Covid pandemic led Czech company to print cellos – now they’re being sold around the world
It weighs just two kilograms and can be packed for travel, but it sounds just like the wooden original. The 3D printed cellos made by the Přerov-based company Sensio.cz are being exported across the world and the business has plans to expand its instrument range further.
It was during the coronavirus pandemic that Ondřej Kratochvíl and his friend Jan Tobolík decided to buy a 3D printer from Prusa Design and start printing cellos.
“We tried to maintain at least the outlines of the instrument, so that our cello would resemble the original. It may have a slight modern futuristic feel, but it still contains everything that the musician needs. It even has a phone case for notes,” says Mr Kratochvíl.
His friend Jan Tobolík adds that the first prototypes were made very soon after they bought their 3D printer in 2020.
“Within a few months we realised that this is a usable product. We decided to call it MyCello and in the subsequent weeks we fine-tuned it so that we could put the instrument onto the market in February 2021.”
The company, which was originally focused on developing information systems for arts schools, has since registered significant demand for its new product. Just this year, Sensio.cz exported more than 150 MyCellos to musicians around the world. The skill range of their clientele is also diverse, says Mr Kratochvíl.
“It ranges from complete beginners to proper professionals. We originally intended to market the product to beginners, or to people like me who need to practice at home but don’t want to disturb the neighbours with loud music. However, because the cello is easily transportable, we see players also take it on holiday.”
It’s not just their practicality but also the speed at which they can be built that makes Sensio.cz’s cellos so attractive. While the normal instrument can take around half a year to manufacture, the 3D version of the cello can be printed and set up within a space of two days.
The company has gathered several accolades for its innovative work in the field, including third place at this year’s international round of the Creative Business Cup, where Sensio.cz competed against no fewer than 6,000 other projects.
With their 3D business having taken off, Sensio.cz is now working on improving their original design. Much of the current work revolves around studying the acoustics of plastics, an area that remains relatively unexplored, says Jan Tobolík.
Sensio.cz has therefore asked the Tomas Bata University in Zlín for help. The team is hoping that, if all goes well, the company could soon also introduce printed variants of the violin and double bass.