Startup designs turntable you can print and assemble yourself
Though digital accounts for much of our music consumption, vinyl sales have been steadily rising over the past few years, and turntables have returned to the living room hi-fi setup. But if you're a maker looking for something a bit different, Frame Theory 3D has just launched a 3D-printable turntable kit on Kickstarter.
The UK startup says that the Songbird was designed as a tool to teach the core principles of 3D printing, "and to facilitate the learning of the skills you need to embark on your own 3D-printing projects." And after printing and assembling the turntable, makers will also have a striking fully operational vinyl spinner to cable up to the home hi-fi system.
Details are somewhat lacking, but each kit will come with detailed build instructions, and all of the cable connections are solder-free, which should make the project easier for beginners. Printed components such as the main body and motor housing are mounted to anodized aluminum support structure that's supplied with the kit. The motor assembly is mounted on one wing and the tonearm on the other, with the platter in the middle.
The Songbird kit comes with a custom-made brass bearing for the platter, threaded brass inserts for printed components, and stainless steel hardware. The turntable rests on three adjustable feet, and there are levels included in the printed platter for ease of setup. The tonearm assembly benefits from a combined tonearm counterweight and tracking weight, and an acrylic slipmat is supplied too.
A timelapse showing the fellas at Frame Theory 3D putting a Songbird together can be seen below.
Once assembled, the turntable is connected to a hi-fi amplifier via RCA outputs (you will need a phono preamp if your main amplifier doesn't have one). The turntable appears to be able to accommodate albums and singles, but there's no mention of the cartridge that comes with the kit (different examples are shown in the campaign media and video).
Frame Theory says that most household 3D printers should be able to produce the printed components necessary to build the Songbird turntable, though a build volume of at least 220 x 220 x 50 mm (8.6 x 9.6 x 1.9 in) is essential. If your printer doesn't make the grade or you don't have a 3D printer, a pre-printed kit is available to assemble yourself.
The Kickstarter campaign was funded within hours, with nearly a month left of the clock. Pledges start at £135 (about US$190) for a Maker Kit or £212 ($300) for a Printed Kit. If all goes as expected, shipping is estimated to start in October.
Source: Frame Theory 3D