The world’s first all-metal guitar is smash proof
Swedish engineering company Sandvik manufactured the world’s first all-metal guitar, designed to be completely unbreakable, tested by Swedish-born guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen.
Rock stars have been smashing their guitar since the beginning of the genre, and one of the most enthusiastic ones is Malmsteen.
To make the guitar, Sandvik gathered experts from across the company. To design a guitar that is unsmashable no matter how it is hit, they studied what happens when a guitar is smashed. The engineering challenge lies in the critical joint between the neck and the body.
To eliminate this problem, the engineers decided to remove this joint altogether. Instead, the guitar’s neck and fretboard were milled in one machine from sold bars of recycled stainless steel. Both parts extended into a rectangular ‘hub’ that reaches deep into the guitar’s body. Before production, the milling process was digitally simulated using advanced software, saving manufacturing time.
Inside the stainless steel fretboard, a lightweight structure of hyper-duplex steel is place, to give the thin neck extra strength. The structure is an Isotropic Lightweight Structure (ILS), the strongest structure of a given weight ever invented.
Another challenge lay in the manufacturing of the guitar body, which needed a complex design to be both high strength and low weight. The company designed on 3D printing to make the design. Lasers traced a design in a bed of fine titanium powder. This fuses the material together in layers thinner than a human hair. The remaining powder can be reused in a new project.
To test the result of their labour, Sandvik gave the guitar to Malmsteen, who tried his best to destroy the instrument during a live convert in Florida. After ripping through several songs, Malmsteen started swinging the guitar at amps, at stage structures and at the floor, effectively destroying everything, except for the guitar.
“This guitar is a beast!” Malmsteen said after abandoning efforts to destroy it. “I gave everything I had, but it was impossible to smash.”