by Dave Segal
on Thu, Jan 3, 2013 at 10:09 AM
Humans can now make records with a 3-D printer, reports Wired magazine. They sound like crap and will murder your turntable's stylus, but, hey, some kinks still need to be worked out. Nevertheless, the technology behind this is amazing. Just don't expect audiophile-level quality for a while yet.
Seattle native Amanda Ghassaei, assistant tech editor at the San Francisco-based Instructables, printed discs of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Pixies' "Debaser," and Daft Punk's "Around the World," the first two of which you can hear in the video below. Wired writer Nathan Hurst explains how Ghassaei accomplished this:
To create the 3-D model for the record, Ghassaei essentially reverses the process of ripping an MP3. As the groove of a record is a microscopic image of the analog audio, she starts with the digitized waveform, using Python to take it directly from the MP3 file, and renders the shape of it into an STL wireframe using Processing, an open source tool that automates the file generation. She then uses the software to wrap it in a spiral on a 3-D 12-inch disc, varying the depth of the groove to match the waveform. Compared to a normal record, hers have increased amplitude and groove depth to account for the coarse resolution.
Read more about this development—which will likely give Mike Nipper an aneurysm—here.