Just this morning, a Kickstarter campaign launched for the Lenco-MD, a 3D printed record player created by Dutch knowledge-sharing community Qeske, Swiss quality Hi-Fi manufacturer Lenco, and 3D printer manufacturer Reprap Universe (RRU). While the Lenco-MD certainly turns the concept of the classic record player on its head, it’s certainly not the first one to be created with 3D printing; however, it is the first 3D printed record player with a modular design.
Retro is in these days, especially in terms of 3D printed objects, and vinyl itself has been experiencing something of a renaissance. However, the current design for most record players is still mostly based on concepts from the 20th century.
According to a Lenco-MD press release, “We believe a 21st century record player should offer a general platform with the possibility to individualize, upgrade and customize.”
The first functional Lenco-MD prototype was ranked as one of the top three best innovations at the 2018 IFA Berlin. The 3D printable record player invites learning, as users have the option of building their own customizable version. Multiple modular units make up the Lenco-MD, and are easy to swap out with others in order to adapt the record player for various scenarios. For example, you can combine the Solar Module with the Speaker Module to play some records outside in the sun, or use the Bluetooth Module for a wireless listening experience.
However, it’s important to note that these modules are not part of the campaign and are still currently in development, along with other options.
While you can purchase the Lenco-MD as a complete set with all the parts already 3D printed in biodegradable PLA by RRU, you can also buy one of the kits to 3D print your own at home.
Once 3D printed, it’s easy to assemble the Lenco-MD in just a few steps by adding the high-quality Lenco hardware and electronics, and you can use pre-set designs or your own imagination to create your own modules. A special tonearm for the record player comes perfectly balanced around a unipivot bearing, which means that it won’t favor one side over the other, resulting in less friction.
The tonearm handle is flexible, and while the Lenco-MD is shipped with an AT3600 cartridge from Audio Technica, you can install nearly any cartridge and stylus you want.
A belt-drive spins the platter, and the system absorbs the shock and lowers the vibrations from the record player’s motor. The Lenco-MD also comes with a built-in stereo pre-amp and RCA line out port, along with a headphone jack.
In addition to the Bluetooth module for wireless streaming that’s currently being developed, the Lenco-MD team is also working on an AccuPack and a Solar Charging Module as well. The complete set will first be available in seven different colors – apple green, sky blue, white, red, orange, yellow, and pink.
“The launch of Lenco-MD on Kickstarter only marks the exciting beginning of a new kind of record player,” the team stated in the release. “After the campaign, we will launch an online community platform where creators can share their own Lenco-MD modules and designs. We cannot wait to to see all great creations and challenge everyone involved to make the Lenco-MD a true modular and open system.”
The future Lenco-MD platform will include an overview of places around the world where people are 3D printing and building the modular record player on location, where it can then be purchased off the shelf. Additionally, a special maker reward with a new, affordable 3D printer from RRU, which was designed specifically for 3D printing the parts of the Lenco-MD, will be available in the future.
The crowdfunding campaign for the 3D printable Lenco-MD record player allows you to pre-order your own through January 4th. Once the campaign is over, rewards will be produced and shipped from early to mid-2019.
For those with access to a 3D printer with a minimum build volume of 330 x 330 x 100 mm, you can purchase the Lenco-MD Kit, which includes all of the electronics and hardware necessary to assemble the record player, for just €99. The reward also includes a license to 3D print all the parts yourself. For €149, you can get the kit with the pre-printed Platter and Tonearm, or purchase the Complete Set, with all the parts pre-printed, for €199.
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