21.12.2012, Words by dummymag

Printers have become so high-tech they can print vinyl

A tech editor at ideas site Instructables has created the world's first batch of vinyl produced on a 3-D printer.

You’d be forgiven if the very notion of a 3D printer is something you’re still trying to get your head around, but it’s about to get a little bit stranger. Amanda Ghassaei, an assistant tech editor at Instructables, has just produced the world’s first batch of “printed” records, replicating music from the likes of Nirvana, Pixies and Daft Punk.

Without getting too bogged down in the technicalities, Amanda created the records using an Objet Connex 500 printer – a machine with such an advanced resolution it can produce grooves that can be detected by a vinyl needle. She then effectively did the reverse process of ripping an MP3, rendering it into waveform and using computer software to mimic the waves into differing grooves and create a 3D model, which could then be printed out.

There’s an explanation piece that’s been put up on Instructables, but with the Objet Connex 500 retailing at around £150,000, this probably won’t be a how-to guide you’ll be trying out at home any time too soon. While the quality of the printed records aren’t really anything to write home about (they’ve got a low-end heavy sound, which produces that “standing outside the club” sort of vibe), they’re a pretty fascinating insight into the capabilities of this burgeoning technology.

You can watch a video Wired have made of the process that went into Amanda’s creations below, where she shows off the records she has produced, sharing the fact that she’s had trouble with her Daft Punk disc as the bass frequencies produced are causing the needle to jump.

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