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Sunday, April 7, 2013
3D printed speakers give you a custom light show to go with your tunes (video)
3D printing is still in its relative infancy, but more and more folks are using machines like the MakerBot Replicator and Formlab's Form 1 to turn digital plans into physical reality. An Autodesk engineer named Evan Atherton has access to a much more capable (and expensive) 3D printer, an Objet Connex 500, and as a design exercise decided to use that printer to create a finished product. You see, a lot of 3D printers are used for rapid prototyping, as opposed to product manufacturing. Join us after the break for a video interview with Atherton explaining how he created these sonic beauties.
With the Objet Connex 500, Atherton is able to print single objects that seamlessly integrate two different materials, as opposed to the single materials used by less expensive printers. In this case, he combined a flexible rubber and a hard plastic to print out a pair of crystal orb speaker housings. From there he inserted strips of addressable RGB LED strips operated by a custom LumiGeek microcontroller to make the speakers glow in time with your tunes. LumiGeek also provided the companion app that allows users to fine tune the light show to their tastes. Alas, at well over $2,000 worth of printed material and almost 60 hours worth of man and machine labor to create them, there aren't any plans to sell the speakers. However, LumiGeek will be Kickstarting its mictroctontroller that allows users to dictate video output based on audio files sometime soon.