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:

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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)


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.