Engineering Students Build Unique Birthday Gift for UVA

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The School of Engineering at the University of Virginia is celebrating a big anniversary. The school is 175 years old this year, and students studying mechanical engineering have built quite the birthday gift.

It took them around 400 man hours to complete a one-of-a-kind electric guitar shaped like the rotunda.  Mechatronics students have made other, less technical guitars in the past, but this one proved much more labor intensive.

Assistant professor Gavin Garner says the most important part of the process is allowing his students to learn by doing.  "They had to make compromises along the way," he said. "Just like they would have to do with any real life engineering design problem."

With the exception of some of the guitar's metal parts, every component was manufactured at UVA. Students used computer modeling to design the guitar before building it.  They also used state-of-the-art 3-D printers to physically produce many of the bits and pieces.

Some estimate the rotunda guitar could be worth as much as $10,000. But this work of art isn't for sale.