Presentation Title

200+ Celsius: The Trial and Tribulations of 3D Printing and the Realization of Anything

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Area of Focus

Humanities, Creative and Performance, Other

Abstract

In Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), one common 3D-Printing process, plastic filament is heated, then extruded at temperatures of 200 degrees Celsius and beyond. This journey has led to many pitfalls testing self worth as a graduate student, and at the same time, gaining knowledge and problem solving skills in an emerging technology; a technology that is redefining creation of nearly every physical object in the 21st century.

Researching an emerging technology like consumer 3D-Printing allows for the exploration of interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving, both technically and aesthetically. In the world of loudspeaker development, the model has essentially remained unchanged from the development of the moving coil speaker driver roughly 100 years ago: place the driver in a wood box with appropriate volume, based upon driver specifications. This model changed only slightly with the advent of injection-molded plastics utilizing elaborate tuned porting allowing for extended low frequency response from small speaker drivers. Now, with the FFF method of additive manufacturing, everyone from amateur hobbyists to industrial giants are able to push boundaries of the traditional rectangular prism-based enclosures.

This project has had two main methods: building and maintaining the printers, and process of designing the speaker enclosures. Three printers were utilized to achieve the final product; maintenance and customization of a previously-built printer, in addition to two more printers built from sourced kits. These kit-based printers also utilized printed parts form the first printer following the Rep-Rap model or Replication Rapid-prototyper. The aesthetic design process evolved through the exploration of solid 3D-Modeling, based around the geometric primitive of the sphere.

The sphere serves as the main challenge in this project, as the shape on its own is one of the most difficult to print in the FFF process, due to the overhanging curvature of the shape. Acoustically speaking, the sphere and other curved shapes have proven to provide pleasing results for the listener, as defined by Harry F Olson in 1950 in his Audio Engineering Society paper Direct Radiator Loudspeaker Enclosures. Despite this paper being presented over 60 years ago, the spherical speaker has not yet made its way to mainstream speaker design.

This project stands out as a mastery of fine art in the interdisciplinary approach, blurring the lines between art and science. Multiple disciplines take “ownership” of 3D-Printing, many of which are scientific and industrial in nature, and focus only on the process itself. On the other end of the spectrum, creatives are realizing the potential of 3D-Printing as a new medium, but may be less concerned with mechanical operation of the cartesian robots. This project stands somewhere in between, or perhaps atop a pile of rubble, of the crumbled pillars of art and science in the 21st century.

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200+ Celsius: The Trial and Tribulations of 3D Printing and the Realization of Anything

In Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), one common 3D-Printing process, plastic filament is heated, then extruded at temperatures of 200 degrees Celsius and beyond. This journey has led to many pitfalls testing self worth as a graduate student, and at the same time, gaining knowledge and problem solving skills in an emerging technology; a technology that is redefining creation of nearly every physical object in the 21st century.

Researching an emerging technology like consumer 3D-Printing allows for the exploration of interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving, both technically and aesthetically. In the world of loudspeaker development, the model has essentially remained unchanged from the development of the moving coil speaker driver roughly 100 years ago: place the driver in a wood box with appropriate volume, based upon driver specifications. This model changed only slightly with the advent of injection-molded plastics utilizing elaborate tuned porting allowing for extended low frequency response from small speaker drivers. Now, with the FFF method of additive manufacturing, everyone from amateur hobbyists to industrial giants are able to push boundaries of the traditional rectangular prism-based enclosures.

This project has had two main methods: building and maintaining the printers, and process of designing the speaker enclosures. Three printers were utilized to achieve the final product; maintenance and customization of a previously-built printer, in addition to two more printers built from sourced kits. These kit-based printers also utilized printed parts form the first printer following the Rep-Rap model or Replication Rapid-prototyper. The aesthetic design process evolved through the exploration of solid 3D-Modeling, based around the geometric primitive of the sphere.

The sphere serves as the main challenge in this project, as the shape on its own is one of the most difficult to print in the FFF process, due to the overhanging curvature of the shape. Acoustically speaking, the sphere and other curved shapes have proven to provide pleasing results for the listener, as defined by Harry F Olson in 1950 in his Audio Engineering Society paper Direct Radiator Loudspeaker Enclosures. Despite this paper being presented over 60 years ago, the spherical speaker has not yet made its way to mainstream speaker design.

This project stands out as a mastery of fine art in the interdisciplinary approach, blurring the lines between art and science. Multiple disciplines take “ownership” of 3D-Printing, many of which are scientific and industrial in nature, and focus only on the process itself. On the other end of the spectrum, creatives are realizing the potential of 3D-Printing as a new medium, but may be less concerned with mechanical operation of the cartesian robots. This project stands somewhere in between, or perhaps atop a pile of rubble, of the crumbled pillars of art and science in the 21st century.