We propose technology for designing and manufacturing interactive 3D printed speakers. With the proposed technology, sound reproduction can easily be integrated into various objects at the design stage and little assembly is required. The speaker can take the shape of anything from an abstract spiral to a rubber duck, opening new opportunities in product design. Furthermore, both audible sound and inaudible ultrasound can be produced with the same design, allowing for identifying and tracking 3D printed objects in space using common integrated microphones. The design of 3D printed speakers is based on electrostatic loudspeaker technology first explored in the early 1930s but not broadly applied until now. These speakers are simpler than common electromagnetic speakers, while allowing for sound reproduction at 60 dB levels with arbitrary directivity ranging from focused to omnidirectional. Our research of 3D printed speakers contributes to the growing body of work exploring functional 3D printing in interactive applications.
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!