3D Printer Produces Working Flute

Designed by a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the 3D printer "prints" out the instrument parts based on a digital design. It takes about 15 hours for the machine to print out the flute. After some additional assembly, the flute is ready to play.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Today's last word in business is magic flute.

(Soundbite of music)

MONTAGNE: The flute you're hearing wasn't hand-crafted or put together in a factory. It came out of a printer, a three-dimensional printer. Designed by a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A 3D printer is a machine that churns out actual object using digital designs. In this case it took about 15 hours for the device to create the various parts of the flute. After some additional assembly, viola, the flute was ready to play.

Musician Seth Hunter tried it out and comments on this video posted online.

Mr. SETH HUNTER (Musician): So it sounds perfect in terms of the acoustics. If you just stick some of the keys matching together, I think this thing will feel good.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

3D printing technology has been around for a few years and it's being used to create an ever greater variety of objects. Researchers at Cornell University, for example, are reportedly working on a printer that spits out real edible food, like cookies. Instead of ink, you pop in and say, liquid cookie dough cartridges. Adjust for the desired level of chewiness and then print.

It may be more efficient than beating the sugar and butter yourself. But with 3D printed cookies there is no spoon to lick.

That's the business news on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

MONTAGNE: And I'm Renee Montagne.

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