Bespoke Violin Chinrest

The shape of the violin was optimized for the beauty of its sound, not the comfort of its player. So most violinists today use adapters to ease the transition between body and instrument:

  • a chinrest between the chin and the top of the instrument, and
  • a shoulder rest between the bottom of the instrument and the shoulder.

Since every violinist’s body is different, every violinist requires different rests. Typically, shoulder rests are adjustable and chinrests are not.

Over two decades playing violin, I’ve used countless chinrests. Storebought ones of different heights, mount points, angles, materials… plus my own contraptions from sponges, friction material, cloth, etc.

Nothing has really worked for me. So I thought I’d make my own.

I made a scan of myself holding my violin in playing position with my head in a natural, comfortable position. I cleaned up the mesh in Blender and brought it into Onshape, a CAD program. In Onshape, built a part to fit into the space between my body and my instrument. I exported an STL, sliced it with PrusaSlicer, and printed the design on my Prusa MINI+ 3D printer.

The resulting object, printed in translucent green, became part of the instrument.

It was also a terrible chinrest.

So I designed and printed a copy of an existing chinrest. This was not sculpted to my body, but it was far more functional.

I presented this project at an intersection of art & technology salon hosted by @empowa at The Commons on July 27, 2023: recap video

Work is ongoing.