Whether or not you consider vinyl to be “back” (or whether it ever “died”), there is no question that audio equipment manufacturer Lenco and Dutch 3D printer company RepRap Universe are up to something interesting in their latest Kickstarter. The parties have pooled their respective expertise in hi-fi equipment and 3D printing to introduce a modular, 3D printed record player.
The device, dubbed the Lenco-MD, is a compact and upgradeable turntable that users can build themselves. We tend to hear a lot of “firsts” in the AM industry, some of which are more tenuous than others, but I am inclined to believe that this is the “world’s first 3D printed, modular record player.”
The project was born and developed at Qeske, a knowledge-sharing community based in the Netherlands. The driving idea behind creating the 3D printed record player was to update it with an entirely new concept: modularity.
“Vinyl is experiencing a renaissance, but current record player design is still based on 20th century concepts. Their design is often pre-set, unambitious and options are generally limited,” the Kickstarter page reads. “We believe a 21st century record player should offer a general platform with the possibility to individualize, upgrade and customize. This vision is reflected in the swappable modules, as well as the open design and community activities surrounding the Lenco-MD.”
The Lenco-MD is made up of various modular units which can be swapped or upgraded to fit a given situation. For instance, the device can be set up with a solar power module on sunny days, as well as with a speaker modular for outdoor listening. The record player can also be fitted with a Bluetooth module for wireless connection.
The individual modules are embedded into compact housings which can be easily attached to one of the three 3D printed legs of the Lenco-MD. Each of the 3D printed legs is built with an internal thread which connects to the external thread of the modules for easy swapping. Notably, the modules also have internal thread, which enables users to add electronics to the module by using the modular adapter plate.
The modular turntable also allows for the possibility of creating new, customized modules as Lenco and RepRap Universe will supply pre-set designs for the modules. In true DIY fashion, the Lenco-MD is also designed to be built at home; Lenco will ship customers the hardware and electronics, and the rest of the components can be 3D printed using a desktop 3D printer. For customers without a 3D printer, there is also the option to receive a pre-printed kit.
For hi-fi enthusiasts, the 3D printed record player comes with all the quality sound features that Lenco is known for, including an anti-skating tonearm, vibration damping feet, a belt-drive and more.
With 36 days left of the Kickstarter campaign, the Lenco-MD has raised €18,785 of its €50,000 goal—which is saying quite a bit considering the relative low cost of the turntable. A pledge of €99 or more will get you the Lenco-MD kit (with DIY print files), while the complete set costs €199. NB: the 3D printed turntable does not come with groovy tunes included!