Records can be made out of just about anything: vinyl, 3D-printed plastic, paper, even ice. Over at Instructables, Amanda Ghassaei has set out to push the limits of music formats — after trying out Joy Division and the Pixies with 3D printing last year, she's moved on to laser-cut wood. The records are made on sheets of maple, though tests were done on paper, acrylic, and plywood. Because of the limits of the laser cutter, the grooves on the 12-inch wooden record are one to two orders of magnitude larger than on a modern vinyl record, and it plays at 33.3 RPM to fit more music.
Even so, its limit is a single song on each side — like before, she's used a variety of tracks, from Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" to Radiohead's "Idioteque." Each song starts off recognizably, albeit with a strange, scratchy mechanical undertone. But as the needle progresses to the center, the surface speed and sampling rate slows down, gradually distorting the song until it's almost unrecognizable.
Ghassaei writes that she worked with laser cutting in order to create a process that might be easier to experiment with than 3D printing, since finding an industrial laser printer or other fabrication tool is often lower than finding a high-quality 3D printer. Her ultimate goal? To cut grooves directly into the rings on a raw round of wood, creating a record out of a tree cross-section.