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Hovalin: 3D Printing Never Sounded So Good! [Inside3DP.com Interview]

on Dec 8 2015 , 13:51:55

One of the disruptive benefits that 3D Printing brings to consumers is order-of-magnitude cost reduction, and we are still only at the very early stage of what the future will hold. A brighter future that enables young people to enter classical music — without their parents breaking their pocket — can already be seen today.

Meet Hovalin — the first 3D Printed, commercial violin!

Matt is a record producer turned electrical engineer that currently works on developing the Spark 3D printing software platform at Autodesk. Kaitlyn is a professional violinist, neuroscientist, and software engineer that currently does web development at 3D Robotics. The two are a married couple (“The Hovas” thehovas.com) that have created one of the coolese 3D printed products out there. Inside3DP.com interviewed the talented creators. 

Inside3DP.com: How did you get started (how did you get into 3d printing in the 1st place)?

Matt: I purchased my first 3D printer roughly two years ago without a plan. I just “thought it would be cool to print things”. I started out printing fun models that we would find online. Over time, I realized that a 3D printer can become a superpower when you need to fix things around the house. I fell in love with designing things and since then have become proficient in using Fusion 360.

Inside3DP.com: Who are your ‘classic’ customers? Why? Can you please provide an example?

Kaitlyn: While the files we provide on the site make it possible for anyone to make their own violin from scratch, our online store focuses on providing supplies for non-makers, and makers without access to a 3D printer. For non-makers, we provide a completely assembled violin. For makers we provide an entire kit for assembling the violin and an option to purchase only the 3D printed parts. Our mission is to make it as easy as possible for anyone to get a 3D-printed violin. I would say that the number one item we are selling is the idea that STEM education grants can be used to empower schools’ music programs.

Inside3DP.com: Going forward from here, please describe a couple of your biggest challenges.

Matt: The biggest challenge we face right now is figuring out how to distribute a 3D model that will print successfully across a wide array of FDM 3D printers (or as I love to call them, robot hot glue guns). Coming from the world of software, this problem resonates with phrases I hear every day, such as, “well it works on Windows” and “the website looks weird on Android”. The violin has been designed and tested to support a majority of today’s FDM printers.

Kaitlyn: That being said, there are so many types of printers, materials, and software slicers out there (not to mention the current failure rates of FDM) that it is impossible to guarantee 100% successful prints for every end user.

Kaitlyn: Beyond the physical constraints of 3D printing, our biggest challenge has been organization. It’s been tough managing time between our jobs, social lives, and the violin. Since launching www.hovalin.com in October, we’ve had an amazing response including a flood of emails, speaking opportunities, and gigs showcasing the violin. We’re still trying to figure out the most effective way to integrate the violin into maker and music programs in schools and are excited to be working closely with several schools to make this possible.

Video: See the 3D Printed violin in action!

Inside3DP.com: Why is the assembled violin cost 600 USD, how does this compare with alternatives, and what would be the expected cost in 1, 2, and 5 years?

Matt: We don’t foresee the cost of the fully assembled violin changing anytime soon, however we’re very interested in pursuing bulk purchases to provide lower costs of supplies on group purchases. The current bill of materials for a single violin costs $65, which I’m certain could be drastically reduced through crowdsourcing platforms like Kickstarter, which we are considering. Right now we’re interested in collecting feedback and improving the design and user experience. Once the design has become more stable, going for bulk will make a lot of sense. As for the cost of a single violin, you can actually buy a violin on Amazon for only $50. Amazon is a great hassle-free place to get a violin. The Hovalin, however, is the cheapest and easiest violin you can make yourself. Not to mention, you can make it any color you want.

Inside3DP.com: Your message to the World

Kaitlyn: 3D printing is an awesome tool. As a citizen of the earth, you are entitled to making cool things. The Hovalin is a cool thing that you can make with 3D printing! If you, your school, or your music program could benefit from a maker space that also creates musical instruments, please check out www.hovalin.com


Passionate about entrepreneurship & helping entrepreneurs, and inspired by the ever-changing digital space, and our 3d printing-enabled future, Itai Levitan is an entrepreneur, marketer, investor, and adviser. Itai has been raised in Israel and the United States, educated in Australia and is now living in one of the coolest cities in Europe, Berlin. Itai Levitan is the Co-founder of Inside3DP.com

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