3D-printable model of the cover of Joy Division's "Unknown Pleasures"

Michael Zoellner sez,

After watching Grant Gee's documentary "Joy Division" I wanted to print the iconic cover of their first album "Unknown Pleasures" in 3D. Unfortunately I could not find a single vector graphic or 3D model anywhere. There are articles about the history of the graphics, Peter Saville's artwork and PSR B1919+21. I even tried to visualize PSR B1919+21's waveforms. But in the end I spend an evening tracing the waves by hand.

The resulting SVG file was extruded and rendered in Processing with Richard Marxer's Geomerative and my RExtrudedMesh extension. OBJ export was accomplished with OBJExport. The model was printed on Makerbot Replicator with white PLA filament. The 3D model and the SVG graphic are published under a Creative Commons license.

Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures printed in 3D


  1. “But in the end I spend an evening tracing the waves by hand.”

    I’m in love. That’s some real hardcore dedication right there.

  2. What do you call a thing that you never thought of, but when you see it, you immediately know it *had* to exist.  This is one of those.

          1. Who’d you get to remove it? I’ve got a Malaysian Riker in mine and can’t find anyone local to take it out for me.

  3. Okay, that’s really cool, but I can’t keep concern troll at bay any longer. 

    Once this technology proliferates, and everyone can enjoy printing anything anytime, we’re going to be up to our nipples in nurdles, and the oceans will be a micro-plastic soup. Is is really a good idea to realize every vision in plastic?

      1. That’s great, but I don’t think it’s a zero-sum game. Home recycling will just give people justification for wasteful behavior like buying water in disposable bottles.

        If we all decide “It’s not waste, it’s art supplies”, we’re going to find we need a lot more milk jugs.

  4. What did you use for the data hidden by a tall spike in front of it? 

    I realize that when viewed from the angle at which this photo was shot, it doesn’t matter, but the whole point of a 3D rendering is to be able to see it from other angles.

    1. Guilty. I had to approximate the curves. Unless we don’t get the original dataset that was used for the scientific visualization there’s no other way. But i thought as long it’s a cover / t-shirt motive i don’t have to deliver scientific quality.

    1. Indeed. The printer’s extruder actually sometimes lost control of feeding the filament. A common problem from time to time.

  5. Now lets make it out of paper, Grafica Obscura-style

  6. I’m a bit confused, this seems to be a left-right flip of the actual cover, any specific reason this is the case?

    1. You’re right. Somewhere inbetween Inkscape, Processing, Blender and MakerWare an error occurred and mirrored the model. I’ll flip it and upload a corrected version.

  7. I actually got some datasets of PSR B1919+21 and visualized them in Processing. Unfortunately if did not find the original dataset of 1967.
    Do you know where to get the original dataset?

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