Cornell researchers print 3D speaker

The fully-functional speaker is one of the first 3D-printed electronics products

Graduate student Apoorva Kiran working on his 3D printed, fully functional loudspeaker at Cornell University.

Graduate student Apoorva Kiran working on his 3D printed, fully functional loudspeaker at Cornell University.

Researchers at Cornell University have successfully fabricated a working loudspeaker using a 3D printer.

Their work represents one of the first times a complete electronics device has been printed from scratch to a working product.

As its name suggests, a 3D printer is capable of printing in a third dimension, layering upwards from a base material in additional to the two dimensional flat printing we are all used to. Rather than ink, it uses materials like plastic. Developers believe it could one day enable people to print small products, components and devices in their home.

The speaker's plastic body, conductive coil and magnet were all printed using a "Fab@Homes" printer at the university and the speaker was almost ready for use as soon as printing was finished, the university said.

The Fab@Home is a research printer that was developed by two Cornell students to help researchers experiment with 3D printing. One of the developers, Apoorva Kiran, a graduate student in mechanical engineering, worked with fellow student Robert MacCurdy on the speaker.

The ability to print components like speakers using a home printer is one of the promises of future 3D printing technology, but it's not here yet.

Conventional printers are unsuitable for 3D printing and among 3D printers that are just beginning to come to market, many don't have the capability to print with different materials. Fabricating a single device also requires the selection of materials that work well together, according to Cornell. Conductive coil and copper and plastic coming out of the same printer require different temperatures and curing times, it said.

Research into 3D printing is still in its early stages.

A recent report by Gartner predicted that the market for sub-$100,000 3D printers will grow 49 percent this year to 56,507 units on the back of rapid increases in quality. For 2014, Gartner expects the market will jump by around 75 percent to just over 98,000 units and that shipments will almost double again in 2015.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Printerspopular scienceperipheralsCornell University

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?