3D printer used to create a real concert flute

While 3D printers have been around for some time, they've generally been used to create rapid prototypes that give the designer an idea of what the final product will be like. Now it appears that some people are taking it to the next level by creating real mechanical devices and the results appear to be extremely favorable.

Engadget is reporting that Amit Zoran of the MIT Media Lab has designed and printed a fully-functional flute. The musical instrument was printed on a Connex500 3D printer, and the only non-printed items in the instrument are the springs for the keys. The entire printing process took roughly 15 hours with assembly taking a bit longer. While it's difficult to judge the acoustic qualities of an instrument via a YouTube video, it appears to be a fairly impressive reproduction. Seth Hunter, the man in the video who is testing the newly crafted instrument, offers a few suggestions for enhancement but overall seems impressed by the flute.

While the technology is still in its infancy and most people do not have the CAD skills to design objects for their own use, are we entering an era where we will be able to create many items "on-demand" in our own home instead of running out to a store? Or will there always be a market for products that have a proper fit and finish that can't be obtained from a 3D printer? The answer probably lies somewhere in the middle.

 

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36 Comments

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I've seen an 3D printer that can replicate it's own parts as it senses them wearing out it was on episode 2 of Bad Science

Pretty nice !!!
Last time I tried a rapid prototype machine was last year, and the resolution of the object didn't really impress me. But the result still did

(yes it has a resolution)

Fishfish0001 said,
Oh the things you could print at school... Hope they don't make a 3D copier

Well, since you asked... Yes, there are real 3D scanners out there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:3D_scanning_and_printing.jpg

(cut and paste the link - the board doesn't like the colon after File)

sponex said,
Wait Finally a substitute for a blow up wife!!!!!

Dam it, you beat me to the post, I was going to mention the wife could create an... "Cough" aid...? do I need to spell it out.

Oh did I hear a penny drop.

Well, if it took approx 15hrs for an instrument, i can't even imagine how something as complex as a car would take. I do know that ford were part of a project to make a plastic engine and they did according to wikipedia use one in a cosworth. What kind of 'plastic' that was though i have no idea. Hopefully one that can be printed lol.

DKcomputers said,
Well, if it took approx 15hrs for an instrument, i can't even imagine how something as complex as a car would take. I do know that ford were part of a project to make a plastic engine and they did according to wikipedia use one in a cosworth. What kind of 'plastic' that was though i have no idea. Hopefully one that can be printed lol.

Well these are used for mock-ups, not actual products.. so they would probably make it on a 1:32 or 1:64th scale

omnicoder said,

How soon can I pirate a car?

Really that wouldn't be to far off since it would just have to be able to recreate the largest piece. Of course then you would have to put it together yourself . Would be a fun thing though if you could get schematics for an engine and then using CAD you could design the rest of the car yourself.

ILikeTobacco said,

Really that wouldn't be to far off since it would just have to be able to recreate the largest piece. Of course then you would have to put it together yourself . Would be a fun thing though if you could get schematics for an engine and then using CAD you could design the rest of the car yourself.

Yeah, that'd have "street-legal" written all over it.

_dandy_ said,

Yeah, that'd have "street-legal" written all over it.


Considering i live in the US and it is already legal to design you own body kits and do mods to your own car that are sometimes down right crazy, yes it does have "street-legal" written all over it.

ILikeTobacco said,

Considering i live in the US and it is already legal to design you own body kits and do mods to your own car that are sometimes down right crazy, yes it does have "street-legal" written all over it.

There's a huge difference between a mere body kit and putting together your own engine from schematics.

reidtheweed01 said,
i dont even want to know how much that printer cost.

I tried finding that information online, but didn't see it listed anywhere... I'm guessing the old adage of, "If you have to ask..." probably holds true.

reidtheweed01 said,
i dont even want to know how much that printer cost.

The desktop 3D printer from Objet is $40,000 so I assume this one is probably about infinite.

reidtheweed01 said,
i dont even want to know how much that printer cost.

It'll come down when more of its components will be printable too. Want to upgrade your printer? Print a new one with your old one!

giantpotato said,
Pft. 3D is just a fad.

Oh wait...


It is a fad. What does viewing 3D and making 3D objects have to do with each other, other than the word 3D being in there...

too bad it is Flat (in sound not in dimensions) When I was in high school we made a Trombone mouthpiece with a rapid prototype and it had the same effect, however, it was still cool

littleneutrino said,
too bad it is Flat (in sound not in dimensions) When I was in high school we made a Trombone mouthpiece with a rapid prototype and it had the same effect, however, it was still cool

If it is consistently flat, as simple as changing the dimensions slightly by making it shorter to make the pitch go up. Very cool device indeed.