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3D Printing Enables Musicians To Customize Records For Fans

Bloc Party singer Kele Okereke's new single uses a brand new vinyl format.

Ross Brooks
Ross Brooks on December 9, 2013. @greenidealism

Home recording and other innovative methods are all part of becoming a musician, but even some of the stars resort to guerrilla tactics now and again. Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke will be releasing a collaboration with vocalist Bobbie Gordon on a 3D-printed record that uses a new technique developed by Amanda Ghassaei, a software engineer who works for the online DIY community Instructables.

The tiny ridges that line records are extremely detailed, which Ghassaei thought would prove the perfect challenge for a top-of-the-line Stratasys 3D printer. She also had to write a script that would automatically turn a music file into a record design, seeing as it’s far too complicated to do by hand.

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After a fair amount of trial and error, Ghassaei managed to create a record loaded with “Debaser” by Pixies. After that, she went on to create records made of wood, vinyl and paper records using a laser cutter, which come out more scratchy than the 3D printed records, but can create a unique tone for songs like “Idioteque” from Radiohead.

Ghassaei isn’t sure that home 3D printers will ever be good enough to make printing records a common activity, but she could see bands following Okereke’s lead and using printed records for promotional purposes. They could print a unique record for each person that orders one, something which would take the idea of limited edition vinyls to a whole new level.

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Amanda Ghassaei

Source: Gigaom

Images: Amanda Ghassaei

TOPICS: Arts & Culture, Design & Architecture
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Ross is a freelance writer who specializes in topics about the environment, architecture, art, design and creative tech. He is passionate about making a difference with his writing, whether that’s to encourage social change, promote a great idea, or just share a little bit of beauty with the world. You can also find his work on Inhabitat and Techly.com.au.

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