Replicating Historical Instruments

Lead institution/dept: Pitt Rivers Museum

Partners: Cranfield Forensic Institute, Cranfield University and Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford


Abstract: The Pitt Rivers Museum often gets requests from members of originating communities to play historic and culturally important instruments held in the collection. They are not in playable condition, and so an alternative might be to make a 3D printed replica. It would be important for the replica to be as similar to the original as possible, including weight, feel and sound.  We recognise that there are many intangible aspects around playing an original instrument, but we hope that an accurate replica might be an acceptable alternative to playing a fragile original. While many people have made 3D replicas of instruments, there has been very little work done on comparing the sound of the original instrument with that of a replica. This project aims to scan and create a 3D replica instrument and undertake sonic testing to establish how materials and fabrication can influence the playing and listening experience.  


Visit the Plastic Fantastic project page.