetrical design even if it means a slightly quieter instrument. I don't mind the off center sound hole, but the body and neck relationship is maybe not quite as pleasing for the average person.
3. You could have more fun with the sound hole shapes. That could really liven it up, and laser engravers can cut some pretty detailed shapes. You might experiment with an over all pattern of cut-out shapes on the sound board and see how that affects the sound.
4. Do you think this design could work in sheet acrylic? Might be an interesting option, and a chance for color or transparency without paint.

Keep up the great work!
–Lori

P.S. How does the neck feel when you play it?


I like the idea of adding guide marks for assembly. That's next for sure.

The offset neck was the result of trying to create a more playable instrument on the lower frets. I wasn't so sure about the shape at first, but once I held it, I was sold. It sits in your hand almost perfectly balanced there. To your aspheric point though, when I make the larger concert sized version, the box looks too lopsided for my taste ( it sounds amazing though!)

I think acrylic could be very fun. Right now my notches are designed for 2mm, so it would take a good bit of re-working for 1/8 acrylic, but it would look very interesting indeed!

I do think different holes would be a good area to explore. I designed this to project some of the sound right up to the player, making it a little more of an intimate personal music experience, but I think that should be optional and it would be nice to have some tried and true options available!

Stay tuned for some sound hole variations!

The neck feels better than you would expect a square neck to feel. The corners are carefully rounded and I think this makes a difference, but I am working on a few options to add a curve to the neck.

Vespa Bob
05-25-2015, 06:43 PM
Wow, very ingenious, imaginative design! You are certainly dedicated in your endeavors to produce a unique instrument. My hat is off to you.

Bob

tinkeranything
05-25-2015, 08:15 PM
The kind comments are an encouragement. Thank you! Here is one part of the design I may get some criticism on, and I have a lot to learn.

https://flic.kr/p/rEKzBK

One of my main constraints is that I want all the main parts to be made of the 2mm bamboo sheet material, cut on the laser cutter. To make the bridge, I laminate 3 pieces of the bamboo together. the hole for the saddle goes through all three. This means the saddle rests directly on the face of the ukulele, tightly wedged in to the slot. I did this because I thought the sound would transfer better, especially since I'm not using a super dense wood like most traditional bridges. Now, here is my question: Is my reasoning off here? Also, I am making my saddle from a dense mahogany. I know this is not traditional, but I liked the sound. Will it be that much better with a bone or synthetic bridge?

Sven
05-25-2015, 09:43 PM
Not necessarily much better, but it would be different. Try both, but I like the look of the wooden saddle. I think your project is great! Will you sell them as kits? At least one? To me?

Stephen McLean
05-25-2015, 10:25 PM
Fantastic work - It looks like you still use a fret saw for the fret slots - have you attempted to use the laser cutter to engrave the slots. I have tried with a bit of success, but it still seems easier to use a fret saw. I did make a laser cut jig for guiding the fret saw that seems to work pretty well.

tinkeranything
05-26-2015, 05:42 AM
Fantastic work - It looks like you still use a fret saw for the fret slots - have you attempted to use the laser cutter to engrave the slots. I have tried with a bit of success, but it still seems easier to use a fret saw. I did make a laser cut jig for guiding the fret saw that seems to work pretty well.

Stephen, I also found lasering the slots is not enough. I do cut them with the laser, but I then finish them with a saw. It makes the saw cuts faster. takes me about 10 minutes to finish cutting my slots.

tinkeranything
05-26-2015, 05:46 AM
Sven, I do want to sell as a kit at some point. A customizable kit. Ping me off list if you are really interested. I am looking for a few people to build these and tell me how it goes, though I have yet to put together instructions!

David