As we recently saw, 3D printing is listed as being one of the most disruptive arenas of technology in the next few years – along with the Internet of Things, of course – and more and more applications are being found for 3D printers.
The latest development comes courtesy of professor Olaf Diegel at Lund University in Sweden, who has printed up a pair of guitars, keyboard and drums for a band (consisting of students) to use in the first live concert featuring all 3D printed instruments.
Although the press releases claims it was a "3D printed band", which would have been an entirely different kettle of fish – they'd never have had enough printer cartridges to fashion the lead guitarist's ego, for starters.
You can watch the band playing in the video above (presumably showing a rehearsal – otherwise the group could use a 3D printed audience), and apparently the printed instruments perform just like high quality real guitars and so forth, although musicians initially approach them with some scepticism.
Diegel notes: "Musicians are very creative, but also very conservative, so their reactions have been interesting. They first approach what is essentially a plastic guitar with suspicion. Then, when they have a play with it, they're amazed that it sounds and plays like a high quality electric guitar."
The bigger picture idea is to showcase the fact that 3D printing does have real-world applications you might not have considered, and isn't just for printing prototypes or fancy ornaments.
As you can see in the video clip, the guitars produced can have some very neat customised features – we particularly like the steampunk looking one with the rotating cogs inside.
Diegel also mentions some of the more serious applications of 3D printing, for example in the medical field, and indeed he was involved in a previous project to produce a 3D printed shoe insert for diabetics.