Airwolf 3D Art Director Ruben Zeledon may be a talented graphic designer and videographer by day, but he’s also a rockstar by night. Lead vocalist and guitarist for Demiurge Prototype, Ruben’s guitar of choice is an unusual 7-string guitar that was custom-built for him by ES Guitars. When he couldn’t find a replacement for a broken pickup frame, Ruben decided to design and 3D print the part himself using carbon fiber PETG filament.
Designing a Guitar Pickup Frame for 3D Printing
Fortunately for me, the design process was pretty easy because I have a double-pickup guitar. All I had to do was use the one frame that wasn’t broken to take all the measurements of the part. I used Fusion 360 to design the part, using all of the frame’s original measurements, but making a few design adjustments. The original frame was straight, but I made the new one slightly angled to better complement the shape of the guitar.
Why I Chose Carbon Fiber PETG Filament
I chose PETG CARBONITE for this print job because the guitar is a matte black and the filament color matched it perfectly. Plus, I specifically chose a carbon fiber reinforced PETG because it’s light, but extra strong. Unlike the cheap plastic used in the original frames, the 3D printed guitar pickup frame is less likely to break, especially because I designed the part to be fully solid.
Slice the Part and Prepare to Print
Slicing and printing the part was simple. Using APEX, I chose the Quick Settings for PET. To make the part extra strong, I had to increase the Infill. To do this, navigate to Expert > Switch to Full Settings. On this screen, locate Fill Density (%) and change the value to “80.” This will increase the internal density of the part, thus increasing its strength.
Slice the part and save it as G-code. You’re now ready to print the part using carbon fiber PETG filament. I used an AXIOM Direct Drive 3D Printer and made sure to add a coat of Wolfbite before printing.
The carbon fiber PETG filament was the perfect choice for this part. I didn’t have to make any changes to it and it looked great without any post-processing. One of the best things about our CARBONITE series is that the addition of carbon fiber really minimizes shrinkage. Because PETG already has a low tendency to shrink, the carbon fiber reinforced version is even more stable with virtually no shrinkage. This made for a part that fit perfectly right out of the printer. I was able to install it immediately.
Best of all, it took me only two hours to design the pickup frame and another two hours to print it. It’s much faster than any overnight shipping…if you can even find the part in the first place!
While this new 3D-printed guitar pickup frame is perfect for my guitar, this project made me realize that I can create more elaborate designs to add decorative elements to the guitar. Some skulls or scrollwork would look pretty cool, so stay tuned!