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Former Case Western Reserve University students hope to provide affordable 3D violins for students

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Posted at 7:22 AM, Jan 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-24 08:26:03-05

CLEVELAND — Matthew Canel is an engineer and a Case Western Reserve University alumnus. But it's his passion for music bringing about change.

“I used to play the cello,” Canel explained. “The reason I don't play the cello anymore is that they are $40,000 to $50,000 instruments, and I was renting one for not nearly anything near that when I was playing. I couldn’t certainly afford to just buy one.”

The thought of not being able to play because of the cost stuck with Canel. Then, through an old engineering class project, he came up with the idea to build his own quarter-sized violin using 3D printing.

“Someone had already done a full size, so I started with quarter and from there lots of development work with a local luthier, Max Morgan up in Cleveland Heights,” Canel said. “From there, we got something that sounds pretty much like the wooden thing.”

With a product in hand and a grant from the Student Project Fund, Matthew got help from fellow alumnus Ben Kaufman to take it to market.

“I sort of just stayed on to help with the business side, help with the managing production,” Kaufman said. “Matt, does all the design and all of the manufacturing design, and then I take it from there and try and sell it.”

Together the two founded their company, 3D Music, creating colorful, safe and durable hard plastic violin replicas in just 48 hours. The pair says their 3D printed instruments are more affordable, costing about $200 bucks.

“You can buy a wooden violin for up to a million dollars. So, there is a huge range…the cheapest violins I've found on AliExpress are to $69dollars plus shipping, and their sound quality is what a $69 violin would sound like,” Kaufman said. “We're trying to get the sound quality of a $300 to $400 violin and then come in under their price.”

They say affordability is important for kids who want to play an instrument but can't afford it like Canel recalls of his upbringing. The pair hopes to collaborate with local school districts soon as they continue to expand.

“We'd love to be a known company in the educational industry, in the music industry,” said Kaufman.

For more information about 3D Music, click here.