3D Inkjet Printed Guitar Bodies on Display at NAMM

Printing guitars with 3D inkjet technology
America, designed by Olaf Diegel, and produced with 3D inkjet printing. Photo by Jeff Leto.

LexJet’s man on the scene, product manager Jeff Leto, is currently scouring the halls of National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Show in Anaheim, drumming up interest in a new and innovative printable material for customizing drums.

While at the show, Leto happened across this amazing use of inkjet printing: a 3D printed guitar. The company that produced it, 3D Systems, is showcasing its 3D printing technology at the annual music business trade show.

According to the 3D Sytems, the guitar, called Americana, embeds the rich details of New York City’s most memorable landmarks in the body of a Les Paul inspired, electric guitar, clad by the stars and stripes. Designed by Cubify artist Olaf Diegel, the Americana masterpiece guitar is on display to the public for the first time along with, 3D Systems’ Cube 3D printer and Cubify apps.

Straying from his signature biomimicry-styled 3D printed guitars, Olaf Diegel was inspired by his love for New York City and all that it represents when creating the Americana. It patriotically demonstrates the complexity and sophistication that is possible with 3D printing. A full interview with Olaf Diegel on his inspiration, process and passion for 3D printed instruments is available here.

Inket printing three dimensional guitarsThe Americana joins the rest of Olaf Diegel’s guitar collection on Cubify.com and is available for purchase today. Interested musicians and enthusiasts are invited to work directly with Olaf to customize their preferences including a range of pick-ups and necks from which to choose.

Stay tuned here for more information about 3D printing technology. For more information about 3D Systems, go to printin3d.com, and for more info about Cubify, go to Cubify.com.

Leto and the Whale Shark: LexJet Product Manager Has Close Encounter

Finding whale sharks near Sarasota, Fla.Imagine you’re diving off the beautiful shores of the Gulf of Mexico and suddenly a shadowy and very large figure emerges behind you. A whale shark nearly as large as a three story building is just feet away.

It was an experience Jeff Leto, LexJet’s product manager, never thought he would have, especially in the shallow Gulf waters off the coast of Sarasota, Fla. But none the less he spent nearly an hour swimming alongside a 25-foot whale shark on Saturday, even capturing the encounter on film.

Leto and four of his friends had spent the day diving and spear fishing. They were on their last dive at Fin Barge, an upside down wreck not far off of Anna Maria Island, when they spotted the shark, who remained in the area with them for almost an hour.

It was a shocking site and not just because of the sharks enormous size. “It’s an endangered species, really rare and not typically in these waters,” said Leto.

Leto has been diving and spear fishing since he was 16 and has never seen a whale shark before. He explained that whale sharks are not native to the local area and at best would generally have only passed through, moving from warmer to colder climates, “They prefer a deeper colder ocean. It’s really rare to see them in 80 feet of water just a few miles off shore. They first started coming down here a year ago after the oil spills, and they’re still in the area,” said Leto.

Leto and his group were never in any danger from the shark. Though their vast size and striking features suggest otherwise, whale sharks are docile creatures. “They’re harmless. Whale sharks are filter feeders, they eat plankton and stuff like that, just like a whale,” Leto said.

In fact of all the things in the water that day, the whale shark was the least of their worries. “We saw lots of bull sharks, which kind of put a hindrance on spear fishing. When you see one of those guys around you stop fishing,” said Leto, explaining that bull sharks account for most local shark attacks.

Bull sharks or not it was a day Leto will surely never forget. “That was a once in a lifetime experience; I’ll probably never see one again.”

Check out the full video below, courtesy of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Finishing Banners Quickly, Reliably & Economically

Why sew when you can tape? Whether it’s to make pole pockets, create a seam for grommets, or to tile two pieces together for a larger banner, double-sided LexJet Heavy Duty Banner Tape provides all the advantages of sewing, plus it’s faster and is easier on the material.

Sewing perforates the banner material, which can lead to fraying and cause premature failure at stress points. Heavy Duty Banner Tape avoids this problem, and is designed to be conformable to the varying checkerboard-like patterns in the scrim.

Banner Tape application makes finishing banners a lot quicker and easier than sewing, plus it's less expensive and less damaging to the banner material.

Because it’s so conformable, it works with any material one might use for a banner, from polypropylene to fabrics. Simply mark a straight line on the back of the banner where the edge of material will fold over, apply the tape along the mark and attach the edge of the banner to the tape.

A 3×8 banner should be easily finished in five to ten minutes, which is much preferable to waiting for 24 hours or more if you send it out to be sewn. Even if you have this capability in-house, there is far more time and labor required to sew a banner.

Banner tape is less than 30 cents per linear foot, so the cost of finishing with it is minimal. “My six-year-old son can use banner tape, but he can’t use a sewing machine,” says LexJet’s product manager, Jeff Leto.

“The only time I would think someone would want a sewn banner is if that’s the look they want, so there’s no other reason why you wouldn’t use banner tape as a direct replacement for sewing,” says Leto. “The only thing to keep in mind about banner tape is if you make a pole pocket and stick ropes through the pocket instead of a pole. At the ends of the banner where it’s folded over on the corners, they will need to be re-enforced. You can either reinforce the corners with a grommet, or a single stitch with carpet thread. This will prevent the corners from lifting.”

If you’re installing the banner with ropes, or something similar, Leto says it’s preferable to run the rope through pole pockets as opposed to looping rope through grommets on the four corners of the banner and it tying them off. Instead, run the rope through the pockets. This makes the tension across the banner even, as opposed to all of the tension being placed on the grommets at the four corners.

Another method is to attach bungee cords to the four corners since the bungee cords will give in the wind and distribute the tension evenly along the banner. Furthermore, this method is much more preferable to cutting wind holes, which looks bad and effectively lowers the lifespan of the material.

“The nice thing about banner tape is that it fits all of the potential environments in which you would install a banner. There’s a reason why you’d use Tyvek, polypropylene, a 500×500 denier vinyl, or a 1000×1000 denier vinyl in different application situations, but there’s one product you can use to hem all of them in any environment,” says Leto.