A Different Kind of 3D-Printed Music, by Rickard Dahlstrand

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Earlier this year, we had took a look (and listen) at Amanda Ghassaei’s 3D-printed 33′s. I suppose it’s no coincidence that the muffled but recognizable playback obliquely evoked the soothing sounds of “a printer or scanner arm moving back and forth across a two- or three-dimensional stage.” Swedish art hacker Rickard Dahlstrand apparently arrived at a similar conclusion, but he’s upped the ante by actually programming a 3D-printer to chirp out ditties, “using a Lulzbot 3D-printer to visualize different classical musical pieces.” On the occasion of the recent Art Hack Day in Stockholm, he took the opportunity to “explore the alternative uses of 3D-printers to create unique art by ‘printing’ classical pieces of music while at the same time acting as an instrument and performing the music itself.”

In short, the step motors—which control the movement of the stage and print head—generate pitched tone based on their speed, such that it is possible to predict discreet tones by varying their speed. “Microphones on the motors pick up the sound and amplify it.” I imagine Dahlstrand determined the correlation between the output in space (XY coordinates) and as sound in order to transpose the tunes as CAD files; the current repertoire includes Beethoven, Rossini, Mozart, Strauss, Bizet and Williams (John, that is).

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