Week 8 / 10:
Self initiated project
I want to create a 3d printed vinyl record. Using the Ultimaker 3 at school this should be possible. Ever since I printed and designed my own chessboard I was fascinated by 3D printing. Combing this fascination with my love for vinyl records results in a 3D printed vinyl record.
- Research how vinyl records work.
- Follow along with the Instructables tutorial.
- Experiment with different settings and resolutions.
3D printed record
Create 3D printed record. Using the Instructables manual as a guide.

As I was following along with the tutorial I ran into a few problems. The STL file I generated using processing was way to detailed and be processed in Cura. I tried different computers with a STL fixing program called NetFab. I even tried the “super” computer from the VR lab. The computer has 64gb of RAM, it was using more 32gb of RAM when I tried importing my STL record into CURA or NetFab. I called it a day and went home to figure what I should do next.
The Ultimaker 3 has a precision of 20 microns, the grooves of a record are 50microns in width but detailed around 5 microns. This means the printer could perform the very basic needs for a record.
Design Research
The project started out with a clear vision and sense of direction. With my research I formed a plan of following along with an Instructables guide. As I was not sure the guide would actually work I formed a plan B. Another Instrutables guide writer by the same person, this time with a laser cutter.

I think the end results look incredibly cool. Unfortunately they don't work. As I sort of suspected, the level of detail an 3D printer and laser cutter can produce isn't high enough for a vinyl record.
Collaborative Learning
In the process of my project I discovered the 3D printer wasn't able to reproduce the attention to detail a vinyl record requires. With this in mind I casually asked Elisa how she would proceed. Together we concluded that I either could spend a lot of time trying to perfect-ionise the 3D printer or I could explore the possibilities of the laser cutter, activating my plan B. So I followed the laser printing guide. With my first run I printed a piano piece. This was sort of working but I noticed that the piano didn't really resonated. So I laser printed a song with more resonation. ( https://youtu.be/1Vx0cLNI228 )

Ultimately I didn't really turned out the way I was hoping it would but I did learn a lot about vinyl records and waves.
Maker Skills & Attitude
This project was the first time I followed and used an Intractable guide. Reading how other makers came up with cleaver solutions for common problems, such as detailed engraving with the laser cutter.

In the process I learned to control the laser cutter a bit better and tried a few different temperatures and intervals.
Trying to achieve the most detailed engravement possible.
With this project I didn't really collaborate a lot. When I have an idea I usually see exactly what I have to do in order to achieve the wanted outcome. In this case I had an guide I could follow to the letter, there were a few hiccups but I was able to quickly solve these myself.
Laser cut record

This is the only working 3D printed record I found online.
What is your project about? Which fascination sparked it?
Goal of the project:
I want to achieve a better understanding of layer resolutions and vinyl records. Knowing how records are made and work will be a big help for designing the 3D printed record.
Instructables. (2018, 8 oktober). 3D Printed Record. Geraadpleegd op 24 maart 2019, van https://www.instructables.com/id/3D-Printed-Record/
Expected outcomes:
I intend to deliver a working vinyl record. The record plays a song of my choosing using a needle on a fold op paper.
Activities and planning:
Learning goals :
I will need to learn how to prepare and print with incredible precision. The record needs to me at least 20 microns to have a sample quality of 11 kHz. This is already low quality, printing inaccurate will result in even lower quality,
Support :
First I will follow the Instructables instructions. If this doesn’t work I will try different setting and printers.
Materials :
I will be using regular 2.5mm PLE plastic. A few years ago I bought 750g of black filament. I can use this for my project. If regular plastic works I want to explore the use of Ninja flex filament. Making a flexible vinyl record.
After a lot of trial and error, my computer imported a short record into Cura. I ran the generated G-code on the Ultimaker 3 with the highest possible settings. I spiced the STL in two pieces. The first piece was the middle part of the record, the part that is relatively higher and stronger than the grooves. This piece was printed on a lower resolution on the second nozzle. The second piece, the groves, were printed with maxed out setting on the first nozzle.
The result was everything except pleasing. The record was nowhere near as detailed as I wanted it to be. The groves weren’t showing and there was a clear lack of differentiation in height. When I tested the record on my record player I only heard noise.
I tried a few different prints afterwords but I realised that 3D printing a record with the Ultimaker 3 wasn’t gonna cut it.
The record required higher detailed nozzles and more accurate movements.

I looked into alternatives and came across this laser cut vinyl record. This tutorial was made by the same maker as the 3D printed record.
Printing a vinyl record on a 3D printer. The record will be generated from a mp3.
3D models and used scripts can be found on my drive :

Create laser cut record. Using the Instructables manual as a guide.


This is the only working laser cut record I found online.
Cut a vinyl record using a laser cutter. The record will be generated from a mp3.
illustrator drawings and used scripts can be found on my drive :

After the 3D printed test I came up with the laser cut alternative. The laser cutter is way more precise ( 1200dpi instead of 600dpi ) so it should be possible to cut a record.

I began with generating the record using the processing and python files provided by the Instructable tutorial. After the file generated I ran a few tests on the laser cutter to see which settings were creating the most detailed groves.

As the laser cutter is only able to cut vertical the record won’t be in stereo. In a record the combination of vertical differentiation in height and the horizontal differentiation in width and angle create a stereo sound. If one of the following is missing the record will only produce a mono sound. Meaning the record will only be heard on the Left or Right speaker.
The computer connected to the laser cutter ran into a few errors before it was able to send the file to the laser. The laser was kiss-cutting on a 3mm acrylic plate. I removed the foil to prevent loose foil in the groves.

The final result looked awesome! I quickly took it home and tried it on my record player. Unfortunately the record resulted in mostly noise. Except for a few parts, sometimes you can hear ( very far away ) a piano sound.

As the the laser unfortunately can’t produce this high level of detail on an acrylic I can’t imagine the laser cutter will be able to create a better result on a piece of wood.
For the groves I user : 15 power with 100 speed. Set to cut.

For the engraving I used the Makerslab acrylic preset for 3mm.
Laser cutting settings
Lower volume before playing.
Funny story
The vinyl record I tried to reproduce was actually the record While ( 1< 2 ) by Deadmau5. This record is currently being sold second handed for $200. Deadmau5 printed 5000 of the as an limited edition campaign. A week after I laser cut this record I found out that Deadmau5 issued an second print. This time he printed 500 records. I was on of the lucky ones who was able to get his hands on one of them. 😊