Fisher-Price Record Player Disc

Discussion in 'My Shapeways Order Arrived' started by pittance, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. pittance
    pittance Member
    My custom Fisher-Price record player disc arrived today!

    (high res image attached if you're interested in the detail level, I'm planning to do more when I've got better light...)

    We have one of the old clockwork powered record players that the kids love (it's not my old one, my wife bought it on eBay) but I got a little bored with the same tunes all the time. If I was to do a new tune I wanted it to be fun but I had some trouble working out what to play so I fell back to my geek ground state & this first disc plays the "Still Alive" tune from the end of the computer game "Portal"

    I had to do a bit of scraping to get some wax off (nothing major, it was largely wax-free) and flatten it out after putting in hot water but after that it I'm pleased to say it worked first time!

    This is the first Frosted Detail print I've ordered and I'm stunned by the precision and detail, some of the edges are really sharp.

    I've been working for about 6 months on and off with varying degrees of success to get a design to a stage where I was happy with it & I uploaded the final model a few weeks ago.

    In the end the model was generated end-to-end in Processing from after lots of abortive tries with Autodesk 123D, Blender, SolidEdge...

    I'm really, really happy with it but after its rather complex gestation I'm also rather pleased that it's finished :rolleyes:

    Next stop - maybe more tunes?

    There's a couple of YouTube videos, but the best is here

    It's also in the shop

    Attached Files:

  2. wow
    that's such a fun way to use 3D-printing!
    sounds pretty good as well! ^_^
  3. Youknowwho4eva
    Youknowwho4eva Well-Known Member
    I've wanted to do records pretty much since day one, but would have no idea how to make the right pumps to make the right sound. Glad to see someone get it working.
  4. Fantastic project! I would love to read details on how you figured out how to arrange the notes to get the timing right for triggering the tines and looping.
  5. Dotsan
    Dotsan Well-Known Member
    Brilliant, love it.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2012
  6. pittance
    pittance Member
    Thanks for the comments!

    I've just seen that it's on BoingBoing as well...


    I will put together a proper blog post about it quite soon because it took quite a while to set up so it will take some explaining but...

    I started with measuring out the discs that came with our player, they're injection moulded and all seem to have quite close tolerances which gave me a great interest in getting the right size for my model.

    Once I worked out that it might be possible I moved on to setting up the notes so I could work out a tune. I spent quite a long time with a tone generator and a toothpick (driving my wife half crazy in the process) until I had worked out the frequencies of the notes that the music box part of the player could make. I made the tone generator in Processing using the Beads library.

    I found that, although there are 22 separate notes on the music box there are only 16 unique notes, 6 are doubles. I've assumed that this is so that the notes can be played more quickly - due to the mechanism in the player 'tone arm' there's a risk of a missed note or jam if only one track is used and the pips (knobs? dots?) are too close together.

    Once I had this information I made Processing sketches (Beads again) to make up new tunes and also check that I had the right notes by playing back one of the existing discs (good job I checked since I had two notes wrong...) with note positions copied from a photo of the disc.

    Working out the new tune was complicated since there isn't a full chromatic scale available so some tunes simply can't be played even if you shift the key up and down, I wasn't able to get the rest of the 'Still Alive' tune, for example. The tune repeats twice around the disc and wraps so it keeps playing (for as long as the spring lasts)

    Once the tune was done I had to transform from linear note positions which I'd used to work out the tune (the sketch looks like a music stave but with each line being a note on the available scale) into polar coordinates around the disc and verify the dimensions.

    I create a blank disc by 'lathing' the vertex-by-vertex profile I measured using vernier calipers (analog technology FTW) around an axis in Processing and exporting it for later use.

    The notes are added onto the blank disc by compositing some boxes that I generate in Processing from the notes with the pre-rendered disc which is stored as an STL file - here I used the Unlekker library for both export and import/combine/re-export.

    Once this is done it can be uploaded directly in Processing to Shapeways.

    ...and believe it or not that's the short form and entirely skips my (mis)adventures in Blender, Autodesk 123D, Solidworks... I nearly got desperate enough to ask someone at work to set it up in CATIA for me :)

  7. Thanks for the detailed info!

    How about making a blank record and using some kind of removable note pins? It could useful to tweak and test potential tunes for new records.
  8. pittance
    pittance Member
    That might work; FD or FUD might have enough resolution to do it but you'd probably need to use metal for the pins - they're really small (about 1mm high x 1mm deep x 0.6mm thick) - and you'd probably still lose some precision in the note timing

    Setting up a generic record might cut the cost to really play the tune though :)

  9. If a DIY adjustable pin solution could be figured out I would seriously consider buying a blank disc if it was available. :p
  10. fred27
    fred27 Member
    Hi. I recently had exactly the same thought about creating a new record for this old toy and only came across this afterwards.

    I went for a CNC milled rather than 3D printed solution and generate gcode to mill the disc. I documented the whole build including code to edit and generate your own tune here.

    I went for Stairway to Heaven for my first record. The theme from Star Wars may follow if I can get it sounding right. YouTube video of it playing:

    By the way, the timing is out it's because the playing head is not aligned radially with the centre of the record - it's about 2mm out. At least mine was. As for why - I have no idea.
    Last edited: May 26, 2012
  11. BigHache
    BigHache Member
    This is awesome! Great song choice too. I had one of these growing up. Good times.