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If you haven’t noticed, 3D Printing is slowly morphing from an unthinkable rage and futuristic fancy into something that is amazingly real. We’ve seen all kinds of crazy products made using 3D printing technology spanning the gamut of the surprising to the downright head scratching; consider these 3D printed items: fire arms, a cordless drill, food, a guitar and a shoe! Yes, you read that correctly, someone has created a printable a shoe. So, would it seem ridiculous if you were to learn that two musical artist are releasing a record made by a 3D printer?

Believe it, it’s happening.


Bloc Party’s lead singer (Kele Okereke) has teamed-up with Bobbie Gordon to create a new song called “Down Boy” that is being released on a 3D-printed record. This limited edition single will be sold December 13-14 in London at a pop-up stand; all of its proceeds will benefit a British music therapy charity named Nordoff Robbins.

The technique to print a record was created by Amanda Ghassaei, an employee of instructables.com and a former physics student that professes an interest in “novel applications of digital fabrication, materials science, and developing physical interfaces for the manipulation of digital media.” In 2012, Ghassaei released a blog post that detailed how to convert digital audio files into 3D-printable 33rpm records. The process involves using an Objet Connex500 resin printer with a precision of 600dpi. Her self-written conversion program imports raw audio data, performs calculations to generate the geometry of a record and 3D triangles contained in the grooves, and then creates a printable file format.


The end result is far from what most audiophiles would gush over; her records have a sample rate of 11kHz and 5-6 bit resolution which results in admittedly low audio quality. But ignore that small thorn for just a second and consider the possible impact of her creation. Records could possibly make a comeback, or at least be more available to enthusiasts that desire their favorite artists (new and old) to be played on a turntable. In fact anyone with a 3D printer can download 3D record files, right now, from instructables.com. We’ve all created mixed-tapes and playlists...could a mixed-LP be in the future? How about never having to fear the fatal deep scratch on a favorite LP? The possibilities are certainly exciting.

While the Okereke/Bobbie Gordon release is more or less a stunt for a good cause, it’s nearly certain that artists and enthusiasts will continue to explore ways of tapping into the days of vinyl. The market has shown that vinyl isn’t dead yet; record sales data for 2012 shows that vinyl earned more than any year since 1997. And this isn't some anomaly, it has been on an upswing after hitting a low in 2006.

Enthusiast can only hope that the precision of 3D printing technologies will improve just enough to make home record creation a truly realistic possibility. The wonderful warmth of pops and scratches may return – in force – yet once again.

Image Credit: CIO.com, amandaghassaei.com
Sources: amandaghassaei.com, theguardian.com, washingtonpost.com
 

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I love this! A few years back there was an April fools story about 3D printed records fast forward to today and it's becoming a real possibility. 3D printing has come a long way.

Once a good conductive material is able to be used by extruders and printer resolutions get better we'll have a much easier time with rapid prototyping and DIY electronics projects.
 

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They are making OLED's this way also. That should bring the price of them down drastically. Amazing stuff.
 

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Cool, great thinking!


So would it seem all that ridiculous if you were to learn that two musical artist are releasing a record made by a 3D printer?

Believe it, it’s happening.


Bloc Party’s lead singer (Kele Okereke) has teamed-up with Bobbie Gordon to create a new song called “Down Boy” that is being released on a 3D-printed record. This limited edition single will be sold December 13-14 in London at a pop-up stand; all of its proceeds will benefit a British music therapy charity named Nordoff Robbins.
 

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The only problem is that it takes away the only benefit of records - that they are analog. Unless the printer resolution is so high that it can exceed DVD audio, what is the point except a quick gimmick?
 
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