“Multitalented” is a good word to describe Olaf Diegel, but it may be a bit of an understatement. The design engineer works as a professor of product development at Sweden’s Lund University and an Associate Consultant with Wohlers Associates, as a principal author of the industry-known Wohlers Report and teaching new design for additive manufacturing courses, and still manages to find time to design and 3D print an array of incredible things such as guitars, saxophones, and even a minimal-support metal desktop distillery. Between the booze and guitars, Diegel’s website Odd Guitars offers just about everything you need for your rock and roll lifestyle – except for one thing. A microphone, so you can rock out at a proper volume.
Not to worry – not only has Diegel now designed and 3D printed a microphone, but he made it look like Skeletor. The idea actually came from 3D printing expert Terry Wohlers, who suggested that Diegel try designing an unusual microphone for his next additive manufacturing demonstration project. Excellent idea, thought Diegel, who set about designing the most heavy-metal microphone he could think of.
“I have to say that it’s a lot more fun designing these types of fun products, rather than the normal engineering products I normally do!” Diegel told 3DPrint.com. “The microphone is not a product that is going to save the world, but it will, hopefully, give people some cool other ideas about what kinds of things you can do with additive manufacturing.”
He designed the entire microphone in SOLIDWORKS, so it “also makes a nice example showing that it is possible to design extremely ‘organic’ shapes with engineering CAD software,” Diegel said. He used the microphone capsule and XLR connector from an old Sure SM58 microphone he happened to have lying around for the first iteration. It’s easy, however, he says, to alter the interior mounting system to fit any kind of microphone capsule. The first iteration was 3D printed in nylon, with a layer thickness of 0.1 mm, using an EOS Formiga P 110 SLS 3D printer.
“I did the project as another nice demonstrator of the power of 3D printing. When I first started on it, the intent was just to do a deluxe version in aluminium,” Diegel told us. “I also wanted to do some playing around with lattice structures. But, as I don’t have direct access to my own metal machine (yet), I figured I might as well do an interim version in nylon. All going well, we’ll get our first metal machine at the university towards the end of the year, so I’ll then be able to do it in aluminium. And once I do that, I’ll have to figure out the best way of printing it so it can be done with minimum post-processing effort and time.”
He’s quite pleased with how the nylon version turned out, so the “standard” version of the microphone will remain nylon, while aluminum will be reserved for the deluxe version. Painted in silver, with the Odd Guitars logo emblazoned across the forehead, the nylon skull microphone is about as metal as you can get without being, well, actually metal.
Keep an eye on the Odd Guitars website for an update once the aluminum version is complete; we’re certainly looking forward to seeing it. After that, who knows what’s next? With Diegel’s track record, it’ll almost certainly be very cool. Discuss in the 3D Printed Microphone forum at 3DPB.com.