Cornell researchers have 3-D printed a working loudspeaker, seamlessly integrating the plastic, conductive and magnetic parts, and ready for use almost as soon as it comes out of the printer.
…The loudspeaker is a project led by Apoorva Kiran and Robert MacCurdy, graduate students in mechanical engineering, who work with Hod Lipson, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and a leading 3-D printing innovator.
“Everything is 3-D printed,” said Kiran, as he launched a demo by connecting the newly printed mini speaker to amplifier wires. For the demo, the amplifier played a clip from President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech that mentioned 3-D printing.
A loudspeaker is a relatively simple object, Kiran said: It consists of plastic for the housing, a conductive coil and a magnet. The challenge is coming up with a design and the exact materials that can be co-fabricated into a functional shape.
Lipson said he hopes this simple demonstration is just the “tip of the iceberg.” 3-D printing technology could be moving from printing passive parts toward printing active, integrated systems, he said….