3D Printing Records for a Fisher Price Toy Record Player

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Introduction: 3D Printing Records for a Fisher Price Toy Record Player

A little while ago I stumbled across an old toy record player made by Fisher Price in the 1970s, and decided that what it really needed was some new tunes. I got thinking about it, reverse engineered the way it was encoded, got out my trusty CNC mill and created an Instructable all about it right here.

I was blown away by the response to it, but I only know of one person who had a goat milling their own. Whilst the mill did a great job (and I explained how to convert your own too), a CNC mill is not the sort of thing that everyone has access too.

So as promised, I decided that a 3D printed version would follow to give more people a chance to get creative. More people have a 3D printer or have access to one. And even if you don't, once you have the STL file there are plenty of places that will bring your creation to life and mail you a physical copy.

I thought about just adding to my previous Instructable, but to be honest it's only the music editing side of things that's the same. Everything else from the file creation to the production is very different. I thought a new Instructable would be neater.

Anyway, let's get on with creating your masterpiece...

Step 1: What You'll Need

For my previous Instructable you needed a CNC mill and some acrylic sheet. Now all you need is some free software. If you have a 3D printer then great; if not, you can get still get a record created for you.

Attached you'll find the new version of my Fisher Price music editing software. It's included as an executable and (if you don't trust randomly downloaded software from the internet) the C# source code is there too. Feel free to take a nose around in the source code and compile it with the free version of Visual C# 2010 Express.

You'll also need a copy of OpenSCAD. This amazing software allows the scripting of 3D CAD objects and is what turns the idea of what you want into the STL file that a 3D printer accepts.

Wow - all this software and no need to pay a penny for any of it.

If this all sounds like too much trouble, then you can just open one of the pre-generated STL files. Your jukebox comprises of Stairway to Heaven, the Star Wars theme and You are my Sunshine. If none of those float your boat then don't complain... get editing. I'd love to hear what you can do.

Step 2: Editing the Music

First fire up my music editing software. This software will let you edit your tune and preview it so see how it sounds before you print it.

The software is admittedly pretty basic. It's not exactly sophisticated musical software but the player is not exactly hifi equipment. It does the job and I hope you'll find it easy to use.

Click where you want to add a note and click again to remove it. Click on the blue + if you want to add a gap. Click on the red X if you want to delete some notes and shuffle everything up. Click the Play button to preview your tune.

The left hand side of the musical stave shows all the note that the player can play. You'll find they are most of the notes from a C major scale and cover about 2 octaves. There are no sharps of flats and a few notes are missing. I guess that's because the original 10 nursery rhymes it can play just didn't need them.

Once you've finished your masterpiece (or more likely transposed someone else's tune) it's time to create the physical product. Click "Build / Create SCAD file..." in the editing software. (There's also the option of gcode files if you were going to CNC mill the disc.) A file with the same name as your music file and an extension of scad will be the result.

You can now create double sided discs! When creating the SCAD file you'll get the following options:

  • Disc thickness. You can create 3mm or 5mm discs
  • Single or double sided. Double sided discs should be 5mm thick. You can also select the music for the second side
  • Song title on the disc. You can now have the song title embossed on the disc surface.
  • Render quality. If your mucking around and making changes, a lower quality cirlce will render quicker.

Of course, all the options are easily found in the SCAD file which is plain text. If you want to create a chunky 2cm thick disc then go ahead and edit the file.

Step 3: Using OpenSCAD to Generate the STL File

The next step is simple, but can take a while.

The Fisher Price editing software has dynamically created the scad file which contains all the 3D modelling instructions needed to create your record. If you've not yet installed OpenSCAD then now is the time to do so.

Open the file and all you'll see is the generated script in a window on the left hand side. Press F6 and your script will be run and a 3D rendering will appear. The file is set to use 100 straight lines to create each circle. This means that the circles will be smooth but the rendering may take over 10 minutes. If you're mucking around and are less concerned about accurancy and would rather have some speed, simply remove or comment out the line that says "$fn = 100;". If you think that's slow, a double-sided disc can take about 50 minutes to generate!

You can now see how your disc will look. Spin it. Flip it over. Zoom in/out. Your musicis on its way to becoming a physical product. The next step is to select "Design / Export as STL..." from the menu and OpenSCAD will create a STL file. This won't take as long as the calculations have already been done. This file is what your 3D printer will be expecting.

Step 4: Printing Your Work

So, what are you going to do with this STL file? If you have (or have access to) a 3D printer that can manage a print of about 12.1cm (about 4.8") in diameter then get printing!

If you don't, then there are plenty of places that will print this for you. One of the most popular is Shapeways. They'll produce a 3D print for you in various materials from about $30. In fact, you'll find mine are already there:

Obviously the final result will depend on what printer you use. The ones that were produced on the Objet printer that Instructables use have turned out great. In the photo you can see four discs. The purple is a Fisher Price original and the orange one my CNC milled version. The other discs are 3D printed in green ABS-like material and transparent "Vero clear" plastic. The both play well on the player, although the Vero clear has sharper definition than the ABS and the transparent disc definitely looks the best.

A few people have asked to see a video of the printed record playing, so here's the final result.

If you check the comments you'll see that Timmmyboy has has some success printing on a more typical home (Fused Deposition Modelling style) printer, but getting the very thin (0.7mm) ridges on the disc is not easy.

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Hello, I am trying to replicate this project and I am getting an error when trying to generate the SCAD file:

System.NullReferenceException: Object reference not set to an instance of an object

en Fred.RecordPlayer.ScadWriter.Generate(IPlayable recording, Boolean secondSide)

en Fred.RecordPlayer.ScadDialog.generateButton_Click(Object sender, EventArgs e)

en System.Windows.Forms.Control.OnClick(EventArgs e)

en System.Windows.Forms.Button.OnClick(EventArgs e)

en System.Windows.Forms.Button.OnMouseUp(MouseEventArgs mevent)

en System.Windows.Forms.Control.WmMouseUp(Message& m, MouseButtons button, Int32 clicks)

en System.Windows.Forms.Control.WndProc(Message& m)

en System.Windows.Forms.ButtonBase.WndProc(Message& m)

en System.Windows.Forms.Button.WndProc(Message& m)

en System.Windows.Forms.Control.ControlNativeWindow.OnMessage(Message& m)

en System.Windows.Forms.Control.ControlNativeWindow.WndProc(Message& m)

en System.Windows.Forms.NativeWindow.Callback(IntPtr hWnd, Int32 msg, IntPtr wparam, IntPtr lparam)

has anyone come across this issue?

76 Comments

I would love if someone could post STL files for printing. I'm a mac user and cannot run the software to create the stl files. Much appreciated!

Hi really great job! i have just one question, your software only allow 16 notes, but fisher price can play 22 notes. i have checked the disk and the mechanism. is it normal or am i missing something? thanks

Are the stl files gone? I cannot find them in the zip file, and You are my sunshine is missing from the SCAD :(

Thanks for this awesome instructables, and sharing it for free! It is such a good idea!

We just got the result printed out! It turned out that it is a bit too slow. The loop of our music player is about 50 seconds, so twice slower. I think we are going to double the notes and try a new print.

I can't get the SCAD file to open without crashing. I can render a blank disk, but any notes kill it. Can you help?

Question:

How do you figure out what the tones in the Record Editor are going to be on the final disc? Trying to create some custom discs and without having to buy a duplicate and find out what the tones are on my own

1 reply

There's a app for that ;-) Guitar tuning app can help you id the notes. But the notes are (Note, pinnumber):

["D#4", 1],["G#4", 2],["A#4", 3],["B-4", 3],["C5", 4],["D#5", 5],["F5", 6],["G5", 7],["G#5", 8],["G#5_2", 9],["A#5", 10],["A#5_2", 11],["C6", 12],["C6_2", 13],["C#6", 14],["C#6_2", 15],["D#6", 16],["D#6_2", 17],["F6", 18],["F6_2", 19],["G6", 20],["G#6", 21],["A#6", 22]

Hello,

Would like to make some of these (CNC'ed) for a project, but do not have the tech know-how. Willing to pay for someone to help me out. Thanks, T

First
of all thank you so much for this project upload. I ran into that same problem
with the error window message popping up and what fixed it for me was the
location of the “Resources” folder wasn’t in the right directory. A simple copy
and paste in the right pathway fixed it for me. My question though however is
with the record player software. Is it possible to scroll left and right? I
have a fairly lengthy song that requires the 24 double note but I found that in
order to make my song work I have to build it in the double note. I cant just
build it in the 12 and double it at the end. The reason why Im asking this is
because when I make my file I can see that the song only goes halfway around
the disk and I would like to add more to the song. Thank you in advance for any help.

http://m.kohls.com/product/prd-902145/fisher-price-classic-record-player.jsp?ci_mcc=ci&utm_campaign=PRESCHOOL%20TOYS&utm_medium=CSE&utm_source=google&utm_product=92112054&CID=shopping15&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=92112054&gclid=CjwKEAiA64uyBRCVmKyT2vuAjzgSJADfINB6VtmSFZeuWSep3dTxUSnWKVMjV9Dwcgq9-pT4WcpXzxoCuAXw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=CJzGprOVickCFRIyaQodNDMGyw
Does this player work?

2 replies

No. The current retro look version is electronic and nothing like the mechanical original. Your best bet is eBay to find an original one.

Does it need to be the one from the 70's or can the version from the 80s work?

Hi Fred, love the project, got a Fisher Price player coming in the mail, looking forward to cooking some discs. I came across your work since I have a Tomy Tuneyville Choo Choo that functions similarly, but relies on the levers to open airflow to a harmonica-like device. The record is double-sided (one song per side) with gear teeth around the perimeter as the discs are played vertically. Notes are triggered in a similar fashion to the Fisher Price record player, with the main functional difference being sustained notes. I'm about to have a look at the program as you have kindly provided. Would adding a geometric modality to the program be difficult? I have a number of discs to work out the note assignment and to extract dimensions from. The tooth pitch for the perimeter of the disc may be the toughest part. Any insight is appreciated. Thanks for such a great project, and introducing me to dynamic script-driven 3D composition.

Hi,

First of all, i d'like to thank you for this amazing work. I searched for a couple of months the way to make a music box with my favorite song or any little music i love.

So now, i bought a fisher Price player on ebay and i'm looking for a 3D printing service. I have found a fantastic FAbLab in Paris where i live.

So, i created a lullaby with your "FrefRecordPlayer" but i do not convert my music on a real object (virtually) . I always have the same result with OpenScad and http://openjscad.org/ I join the screen shot.

Do you have any idea why the result is wrong ?

Thanks again for your work.

Basile

Capture discfail.PNGCapturediscfail2.PNG

I might have missed it (reading while I'm trying to entertain a toddler), but I can't find the STL files for your discs anywhere? I downloaded the zip file & found the source stuff, and also checked the shapeways page, but couldn't download from there either (page not found error). Hoping to avoid having to reinvent the wheel! Thanks!

Looks like Fisher Price re-released a new version of the record player.

http://www.amazon.com/Fisher-Price-Classic-Record-Player/dp/B003CGVCXS

Unfortunately judging by the reviews, they completely removed the mechanical music box aspect and replaced it with electronically generated music.

The ridges on the records are completely smooth without tines or bumps. Looks like the number of grooves match up and depress a number of buttons in the headshell that tell the microchip what to play.

It looks like it's possible to reprogram or gut the electronics to get the record player to do custom songs, but it's no longer physically intuitive.

Could you perhaps post the "old" broken for some people version - as I cannot get the 'second side' prompt as seen on the next page to prompt at all, it just creates the scad file immediately.

1 reply

Sorry posty1 - I just realised what was wrong. I'd updated the source code in the ZIP file but hadn't updated the pre-compiled executable. Please try again and it should allow you to create a double-sided record correctly.