Even top designer Patrick Starck said it: 3D printing could resurrect design by making it on-demand. However there haven’t been many high quality design product made on-demand with 3D printing yet. The trend has been slowly picking up – with some notable recent examples such as OTHR – and the T3TRA speaker that design studio Alienology just launched on Kickstarter might offer yet another indication.
T3TRA by Alienology Audio – Audio Designer Speakers – are 3D printed & digitally made for Bookshelf, Satellite and Desk-Top use. For music lovers and audiophiles who want natural sound from a small, beautifully designed speaker. It is dutifully designed to meet your visual aesthetic needs and deliver quality sound. It is also perfect for clear and natural sound reproduction from a visually striking enclosure: this has been accomplished this by combining a beautiful design and quality materials with physics and audio engineering expertise. The enclosure’s frame is 3D printed in the USA using high precision industrial laser 3D printers. Testing shows that this material has excellent properties for sound replication applications.
Alienology used thermoplastic laser sintering to create the main structural frame for this speaker. Made all in one piece, without any seams or joints, eliminating conflicting vibrations and resonances. Because the unibody frame is 3D printed, the material is absolutely uniform in density at all points making it perfect for loudspeaker applications. The final product will also have this same 3D printed frame. Alienology intentionally using 3D printing because we want the performance to be identical to that of which we achieved during the development of the speaker. This way we have absolute control over the sound.
The shape was chosen not only because of its design appeal but because it offers true sound benefits. The tetrahedron, in geometric terms, is one of the most ideal shapes, the simplest 3D form possible that is fully structurally stable and self-supporting. All the sides are identical equilateral triangles, in this case with rounded edges. Standing waves are diminished by eliminating parallel sides and edge diffraction is reduced by having rounded corners and fewer sides. All corners are treated to absorb vibration. This all means your music will sound more clear and natural.
As a true ODD (on demand design) product, the entire enclosure exists only in the digital domain until the high precision lasers do their job. Consistency and repeatability have now reached a level that makes every T3TRA speaker dimension perfect and therefore completely production repeatable. Yet each speaker is unique because it is made from 3D printed and laser cut parts made just for your pair of speakers.
Perhaps even more importantly in these days of high profile Kickstarter failures, is that the initial goal of $2,500 is well within reach and nothing needs to be invented. Today it is just a matter of uploading a file to an online quotation engine and developing a business plan. On demand means initial investments are smaller: you’re not funding R&D here, you are funding the actual production. The only question left is: which model?