Shaping the Music with 3D Printing
When it comes to the creative arts, music and design tend to merge in many regards. Such can be seen with musical videos, customisations of instruments, album cover art, and outfitting of musicians. As the world has transitioned to more modern technologies and techniques, 3D Printing has seeped into the music industry. From the basement level bands to commercial level artists, the presence of 3D Printing in music is growing. And while some artists, such as Dr. Dre, have directly approached 3D Printing techniques from an educational and inquisitive angle, others are using the technology as a way to couple their artistry with modern marketing, branding, and more.
Customize my brand
Using artistry to create a brand is nothing new to the industry. The Gorillas have built their identity solely upon a cartoon. And, while The Gorillas have focused on 2D animation, other artists may wish to experiment in the extreme artistic expression (such as Lady Gaga). In most cases, the printing which occurs for the artist is a collaboration between fashion artists and the artist trying to boost his or her branding (as is most red carpet attire). Where it pertains to the novice musician, or the sole artist, is in creating content which can be used to market themselves. We tend to see more of the Commercial 3D Printing in marketing and branding.
Artists are merging 3D Printing with their music to build associations between songs, branding, and the artist. In some instances, such as in the picture below, the artist (in this case Miley Cyrus) may gain royalties from merchandise associated with them. Even when the merchandise is not directly associated with the singer (such as with the image below), the artist gains brand identification or song identification/association and thereby increase their overall profit margins and exposure. Novice or freelance musicians can do the same. Using software such as Selva3D allows for 3D Pictures (sort of mock lithographs) and other simplistic models to be created with only a few clicks.
3D Printing for Instruments
One of the key benefits of Industrial and Desktop 3D Printer is that they allow for the artist to quickly and efficiently render parts for his or her instruments. For the musician, this allows for a two fold positive. First, the musician is able to customize the aesthetics of the part, giving something a bit unique and identifiable to just them. Again, this points towards branding. Secondly, there is the functionality consideration. For example, if a musician has a specific guitar, then they could have a pickguard designed which meets the specifications of their instrument. The pickguard could then be rendered out and decals added. On the functionality side, the artist could quickly print out a Fret Clamp, Turner Knobs, or replace pieces for a vintage instrument with ease. So long as a CAD model can be obtained or created, the imagination is the only limitation.
As of yet, there is not a huge market for 3D Printed Instruments. However, as technology and 3D Printing continues to gain momentum in various sectors, and as industries see the fiscal benefits for mass production using such methods, it is quite possible to see a paradigm shift in the manufacturing and distributing process of musical devices.
Where 3D Printing can be seen and heard
Currently, the main avenue where 3D Printing can be found is in the speaker and amplifier productions. Various companies have used 3D Printed Materials to create speakers which supersede the traditional cardboard or rubber interior amplifiers and speakers, even making wooden 3D Printed Speakers. The material also allows for the device, in many instances, to be waterproof.
It will be interesting to see the various designs which will emerge for the speakers, amplifiers, and other casing devices. Keep in mind that the casing is just that, a holder for the electronic elements. As such musicians can be as artistic as their imagination allows. Whether they wish to make the traditional 48” speakers, or use an Industrial 3D Printer to make 20-foot renaissance giants with speakers integrated into the design, is up to them.
A softer side of 3D printing for music
Are you not into harder music? Don’t worry, 3D Printing in music has reached to other areas of the industry, specifically music boxes. As music boxes are based upon spokes, if a person can acquire the CAD Design for the spool, then he or she can replace the components on the smaller music boxes or, should the 3D Printer allow, they could replace the spools on larger musical antiquated boxes such as the self-playing piano or even a child’s toy, such as the Fisher Price record player.