Wired visited Instructables’ Amanda Ghassaei to see the first 3-D printed records in action. While the process has a long way to go before we are hearing crystal clear audio, they are off to a fascinating start. Some of the first records they printed were Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, Pixies’ Debaser and Daft Punk’s Around The World.
Ghassaei used a state-of-the-art Objet Connex 500 printer to generate the disc. The whole process is possible because printing resolution has finally become high enough to create the audio-laden grooves for the needle to track and amplify. For her printed records, Ghassaei sets the machine to its finest setting, 600 dpi, with 16 micron steps, about the highest quality available on the market. But it’s still far lower resolution than on a vinyl LP, by a factor of 10 or so; hence the muddled sound that results in part from the needle responding to the layering of the printed plastic.