Hi I’m planning to build a “Prusacaster” guitar which includes a 3D printed body. My printer is an Ender 3 Neo (not V2) with a PEI bed but otherwise stock. Lately I’ve been exclusively using filaments from 3D Printing Canada and very happy with the quality and results. I appreciate you guys!
Back on topic: The designer of the Prusacaster (link to article) suggests that PLA is the best filament for the application because of the extra stiffness it has compared to PETG. My concern is the PLA softens too easily in heat and I worry about the guitar deforming if it ever gets too hot, like in the trunk of a car. Alternatively he suggests PC (polycarbonate) or PA (nylon) filament blends with carbon fiber. However I don’t think my stock Ender 3 Neo is capable of printing those materials.
I have some of the 3D Printing Canada standard PETG with carbon fiber that I really like. I haven’t seen a spec sheet on it specifically. I did find some figures on another brand (I think it was Bambu) for CF-PETG. It showed the CF increased the stiffness of the PETG so it was stiffer than normal PLA.
I was wondering if anyone could confirm my research to compare a standard PLA (ideally 3D Printing Canada’s “Made In Canada” black PLA+) alongside the 3D Printing Canada’s standard PETG with CF. I’m focusing mostly on stiffness but other properties are still important. I’d love to see data sheets but anecdotal information would be fine as well.
Also (hijacking my own post) I’d be interested to know if there are recommended upgrades that would allow my Ender 3 Neo to print with PC and/or PA. I really don’t want to do anything to make the machine less reliable as it’s pretty excellent right now. Thanks!
I would not suggest PETg. It is gummy and guitars need to be stiff. I would not suggest Nylon either too much $$ PC maybe if money is no object, an ender would struggle with PC anyway. PLA is not super likely to soften under normal use. 150ºC is really hot. Don’t leave it in a car in full sun in the summer one heaters and stoves should be no issue.
I would have a temptation to use a stone fill pla. FormFutura makes nice stone fills, hardened nozzle is needed that is easy. I don’t think 3dpc carries a stone fill. I would avoid the 850 PLA as it is back to gummy. Carbon fibre PLA might work really well too.
Or just regular PLA I am not sure weight and stiffness will make a huge difference to an electric guitar. Pick ups and wiring will be more impactful.
Upgrades, hardened steel nozzle. The non name trade are all over the place, soon are good some are junk. I would recommend the real deal usually E3D Nozzle or a ObXidion , slice Vanadium, or zodiac. They last … for ages I do find they need a bt extra warm up the thermiresistor is not the nozzle so I let it pre heat for a few mins before sending a print. Other than that.
Thanks for the feedback. I’ve fallen deep into a rabbit hole learning about different filament properties, and also how much printer settings can impact strength. I highly recommend the “CNC Kitchen” channel on YouTube for comprehensive test videos.
I agree about standard PETG not being stiff enough for the job. However it seems that CF-PETG (at least from some brands) might be much stiffer, actually exceeding normal PLA. I’ve found it very hard to find test data for CF-PETG in general, and have found nothing at all for the 3D Printing Canada brand. I was hoping their staff might be able to share a datasheet or make a recommendation.
One note on regular PLA is that the deformation temperature is actually 50°C. It is pretty easy to exceed that outside in direct sun or in a car. I’d really prefer to find an alternative. I did more research on PC and have ruled it out for my current printer setup, and Nylon isn’t appropriate for the job.
I also learned yesterday about high temperature PLA, such as Matter3D Performance PLA. It can be annealed to withstand much higher temperatures. It is available with CF but it’s unclear if that actually adds strength (it might be weaker). My question now is how much it will deform after annealing, and if it still maintains similar properties to normal PLA for stiffness and strength. I will try to consult the manufacturer to learn more.
PetG cf is slightly stiffer but not by much not even close to pla. The best PetG is with long stand CF but that is specialist gear. ( Marked forge fx20) PC Will basically require the printer to be completely rebuilt. It would be easier just to buy one able to print cf out of the box. Prusa mk4 would be my suggestion. $$$$
It’s a fairly serious enterprise. I’d print a test in pla either way. Markedforge is serious bucks pro level I assume it’s off the table. (25K+) even 2K for an mk4 is no joke.
You could run a test in PetG and see but pla is harder material and a lot easier to print.
If you print it is value plain pla it will let you know how much you like it and if you fall in love maybe the plethora of upgrades or new printer will be worth it.
annealing The dimensions change a fair bit 5-12% potentially the worst is depending of layer lines it isn’t even. More in some orientations than others
thats an amazing project, Had to go have a look at the video. Sounds really good.
Thanks, my Prusacaster project is well underway now. I’m following the original color scheme, and so far I’ve printed the honeycomb pattern using standard PETG, and the core structure using standard PLA, both from 3D Printing Canada.
I printed some test pieces using PLA, CF-PETG, and normal PETG. It wasn’t super scientific but I found the PLA and CF-PETG were pretty similar when it came to bending / stiffness, as I suspected. I also learned that pickups are often wax-dipped and vulnerable to high heat, so the guitar needs to be kept somewhere climate controlled either way. In the end I went ahead with the standard PLA. I might try printing my next one entirely from CF-PETG just because I like the look and feel of it.
I’m using a remix of the project that lets it fit on my Ender 3 Neo, but this project is also pushing me to look at getting a large format printer to avoid slicing the guitar into so many pieces. I also discovered that my hardware and neck are slightly different from the original design so adjustments were needed for the models.
So far I’m having an absolute blast with this project. And I continue to be very happy with filaments from 3D Printing Canada. Definitely my preferred source.
thats awsome, cannot wait to see how you make out with the final assembly.
We have been using PLA is with heavy fill and strongest patterns. Very plastic.
Check out LEX 3 D’Ray on FB page.
Thanks for the reply, I looked at your FB page and those are some amazing guitars you’ve built! I finished my Prusacaster but was disappointed with how flimsy it ended up being. Difficult to keep tuned, and it’s extremely sensitive to how I hold it. Just resting my arm on the body detunes it, so it’s not very playable. I followed and exceeded the Prusacaster recommendations for wall layers and infill, so I was ready to abandon the 3D printed guitar idea. But my infill was still less than what I’m see you used on your FB page. Maybe it’s worth another try.
Do you find your guitars as rigid as a normal (wood) guitar?
I’m also curious how much difference it makes printing the body in one piece like you do. I’m thinking about getting a bigger printer.
This is the warlock that I made during the summer, I used PLA for all of the outside bits and then printed ABS for the interior where the neck mounted. Sorry the only pic I have at work is from before it was strung up.
I printed it in 9 pieces and then used pegs and 5 minute epoxy to glue it all together, after that I did resin coats and sanded it down to 3000 grit to get it nice and smooth. Overall it is very rigid, when flexing the floyd rose I measured an average flex of the body of less than 2mm from end to end which is pretty good in my opinion.
I have played a couple of smaller shows with it just to try it out and it holds up very well, I have found that it needs to be tuned in between every song, but this could also just be because it was my first time setting up a floyd rose bridge.
I would say that printing it all in one piece just makes it easier for post processing, it would probably be a bit stronger too, but if you prepare and glue the pieces right it shouldn’t make too huge of an impact.
Nice work man. Great to see your post.
Gotta love the fretboard on the mini V!
That is a $1200 neck … Aluminati aircraft aluminum, it also has Lace pickups… dude is serious. He supplied all the parts. I designed the body and my luthier partner printed the body and built the guitar.
Looking at the Comgrow T500 printer. Heard anything about it? 50mm big in x-y than the cr m4 and looks rugged.
I have not heard much about it,
One you may be interested to check out is elegoo’s new 800x800 printer. It is on a kickstarter right now for around $1500 if I remember right, and you can set it up with multiple extruders for different colors and such as well.