Forget vinyl – engineer Amanda Ghassaei has developed a technique for cutting records into wood! Using a Epilog 120 Watt Legend EXT laser cutter, she was able to create digital waveform files from MP3s, which she then converted into PDFs. She then used a laser cutter to follow the vector paths and etch about three minutes worth of music on each side of a wooden record. Her first album features tracks from Radiohead and Joy Division – hit the jump to hear them!

Continue reading below
Our Featured Videos

Laser Cut Record from Amanda Ghassaei on Vimeo.

San Francisco engineer Amanda Ghassaei began experimenting with alternative ways to play music by 3d printing records. She found that most people do not have access to 3d printers, so she decided to turn her attention to technology that is more readily available. On her Instructables site she documents how she took a laser cutter (although a CNC cutter could also be used) to wooden discs to lay down some grooves. The ridges on the records are twice as thick as vinyl records, as the laser’s resolution is larger than that of traditional presses. The player’s needles pick up the vibrations plotted by standard vector files. Unfortunately, the quality is lower than on vinyl, and the songs tend to fade or distort towards the center of the record.

Listeners can actually see the shape of the song in the warm, tactile grooves. Music with good midtones tends to work best with the process, and Ghassaei has already successfully engraved Radiohead’s “Idioteque”, the Velvet Underground’s “Femme Fatale” and “Sunday Morning”. She includes step-by-step instructions on her site as well as downloadable files. Ghassaei hopes that more music and tech enthusiasts will expand the library of wood tunes. While probably not the most practical way of amassing a music collection, the wooden records are certainly a novel way to blend high technology with natural materials.

Via Daily Mail