Ann Arbor, Michigan-based record label and design house Ghostly International issued a call for entries on Thingiverse last fall that they hoped would inspire 3D enthusiasts to come up with some creative and innovative 3D printable designs for objects that would appeal to the company’s demographic — people who appreciate music, on any number of levels.
“Using vinyl records and turntables as a starting point,” read the call for entries, the MakerBot Ghostly Vinyl Challenge, “invite[s] you to use your design skills to create novel objects that will delight record collectors, music lovers, and audiophiles alike”
Ghostly International, which considers itself a “multi-platform cultural curator,” wears or, more aptly, juggles multiple hats. It’s a recording label, a music publishing company, a technological innovator, an online art gallery, a clothing designer, and a design house. Since 1999, the company has bloomed from its early days as a boutique label featuring mostly experimental pop and techno music.
Ghostly International’s logo, a distinctive gumdrop-looking ghost, is a major component of all of the winning designs, which in one way or another most successfully responded to the contest’s major aim: to create “novel objects” to “decorate, augment, or personalize [entrants’] records and stereo systems” using 3D design and printing. The deadline for submissions was November 30, 2014 and winners were announced on January 8, 2015. Not surprisingly, because makers love a challenge, Thingiverse was inundated with hundreds of entries that demonstrated the incredible extent of creativity of the Thingiverse universe. By all accounts, it wasn’t easy narrowing their choices down to three winners. Instructions and STL files for the winning designs are all available on the Thingiverse page.
The first-prize winner, awarded Ghostly’s 2014 full-length vinyl catalog as well as a MakerBot Replicator Mini Compact 3D Printer, was New Zealander Oana Croitoru, aka “Oana Jones.” Her hand-cranked record player for vinyl discs features the Ghostly logo in the center of the 3D printed 15 cm-cube turntable, which she printed on a MakerBot Replicator 2. The only components of the turntable that aren’t 3D printed are the needle for the amplifier, a bit of sticky tape, and some glue. If you print the deluxe version of the turntable, you’ll need to craft a few small felt squares but that’s it.
Oana is a tutor and artist at Auckland’s Animation College, a school that teaches both traditional and 3D animation. Since the school got its first 3D printer, she’s been experimenting with it and it seems her experiments have paid off. Her turntable is impressive: It will play all kinds of records because it is adjustable, although Oana recommends 78 rpm records for an optimum listening experience as it is tough to control the hand crank for lower-speed vinyl.
The second-prize winner was Thingiverse contributor “M600,” or Anthony L, from Paris, France. Anthony designed and 3D printed (on a friend’s machine as he doesn’t have his own printer yet) the “DeskShell,” a handy organizer and catch-all box for audiophiles. “Don’t know where to put your spare head for your turntable? Your jack adaptor?” queries Anthony. Look no further than his DeskShell, which looks to me like a microphone and features the Ghostly logo. While it’s printed in white filament, its designer suggests that the DeskShell would look great printed with bronzeFill from colorFabb. Give it a try and then share your results with him.
The third-place prize went to Italian Thingiverse maker “aleccs” or Alessandro Romano for his Phone Amplifying Dock. Designed specifically for use with iPhones, the dock can also adapt to Android phones. Like the other winners, Alessandro’s device features the Ghostly International logos: one large ghost in the center where the phone rests and a smaller ghost on either side, which house the speakers. There isn’t much in the way of a description of the device and there are no instructions for 3D printing or assembling the dock, although he has shared the STL files.
We love contests like the Ghostly Vinyl Challenge, which inspire makers like this international group of innovators to explore the possibilities of 3D design and printing and, moreover, to share their designs with other aspiring makers. And, speaking of inspiration, check out Ghostly’s free download, Music For Makers compilation.
What do you think of the winners of the Ghostly Vinyl Challenge? Do any of the winning designs inspire you to download them or come up with your own music-inspired projects? Let us know over at the MakerBot Ghostly Vinyl Challenge Winners forum thread on 3DPB.com.