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Astro Folding Ukulele

I love travel style ukuleles of all sorts.  Finding ways to make instruments ultra portable is fascinating to me.

I’ve built a many different kinds of travel ukuleles.  I even made a ukulele with a retractable neck.

If a neck folds for storage, the strings need to be managed.  The new folding ukulele made by Astro Ukulele has a moving bridge that prevents the string from getting too floppy when it is folded for travel.  When unfolded, it is a soprano ukulele.  It even has two “wings” that pop out to make it easier to hold.

The Astro Ukulele comes in two different models, A and E.  The A is acoustic, and the E is electric.

The Kickstarter campaign  for the Astro Ukulele just launched.  Check out the ukulele models and other perks of the project.

ASTRO UKULELE KICKSTARTER

JUNE 2018 UPDATE:

Unfortunately this project failed to reach its goal on Kickstarter. Hopefully they will find another way to produce this design.

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Backpacker Guitar

Here are some helps and hints to make your own Backpacker Guitar.  This project takes some knowledge and skill, so I wouldn’t recommend it as a first instrument building project.

Parts and supplies:

  • 6 tuners
  • Compass inlay
  • 2 inches of bass fretwire (for the zero nut)
  • Enough guitar fretwire for 15 frets
  • 2 strap buttons
  • Angled aluminum and aluminum tube for the bridge
  • Material for the string turnaround
  • Metal rivets (to make string ferrules for the ball ends)
  • A set of “extra light” acoustic guitar strings
  • Solid hardwood at least 24 inches long, 3.5 inches wide, and 1 inch thick.
  • Wood at least 9.5 inches long, 3.5 inches wide, and 1/8 inch thick (for the back)

The rectangular body section is 9.75 by 3.5 inches.  After the 9.75 inches, it curves in towards the neck.

Making the turnaround is very important.  I modified the turnaround so that each of the strings turn independently on its own roller.  That is not shown in the video.  The string spacing (from string 1 to string 6) at the bridge and turnaround is 52 mm.  The string spacing at the zero fret is 36 mm.

I recommend that you print out the fret template, and combine it with the dimensions of the body.  The tines of the of the body are around .5 inch wide.

 

 

Download and print the fretboard below:

Backpacker_Guitar_22inch_fretboard

 

Tenor and Sopranino Travel Ukulele Fret Templates

People from all over the world have utilized my free plans to make a travel ukulele (or it’s backpacker brother).

Here’s a ukulele made by Mark in Oregon.

The plans are for a concert version of the travel ukulele.

I’ve also made tenor and sopranino versions of that design.

Here are the downloadable and printable templates for the fret placement.  They can be used in conjunction with the templates and hints.

Tenor fretboard template (17.5 inch scale length)

Sopranino fretboard template (11 inch scale length)

 

Michael from Germany’s Travel Ukulele Design

Michael from Ludwigsburg, Germany emailed some awesome files this week.  We added upon the work that Craig from Seattle did.

He tweaked a few things according to his own taste.

He told me:

  1. I wasn’t very keen on the nut (0-fret) made of a bass fret, so I came up with the idea of modeling it from a piece of walnut.
  2. The turnaround will be made of a lathe-turned piece of walnut with a glued in 7mm dia. aluminium core with inner M4 thread (lathe + thread tap).
  3. The turnaround will be held in place by countersunk M4 x 25 screws (internal hex socket, cap-head).
  4. The position markers and strings will be black.
  5. The bridge is a thin aluminium pipe held in place by clamps similar to those you used in your early Travel Uke design.
  6. I skipped the electrical wiring and internal wire channels.
  7. I initially wanted to use black string pegs instead of simple holes but after a while I realized it would ruin the simplicity of the design.
Here are some great digital renders of the travel ukulele.

uke_top

uke2

uke_side2

uke1

There are lots of thing that can be done to the original design.

Great job Michael!  I can’t wait to see the final product.

Download file here: Travel Ukulele File