CAD, Print, Listen

One of the most remarkable developments in the past year that we've noticed is the explosive growth in 3D printed music or musical instruments. For years Guitars and other wooden instruments have been carved by CNC machines, directed by CAD models. But now, a few intrepid programmers have begun to create scripts that will generate your very own printable vinyl records!


 developed a program to take ordinary audio files and covert the waveforms into the sort of grooves a record player needle needs. "The audio on the records is very low resolution, it has a sampling rate of 11kHz (a quarter of typical mp3 audio) and 5-6bit resolution (less than one thousandth of the resolution of typical 16 bit audio), but the result is easily recognizable."

For the GrabCADr with a certain amount of flair, it might be possible to design a unique, 3D design to fit in the centre of the record, where the label sits.... although it ruins the possibility of having a Side B. You can check out Amanda's Instructable here.

Playing with CAD to Play a Guitar

When GrabCAD paid a visit to the 3DPrint show in London in October this year, I was pleasantly surprised to see that 3D Systems had hired a Jazz band to play live using printed instruments. These guitars are created by New Zealand-based ODD Guitars and feature these intricately designed bodies, each complete with insects and flowers placed within. I was lucky to pick up one and sweetly serenade the crowd with metal riffs.

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Not surprisingly, people on GrabCAD have been modelling and creating guitars and posting them online. GrabCADr Dave uploaded the entire set of blueprints for his guitar, created for his son (finished instrument here) We're talking every single file - even those nice looking humbuckers. Thanks Dave for this awe-inspiring job.

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Of course, for those who have a taste for the shredding, a plectrum is always need (better known as a 'guitar pick'). GrabCAD Designer Jake Drews created the Pix Pick for his own small business on Shapeways. You can take his basic template and design your own pics as well. The perfect complimentary product for any one of these instruments!

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