Monday, April 29, 2013

Wood You

 photo d0aa4bbc-58e2-4987-9813-b45a18fba8c9_zpsf7357975.jpg You can now turn your favourite music downloads into playable records made from materials you have lying around the house. Amanda Ghassaei, 24, from San Francisco has created the world's first laser-cut wooden records using songs from Radiohead and Joy Division. And the software engineer has made the instructions available to download, making it possible to create your own at home.  photo 46ad8982-af69-4baa-a2cc-e53d8b88ec49_zps79c3e6af.jpg Ghassaei previously used 3D printers to print records from her MP3 downloads. She wanted to find a way for people without 3D printers to make their own records, and has designed a way of making records out of paper, acrylic and wood. Ghassaei created a digital waveform file from the MP3 and converted into a PDF. Needles on a record player pick up vibrations based on the shape of the record's surface. The waveform was then cut into the wood using lasers to create the 'shape' of the song.  photo a357f550-6f51-442a-afb2-2878e830ca60_zps059fb848.jpg Because the resolution of the laser is thicker than the vinyl record presses so Ghassaei had to make the grooves twice as larger as they would be on a vinyl record. This means that a wooden record can only fit around three minutes of song onto one side, and this means the song becomes more distorted as the needle moves towards the centre of the record because the sampling rate decreases. Ghassaei explains that if people don't have a laser cutter, they could try a CNC mill or a CNC razor blade paper cutter.  photo 8b346faf-c52d-40a8-aa9c-5d136095282f_zps792f7c1b.jpg She said: 'For me, the most interesting part of publishing these projects is to see where other people take them, and the 3-D printed records were just a little too difficult for an average person to experiment with.' 'I’m hoping that people will download my code and make their own records, or make something I haven’t even thought of yet.' 'Some songs are better suited for this process, songs that are very full in the lower to mid range, but also very sparse overall are best.' 'Idioteque by Radiohead was a great example of this, it has very strong low to mid tones with minimal backing synthetic drums.' 'What I really want to do next is get some 12″ wood rounds, the kind with a live, rough edge and cut some records right into the rings of the tree.' Ghassaei is a software engineer at Instructables. She has put step-by-step instructions on the site, including file downloads.

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