When a designer is looking for something, they generally have a fairly specific set of parameters. Often there is no willingness to settle for second best or a ‘not quite fit’ solution. This demanding eye often leads makers to create their own stuff rather than just accepting whatever the market might supply.
That’s what happened to a designer working for Zortrax, a company specializing in the provision of 3D solutions to business markets, who was looking for a set of speakers for his car and for his apartment. Not satisfied with the choices he was able to find already made, he decided to create them anew.
If you’re a maker, you’re probably already nodding your head.
And if you were to get a chance to listen to music on these, you’d be nodding your head to high-quality sound. Given access to a bevy of high-quality 3D printers, it should come as no surprise that the designer decided to leverage the capabilities of the technology in order to create a fully customized set of speakers.
The speaker casing was created in CAD and then imported into Z-Suite slicing software, it was then printed on the company’s powerhouse printer, the Zortrax M200. Different filaments were used to create the final product, Z-Hips and Z-Ultrat, filaments that are extremely durable and that print with a matte finish were used for the casing and Z-Glass, a filament that is semi-transparent was used to print the covering for LED lights.
Making speakers with 3D printing is a pretty awesome project to take on in its own right and a number of 3D printed speaker options have been cropping up across the maker world. It’s about time this started happening too. After all, the speaker type that is most widely in use today was actually invented in 1925 by Edward Kellogg and Chester Rice. Now, you’ll have to admit that their invention was a great improvement over the horn-type speaker that was being used in grammaphones as early as 1857, but with the proliferation of high-tech gadgetry available to such a wide number of people, it seems high time that the speaker gets a 3D print overhaul.
We’re not just seeing the creation of innovative casing but that the very components used to build the speaker are being 3D printed as well. Back in January, we covered a 3D printed speaker created by Formlabs for display at their booth at International CES 2015 along with a sweet video showing how it was made. We’ve seen several other varieties of 3D printed speakers since, too.
The creation of a customized loudspeaker opens up a world of opportunities for interior designers as well who have, previously, simply had to deal with whatever physical form the music system of a client happened to take, generally one that was some form of rectilinear. I can only imagine what Antoni Gaudi could have done with this – he famously once told a client that she should take up the flute when she complained that her piano would not fit into his organically shaped spaces.
In the meantime, I’m just hoping for an invite to give the 3D printed speaker a listen. That’s the true test of its success. I hope Zortrax has some good soul music on their playlist.
What do you think of these speakers? Have you encountered any 3D printed sound components? Let us know in the 3D Printed Zortrax Speakers forum thread over at 3DPB.com.