3D printed nut... Crazy? Or, so crazy that it just might work?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by amadden, Nov 23, 2012.

  1. amadden


    Nov 25, 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    This just came to me in a dream...

    I've been ever so slowly converting a 4 string p-bass to a 5 string p-bass as a "just for fun" project. And the only thing that's been holding me back so far is the nut. I would never be able to figure that out, I'd probably wreck so many nuts trying to make a good one that it wouldn't even be funny.

    But, what if I just 3D printed one? I know a thing or two about 3d modelling. And with things like Shapeways, it wouldn't be more than a couple bucks anyway.

    Hand making a nut from scratch, impossible... But having one printed, and later making any necessary adjustments, that I can do! What do you guys think?
  2. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    Like killing a spider with a bazooka.
  3. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I was thinking more like an Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator...except for the earth shattering ka-boom.

    Cutting a nut isn't all that hard, but ruining one is easier, even in the adjustment phase.
  4. ()smoke()

    ()smoke() Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2006
    sure, not crazy at all and actually a great experiment. if you do it let me know how it goes...I'd probably print several blanks to have a lot to work with as I practiced the slot filing and cleanup detailing
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  6. amadden


    Nov 25, 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    I don't think it's as ridiculous as half of you are making it out to be... I've seen people use CNC mills to make their nuts before, and this is pretty much the same thing as that. And thanks to the wonders of CNC, they should end up being pretty darn close to what you want them to be.

    Plus, I think it would be cheaper. I figure it'll cost me maybe $3-4 per nut, which I think is pretty good. It'd be less work too.

    At the very least, I think it would be something cool to try out, and I was mostly just curious if anybody else had tried it out first.
  7. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    Is the material that the 3D printer "prints" with string enough for a nut?
  8. CnB77


    Jan 7, 2011
    They have some strong stuff, it's more expensive but it'd probably do.
    I'd be more worried about the finish on the part. Even the best 3d printers produce parts that come out pretty rough, so you'd still have some careful filing to do.

    It'd probably be cheaper and quicker to just learn to carve nuts
  9. spirituart


    Nov 5, 2013
    Just saw this old post.

    Here is my 3D printed nut on a Yamaha bass.
    I made it via Ponoko in metal.C:\Users\spirituart\Desktop\Yam_5strings[/IMG_0056]

    Exact fit, since it's a reproduction of original, no luthier needed.
    Cheap (as long as you do it yourself!).
    Look super cool!

    Very long from upload to shipping.
  10. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Gold Supporting Member

    The image tags only work with URLs, it does not upload pics from your computer spirituart. Only supporting members can upload pics to TB.

    Please follow up with your pics though, this sounds pretty neato. What does it cost to print one? Aside from the obvious printer cost.
  11. RxFunk


    Dec 2, 2012
    Did they just recently change that? I haven't been able to upload pictures in a while, but I just figured it was a bug in the app.
  12. spirituart


    Nov 5, 2013
    Sorry, you'll have to use your imagination!
    (does it work from Dropbox?)
  13. senp5f


    Jan 27, 2008
    Santa Barbara, CA
    It's a great idea but not remotely economical at this point. In theory it could do a more precise job than by hand and do it consistently.

    But I would encourage you to try cutting a few more by hand. It's annoying when you put in an hour of work and then blow it at the last minute, yes. But even bone blanks are cheap. Once you have the hang of it, bass nuts are easy -- much more forgiving than guitar or mandolin.

    If you're hankering to use a 3D printer, how about some custom knobs, switch tips or pick guards?
  14. zxcvbs


    Mar 8, 2009
    use imgur.com
  15. spirituart


    Nov 5, 2013
    Custom knobs, mmm. i'm gonna try it.

    Not recommended for pickguard. But i also made one with lasercut plexi (still with Ponoko, for 25$)
  16. spirituart


    Nov 5, 2013
  17. zxcvbs


    Mar 8, 2009
    Great work, is like hand crafted. Does it takes much time? Do you use a CNC?
    Will help you posting the pics:
  18. spirituart


    Nov 5, 2013
    I made it with 3ds Max, uploaded to Ponoko.com, took about
    4 weeks to produce. Cost is only $25.

  19. lowfreqgeek


    Mar 15, 2010
    Albuquerque, NM
    Endorsing Artist: Regenerate Guitar Works
    Consumer-grade 3D printing material and techniques are not hard or solid enough for a nut. Other technologies like the sintered metal 3d printed materials are cool, but not exactly practical.

    A bone, brass, or plastic nut can be cut in a couple hours with a needle file. Take patience and care, but it's cheap and easy.
  20. spirituart


    Nov 5, 2013
    Mine is in solid metal (very solid indeed), i made rings, necklaces and other small objects with it, it's very strong.

    I saw people screwdriver bits, can opener, belt buckles and other stuff made with 3d printed metal.

    Don't think i mean as reliable as a bosh screwdriver bit made with special alloy, but since i'm a 3d modeler, i have fun doin' custom stuff.

    The bass nut is very solid, much stronger than the plastic one it replaced (the B key slot broke...)
  21. lowfreqgeek


    Mar 15, 2010
    Albuquerque, NM
    Endorsing Artist: Regenerate Guitar Works
    Yours looks very well done, and like it was designed by a pro modeler. I don't doubt that it's far superior to the original plastic nut, but it took a special skill set and a specialized process to implement.

    My experience with 3d printing has been with various forms of extruded ABS (pro-grade machines for product development), as well as SLA; neither of those would be suitable for a bass nut, IME.

    I think anyone trying to make a bass nut from a Makerbot would be severely disappointed.