DIY IAP: Make a Folding Ukulele

by Nancy DuVergne Smith on January 4, 2012 · 2 comments

in Engineering, IAP, In the News

Brian Chan ’02, SM ’04, PhD ’09 has done it again. The origami master who now designs graphics, metal and paper items, and products has a new invention—a quick-fab instrument that you can make yourself and then fold and toss in your backpack so it’s ready when you want to make music.

Make a ukulele in about half a day.

Make a ukulele in about half a day.

Chan designed the Folding Ukulele to be made from laser-cut bamboo plywood, and the kit, which takes about half a day to assemble, is offered online from Ponoko, a New Zealand-based software company that allows creative types to make prototypes of objects as small as jewelry or as large as furniture.

Self described as a maker of anything, Chan is a Cambridge-based freelance engineer and artist who has won honors for mobile-phone concept designs and for his idea for using thermal depolymerization to produce biofuels while sequestering carbon pollution. He’s  also recently begun working with the MIT Hobby Shop.

You can watch this video to see Chan explain the instrument, demonstrate how to fold it, and hear what it sounds like.

And you can build it too—Kits are available at Ponoko.

See some of Brian’s recent work and follow him on Facebook or Twitter for updates.

Editor’s note: In honor of MIT’s Independent Activities Period (IAP) in January, Slice  is focusing on activities you can do yourself and on the experiences of students serving this month as externs with alumni in their workplaces. Stay tuned!


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

vServe247 January 5, 2012 at 1:49 am

Congrats Brian Chan a wonderful discovery from you again. The folding Ukulele is very nice.


Henry January 6, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Great find, Ukulele is a great instrument. But I loled at “Self described as a maker of anything”


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