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By VLNLAB
$0.00 pledged of $10,000 goal
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All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

About this project

What is this and who are you?

VLNLAB has created the world's first concert-quality 3D printed violin and viola and is the brainchild of a lifelong music enthusiast, violist, and luthier. 

A pioneer in applying digital fabrication technologies to musical instrument construction, the goal of VLNLAB is to offer both a high-quality concert instrument for sale here on Kickstarter, as well as an open-source design for a cost-effective and tonally superior 3D-printable instrument that will raise the bar for student-level instruments the world over and can be produced virtually anywhere for under $50 in materials using inexpensive, open-source 3D printing hardware.

What's the instrument like? Can it match conventional wood instruments in terms of tonal quality? 
In a word, yes. In more words, we're making violins (and violas) that you or your kids will want to play all the time. Violins that you'll want to listen to them play! And also violins that serious players will find to be a great value with a top-notch setup and the flexible timbre of a much more expensive instrument. Here are some unedited examples - a quality pair of headphones or speakers is recommended:

 

Inspired by the great 17th century violins and violas of northern Italy and the Tyrol, VLN and VLA have a medium to dark sound that is as easily modulated with bow pressure as with bow speed, yet won't lose focus under load. Response under the bow is prompt and agile, with projection that can cut through and be heard without difficulty. It's a playing experience unlike nothing a new instrument under $5000 can offer - and one which, with your help, we eventually hope to make available all over the world at a low cost through 3D printing. Here's why it works:
Finding trees suitable for tonewood use isn't easy: once you find one, processing generally eliminates 70-90% of it. Then the wood has to be dried for quite some time in order to be stable enough for use. This generally takes at least 1-5 years, and much longer for a concert quality violin. That wood rarely - if ever - finds its way into factory-made instruments.

Violin wood is cut in wedges, as shown above: the wide ends of each wedge are then planed flat and joined together so they can be carved into tops and backs. But to reach an arch height that gives you a good-sounding violin, you decrease the possible number of violins per tree. If you're a factory manager, you're not going to do this. It's expensive! 

Beyond that, building a high-arched violin with the cheaper, younger wood used in factories is a disaster because it will warp quickly. But most importantly, wood is inconsistent: violin makers have to adapt the arch & thicknesses to it individually, and this is a skill that takes decades of experience working with good musicians to perfect: it doesn't happen in a factory setting. 

At VLNLAB, we've developed a top quality design with materials that are environmentally friendly and that can be consistently used every time to produce a high-quality instrument. There are no worries about bad materials, bad craftsmanship, or manufacturing inconsistencies. And we've worked with professional players to give it a playing setup that even a professional orchestral player or soloist would think highly of.

Do I need to worry about humidity, temperature, or extreme weather with VLN and VLA?
Unless you find yourself in the midst of a nuclear war or happen to accidentally wander into an active volcano, you should generally be fine. That's the point, actually: this is your gig-proof, kid-proof, outdoors-proof, go-anywhere instrument, and it won't break the bank either.

What about alternative musical styles? Do you offer it with a pickup?

Absolutely - we have variants on offer that come with pickups installed.

Risks and challenges

As of today, VLNLAB has run seven iterations of prototypes already, as well as a beta programme with a group of professional musicians, with great product feedback on both the sound quality and durability of the instrument. We're ready to scale up production at a moment's notice and the Kickstarter experience combined with our own manufacturing expertise means you won't be disappointed.

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    You'll also receive a large-format poster of our instruments as a gift.

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    You'll receive regular updates on the entire production process of our Kickstarter run, accompanied by in-depth discussions with our founder and some of the fine musicians who have supported and worked with us throughout the process.

    You'll also receive one of our uniquely-designed violin bridges and a large-format poster of our instruments as a gift, as well as ongoing, post-Kickstarter updates as we work to make our instruments available all over the world through open-source, end-user and microenterprise manufacturing.

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    Early access: one VLA

    One VLA in your choice of three sizes: 387mm, 400mm, or 412mm. Only 1 available and you'll be the first in our shipping queue.

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    One VLN + Platinum Supporter

    Many thanks for for your support! Pending your permission, your name will be published on our website as an early contributor.

    You'll receive regular updates on the entire production process of our Kickstarter run, accompanied by in-depth discussions with our founder and some of the fine musicians who have supported and worked with us throughout the process, as well as ongoing, post-Kickstarter updates as we work to make our instruments available all over the world through open-source, end-user and microenterprise manufacturing.

    You'll also receive one of our uniquely-designed violin bridges and a large-format poster of our instruments as a gift, along with one VLN in full (4/4) size.

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    One VLA + Platinum Supporter

    Many thanks for for your support! Pending your permission, your name will be published on our website as an early contributor.

    You'll receive regular updates on the entire production process of our Kickstarter run, accompanied by in-depth discussions with our founder and some of the fine musicians who have supported and worked with us throughout the process, as well as ongoing, post-Kickstarter updates as we work to make our instruments available all over the world through open-source, end-user and microenterprise manufacturing.

    You'll also receive one of our uniquely-designed violin bridges and a large-format poster of our instruments as a gift, along with one VLA in your choice of three sizes: 387mm, 400mm, or 412mm.

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    Pledge $1,650 or more About $1,650

    One VLN + pickup + Platinum Supporter

    Many thanks for for your support! Pending your permission, your name will be published on our website as an early contributor.

    You'll receive regular updates on the entire production process of our Kickstarter run, accompanied by in-depth discussions with our founder and some of the fine musicians who have supported and worked with us throughout the process, as well as ongoing, post-Kickstarter updates as we work to make our instruments available all over the world through open-source, end-user and microenterprise manufacturing.

    You'll also receive one of our uniquely-designed violin bridges and a large-format poster of our instruments as a gift, along with one VLN in full (4/4) size. Comes with pickup installed.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,650 or more About $1,650

    One VLA + pickup + Platinum Supporter

    Many thanks for for your support! Pending your permission, your name will be published on our website as an early contributor.

    You'll receive regular updates on the entire production process of our Kickstarter run, accompanied by in-depth discussions with our founder and some of the fine musicians who have supported and worked with us throughout the process, as well as ongoing, post-Kickstarter updates as we work to make our instruments available all over the world through open-source, end-user and microenterprise manufacturing.

    You'll also receive one of our uniquely-designed violin bridges and a large-format poster of our instruments as a gift, along with one VLA in your choice of three sizes: 387mm, 400mm, or 412mm. Comes with pickup installed.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.