Mar 3, 2016 | By Tess
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as listening to your favorite tune on some really exquisite speakers. For sound connoisseurs, however, you might be aware of the ever recurring problem of “back wave” which affects most conventionally manufactured stereo speakers. That slight sound distortion that occurs when sound waves that are projected to the back of the speaker box bounce back and jumble with the sound signals being projected out of the speaker. Rather than use acoustics to absorb the back wave, industrial designer Boaz Dekel set out to find a way to fix the phenomenon using 3D printing technologies.
Dekel, an industrial designer and graduate from Israel’s Bezadel Academy of Arts and Design, figured he could solve the problem of back wave by taking away the back of the speaker entirely by creating a rounded circular speaker, called the Aleph1. The innovative design, as Dekel explains on his website, has helped to not only stop back wave distortion from occurring but uses the energy and sound of the back wave acoustics to further project the sound through the speaker’s cabinet.
To create the unique design, Dekel found that 3D printing would offer him the ideal manufacturing method for his speaker, as it would allow him to create the structure in one solid piece and create a complex internal structure for the speakers. To create the Aleph1 the industrial designer teamed up with 3D printing company Stratasys, who helped to additively manufacture the circular speaker using their multi-material Objet500 Connex3 3D Printer.
As Dekel explains on the Stratasys blog, “With 3D printing I was able to quickly study the acoustic response of the geometry and different material configurations and determine which was most applicable to speaker cabinets. Other manufacturing or modeling techniques would not allow such freedom, much less the required time frame.”
The Aleph1 uses both rigid and flexible materials in its structure and is essentially composed of three layers: a rigid segmented interior made up of 680 diamond shaped segments which act as an “acoustically reflective layer”; a flexible core that neutralizes the cabinet; and a rigid exterior shell, the speaker’s visible structure. “The model is 3D printed in a single piece to allow complex internal geometries while maintaining structural integrity,” says Dekel. “Having a physical model was instrumental to studying the theoretic principles behind the product and assessing its feasibility.”
3D printing ultimately allowed Dekel to not only manufacture a wholly new type of speaker that deals with the issue of back wave, but to test the speaker efficiently, and create a solid cabinet with a complex internal structure. The Aleph1, which is not commercially available (we will keep our ears open on this topic!), has at the very least showed what new manufacturing technologies can bring to the table in terms of fixing old problems and rethinking such standard designs as speakers.
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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