User Spotlight

Designing for 3D printing with form•Z jr and form•Z pro

When the UP Box printer was first announced 3D Printing solutions CEO Mike Tyson knew he had to find a project that would utilize the larger build area of this new 3D Printer. “The first thing that came to mind was a 3D printed Guitar!” Here are his experiences on this project. To create the 3D Design we used form•Z jr 3D Design software. Why? "We find form•Z really easy to use and it exports to perfect stl files ready for your 3D Printer. I am completely hands on with all aspects of the business. If we sell it has to be good enough for us to use. Like most users I tried all the free 3D Design Software. Pretty soon I got sick of only being able to do limited things in any one software product and having to import the design into multiple pieces of software to create what I needed.


Time is precious to me and I don’t like wasting it. It did not take long to find form•Z 3D Design Software. After downloading the form•Z jr (then bonzai 3D) I found it incredibly easy to use with the helpful video tutorials and most of all I could create anything I desired. Exporting to STL was seamless. Soon after using form•Z, I decided this is the 3D Design Software we will offer to our 3D Printer Customers.

While I have experience in fabrication I had never used 3D Design software so this was a new experience. I believe anyone with a desire to design and make things can learn form•Z, they do not need special skills."


Aesthetically themed around the French suits found on the standard deck of playing cards, the design incorporates the four suits embossed into the body of the guitar with a split depth shadow gap. Thanks to form•Z jr, Michael could really let his creative juices flow when drafting his guitar. By using form•Z jr and 3D Printing we were able to add designs to the body which would be difficult with conventional wood working techniques. The playing card suite design is a good example of this.

"In addition we have designed the guitar so you can easily change to different 3D Printed bodies in under 45 minutes. You will never get tired of your guitar. The body was printed in four parts on the new UP Box 3D printer using a unique PLA filament called PolyMax PLA, due to its high strength and resistance to warping. The project was successful due to the combination 3D Design skills by Michael Tyson and some helpful advice from Matt Tyson. This guitar is a hybrid of the latest 3D Printing Technologies with traditional Guitar Luthier techniques, utilizing a maple neck and mahogany block fitted in the body to provide traditional tonal qualities.


Having personally made a 1959 Gibson Les Paul replica from scratch we have found printing the shell of the body out of PLA with a Queensland Mahogany block dramatically streamlined the process of making the body. We had 6 days to finish the guitar before we had to leave Adelaide to go to Melbourne to showcase our guitar for National Manufacturers week. In that time we had to paint, finish the electronics and cut the Queensland Mahogany to insert into the body of the guitar.

SPOILER ALERT... we succeeded. We painted the guitar with a coat of plastic primer followed by a coat of high build primer. After some light sanding we added a base coat of blue metallic paint with a clear coat of lacquer. We were pleased that when we plugged the guitar in for the first time there were no electronics issues with minimum fret buzzing. With some TLC and truss rod / bridge adjustments we were able to fix the fret buzzing and set up the guitar with the right action and intonation tuned to D Standard. These are all processes and things you need to tackle when making a traditional guitar made of timber, so there were no red flags. If you want to hear how the guitar sounds, listen to this Youtube video.

Image In one of their most recent projects, Michael and his team at 3D Printing Solutions Australia took on the challenge of creating a 3D printed car jack: "3D printing is now a serious tool for real Business and Consumer applications. With new materials like the new PC-Plus PolyCarbonate 3D, printing filament products that need to withstand high tensile strenght can be made on desktop 3d printers.

We thought it would be fun to design and print a car style scissor jack for our PolyMaker PC-Plus PolyCarbonate challenge. We designed the scissor jack from scratch using form•Z pro 3D Design Software. The form•Z pro Software made the task of creating the Nuts and Bolts a breeze and to create the gears that keep the jack stable as it rises we used the form•Z pro gear making tool which saved a lot of time.

We printed the components using PolyMakers PC-Plus PolyCarbonate filament using our UP Box 3D Printer. This jack was printed at 0.10mm resolutions using the finest fill settings. We decided produce the entire jack using 3D printed materials, as we did not want the results influenced by materials like steel. All of the jack components were printed with PC-Plus Poly Carbonate with the exception of the white non slip cap which was produced from PolyFlex.

The test result was fantastic with the jack lifting 240kg (almost a quarter ton). Further more the Jack showed no signs of strain or stress after the lift. You can see a YouTube video of the assembly and test here.

About Michael Tyson

Michael Tyson is a 3D Design Engineer and CEO of 3D Printing Solutions Australia, the country’s number one supplier of 3D printers and supplies. He developed a passion for fabrication from his early days as a Motorcycle and Outboard Marine Technician using various materials to fabricate anything from aluminum marine bow rails to steel and aluminum racing cars. Once he discovered 3D printing his fabrication possibilities became limitless and starting his 3D printing business was a logical and easy decision.
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