Nik Huber Guitars has debuted a guitar sporting a bridge made out of a very unique material: 3D-printed amorphous metal.
The material is formed by shock-freezing molten metal so that it solidifies before the atoms form a crystalline structure – instead, they form a solid in a disordered or amorphous manner. This lends the metal to have significantly more elasticity than traditional materials used for guitar hardware. “Since amorphous metals are significantly more elastic than crystalline materials, they transmit vibrations very well,” explains Jürgen Wachter, Head of Heraeus AMLOY, the firm who teamed up with Nik Huber Guitars for the project. “Therefore, the material is ideally suited for stringed instruments such as guitars.”
Founder Nik Huber himself also spoke of the benefits of the amorphous metals for guitar parts: “3D-printed amorphous metals are a promising material for guitar building because of their unique properties.” He also expressed a need for guitar builders to embrace non-traditional methods and materials, saying that “especially in our conservative guitar market, it is important to be open for further developments, but also for new materials and technologies.”
It’s not the first time a guitar was used to demonstrate an innovative manufacturing process: last year, a 3D-printed all-titanium guitar was showcased by engineering firm Sandvik. Yngwie Malmsteen, known for his post-show axe destruction, put the guitar through its paces, but as the video shows an all-titanium guitar didn’t break when Malmsteen slammed it against a 4×12 cabinet – it instead acted more like a sledgehammer.
And on the smaller scale of things, today we took a look at Turkish guitarist Tolgahan Çoğulu’s Lego microtonal guitar, which used 3D-printed pieces to create a modular, fully-adjustable fretboard for alternate temperament systems.