Shamisen 3D Prototype

Hello everyone! First time posting here! Woo! I’m working on a model for a 3D printed Shamisen after gathering some inspiration from other members here. I didn’t have a whole lot of resources to go off of, and truth be told, I have never played or held a real Shamisen before but I’m very interested in learning so I’m hoping the dimensions are right.

I utilized some drawings and pictures of Shamisen I found online and scaled them to what I believe is the correct dimension. I could be very wrong. At any rate, here’s my work in progress build. I have the base model complete for the most part, now it’s a matter of slicing up the file logically for printing and assembly. I’ll be utilizing a T8 rod (basically a really long and thick threaded bolt) for the neck for increased rigidity.

I still have to whip up some pegs but that shouldn’t be hard once I can figure out some dimensions for them. I would greatly appreciate if anyone could provide some data on that! I’m a little hung up on where to put holes in for strings and such. Anyways here’s some render candy. I’ll have more here soon!


Wow congratulations! That renders looks nice.
If you need dimensions i think you can finds all the information on the web tho.
I’m just a begginer tho but I was wondering if that Dou is made from plastic… It can support the pressure of the skinning? Any pro out there could fill this? :pleading_face:

I can’t say for certain how the skinning process will go, but I can print the dao as one complete piece. I have full control on how hollow it is (or isn’t) as well. Half the fun is going to be finding how to make it work.


Those 3D printed materials are very durable I think. As long as the dou isn’t too thin it should hopefully work :smiley:

I would however keep an eye on the tenjin (where the pegs are installed). They do sometimes break on wooden shamisen, since they have to endure the string tension. But maybe the plastic will keep up even better. Keep us updated!
For the holes, someone with a tsugaru shamisen could hopefully give you some measurements. I only have a shamibuddy right now ^^’

Hello. Nice model.
Question I have is what process you planning to use: FDM, SLA, etc.
Each method would have it’s own limitation end even the cheapest one in the end would cost you at least a half of used real one.
Still a lot of fun :slight_smile:

I use FDM. I’m reinforcing it using some metal rods so its a bit stronger and has better resonance. The Dao can be printed on my printer in one complete piece and my plan is to have it mostly solid infill with PETG filament. As for the Tenjin, I have some brass tubes on the way that I am going to use to reinforce the holes for the itomaki. If I need any of it to be stronger I can tweak it to my liking. I’m really just doing this to challenge myself, its not necessarily about the cost. I’d just start carving one out of wood if that were the case. Wouldn’t be much more difficult to utilize this model on my CNC and have it carve the wood for me honestly.

I see.
Another way would be to print models, finish them to acceptable surface quality and use them as patterns for resin castings.
This way you can reinforce them in any way you like, use material with specific properties and even embed some wood to create edges for traditional skin attachment.

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I definitely thought about Resin, and it definitely sounds like a really cool idea that I might try out (How awesome would a transparent shamisen be!) But ultimately, I think it would be cool to perfect it as a 3d print so that this instrument is a little more accessible for those that already have a printer.

That’s awesome! I’m an engineer and will hopefully be getting my beginner shamisen soon, so I will totally offer help and dimensions if you want. I’m pretty advanced in Fusion 360 especially with parametric design, I bet you could use parameters to make a flexible “shamisen generator” capable of producing various shamisen designs, each with different geometry.

Quick little update, I have two versions of the neck now. One is going to be 3d printed with a threaded metal rod running the full length for rigidity, and the other will have the same but I’ve cut a 2mm recess in the neck to inlay a sheet of 7075 T6 aluminum just for experimenting because I had no other plans for the sheet. I’m also going to make an experimental dou that stretches skin similar to a banjo (drum hoop) to see if I can use drum heads instead of skin and still have a decent sound. I’ll also have a “traditional” dou, though I don’t know how much of this project can even be considered traditional lol.

I’m doing this all very trial by fire, and just for fun. I would like to build a full wooden shamisen completely traditionally someday, but I also like to push boundaries and see what I can innovate on.

In this render you can kinda see where I have the sheet metal inlay on the neck.


Updates! Here you can see how I’ve designed the parts to come together! I still have a ton more to print. Please pardon the current finish on the parts, I’m working with a new material that I havent quite dialed in yet. Once everything is assembled I will be going through a ton of sanding, body filling, and painting so in the end I’ll have a nice glossy black silky smooth finish. I still need to flush cut the brass inserts on the tenjin.

So far I’m really optimistic how this is coming out. I have no doubt this will be extremely rigid, all the parts are 100% solid and strong. The question remains on how it will sound. I cant wait to find out!


Cool! Can’t wait to hear it.

As the first one, I’m sure this is a time consuming process. I wonder which process would take longer to make.