The music industry has long battled piracy. Napster ushered in an era of illegally downloading music instead of buying it, and now 3D printing looks like it could be set to further disrupt the industry. The 3D printed record industry seems to be maturing, and we previously featured a hacked Fisher Price record player that plays 3D printed records.
While the sound quality is not quite there yet, Amanda Ghassaei of Instructables has converted digital audio files into 3D printed records. Her aim was to explore the current limits of 3D printing technology.
She has created a program for converting the audio files into 3D-printable 33rpm records and printed a few functional prototypes that can be played on standard record players. The records have a sampling rate of 11kHz (a quarter of typical MP3 audio) and 5-6 bit resolution (less than one thousandth of typical 16 bit resolution). However, the songs are still easy to recognize.
Ghassaei has posted the Processing code, 3D model downloads, photos, and a detailed explanation of the design process on Instructables. You can check out the video below to hear what the records sound like: