VIDEO: Creating an Unsmashable Guitar
Several of Sandvik’s divisions teamed up with a guitar designer to produce an unsmashable metal guitar for renowned musician Yngwie Malmsteen.
Yngwie Malmsteen got his first guitar at five years old. A couple years later, when he got a better model, he smashed his first guitar. Since then, he has become recognized as one of the world’s best electric guitar players. He’s also become infamous for smashing guitars onstage. So, when Sandvik set out to build an unsmashable guitar, Mr. Malmsteen was a natural pick to test the final product.
The project was an ideal way for Sandvik to showcase its different areas of manufacturing skills and expertise. “We don’t make products for consumers, so people don’t realize how far in the forefront our methods are,” says Klas Forsström, president of Sandvik Machining Solutions. “Creating a smash-proof guitar for a demanding musician like Malmsteen highlights the capabilities we bring to all complex manufacturing challenges.”
Andy Holt, a renowned designer with Drewman Guitars, and several of the company’s divisions collaborated to produce an unsmashable guitar that also met Mr. Malmsteen’s exacting musical standards and his lightning-fast playing style. “We’ve had to innovate from the top down,” Mr. Holt notes. “There’s not a single part of this guitar that has been made before. It’s a piece of art, really.”
Sandvik’s additive manufacturing division 3D printed the guitar’s body by fusing together thin layers of titanium power with lasers to create a strong, yet light structure. The next step was to produce the fretboard and neck of the guitar, which was one of the most important components to Mr. Malmsteen. It was machined from a solid block of stainless steel in one continuous process by Sandvik Coromant to a thickness of only 1 millimeter in some places. And the company’s materials division helped solve one of the major challenges: strengthening the weak area where the fret and neck join the body by sandwiching a super-light lattice structure between the neck and fretboard. Made from hyper-duplex steel, a recent Sandvik innovation, the lattice structure is said to be the strongest in the world for a given weight.
Mr. Malmsteen tested the finished guitar at a rock club outside of Miami. Watch this video to learn more about how the guitar was made and find if the guitar survived the performance.