This is hipstertastic: An audiophile has figured out a way to print 3-D records out of resin that play her digital music. It just needs a little fine-tuning.
Amanda Ghassaei, an assistant tech editor for the project-sharing site Instructables.com, came up with a technique to print some of her Mp3s onto resin records. She started by writing a program that imports raw audio data from the file, performs calculations to generate the geometry of a 12-inch record, and then exports that geometry to a 3-D printable file format, according to the description on her site.
Then, to print the actual records she used an Objet Connex500 resin printer. The resulting resin 33 RPM records can be played on regular turntables. Hat tip to Eric Evenchick at Hackaday.com and Gizmag's Paul Ridden.
The process needs refining, though, because while the songs are recognizable you can still hear a constant whisking and scratching sound underneath them. Ghassaei admits the quality is about a quarter of the original Mp3. Here's her video demo, including songs by The Pixies and Nirvana:
While it isn't the best audio, I could see 3-D printed records taking off in certain circles once the quality improves. Back in the day, kids poured their energy into mixed tapes. Then there were CD mixes, and now we've got…flash drives I guess. But those feel impersonal. Now a mixed record, that'd be a harmonious blend of the old and the new.
Photo: A resin record made from a digital file using a unique 3-D printing technique. Credit: Amanda Ghassaei