3D Printed Ukulele Capo Process Blog

Ziyue Li
3 min readNov 3, 2019


Our Goal

To design something that would be useful in our everyday life using a 3D printer.

I chose to create a ukelele capo since I just bought a ukulele and need a capo to adjust the pitch. Ukulele capo is a small device that attaches to a ukulele’s neck and clamps down on all four strings at once.

fig 1: ukulele capos sold on Donner’s website


fig 2: a sketch of ukulele capo
fig 3: the 3D model in Rhino and the 3D printed model of Rhino



Designing a ukulele capo is especially challenging for me. After seeing the current ukulele capo products online, the whole structure seems very complicated which involves hinge and screws. Therefore, I did some research and realized that the most important feature for the ukulele capo is clamping the four strings of the ukulele. The current ukulele products usually have the features of adjusting its height according to different ukuleles. However, within the time limit, I will focus on the main functionality of ukulele capo and gives up some of the flexibility of adjusting the height. Therefore, I came up with the design of ukelele capo which is similar to a clamp.

What I would do differently

I designed the circle thing to increase the flexibility of adjusting the height of the ukulele capo. However, I overestimated the flexibility of the ukulele capo. The ukulele capo could not hold it tight without help. Moreover, The ukulele capo I designed is not long enough to cover all the strings especially the strings at the bottom with the increasing distance.

Therefore, I would design the ukulele capo with a holder to enclose the ukulele neck and stable the ukulele capo.

What I enjoyed

  • Designing the ukulele capo is challenging but very fun!
  • Exploring the Rhino’s features is very fun!
  • Using the 3D printer is very cool and seeing how it printed my 3D model is fun!
  • Making something that I can use is very fun!

Pros and Cons of the software(Rhino)


  • very easy to use and intuitive features
  • the command line of typing commands in does not require extra learning of icons


  • not enough instructions on how to use the specific feature