Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Music Toys Hardware

MIT Media Lab Researcher Prints Playable Flute 85

Posted by timothy
from the flouting-his-skills dept.
conner_bw writes "What if making an acoustic instrument was a matter of hitting 'print'? MIT Media Lab researcher Amit Zoran did just that. He created a flute using the Objet Geometries Connex500 3D printer. The instrument is playable and the results are surprisingly good for a first attempt. As an aside, rumour has it that Amit has a bumper sticker that reads: My other printer prints food."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

MIT Media Lab Researcher Prints Playable Flute

Comments Filter:
  • ... I've been playing that skin thing for years. Now, in High School, I played trumpet. But no-one seemed to be able to find sexual innuendos for that instrument. Does anyone have some bassoon jokes?

    And the folks at the Classic concert might not be amused with whit the, um results.

    • by Genda (560240)

      I'm pretty sure anyone sporting a "Skin Bassoon" would be forced to limit his amorous endeavors to large animal husbandry...

      Why yes Mrs. Smith, our man Johnson performs cow inseminations... why do you ask???

      I heard an off color Tuba joke once. Would that count?

      • by cbope (130292)

        I've always wondered why they call it animal "husbandry"... I mean, c'mon, the animals are not married. Wouldn't "fatherdry" be more accurate?

        • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday January 05, 2011 @07:24AM (#34763844) Journal
          "Husbandry" is "the management of domestic affairs and resources".

          Historically, both your wife and your livestock were classified under "domestic affairs and resources". Today, we tend to step carefully around the lingering etymological implication that "husbands" are those who engage in wife management, unless some other sort of husbandry is specified; but that is still why the word is what it is, even though women have actually been promoted to human status in a number of parts of the world.

          Um... Happy Wednesday, everybody?
          • Nowadays, wives engage in husband management. :P

          • "Husbandry" is "the management of domestic affairs and resources".

            Sounds related to "oikonomos" (oikos means house).

            • Another little historical irony... The word you mention is the root of the term "economics"; but, despite the fact that the root word explicitly applied to household management, one now must specify Home Economics, or something having to do with investment banking and currency arbitrage is assumed...
              • The word you mention is the root of the term "economics"

                Kinda' my point :)

                something having to do with investment banking and currency arbitrage is assumed

                That's sad; I hope it also makes people think about things like production, trade, consumption, market structures (i.e. competition vs. monopoly), industry organization (small vs. large firms), the first and second welfare theorem and the use of dispersed knowledge in society.

    • In the category of sexual innuendos relating to orchestral instruments, I must hang my head and confess to being a Trombone player. I believe Trombone beats any other instrument, hands down, in this category.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        I believe Trombone beats any other instrument, hands down, in this category.

        Indeed, it takes both hands.

        (I played the trombone in elementary school, but I grew out of it.)

        • by operagost (62405)

          The trumpet is rare among wind instruments in that it requires only one hand.
          ** insert dirty joke here **

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            ** insert dirty joke here **

            I'm out of dirty musical jokes, but I do have a skin flute.

            (...aaannnnd we come full circle.)

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        So, would someone who plays a 'bone be a 'boner?

      • I play bagpipes. Blow hard into the blowpipe, finger the chanter, and the drones create a background, so you provide your own accompaniment.
    • by imamac (1083405)

      Does anyone have some bassoon jokes?

      Q. Which is better, a bassoon or an oboe? A. A Bassoon - it makes more toothpicks.

    • "Pianist" as well.
      reminded of musical comedian Billy C. Wirtz's album title "Pianist Envy"

      this isn't instrument-based, but:
      using "Free Bird" to refer to the middle finder
      rock/cock jokes

    • ... I've been playing that skin thing for years. Now, in High School, I played trumpet. But no-one seemed to be able to find sexual innuendos for that instrument. Does anyone have some bassoon jokes?

      And the folks at the Classic concert might not be amused with whit the, um results.

      idk any trumpet jokes, but "trombone players do it in seven positions"... (actually trumpets also have seven common fingerings but it's more of a trombone joke)

  • When will these 3D printers become affordable for the home user and easy to use? In other words, when will it become cheaper than printer ink?
    • Re:I want one! (Score:5, Informative)

      by MadKeithV (102058) on Wednesday January 05, 2011 @06:16AM (#34763592)
      It's not really for home use yet, but you can have your stuff printed relatively cheaply (not yet printer ink "cheaply", but yeah) at some places. For example, see i.Materialise [materialise.com] for an online printing service.
      Disclaimer: I work for a sister company ;-), I've seen a lot of 3D printing stuff. This flute thing doesn't impress me that much - this folding chair is much cooler [chairblog.eu].
    • by Anonymous Coward

      When will these 3D printers become affordable for the home user and easy to use?

      About 6 weeks before all manner of manufacturing industries start campaigning to have them outlawed, I'm guessing.

      • Darn, beaten...

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I don't think manufacturing industries are all that worried.

        1) Economies of scale. You can't compete with a dinky "3D printer" at home against experienced users of large industrial machines.

        2) Feedstock. Where are you going to stockpile your raw chemicals?

        3) How are you going to keep track of all the different chemicals needed for the different materials, and stock them, and keep track of their shelf life?

        "3D printing" is another of those geek things that geeks get excited over and attribute absolutely incr

    • Re:I want one! (Score:4, Informative)

      by Jarnin (925269) on Wednesday January 05, 2011 @06:41AM (#34763682)
      I just did a quick search and there's a manufacturer selling a desktop 3D printer for $10,000. It uses a different process in the build; more like laying clear tape and cutting it at each layer to produce a model. The next cheapest I could find used the more traditional "goop" like resin and was $15,000. The last time I checked prices about two years ago and they were hovering around $30,000. At this rate you'll probably see models in the $1500-3000 range in about 3-7 years.
      The question then is, what do you build with it?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        900£ anyone?
        http://www.bitsfrombytes.com/

        • Re:I want one! (Score:4, Informative)

          by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday January 05, 2011 @08:45AM (#34764246) Journal

          Yeah there are way too many cheap/DIY options to be spending the cost of a car on a 3D printer for home use.

          I particularly like this one:

          http://hacknmod.com/hack/diy-high-resolution-3d-printer/ [hacknmod.com]

          (the source page is currently offline for maintenance)

          • by dbc (135354)

            Well, sure there are a lot of cheap 3D printers. I have a Makerbot Cupcake. Loads of fun. I've also seen several different commercial 3D printers, and talked to lots of owner/operators of those. The big difference between the commercial version and the homebrew printers is that the commercial versions have a commercial level of reliability. Homebrew/kit 3D printers are *not* turnkey, they are a chosen lifestyle. If you like to tinker, tweak, repair, and experiment, they are outstandingly good humor. I

      • by Quirkz (1206400)

        The question then is, what do you build with it?

        More 3D printers, to keep driving the prices down!

      • Re:I want one! (Score:4, Informative)

        by smellsofbikes (890263) on Wednesday January 05, 2011 @01:53PM (#34767728) Journal
        Our company got a 3Dsystems V-Flash, which I'm presuming is the $10K model you saw. It works pretty well, but some of the parts have significant distortion as the plastic cures. It also had a problem with the reel mechanism: it feeds out a layer of material on a plastic tape, cures some, then feeds back in, and if a flake of hardened material gets on that tape it'll shadow out and prevent curing of everything in the rest of the part above that, which can lead to swiss cheese parts. The feed material is also breathtakingly expensive. But it sure does clean up easily and nicely. We also got a Stratasys, which I believe is what's being sold by Hewlett Packard in the US, and it had *excellent* accuracy, within 10 mils, and has a very nice appearance. The printing material's pretty cheap, too. But you have to use weird solvents to get the part out of the backing/support material.

        The next model that 3D systems offers, the ProJet, seems to have vastly better accuracy and stability during cure.

        We build prototype cellphone cases, speaker cases, outlet switch boxes, light bulb reflector backing structures, to make sure everything fits mechanically and looks good, and then go to plastic injection molding companies to have the production runs done. We found that a single mistake on an injection molding die cost about as much as the V-flash. And meanwhile the two gamers at work are running off about a zillion RPG miniatures on the machine.

      • by scribblej (195445)

        If you hurry, you can get the Cupcake ULTIMATE kit from Makerbot.com for $200 off the usual price of $899 for one more day (good through the 6th) using the coupon code; I think it's on their site (MAKERBOTFRIEND or something).

        Otherwise, check out the other models they have, as well as stuff from makergear.com, and the various sellers of repraps. You can get a decent 3D printer for your desktop for under $1000, easy. You'll have to build it yourself, but it's not hard.

        These printers print with ABS, the sam

    • Re:I want one! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cbope (130292) on Wednesday January 05, 2011 @07:12AM (#34763802)

      These 3D printers are for rapid prototyping, and they are far from new. They have been around for years.

      They do NOT create durable goods. You will NOT be able to print working cars, bikes, computers, houses, women or whatever else you want. The output of these printers do not serve any real purpose other than a 3-dimensional prototype of an object. Even if this so-called flute is playable today, it likely won't be in a year's time if it's handled a lot.

      I guess your username says it all, but how exactly do you think this will somehow magically be cheaper than printing in 2D on plain paper with standard ink?

      Bottom line: You cannot "manufacture" durable goods using 3D printer technology. It's nice to dream, but dreams have their place.

      • by Trip6 (1184883)

        These 3D printers are for rapid prototyping, and they are far from new. They have been around for years.

        They do NOT create durable goods. You will NOT be able to print working cars, bikes, computers, houses, women or whatever else you want. The output of these printers do not serve any real purpose other than a 3-dimensional prototype of an object. Even if this so-called flute is playable today, it likely won't be in a year's time if it's handled a lot.

        I guess your username says it all, but how exactly do you think this will somehow magically be cheaper than printing in 2D on plain paper with standard ink?

        Bottom line: You cannot "manufacture" durable goods using 3D printer technology. It's nice to dream, but dreams have their place.

        Mod up. Even the prototype didn't play right.

        It is a notable achievement that we can conceive of a 3-D object and have it printed that day, but this story is more flash than substance.

        • by Yvan256 (722131)

          It is a notable achievement that we can conceive of a 3-D object and have it printed that day, but this story is more flash than substance.

          And most people on Slashdot hate flash.

      • Bottom line: You cannot "manufacture" durable goods using 3D printer technology. It's nice to dream, but dreams have their place.

        Not yet anyway. Who's to say that in a century or so we won't be able to produce a lot of goods from home using 3D printers? Also there are a lot of areas where these can be put to good use, for example, I'm particularly interested in the modelling field right now, as in teeny tiny models of big things, these don't need to be durable. I'd love to know about the level of detail the printer can achieve, like rivets on a model airplane, or what.

      • They can print durable goods, TODAY, depending on what it is you're printing, what materials the machine uses, and what finishing you do to the product. To say these things are categorically useless for printing durable goods is just wrong.

        • by MadKeithV (102058)
          This is true. The company I work for does rapid-prototyping based small production runs, for things like VERY small production supercars.
          • You know that RepRap machine, most of them had their frames printed from other RepRap machines. They can print in ABS plastic. The same material used in most electronics casings, and Lotus Elise/Exige body panels.

            And if you can print a RepRap frame I see no reason you couldn't print a PC case.

      • Re:I want one! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Obyron (615547) on Wednesday January 05, 2011 @08:59AM (#34764366)
        With all tech advances we've seen in our lifetimes it amazes me that people can still have this attitude. Maybe not now, but give it 10 years. The next Steve Wozniak is out there somewhere, reading about this and being inspired. There will be some killer use for this thing that you or I haven't thought of, and I suspect in 20-25 years they'll be as common in houses as refrigerators.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        "Bottom line: You cannot "manufacture" durable goods using 3D printer technology."

        Wasn't that you who told us 25 years ago:
        "You'll never be able to print letter quality with these computer printers."

      • by 91degrees (207121)
        Not durable? Well, the two prototypes trackballs I have on my desk may not be as sturdy as moulded plastic, but are plenty robust to handle a fair amount of handling. As long as you're not expecting them to handle extremely rough usage, they should last pretty much indefinitely.
      • by kent_eh (543303)
        I wonder if the current tech of 3D printing can make an object of sufficient complexity/detail that could subsequently become the master in a lost-wax type casting process.
        The end result of that would definitely be durable (being bronze, brass, or some other metal)
        • by dbc (135354)

          Sure. The custom jewelry makers already have high resolution wax printers for exactly that process. SolidWorks->Wax->Hot metal casting

      • Re:I want one! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by KnownIssues (1612961) on Wednesday January 05, 2011 @11:48AM (#34766146)

        how exactly do you think this will somehow magically be cheaper than printing in 2D on plain paper with standard ink?

        Have you seen how much printer ink costs? It's more valuable than gold! Everything is cheaper than printer ink!

      • by bziman (223162)

        Bottom line: You cannot "manufacture" durable goods using 3D printer technology. It's nice to dream, but dreams have their place.

        No, but you can use the parts created by the 3D printer to make forms for injection molded plastic and dies for cast metal. And for something sophisticated with a lot of precision parts (like a car), printing the forms for the assembly line directly from the model, rather than trying to carve each one by hand will save you a LOT of time and money when trying to take something f

      • Not true, depending on the materials your final product requires. The Objet technology used in the article can't do metal etc, but it can do a wide range of plastics (including blends of different plastics) at a quality comparable to traditional plastics manufacturing processes. The resin-based process eliminates air enclosures and structural problems that plague other technologies like FDM (basically what the reprap project does).

        Disclaimer: I am using a lower-end Objet on a regular basis, but I am not aff

      • by sjames (1099)

        I guess your username says it all, but how exactly do you think this will somehow magically be cheaper than printing in 2D on plain paper with standard ink?

        I think that bit might have been intended as a joke given that ink jet ink costs more per unit volume than the finest wines sold at auction.

        What we really need first is affordable CNC. That works today and results in durable goods, it's just expensive.

      • by Peeteriz (821290)

        You most definitely can print durable goods, commercial 3d-printing services are already offering printing glass and metal objects.
        See http://www.shapeways.com/materials/ [shapeways.com] for example.

        • by _Stryker (15742)
          The page you link to doesn't seem to agree:

          Warning: Please note that the 3D printing materials we use for manufacturing the designs make the products suitable only for decorative purposes and they are not suited for any other purpose. The products are not suited to be used as toys, to be given to children. The products should not come in contact with electricity or food & drink and should be kept away from any heat sources.

          • by Peeteriz (821290)

            I wouldn't sell even a wooden block in USA without a ten times larger disclaimer stating that it's not meant for anything, the last decades of litigation have taught everyone that.
            The materials are very different - some are flexible, some are brittle, of course they might not be safe for kids as you may easily make small or pointy objects that are considered hazards; of course they should not come in contact with electricity (as for most objects), and the chemicals most likely are not rated as food-safe.

            Sti

      • A company called Stratasys makes machines that print parts out of ABS plastic, the same stuff used in happy meal toys. Sure, they take longer and are more expensive per part than an injection molded part, but you most definitely can make durable parts from those machines. Where I work we have Stratasys Dimension machine, and I have made camera and medical device housings that are being used "in the field".

      • by pigphish (1070214)
        Will someone please mod the moderators who modded this guy insightful.
      • These 3D printers are for rapid prototyping, and they are far from new. They have been around for years.

        They do NOT create durable goods. You will NOT be able to print working cars, bikes, computers, houses, women or whatever else you want. The output of these printers do not serve any real purpose other than a 3-dimensional prototype of an object. Even if this so-called flute is playable today, it likely won't be in a year's time if it's handled a lot.

        I guess your username says it all, but how exactly do you think this will somehow magically be cheaper than printing in 2D on plain paper with standard ink?

        Bottom line: You cannot "manufacture" durable goods using 3D printer technology. It's nice to dream, but dreams have their place.

        I remember people saying photos printed with an inkjet aren't as good as developed film because it won't last 30 years. But when my photos get wet or something, I just print another one. In fact, that's something I can't do with film. Assuming the price of 3D printing comes down over time, how big of a problem is the material only lasting a few months if you can just print another one? In fact, maybe in that time you'll get tired of the current one and want to download and print the latest model anyway.

      • by scribblej (195445)

        I'm not familiar with the particular 3d printer in the story, but a RepRap or MakerBot CupCake/Thing-O-Matic prints with ABS plastic. That's the same stuff LEGO and car bodies are made from. I've got LEGO that are probably older than you and still get played with and snap together good as new. Those printers cost (much!) less than $2000 and can sit on your desktop.

        Also there's several 3D printing companies (see: shapeways.com) that'll print your design in anything up to and including stainless steel... s

    • by grumbel (592662)

      When will these 3D printers become affordable for the home user and easy to use? In other words, when will it become cheaper than printer ink?

      Affordable for home users? Basically never. Even ink jet printers aren't really cost effective anymore. But that is not really an issue, as instead of owning the printer, you simply order the part you want to have printed, just as you today can order a bunch of photos instead of printing them out yourself. Shapeways [shapeways.com] and a few other companies are offering that service right now already. All you need to do is model the thing you want to have printed and send it to them, you can chose from quite a few material

  • Disappointing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This was pretty disappointing; it's printed on a commercial 3D printer. We all know these can be used for printing complex objects like product prototypes. It's a bit like someone posting a news story about being able to play zork on a mainframe in the early 80s.

    Now, if someone can do this on a reprap, fab@home, or some similar consumer-targetted 3d printer, that'll be really good news.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      If fab@home could use a motor that costs less than $800 that would be really good news too

    • by grumbel (592662)

      We all know these can be used for printing complex objects like product prototypes.

      Yes, but there is quite a differences between a simple prototype and a fully functional flute. 3D printing has traditionally been used to print pretty things to look at, not so much to build real products that you can actually use. So while it might not be a mind blowing revolution, its certainly an interesting next step.

    • by mweather (1089505)
      I've seen whistles (complete with the ball inside) printed from a reprap. Worked great, too. And Shapeways has panflutes you can have printed out for you.
  • He "printed out" a raptor skull in Jurassic Park.
  • So does it look like a real flute, or is it more like a recorder or ocarina?
    • It looks like a real flute, but with curly springs instead of flat ones. And keys that don't seal right, for some reason.

  • Is it really news that a 3d printer prints a flute? They've been printing all sorts of objects for a long time.
  • by snsh (968808) on Wednesday January 05, 2011 @10:58AM (#34765546)
    If you ever meet someone from the MIT Media Lab, ask them what floor they work on. If they work on the first floor then you're safe - typical electrical engineers working in a basement lab. If they're from the 3rd, 4th, or 5th floor, then run away before they get a chance to show you cute but mostly useless demos in the academic equivalent of Q's workshop from any James Bond movie.
  • One Day, they will make a printer that is capable of printing a fully functional replica of its self.

    I bet there's a soviet Russia joke in there....

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.

Working...