One of the biggest hurdles in moving 3D printing forward has been the material constraints for creating ‘all-in-one’ products. Sure you can take apart that old computer mouse, hack together a new form factor in SolidWorks, spit it out of your MakerBot and fasten the still-warm pieces together, but few people would call that ‘revolutionary’ once they got past the 3D printing hype. When asked earlier this year about the threat of in-home manufacturing in the consumer goods sector, Amazon CEO and Founder Jeff Bezos stated that “…It will be an exciting world, when it happens someday.” While we won’t be expecting a functioning 3D printed toaster anytime soon, perhaps that future is coming a lot more quickly than Bezos and others had anticipated—particularly with this all-in-one printed loudspeaker design from Cornell’s School of Mechanical Engineering.
“Like the Introduction of Color Printers”
“Creating a market for printed electronic devices could be like introducing color printers after only black and white had existed…it opens up a whole new space that makes the old look primitive”.-Hod Lipson
Led by Cornell Mechanical Engineering Grad students Apoorva Kiran and Robert MacCurdy (along with their professor Hod Lipson), the fully-functional loudspeaker project was intended to show just how capable additive manufacturing techniques are in creating standalone products. The simple proof-of-concept design consists of printed plastic for the housing as well as a printed conductive coil:
While additive manufacturing is still lacking in printing multiple materials from a single extruder head, who knows…we may be seeing all-in-one printed headphones sooner rather than later?
(Images via Cornell Chronicle)