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why can't they make a Steinberger using 3D technology manufacturing?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Chili Bo Billy, Oct 7, 2016.

  1. Hey everyone,
    Since acquiring my L2 bass, I have wondered why Ned Steinberger hasn't tried a reissue an L2 or XL2 models using 3D technology.
    Are we not there yet with the technology?
  2. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Which "3D technology" exactly are you talking about?

    Most mass produced bodies and necks are carved using 3 dimensional milling equipment, at least for the rough shape.
  3. Im not familiar with all the 3D technology milling equipment, I have seen guitars made using 3D technology using polymers.
    I guess we aren't quite there yet...
  4. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Wikipedia often mistakes my opinions for fact Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    Ned hasn't because he no longer owns the rights to the design or name I would imagine.
    guy n. cognito likes this.
  5. Too bad, I would love to see them reissue the early models.
    cnltb likes this.
  6. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern California
    Do you mean 3D printing?
    Chili Bo Billy and gebass6 like this.
  7. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Wikipedia often mistakes my opinions for fact Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    As would I.
    DrayMiles and Chili Bo Billy like this.
  8. I guess that's what I meant.3D printing
    gebass6 likes this.
  9. muike


    Sep 13, 2016
    Rhode Island, USA
    3d printing covers a pretty broad range of methodologies but the main holdup for something like the steinberger bridge (and I'm generalizing here) is a lack of ability to create robust parts that would hold up as well as or perform as well as machined parts. At least not for the same cost.
  10. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    It's doable.

    If you search for "3D printed guitar" youcsn see a few dozen videos that show the process.

    But at this point there aren't any big advantages to doing it that way.
    gebass6 likes this.
  11. BassUrges


    Mar 14, 2016
    I own a tiny manufacturing company, and I have used 3D printing extensively for prototyping and mold masters. It's fantastic to be able to get a mockup of your design for $10-100 in a couple hours rather than paying a machinist $65/hr to work on it all week. Perfect for checking the ergonomics and improving your ability to visualize the relationships between parts.

    But then when you go to manufacture, you need to get parts for under $1, not 10 or 100, and you need them popping off the line every minute, not in a couple of hours. Plus the vast majority of 3D printed plastic parts are fragile because they don't have fibers (such as wood grain or glass or graphite) running through the part. Dimensional tolerances are also an issue--some printing technologies are very precise, but they cost. The cheap ones are as precise as their cheapness suggests. Injection molds let you churn out 100,000 parts a month for pennies apiece with much tighter tolerances in a much greater variety of materials, including some that are very strong.

    Metal 3D printing has come a long way, but a small part that might cost you $10 to mass-produce with CNC machining or investment casting will cost $700 to print, with no volume discount. Literally, I priced that out a while back. The parts thus produced are not as strong as proper forged parts, but they are surprisingly strong. I don't know if they'd take the force of a bass string or not.

    So a 3D printed bass would be a neat novelty, and might let you explore some things, like weirdly braced sealed chambering, that would be tricky with conventional construction. But absolutely nobody is going to mass-produce anything that way.
  12. CGremlin

    CGremlin Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2014
    BassUrges said pretty much all that needed to be said on the subject, IMO.
    mindwell, Chili Bo Billy and lz4005 like this.
  13. PeaveyPlayer

    PeaveyPlayer Supporting Member

    Jul 15, 2014
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    Wouldn't it be plastic ??
  14. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    I don't believe the special blend of carbon fiber and graphite that Steinberger used is a 3D printable material.

    There are literally hundreds of types of plastics and they don't all behave alike.
  15. lundborg


    Apr 8, 2008

    I read somewhere that some smallish Swedish synth manufacturer (Clavia?) uses 3D printing for spare parts (to minimize stock), but that would be less complicated (and smaller) plastics than a whole bass body.
  16. stacker

    stacker Banned

    Feb 24, 2010
    Print it with what material? Certainly not the epoxy used in those original models. Interesting idea, though.
  17. I admit i have very little knowledge when it comes to 3D printing, that's why I thought I would put the question out there, to get a better understanding on the manufacturing
    process it takes to produce a Steinberger from days gone by to present-day using todays technology.
  18. Thanks for the insight guys, BassUrges, thanks for lesson in 3D printing and manufacturing.
    thats why i come to TB, to learn and share ideas in all aspects of the bass and beyond.
    cheers, CBB
    Fat Freddy likes this.
  19. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I would imagine the issue is not the technology, but that because they stopped selling in sufficient numbers. We went from 80s - modern looks back to tort and sunburst. The EU sells since it is both less expensive, and much easier to transport.
  20. TinIndian


    Jan 25, 2011
    Micco Florida
    Exactly this. The technology has to go much further to be feasible for regular production to be cost competitive as well as have enough strength. The best thing I have found with it is the ability to quickly generate rapid prototype pieces to prove out designs. The one we use at work paid for itself with the very first piece that was put through it by finding a screw boss that was incorrrectly positioned. The design engineer (my drummer BTW) knew the next morning there was a problem, adjusted his drawing, reprinted and had the corrected piece the next morning. This process could have taken a weeks time going thru traditional methods, sending the part out to be machined, receiving the component back and finding the problem, making the correction, remachining the component. The offset expense in time and and machining cost more than paid for the 3d printer. Rapid prototyping, that is where these excel! It's been possible to do this type of thing for a very long time using stereolithography, but the biggest drawback to those is the parts shrink and deform over time, in particular when they are exposed to UV light like your typical flourescent bulb.
    mindwell and Chili Bo Billy like this.

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