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3D printing records for a Fisher Price toy record player

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Picture of 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...

 
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Super_Glued4 months ago
Thanks Fred!! The file is on it's way!
fred27 (author) 4 months ago
I'm not sure why you're having problems, but email the fpr file over to fred27murphy@gmail.com and I'll generate the scad and stl files for you. I found that most home FDM printers are just about up to the job, but it might be tricky to print well.
Super_Glued4 months ago
Hey, me again...

So I decided to try and compile and I'm getting a syntax error. I have to wonder why I'm having so many issues right out of the gate...

Can anyone lend a hand? I am trying to put together a record for my wife's birthday. The points I'll get from this would be tremendous (not to mention legitimize my obsession with 3D printing).
Super_Glued4 months ago
Hi!

I have gotten as far as creating the music with your software.

However, when I selected 'Create SCAD File' I was told there was no FisherPriceTemplate.scad file in Executables/Resources.

So I created a Resources dir in my Executables directory and copied FisherPriceTemplate.scad from the SourceCode dir.

So now, when I select 'Create SCAD File' I get the message that one was successfully created. BUT I don't get the handy-dandy 'how would you like your disk' dialog.

Am I/have I done something wrong?
LXMaker6 months ago
Buy 3D printer first according to their own needs to determine the machine level,after compared to the same level of machine price, choose a suitable machine.Interested in 3D print can log onto the http://goo.gl/6l6j29 or http://goo.gl/2wt6LU view details.
Chloe89 months ago
This is cool. Great work!
feistydonut11 months ago
I'm making a music box that plays the imperial march from your player!!!
DriesDR1 year ago
Hi, I finally managed to get my hands on a fisher price record player and dug your instructable up from my bookmarks.
After making a tune in the software, I tried exporting it to OpenScad. But then I ran into some issues;
- I do not get the option window prompt when exporting (I did manage to change the settings in OpenScad itself, I think)
- When rendering the file in OpenScad, I'm getting very odd results. The cylinders go all over the place and the final model is clearly not what it should be. I tried two different versions of OpenScad, but getting the same results in both. Am I missing some dependencies or something? I made sure Write.scad is in the same directory, but still things look very odd, I'm now suspecting things go bad when exporting from the music editor ... but unsure. Any tips?
After some more trial and error I found the problem. For some reason, when exporting the OpenScad file the resulting code takes localisation settings into account. In my region we use comma's "," instead of points "." in some cases. So once I switched my localisation settings to US on operating system level, the discs gets generated perfectly. Looking forward to my first print!
fred27 (author)  DriesDR1 year ago
Glad you managed to solve it. Let us know how your print turns out.
Great job I think I'll build one!
Fungible1 year ago
Any thoughts on printing a new player, now? :)
noahw1 year ago
fred27 - I'm still totally obsessed with this project! Let's do a deal. You send one Fischer Price record player to Instructables HQ* and I'll mail you (1) 3D printed disk from our Objet production machines. (We'll print out two disks most likely and keep one for ourselves to show off to folks who visit the office...with your permission of course.)

If this deal isn't sweet enough I'll send you (2) 3D printed disks! That's like $1,000 in print material for a 5 dollar children's toy! Wow, you drive a hard bargain.

*I'm the workshop editor for Instructables, and also, a little crazy.

noahw noahw1 year ago
PS - our print process has a cost/gram that's just ever so slightly more than shapeways.
fernxtwo noahw1 year ago
http://www.ebay.com/itm/2010-Fisher-Price-Record-Player-Retro-Baby-Kids-Toy-Battery-Powered-/150860393148?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item231ffaeabc#ht_500wt_1288
fred27 (author)  fernxtwo1 year ago
Be careful. The "retro" battery powered version is not the same thing at all. It may look much the same but the "record" just presses a couple of buttons and the music is electronically generated. It won't play one of these custom records. I've see reviews from quite a few disappointed purchasers (e.g. on Amazon). The one you linked to is one of these new versions.
I just learned this the hard way, too. I bought a player on eBay, was excited to open it, and... found it was the wrong kind of player that has grooves to depress certain pins, so it knows what song to play, but not actual "music box" raised bits to make the actual notes.

I guess I should have read all the comments first, but I figured the eBay link would be good enough. Drat!
noahw fernxtwo1 year ago
Thanks for the link fernxtwo, but I'd like to support fred27 directly if possible and support the awesome work they are doing.
.... Dang.. $1000? That could buy me
A. 1 Fischer Price record

or

B. A nice, 2009/10 macbook pro :)

It must make some nice quality stuff for you to keep that around :)
I may have been exaggerating just a wee bit when saying it was $1000 worth of print material. The Object stuff comes to somewhere between $.30 and $1.00 per gram depending on a variety of circumstances. Costs of prints also vary widely based upon the design and geometry.
fred27 (author)  noahw1 year ago
That sounds like a fair deal - although I'll have to search eBay and probably pay about $50 for one. Can you send me the correct address so I can get it shipped to you? I'm in the UK so will get one sent direct from a US-based eBayer.

I found a UK-based company who would print discs on their Objet 30 printer. They quoted me around $300 so definitely more than Shapeways.

You're more than welcome to print one for yourself. That's what the Instructable is all about! Also feel free to add lettering, the Instructables logo, whatever you like.
fred27 (author) 1 year ago

just had an interesting email from jbwisdom, and thought I'd share it with you all

I just signed up to instructables so I could ask you a couple questions about your awesome custom fisher price records! I am an artist, and I recently recreated some of the original fisher price records in glass, and they actually play. I am really pleased with the results. The glass is beautiful and the sound is really nice. I love to make kinetic/interactive work, so I am trying to develop this project a little further and start customizing my own music boxes. My question is: I tried downloading the program and your instructable folder, but I can't get it to... go. Do these work on Macs? If not, do you suggest anything for a person using a Mac? I am also experimenting with the little music boxes that use cylinders to play a piece of music, so I'd love to play around on this program to see if it is a good way for me to design a template for that format. Any feedback would be much appreciated!

Unfortunately my software only works on Windows. I've developed it using Microsoft tools so it won't run on a Mac. The program really just works out where on a disc corresponds to the note that you want to play. For the 3D printed version it then creates a script for OpenSCAD to create the model and add the "pins" that operate the music box. OpenSCAD will run on a Mac so you could use this to create cylinders with your own music. I'd love to see your work if you've got a link to it. The glass disc sounds impressive. I've uploaded my discs to Shapeways and they can print in a variety of material including ceramics, but I had my doubts about how accurately they could be made.

fred27 (author) 1 year ago
For those of you who have been asking, there's now a video of the finished disc playing on the last page.
fmafma1 year ago
Amazing idea you had, fred!

BTW, does anyone tried to engrave such record with a lasercutter? Don't know what material to use, but it could be nice to give it a try.
fred27 (author)  fmafma1 year ago
I've never used a laser cutter so can't be sure. It should definitely be OK for accuracy in the XY direction. I've heard they can be used for engraving rather than cutting but I don't know if it could neatly cut the grooves to the required depth.

I'd have thought that acrylic would be a good medium. I suppose ideally you could have one layer that the laser could cut through and a base layer that it couldn't.

I've entered this in the Hurricane Laser contest so if I do win a laser cutter I'll definitely give it a try. However, I'm not sure the world needs another Instructable on creating a Fisher Price record!
does the depth matter as long as the pegs are the right hight?
fred27 (author) 1 year ago
Well, the discs that noahw made on the Objet printer at Instructable have arrived! Thanks, Noah.

I've added photos to the last page and I have to say the quality is very impressive. The transparent disc looks brilliant too! Both printed discs play well.

However, if I have to call it then I'd say that for this particular application then CNC milling has the edge when it comes to accuracy.
dscott41 year ago
We have seen successful record 3D Prints from Shapeways in the past that worked perfectly.

http://www.shapeways.com/blog/archives/1179-Video-of-3D-Printed-Record-Playing-Still-Alive-from-Portal.html

If anyone else 3D Prints some with Shapeways please be sure to share a video of it in action...
Jayefuu1 year ago
How long until the shapeways order arrives? Looking forward to seeing a picture :)
fred27 (author)  Jayefuu1 year ago
Shapeways say 2-3 weeks, so I'm going to spend a couple of days sorting out getting some lettering on there before I place an order.
ccarmy fred271 year ago
Carine from Shapeways here. Love this idea...can't wait to see the 3D print!
I'm not sure this will help but this made me think of rock-a-bye-baby.
http://www.rockabyebabymusic.com/
They have xylophone versions of all kinds of music. My thinking is it would cut down on editing a song because they have already edited the music for more simplistic playback.
fred27 (author)  fastm3driver1 year ago
That's great! A friend of mine had versions of some punk classics for his kids which was very similar.

Part of the problem is that the player has a limited selection of notes. Also, I've found it easiest (with my limited musical ability) to find sheet music and copy it over as simply as possible. I couldn't pick out the notes from listening to the music - but I'm sure some people can.

Feel free to transpose something if you can. If it's as good as those on the site I'll create a disc and send it to you.
timmmmyboy1 year ago
This rocks! So awesome that you were able to make it work. I'm definitely going to try printing this tomorrow and I'll post a YouTube video if we get actual music going with it. Thanks!
Do you have a version of the stl file you got to work? I'd like to try it in my printer as well. It's a FDM
timmmmyboy1 year ago
Ok printed a new disk, the 5mm option is great and I put a flat bottom on it by removing that extra code in OpenSCAD. Still have problems playing it. I *think* this is due to the ridges where the needles drop in being thicker on the printed disc. I might have to play around with trying to get them thinner on the original. Here's an image so you can see how they look side by side: http://i.imgur.com/JSAOf.jpg Not sure structurally if a single layer of plastic will hold up but two layers looks to be too thick for the needles to drop in correctly.
fred27 (author)  timmmmyboy1 year ago
Great to see your version. it'll be interesting to compare the CNC milled, FDM printed and UV cured inject printed (i.e. Objet) versions.

The default for single-sided discs is now to have no inset on the bottom. The grooves are defined as 2mm wide (1mm for each track) and the ridge about 0.7mm. I know That works perfectly when milled, but feel free to adjust as you feel appropriate for your printer. What printer are you using by the way?

I'm sure the experimenting is as much part of the fun as the finished product, but I'll make sure you get a working disc one way or another. I'm happy to CNC mill one for you, or perhaps one of the 2 discs NoahW promised can head your way.
Oh yeah I'm definitely enjoying just tinkering with it and seeing how the changes work. It's been a fun little side project. I'm printing it on a Makerbot Replicator. I'm sure each printer (and even each different process) works differently and resolution probably plays a big role too. No worries on sending a disk, I'm hopeful I can get one printed well that works after a bit more trial and error. I'm just thankful the hard part (placement of pins based on melody) you figured out to make it all possible!
feenix13631 year ago
Fantastic instructable, Thanks for taking the time to post it.

Just wait for the price of Fisher Price record players to sky-rocket on Ebay. You should have bought yourself a stock of them before posting :)
fred27 (author)  feenix13631 year ago
My wife would disagree that I need more of these! I have three - one a bit knackered, one in good condition, and one of the "roundabout" version. I also just bought one to send to Noah.
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