Putting a new spin on the long-playing vinyl record, an editor at Instructables has devised a new method for producing LP records using a rapid prototyping “3D printer”. Working directly from a digital audio file, Amanda Ghassaei uses the waveform profile to create a 3D computer model of the familiar LP groove, which is then built up in physical form by a UV-cured resin printer.
Despite the cutting-edge 16-micron resolution of the printer, the end result is rather crude, with a frequency response and audio quality as yet far beneath a typical analog vinyl record. The all-digital noise introduced by the discrete print (in time, aliasing, and in amplitude, quantization) is also harsh compared with the traditional “warm” analog distortion sought after by vinyl enthusiasts and audiophiles. Even so, one could foresee a niche market for one-off, just-in-time pressing of records to keep alive long out-of-print material (or new material that might be in limited demand). Even though this can be accomplished with .mp3 files or CD-R discs, sometimes there’s simply nothing like setting needle to vinyl!