Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Stratasys Collaborates with Designer Boaz Dekel to Transform 3D Printed Stereo Speaker Acoustics

ST Medical Devices

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speakerGood news for you music lovers who get frustrated by the back wave distortion caused by longstanding speaker design. There’s a new design in town from Boaz Dekel, a graduate of Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. This design is intended to radically alter speaker design so that the “audio signals fired to the back of the speaker [don’t] bounce off the cabinet walls and interfere with the signals sent to the front of the speaker.” Eliminating the back wall of the speaker, Dekel designed a circular speaker that has sound traveling in a perpetual self-feeding loop instead. The results? Speaker design may have been permanently altered once the design catches on. Oh! And I should also mention here that Dekel’s speakers are 3D printed on a Stratasys Objet500 Connex3 3D printer with Polyjet multi-material capabilities. How’s that for 3D printing technology facilitating previously unthinkable design work and real world construction?

aleph3Dekel reports knowing that he had a strong sense that his unique design for the Aleph1 would be nearly impossible to manufacture using traditional methods. Thankfully, he knew that 3D printing technology could help him realize his acoustical vision. He turned to Stratasys for help prototyping his design, and Stratasys experimented with many different materials before finally arriving at the perfect balance of rigid and flexible materials to ensure design, acoustic, and aesthetic integrity. Dekel states:

“With 3D printing I was able to quickly study the acoustic response of the geometry and different material configurations and determine which was most applicable to speaker cabinets. Other manufacturing or modeling techniques would not allow such freedom, much less in the required time frame.”

The Aleph1 is comprised of “self-feeding geometry” that preserves the back wave’s acoustic energy. This allows the energy to participate in the process of sound reproduction. Simply stated: the loop holds the back wave energy instead of letting it spill out and distort the front wave’s own primary energy. This makes so much sense! A more natural and open sound is promised from the Aleph1 — with higher detail and greater separation.

aleph4Dekel explains further that without 3D printing, he would not have been able to maintain the required “complex internal geometries” that create a more natural sound:

“The model is 3D printed in a single piece to allow complex internal geometries while maintaining structural integrity. Having a physical model was instrumental to studying the theoretic principles behind the product and assessing its feasibility.”

Are you confused, music lovers? Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before? As a 3D printing writer, I spend a little time each day amazed at how 3D printing can usher in such transformative changes to everyday objects — and stereo speakers are high on that list, right? I personally haven’t heard the Aleph1 yet, but the science sounds right. Think about the unique experience of holding up a sea shell to your ear to listen, or why the French Horn is designed the way it is.

Dekel hopes that this design will have an opportunity for commercial marketing. (Or he could always make the design open source and let us all in on the fun.) From the 3D printed sound of his “sound” design work, I am sure we’ll be hearing about this again very soon. His website is definitely worth taking the time to check out. Tell us what you think in the 3D Printed Stereo Speaker forum over at 3DPB.com.

aleph1

 

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