RPM Challenge 2012

I popped the CD of 2012 RPM Challenge album, Aponeurotic Scleroskeleton, in the mail today.

This is my fifth RPM challenge, and I had forgotten that it was supposed to be postmarked by March 1. I promise that it was completed during the month of February!

In theory, it should be available for listening in the RPM Jukebox soon. But I never got last year’s entry uploaded because they have a 20 MB file size upload limit, and my entries are generally one single track, too large to upload.


The album is a little sparse, as I ran out of time. It’s a recording of a MakerBot printing a 3D object – a poker chip with the CRASHspace logo, stretched four times. The recording was made with a contact mic made at the CMKT workshop at CRASHspace last year.

The MakerBot is mesmerizing to watch, and hear, print. Circles are particularly musical, as two of the stepper motors are moving at once, at constantly changing speeds.

I recorded much more of the MakerBot’s stepper motors. They sound fantastic through the contact microphone. My original plans were much more elaborate, but were curtailed by time.

The idea of using stepper motor sounds was inspired by my adventures in healthcare during the month of February, especially by the noises made by the MRI machines I spent a fair amount of time in. MRI machines are loud, and they make you put in earplugs during the scan. I wished I could have recorded the sounds, as they were marvelous. It sounded like they were playing my own personal Music Of The Spheres, just for me.

The really noisy sounds of the MRI sound like giant stepper motors. It reminded me of the midi2cnc script that was written to make a CNC mill play music. This was adapted for the MakerBot, and during the first Handmade Music L.A., we had a concerto for three MakerBots. So the MakerBot was a perfect platform for stepper motor music.

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