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Cornell Researchers Develop 3D-printed Loudspeaker

A team of researchers at Cornell University has successfully produced a fully functional loudspeaker using a 3D printer.

The fabrication project, led by graduate students Apoorva Kiran and Robert MacCurdy, is one of the first of its kind to create a working electronic device, according to Cornell.

The speaker was crafted using plastic for the housing, silver ink for the conductive coil and a viscous blend of strontium ferrite for the magnet. The speaker was printed using a Fab@Home 3D printer, built by professor Hod Lipson and student Evan Malone at Cornell's Creative Machines Lab.

According to Kiran, the challenge in the project was devising a design that included compatible materials that could be processed, at the same time, through a single printer. Conductive coil, plastic and copper have different curing times and temperature requirements. The lab's customizable printer enabled the researchers to experiment with different cartridges, control software and other factors until they found a combination that worked.

Lipson said that he hopes this project opens the door for new developments in 3D fabrication that move it from "printing passive parts toward printing active, integrated systems."

A video walk-through of the speaker's fabrication can be found online.

About the Author

Kanoe Namahoe is online editor for 1105 Media's Education Group. She can be reached at

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