Nerdy Gurdy

The previous Hurdy Gurdy topic was closed, but I managed to build the v6 Nerdy Gurdy from Thingiverse in part with my Glowforge (and an Ultimaker 2+ 3D printer)

If you aren’t familiar, this is a stringed instrument that works like a violin, but with a cranked wheel instead of a bow.

The design was excellent and all credit goes to JaapBrand, though his original plans had two parts that were too long to fit on the 19.5" x 11" cutting area of the Glowforge. However, someone else ran into this before and asked in the comments if it could be split, and he confirmed it would be ok. I posted a Make of his build, and attached the SVGs with the modified files there as well. In any case, this was a great test of my building skill, and an excellent quarantine project, and I added some build tips if you decide to try it too (see the Make link)

I also got some Baltic Birch plywood for the project, and thanks to posts in this community, was able to figure out the best settings to cut with.

Here are some in-progress shots (Living hinges FTW!):

And lastly the finished piece:

(Bonus, I had some leftover leather from a friend’s project, and cut out the free guitar strap from Glowforge to go with the Nerdy Gurdy too)


Quite awesome :slight_smile: Thx for the new rabbit hole to get lost in.


This is so wonderful! Welcome to our community.


Woooh! That is great!


Thanks for the in progress pictures and write up. This is really interesting.

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This is really spectacular! One of the main reasons I got into laser cutting was to hopefully build a few cool/unusual instruments as part of a larger project. I may have to try this build. (Thanks for sharing your file modified to fit the Glowforge!)

This is a real inspiration for me. It takes guts to put tension on the strings of an instrument you built yourself!

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That is really amazing! I love the intricacy!

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Thanks everyone!

I did break my first set of viola strings, so if you try this, definitely

  • Sand down the wheel to make sure it’s smooth
  • Add rosin to the wheel first
  • Look up how to add cotton to the strings (this protects the strings and also helps with making them vibrate

And here’s what it sounds like (no song in mind, just playing with the keys):


That is so amazing!!! Almost made me want to do a jig…I need more coffee first. LOL

Fantastic! I was just starting to want to look around for a gurdy (either a finished instrument or a set of plans to laser one), so this is perfect to come across!

It was this scene that got me interested in the instrument…

Thank you for demoing it!

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Wow! amazing!!

I love the idea of making musical instruments. I made the folding violin for my daughter. This one looks really fun to make and I always love it when they play.

Thanks for sharing.

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I’ve poked at the hurdy gurdy culture a bit and it seems as some(well at least one) luthier is playing around with updating the design. He’s using plastic with a rubberized layer as the wheel now. Don’t need to Cotten the strings anymore. But…his stuff is thousands of $$$$ and it isn’t self built from a GF!!!
(Patty Gurdy has one. Very talented player. I think her latest one from the guy was $18,000 and is 21 strings?-and has 7 different mics built into it.)

Played violin years ago so stringed instruments still get me going a bit.

Looks good!

Edit: holy crap that was awful spelling and autocorrects! Apologies to you who read this before.


Amazing project and so well executed! It sounds great too!

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What an awesome first post! Very cool!

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