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3D Printing Technique Yields Working Records

Evidence that 3D printing techniques are maturing in their capabilities: working 3D records. This interesting tutorial takes a look at how you can produce a serviceable LP with a 3D printer.

The results are highly experimental at this point and the sound is a bit muddy (at the current stage the project is only able to sample sound at about a third the audio quality of MP3) but the fact that 3D printers have evolved to even allow for the fine-detail printing necessary for record playback is amazing. Hit up the link below for more details about the project.

3D Printed Record [Instructables]

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 12/27/12

Comments (9)

  1. Skeptical

    I was very skeptical when I saw this, but apparently it can be done! My biggest problem was not realizing that there are plastics/resins that can print in 3D with such high resolutions (about 600dpi). I hardly even got into the article when I read the following:

    This project was my first experiment extending this idea beyond electronics. I printed these records on a UV-cured resin printer called the Objet Connex500. This printer has incredibly 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. (http://www.instructables.com/id/3D-Printed-Record)

    My only question is where to get the UV curable resin or the print heads that can literally lay down the tracks. (Gotta finish reading, I suppose.)

  2. Don

    effing WANT! not too original a response, but I’m serious at least.

  3. dragon

    Now aint this wonderful!
    they have found a way to produce an antiquated product for about 12 times the price…
    records skipped.. then we had 8 tracks and cassettes, they didnt skip ..
    then we had cds.. WHICH SKIPPED ahh progress

  4. Don

    @Dragon
    You obviously don’t know about the fidelity and warmth of the sound from an album. Not to mention the fact it’s better for DJing, especially since I’m a DJ. It’s what I prefer. And it’s not so antiquated anymore either. the demand for Vinyl has risen exponentially since the year 2000. People miss the quality of the sound.
    Of course, I know no other point of view will change your mind, but there are enough people that will consider your ‘antiquated’ comment as a slap to the face.
    Oh, well. I’m trying to explain. If you get even a bit of what I’m saying then I’m happy.
    Enjoy your compressed, data loss-full mp3s.

  5. Grant

    @Don It will never (by definition) be able to produce a sound better than a digital file of the time. There is no way to render something better than the source file, and since this is a digital file it is rendered from, it can be no better than the source file. It is interesting, and shows the detail possible from modern 3D printing, but will always be more loss than a lossless digital file, which in turn is always more loss than a good analog recording.

    Digital loses some definition, but that is the cost for longevity and repeatability. A good digital recording does not degrade with use, but the sample rate required to match an LP would be however many vinyl molecules the stylus passes over at 33 1/3 RPM on a 12 inch disc. I am sure it could be calculated, but I haven’t bothered yet.

  6. hopsingracer

    @Grant,
    I’m not an audiophile, but I do work with a number of them, and digital precision doesn’t equal tonal quality. And unfortunately, because of compression, no one hears a pure digital file. Sound perception is obviously something which can’t be calculated, but is very real. To music fans, an album will give a better (more enjoyable) reproduction every time.

    btw. this thing is way cooler than my Makerbot pieces. Truly impressive.

  7. Ushindi

    Call me when a 3D printer can print me out a Natalie Portman, OK?

  8. tony

    Because we can. I can’t think of any other reason.

  9. beergas

    Beats making guns & bullets or face masks for bank use…..
    Hey I’d settle for a film printing of Portman in 3D.

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