Most engineers don’t claim Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix and Keith Richards as their inspiration. But then, most engineers aren’t Aristides Poort.
Even though he began playing the guitar at 12, Poort followed a very different path from his idols. Instead of trying to become a rock star, he studied civil engineering at the Technical University of Delft, in the Netherlands. The environment fostered a belief in innovation that spilled over into his rock and roll obsession: after graduating, he began to develop the perfect guitar.
The Ideal Instrument
The ideal guitar would have perfect tone, with the versatility of an electric guitar and the shimmering resonance of a violin. It would have a warmth and sweetness to its sound, even when unplugged. And, with the help of his alma mater, Poort was able to bring that vision to life.
“We looked at the cell structure of top-quality wood that all fine guitars and other stringed instruments are made from,” he says. “The wood influences the sound, defines how the guitar resonates, and determines how the sustain works. But wood resonates in just two dimensions, due to its rigid fiber structure. There is nothing you can change about that.” If you want to learn a little more about guitars, check out this lineup at The Sound Junky.
In the end, he and his team developed a new fiberglass material called Arium that can resonate in any way. Their new instruments now had more in common tonally with 18th century Stradivarius violins than their peers.
PTC and the Perfect Guitar
Of course, even with a groundbreaking sonic material, they still needed to develop a design that would be similarly revolutionary. That’s where PTC Creo came into play.
“The goal was to create a guitar with very clean lines and a minimum of mechanical clunky-ness,” says Poort. “We needed to carefully balance aesthetics, comfort, and acoustics.”
The team did everything in their power to create an instrument that would be a joy to play, as well as a joy to hear. “I created all the main parts of the guitar, even strings and tuners, in PTC Creo,” said Nout van Heumen. “By using the parametric modeling approach, I easily created a model with which I could change the scale and neck angle of the guitar and the whole design would correctly update.”
Making the guitar’s neck profile a parametric surface allowed them to alter its size in relation to the scale and width of the neck, without any discrepancies. This helped reduce the number of prototypes, allowed them to experiment with more concept designs, and sped up the design cycles of future guitar models.
Finishing the Parts
“With the fully detailed and parametric model of the guitar, we quickly created a physical prototype, and then tested it with a few guitarists for ergonomics and playability. With their feedback, I changed the scale and neck angle to optimize the design” says van Heumen. “Those changes were very quick using PTC Creo.”
PTC Creo also came in handy when it was time to design the aluminum molds and tools needed to manufacture the guitar. “The guitar’s body, neck, and headstock are a single piece. Because it uses a cast manufacturing process, it needs to have a continuous hidden parting line and draft that’s ergonomic and attractive,” he says.
The End Product
Thanks to the hard work of Poort and his team, the Aristides OIO guitar was born. Simply put, it’s a work of art: a one-piece body and neck molded out of Arium, a top-grade ebony fret-board with pearl inlay, and a thin-layer aluminum silver or matte black finish.
Want to take a listen? Check out this this demo.
For more information about Aristides Instruments, visit their web site.
Interested in learning more about PTC Mathcad and its 3D CAD capabilities? NxRev offers a variety of seminars, tutorials, and customer service to help users get the most out of the PTC suite. Give us a call at 408-986-0200 to find out more.