Cutting Records from Acrylic, Paper and Wood

One of Amanda Ghassei's records cut out of wood.

Cutting Records from Acrylic, Paper and Wood

With the spread of 3D printing technology it was perhaps inevitable that someone would use the technology to create a new medium for recorded music. Amanda Ghassei, based in San Francisco, California, has already used the technology to create 3D printed records to transform an mp3 into a physical record and has documented the processhere.

Now Ghassei has developed a technique to make records using a laser cutter, in a bid to make the technology more accessible, and has cut records out of acrylic, wood and paper. ‘With this project I wanted to try to extend the idea of digitally fabricated records to use relatively common and affordable machines and materials so that (hopefully) more people can participate, experiment, and actually use all this documentation I’ve been writing,’ says Ghassei.

The audio on the records isn’t quite at MP3 quality — the records have a bit rate between 4 and 5, where most MP3s would be 16 bit — and the sampling rate is also still quite low at 4.5Khz compared to MP3s usual 44.1Khz. However much of this seems to be due to attempts to stop the laser cutter from crashing and presumably could be improved in the future.

The code for laser cut records is written in Processing, an accessible coding environment built for people who don’t have a strong background in computer coding. Ghassei has made the code available for free online, so anyone can use or adapt it to make their own 3D printed records.

Published on 13 May 2013

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