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Support for ‘SongBird’ 3D-printed self-mounting turntable starts on Kickstarter

UK-based startup of 3D printing Frame Theory 3D has developed a turntable set that can make additives and assemble at home into a functional turntable.

Nicknamed ‘SongBird’, the company’s DIY gadget can reportedly be manufactured using most desktop systems and is designed as an educational tool to teach users the basics of 3D printing. Due to launch in October, the turntable set is available for support on Kickstarter now and has so far managed to raise over $ 21,800, which is more than double the original goal of $ 10,000.

“Songbird is an educational, 3D printable turntable set designed to be printed on almost any 3D home printer,” said Charlie Ransford, co-founder of Frame Theory 3D. “Each instructional step in the building explains not only what the user is doing, but why in a hands-on learning experience for the user.”


“It has long been said that the revolution begins at home. Now with Frame Theory 3D, this statement has never been more true. ”

Remixing of desktop 3D printing

Ransford originally developed SongBird as part of a final university project before teaming up with photographer and ex-girlfriend Kiran Pearce to commercialize his design. After spending over a year prototyping their homemade turntable, the entrepreneurial duo has finally come up with two salable products: the ‘Printed’ Kit and the ‘Maker’ Kit.

While the former comes with a complete set of pre-printed parts that give adopters everything they need to assemble their own SongBird, the latter is designed for the purist. Apart from the turntable brass bearing, a CNC-cut aluminum frame, motor and a counterweight for the device’s tone arm, the rest must be produced by the users via FDM 3D printing.

The contents of the Maker Kit include digital instructions for beginners, and the company says that any system with a 220 x 220 x 50 mm building board must be sufficient. What’s more, the device’s 3D-printed body and motor housing are mounted on an aluminum support, and the design is soldered, making things manageable for beginners.

In terms of collection, Ransford and Pearce say SongBird can be built, set up, and ready to hit tunes in less than two hours. The design duo has not sent an exhaustive list of compatible systems, but they claim that most “household printers” with sufficiently sized building boards should be fine, after testing a number of popular Prusa and Creality machines.

Frame Theory 3Ds SongBird 3D-printed turntable.
Frame Theory 3D says its SongBird 3D-printed turntable (pictured) can be built in less than two hours. Image via frame theory 3D.

Time to break out the vinyls

Once built, the SongBird consists essentially of a metal frame with a motor unit mounted at one end and the tone arm at the other with a vinyl barrel sitting in the middle. The unit rests on three adjustable feet and also has a combined tonearm and tracking weights as well as an acrylic slip mat designed to enhance the player’s ease of use.

Interestingly, with home audio systems, they can connect SongBird directly to their amplifier setup via its built-in RCA outputs, and while the device’s compatibility remains unconfirmed, it appears to be able to play singles or full albums. What’s more, Pearce and Ransford admit that their design “is not meant to last long”, but they say that replacing parts is as easy as reprinting the files that come with the Maker Kit.

SongBird’s campaign reached its original funding goal within hours and received support from, among others, MyMiniFactory, Bath Spa University and AH Dodd & Co. Using the raised funding, the design duo now intend to build on their range of 3D printable product sets without outsourcing production to outside the UK

At the time of writing, Kickstarter still has 26 days left to run, with promises starting at £ 135 ($ 190) for a Maker Kit or £ 212 ($ 300) for a Printed Kit. Everything is going well, turntables are expected to start delivery in October 2021.

The SongBird turntable's 3D printed parts along with the kit's packing instructions.
Adopters can choose between ordering all SongBird parts or 3D printing them instead. Image via frame theory 3D.

DIY 3D printing innovations

Many of the most inventive designs of FDM 3D printers continue to come from the manufacturing community, and their creators often turn to crowdfunding to get these ideas off the ground. Watchmaker enthusiast Mechanistic, for example, has raised over $ 70,000 for their luxurious 3D-printed watch through a crowdfunding campaign on the 3D movie marketplace MyMiniFactory.

Last year, in a similar homemade 3D printing project, open source enthusiast Johan Von Konow released plans for a modular additive made MIDI synth. The multifunctional device, which can be built for a total of only $ 6, can be used either as a keyboard, drum pad, chord keyboard, arpeggiator or step sequencer, making it useful for music education applications.

Elsewhere, student YouTuber Lucas VRTech has also taken on an ambitious home-printing project using 3D printing to create inexpensive finger-tracking VR gloves. Costing only $ 11 each, the open source gloves allow users to track their fingers without the use of VR controllers, and Lucas VRTech is also working on adding haptic feedback.

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Highlighted image shows Frame Theory 3D’s ‘SongBird’ 3D printed turntable. Image via frame theory 3D.

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