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3D Printed Record – 600dpi into 11kHz with Processing and ModelBuilder

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3d printed record

Created using Processing, ModelBuilder Library by Marius Watz and a 3D printer, Amanda Ghassaei at instructables managed to print a 33rpm music record that actually doesn’t sound too bad considering the limitations of currently available 3d printing technologies. These records play on regular turntables, with regular needles, at regular speeds, just like any vinyl record.  Though the audio output from these records has a sampling rate of 11kHz (a quarter of typical mp3 audio) and 5-6bit resolution (mp3 audio is 16 bit), it is still easily recognisable.

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The records were printed on a UV-cured resin printer called the Objet Connex500.  This printer has a very high resolution: 600dpi in the x and y axes and 16 microns in the z axis, some of the highest resolution possible with 3D printing at the moment. Despite all this precision, Amanda writes that the Objet still at least an order of magnitude or two away from the resolution of a real vinyl record.  Her hope is that despite the lack of vinyl-quality precision, she would still be able to produce something recognizable by approximating the groove shape as accurately as possible with the tools she had.

In this Instructable, she demonstrate how she developed the workflow that can convert any audio file, of virtually any format, into a 3D model of a record.

So, just before you put your old record player into storage you may want to wait a little longer because 3d printing is just about to give it a whole new life.

3D Printed Record on Instructables | Record models on the 123D gallery as well as the Pirate Bay.

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  • This could inspire a whole new ethos to re:sampling. Lay down your beats and other sounds and then play them back and re:record. Just like the old tape days to get that unique sound.

  • Correct. As well as the way the sound changed during the CD era in the process of digitising. My only concern is that instead of letting the medium develop it’s own quality of sound, people will try to imitate the MP3 sound…thus making the whole thing pointless.

  • James Sannino

    I love the poor quality and that weird seagull sound on every track! Really makes you appreciate physical media. Although I guess if you listen to vinyl, you already do.

  • I like the noise generated by the printer, it’s like some 90’s dance alarm. I am sure that quality could be exploited to take maximum advantage of the recording medium. <3

  • Like the bass reproduction and soundtrack selection, really intelligent :)

  • Matt c

    I have too much time for this, I wonder how cost efficient it is and if it could bring down the price of buying new records. I like the idea of the format developing its own sound but surely fidelity has to be a key factor?

  • Ksadhu

    can the printer print in spiral not linear way?