Jul 20, 2017 | By Julia

A Swedish engineering professor is pioneering the development, design, and manufacture of 3D printed musical instruments. Olaf Diegel is the brains behind Olaf Diegal Designs (ODD), a pet project that’s grown into a full-blown design venture for the Lund University professor. Among the most eye-catching items is the Skeletor 3D printed Microphone, a sneering, skull-shaped piece that’s possibly the ultimate microphone for Ozzy Osbourne, Diegel reckons.

According to the ODD creator, designing a microphone shaped like a skull was a natural decision. “I was looking for something cool to design as a good additive manufacturing demonstration piece, and [3D printing veteran] Terry Wohlers suggested I design an unusual microphone,” Diegel writes on his website.

The idea piqued the Lund University professor’s interest, in keeping with ODD’s growing line of 3D printed guitars and other musical instruments. Perhaps not surprisingly, most of these creations boast a decidedly heavy metal flair.

Since one of Diegel’s favourite 3D printed guitar designs is the Spider, which he notes has a “slightly heavy-metal feel,” the Swedish maker felt his new microphone should be designed for the hard-rock musician that would be most likely to play that guitar. Thus, the Skeletor mic was born.

All the skull talk aside, Diegel’s been hard at work refining his process. The entire microphone was designed in Solidworks, which Diegel notes is key in demonstrating the possibility of designing ‘organic’ shapes with engineering CAD software. In that sense, the skull shape had a double function: testing the limits of 3D modelling tools, while showing that you don’t have to sacrifice your own sense of personal style in process.

Diegel made use of an old Sure Sm58 microphone he had lying around, resourcefully using its microphone capsule and XLR connector for the first iteration of the Skeletor.

“Of course, the beauty of additive manufacturing is that it is very easy to change the interior mounting system to suit almost any microphone capsule, without it costing anything more to manufacture,” he adds.

Diegel initially designed the microphone to be 3D printed in aluminum, complete with a porous lattice structure for the back portion. The first iteration was printed for testing on the Selective Laser Sintering system EOS Formiga P110 SLS from nylon powder, and with a layer thickness of 0.1 mm.

But after printing, painting, and assembling the nylon version, Diegel liked the Skeletor so much that he decided to keep the prototype, and do a “deluxe” version in aluminum later on. Keep your eye on the ODD site for the aluminum version, which Diegel expects will be completed in the coming months.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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