This past week, 3D printing has been a source of controversy on social media, with the firing of the world’s first 3D-printed gun (craziness). A little less-publicised but with a rather more positive outcome is Amanda Ghassaei’s use of the technology to create the world’s first laser-cut vinyl disc made of wood, with grooves up to ten times the width of standard vinyl. Ghassaei’s initial offering comes to us in the form of Radiohead’s ‘Idioteque’ printed on ply and The Velvet Underground’s ‘Femme Fatale’ and ‘Sunday Morning’ etched on maple. While the audio quality is not great (yet), its’s a brilliant step ahead for physical music innovation.
Ghassaei discussed the process behind the vinyl with Instructables:
“These records were cut on an Epilog 120 Watt Legend EXT to a theoretical precision of 1200dpi (the kerf of the cut and some tricks I used to avoid crashing the laser cutter dropped the actual precision down by ~1/6). The audio on the records has a bit depth between 4-5 (typical mp3 audio is 16 bit) and a sampling rate up to about 4.5kHz (mp3 is 44.1kHz).”
Ghassaei has made the vector files available here, so that anyone with a 3D printer can produce their own custom wooden pressings. According to the innovator, the optimum tracks to use are “songs that are very full in the lower to mid range, but also very sparse overall are best”.