How to Make a 3D Printed Radio Without a Battery or Plug

Saturday, 13 January 2018 - 4:46PM
Technology
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Saturday, 13 January 2018 - 4:46PM
How to Make a 3D Printed Radio Without a Battery or Plug
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YouTube/3DSage

Radio receivers have a long history, having gradually grown more accessible as the found their way to hobbyists, into people's homes, and eventually into people's cars. Nowadays, most people may listen to it digitally, but radios are far from obsolete.

Which is why it's so cool that it's possible to print out your own radio with no battery and no plugs or outlets. You just need a 3D printer, some coil and wires, and a general knowledge of electrical currents. And a kitchen sink, but we're getting to that.

YouTuber Sage Hansen, or 3DSage, created this DIY tutorial on how to 3D print a crystal radio set. Check it out below:



This may be simple knowledge for any radio hobbyists, as "crystal radios" without a power supply have existed in some form for quite awhile, but so long as you have an antenna, a coil, a diode, and something to ground the charge, there's nothing to stop a radio from picking up and playing AM radio waves. 

The 3D printed aspects are mostly the base, with Hansen giving instructions on how to set up diodes and coil. As for the ground, this is where the kitchen sink comes in, being a long piece of metal that connects with the ground. Once you've printed out the base, effectively wrapping the coil, setting up the charge, and hooking it up to the faucet is fairly straightforward.  

Speaking to Digital Trends, Hansen explained how he tried to simplify the crystal radio into a easy-to-understand and easy to print and build DIY project:

Opening quote
"What I wanted to do was use my 3D modeling software to design a simple form that presents the components in such a straightforward way that it's easy for the viewer to follow the circuit and understand how this is working. The radio waves received by the antenna pass through the coil of wire, which is acting as an inductor that determines the frequency. Then the diode will convert the receiving alternating current into direct current, which will vibrate the piezo speaker creating sound waves."
Closing quote


The models for the 3D printed components were posted by Hansen and are available here, and he created a text guide as well if you're not able to watch the video for whatever reason. 

The quality isn't perfect, and it took Hansen a while to get the sound loud enough to be heard without hooking it up to an amp, but you probably have access to a more quality radio (chances are it's in your car). And even then, there's still going to be plenty of static.

But you're not doing this to make a high quality sound. You're doing it because it's cool, which is a great reason to do anything. Especially with 3D printing.

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