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Can You 3d Print Guitar Picks?

Can You 3d Print Guitar Picks? Do you love playing guitar? Have you ever been frustrated by the lack of picks available on stage or at a gig? You can now print your own custom-designed guitar picks with an affordable 3D printer! With just a few clicks and less than $10, you can have as many picks as you need for the next show.

The design possibilities are endless: from elaborate designs to simple geometric shapes. What will your pick say about you?


Can you 3d print guitar picks?

Yes, you can. But why would you want to? Is there a certain convenience in having a perfectly shaped guitar pick that is customizable to your personal playing style?

Maybe, but that still does not answer the initial question:

Why bother printing an object that is available for free?

In order to fully understand this, we must first take a look at what a guitar pick is made of. In the most basic sense, a guitar pick is nothing more than a small piece of plastic.

Thus making 3d printing completely unnecessary from an economical perspective. But hey, let’s step out from the critical box for a moment and just accept that there are people in this world who do things for reasons unknown to the rest of us and that people have different tastes. In this light, it’s actually quite fascinating to see what musicians all over the world use as a tool for their craft, if only for entertainment purposes.

Now let’s take a look at another example that may be less obvious compared to printing plastic objects such as guitar plectrums. A few weeks ago I was watching a documentary about the fabulous David Bowie. While the program highlighted his many talents, fashion sense, and musical abilities it also showed an interesting detail that sparked my interest:

During the seventies, Bowie used something rather peculiar to hold on to his guitar pick. It was nothing less than an ordinary key!

He attached the key to a piece of cloth which he put around his wrist for easy access when playing. And this is where things get even more fascinating because apparently, Mr. Bowie wasn’t alone in using this technique back then…

So my personal take on this is that not only did the hype of 3d printing reach outside the usual spheres of home improvement, kitchen utensils, and toys. It also managed to infiltrate my personal interest regarding music history! Yet again, I’m impressed by how many diverse areas 3d printing is impacting.

While our world has become so small through instant communication it’s fairly amazing to see all these examples where communities are formed around shared interests with people all over the world due to 3d printing. And while technology can be seen as a negative influence in terms of speeding up social interactions at exponential rates without nurturing any real lasting connections (am I getting too philosophical here?).

These “3d-printing-communities” in my mind at least provide a nice counterweight to all the rapid forums created every day.

how to 3d print a guitar

Can You 3d Print Guitar Picks? (cre: prusaprinters)

3D print acoustic guitar

The photorealistic print is equipped with a movable gong that can be used as a wind gong. The 3D model of the guitar was created by Anna Occhipinti and Marco Avanzini , who worked on the project for more than two years. Her design captures all the magic and original charm of this instrument, which has been played throughout history by the most important musicians in rock and pop music.

A very special 3D printed guitar was developed by designer Adam Beane. He worked with master luthier Zachary Vex (Zachary Vex blog) to create an extremely accurate replica of John Lennon’s 1962 J-160E Gibson Acoustic Guitar [1]. This famous guitar belonged to John Lennon during his time with The Beatles and can be seen in many photos of the band.

After his death in 1980, the guitar was displayed at a Hard Rock Cafe but there were plans to sell it or auction it off. Fans wouldn’t let this happen, therefore it has remained on display ever since.

To create this replica, Adam Beane used Digital Light Synthesis technology by 3D Systems .

This innovative technology is able to reproduce the form of an object using resin, which allows for stunning surface quality compared to traditional 3D printing methods. The result is impressive! It took Zachary Vex 20 days to complete the project before transporting it to Gibson Guitar Corporation where it was assembled based on John Lennon’s original specifications.

Now you could ask why would anyone go to all this trouble to replicate such an object. According to Adam Beane, “it’s not an exact replica but it’s pretty darn close to the real thing, and we’ve had people say that they can tell a difference between ours and one that was played by Lennon”.

The guitar is featured as part of the Beatles Exhibition:

The Magical History Tour which will be on display at Discovery Times Square in New York City. It should also soon be on permanent display at Hard Rock Cafe John Lennon, located right next door. More details about the exhibition can be found, including ticket prices and other information. I’ll leave you with some very cool videos below showing both Anna Occhipinti’s acoustic guitar and Adam Beane’s replica of Lennon’s J-160E. Enjoy!

3D print guitar neck.

If you are looking for a solution to print guitar necks, look no further.

The OpenBeam Guitar Neck is the only one you need. It has everything necessary to accurately replicate your instrument’s neck geometry and scale lengths in open-source 3D tools like the MakerSlide or V-Slot Linear Guide Systems.

Add super accurate control over that geometry using OpenScad CNC macros (and learn about CNC machining at the same time).

We even include an STL file with three different designs, so your customers can choose their favorite color scheme before they ever receive their first product. You can also re-slice it however you want in Tinkercad!

Your customers will be thrilled to finally say goodbye to truss rod problems! Instead of having to chase down a replacement part for their instrument, they can simply reprint another one in their favorite color with no tools required. It’s that easy.

how to 3d print a guitar pick

Can You 3d Print Guitar Picks? (cre: hackaday)

3D printed guitar accessories series

I know, I’m not supposed to say “3D printed”, but it’s the easiest way to simply identify them. I use all sorts of processes. Also, please try to imagine me waving my hands in the air when talking about 3D printing…it just fits so well!

This is a little series of accessories for bass guitars which are made out of wood and wrapped with a carbon fiber cloth, except for two of them that had some issues resulting in some extensive repair work.

Carbon fiber on top of wood = instant badassery!

The grain structure actually looks amazing under led light too! It isn’t quite as visible due to the tape being pressed against it though…I think they’re pretty cool looking regardless.

These pieces are glued to a wooden base that is attached to the guitar. The one on the right has been sanded down after print, but I will work more on the finishing technique as the quality of my prints also improves.

The first two pieces pictured were made from a very old bass guitar neck that had been sitting in a corner of our dirty workshop for years.

It feels really good being able to use parts of instruments that have been discarded instead of just tossing them out! A lot better than growing mold on them at least.

Since then, I’ve printed a few other pieces that fit into this series and am currently on a quest for vintage/broken bass necks or bodies so I can keep this going…I’ve only got so many old necks lying around!

I also made a handle that attaches to the front of the bass, as well as a set of tuners which I’m going to mount on a bass headstock.

Both these parts will be available for sale in my shop either through Shapeways or Etsy very soon depending on quality/finishing…so stay tuned.

There’s also a 3D printed guitar strap locking system in the works, but I need to do some more tests before dropping that one into production too. This is probably going to end up being offered exclusively through Etsy since they don’t have an upload size limit and I can print them there locally after uploading 🙂

There are also plans for making hard-shell cases with a built-in amp, totally self-contained for easy transport. These are very, very technical though…there’s a whole lot of design work involved in designing the cases themselves to make sure they are strong enough to survive being dropped/kicked around, etc. Then there’s making space for all the components inside them too. I’m not even close to starting on that one!

I’ve also started working on some 3D printed replacement parts for my own basses, but again, this is something that’ll be exclusively available through Etsy since Shapeways doesn’t allow custom designs. It will probably end up being cheaper there anyway once I get into production 🙂

If you guys have any questions about this stuff or have ideas you’d like me to try out, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.

how to print on guitar picks

Can You 3d Print Guitar Picks? (cre: xometry)

On the wish list:

  • Studio/rehearsal bass headstock – sticking LED lights in it and flashing them to the music would be priceless!
  • More 3D printed guitar accessories, including new designs such as exhaust pipes, racing stripes for basses, etc.
  • 3D printed effects pedals…it might actually happen this time around since I finally have some actual money to spare on materials again. Yay!
  • Large format printer that is able to print on stone panels and tombstones and weatherproof fixtures and switches and buttons and stuff! That would just open up so many possibilities….video game controller buttons, cover plates for industrial equipment, etc….man, I can hardly even think of all the possibilities 🙂


If you are a musician, it is important to have the right tools on hand. One of those may be guitar picks. Guitar players rely heavily on their tone and picking technique to create some truly great music – so if your pick breaks or wears out after years of playing, you need another one quickly! Luckily for us musicians, 3D printing has made our lives much easier by allowing us to print DIY guitar picks at home with materials we already have in the house.

Further Reading: 

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