Could VPI be selling these arms faster than they can push the button??
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When 3d printing became economical enough for home users, I opinied that a tonearm would be a likely first audio use for 3d printing. the shapes and thicknesses are finely controlled, much more so than is available with casting or CNC machining and they could be built in one piece, except for the joint and base. Plus, they could be much more economical, in that a manufacturer didnt have to expend enormous sums on molds and stampers. Rega was able to expense that cost over hundreds of thousands of arms. SME has done so through both high cost and numerous units. But most others are a collection of machined parts, each of which creates a joint, whether bolted or welded. 3D printing at home uses polymers, but the same CAD program can be used on industrial 3D printers using metals.
3d's advantage is that is can be economically used for complex parts made at low volumes and the fact that changes to the design can be easily made without throwing out existing molds and tooling. Also, there is no change in tolerance due to worn tooling. Cartridge bodies are another prime use in the audio field, which Ortofon is already doing
Could you explain why this is a 'cynical exercise in marketing hype'?I thought I had in my first post above?
But here goes again...........
3D printing is perfect for complex shapes or one-off prototypes for testing or limited production items.
It is extraordinarily useful in the medical field whereby entire internal human organs may be re-created from CT Scans and/or MRIs to allow for EXACT replacement parts to be fabricated for surgical transplant BEFORE the patient is even admitted to the operating theatre.
At present...the range of materials able to be used in 3D printers consist of ABS plastic, PLA, polyamide (nylon), glass filled polyamide, stereolithography materials (epoxy resins), silver, titanium, steel, wax, photopolymers and polycarbonate.
This leaves out a large selection of materials such as copper, brass, bronze, wood, stone, concrete etc but this may change in the future?
The point is.....that the VPI 3D tonearm is NOT complex in any way.....and could have been produced by traditional fabrication methods used for over 100 years.....and in virtually every material available on earth.
In plastic.......this arm could be fabricated in mass quantities using Injection Moulding or Compression Moulding or Vacuum Forming or Blow Moulding or Rotational Moulding or Continuous Extrusion.
The choices for the combination and formulae of the plastic selected using these methods......is vastly greater than for those used for 3D printing and thus testing for the 'acoustic' properties of the selected material would become the important criteria instead of the resultant 'accident'?
Finally....the costs involved in 3D printing of simple multiple identical objects is vastly greater than for those produced by 'mass production'.
If this VPI 3D tonearm turns out to sound 'wonderful' as some here are eager to conclude........be aware that you could have been listening to EXACTLY the same tonearm, manufactured by 20th century methods 25 years ago!?
If that doesn't strike you as 'cynical'.......then join the queue and enjoy :-)
If this VPI 3D tonearm turns out to sound 'wonderful' as some here are eager to conclude........be aware that you could have been listening to EXACTLY the same tonearm, manufactured by 20th century methods 25 years ago!?The same could be said about every new tonearm and turntable.
Sweating, brazing, threading parts do not make a one piece tonearm.
I still don't see it as anymore cynical than when Corvette went to plastic bodies.
Thanks for the 3d primer, very informative.
I am perfectly happy with my current tonearms and have zero interest in purchasing this one.
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