3D printing is now a viable technique for manufacturing highly customized, consumer-ready products. Designers can now go from concept to reality 100% digitally.
My Autodesk teammates Arthur Harsuvanakit and Evan Atherton are an amazing dynamic duo (3Duo) researching digital design, fabrication, and 3D printing technologies. They have developed some 3D printed speaker enclosures after Maurice Conti said “Hey, this would make a cool speaker” and then determined the project goals. The first speaker appeared on the cable channel Current TV with Autodesk CEO Carl Bass as well as featured in my Autodesk University 2012 session.
Now the 3Duo Arthur and Evan have taken the 3D printed speaker concept much further. They designed and 3D printed a new set of speakers in multiple materials using a Stratasys Objet Connex 500 printer and then incorporate LED lighting by startup LumiGeek. If you are going to have a one of a kind set of speakers, why not really challenge what can be done and make them really wild and not only play cool music but light up LED lights in patterns synchronized to the music.
YouTube video of the speaker pulsing to the beat of music. http://youtu.be/50TBPeu560U
The main goal was not about making something wicked cool, although it was a factor but more down to earth goals were established for this project.
- Demonstrate 3D printing as viable Manufacturing tool.
- Create something unique, but also useful.
- What can we print vs. what should we print.
- Now that we can print just about anything. We need to take a closer look at what we should be printing.
- In order to understand we must participate (in 3D printing)
How did digital design tools enable this project?
- Combined surface and solid modeling to create a unique design and product.
- Using 3ds Max we were able to pattern in an organic surface modeling environment to allow form exploration. The form exploration in 3ds Max gave us complex shapes and patterns that would be hard in a solid modeling environment.
- Using the Autodesk Labs plugin Mesh Enabler for Autodesk Inventor, the solid model was created from the .STL exported mesh from 3ds Max.
- Using Autodesk Inventor parametric features were created. Working on a solid model parametrically in Inventor is much more accurate for creating the necessary mounting geometry for the speakers and cables, etc.
Note from Shaan:
Now that we are starting to beta test the upcoming Autodesk Fusion 360 product, this might be a great one place to design the entire project. With the freeform sculpting powered by the T-Splines technology and also a top notch parametric design mode. Its like the reeses peanut butter cup of industrial and mechanical design software combining the best of both worlds.
Here are two screenshots showing the larger speaker enclosure design in 3ds Max.
The completed speaker set in the Autodesk Gallery all ready to rock and put on a trance inducing LED light show.
Wired Article on the speakers:
Thanks to the mad speaker scientists Arthur & Evan for designing and creating the speakers, and Maurice for challenging and focusing them on this wicked cool project.
Here is the Instructable to create them from Evan:
I would like to challenge them to create the ultimate stereo enclosure to make this a complete uniquely styled and created music experience. I would love to bring the cool set to Autodesk University 2013 to show off what can be done with a complete digital design to manufacturing process.