Music Box Thing

Musicbox

What is it? Looks like a hair comb and a strange cylinder with small bumps. This is a 3D printed music box. I've been thinking quite a lot lately about 3D printing ever since I opened up my lab to show posters and research last Thursday, and then realized that everyone was, instead, taking a bee-line to our 2 Makerbot 3D printers. "Is this the room where the 3d printers are?" Sure! Why not? It seems that there is a new 3D printer company on KickStarter every day. So, clearly, this represents a technology that is only going to get better and cheaper. Lots of things can be fabricated with a 3D printer, including the music box. Our interest is a bit beyond music, though, to the point where we are looking at objects like the music box and thinking about how we can use these quick-print objects for math and computing education. There are many possibilities -- people are drawn towards the tangible, the touchable, and that which can be forged immediately from plastic. I am reminded of a toy when I was young, where we had a kit for making plastic insects. What ever happened to it?