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Main | Class Blog

For this class we write weekly blogs on a variety of topics that have to do with 3D printing.

Blog 1: Thingiverse

We had to explore around on Thingiverse and find different items.


An item that is amazing/beautiful

This just looks so beautiful. The original design of gyrornament is made by ivory, which are mostly acquired from illegal source. I think that to some extent, 3D printed pla has certain similarity with ivory on artistic value except the price. At first this thing seems to be extremely difficult to print, but the feedback on thingiverse are generally positive. Source

Octopus stand.jpg

An item that is funny or strange

This thing just tend to be funny in its design. The idea of tablet stand is not novel and very straight forward to everyone. Most to cases, I see designs in this category just tend to focus on its functionality. This octopus tablet just seems to be so interesting on its appearance. I probably will say no to this design if I want to buy a tablet stand, and I think most people consider octopus tentacles as disgusting. However, this design is so funny when you see it at the first time. Source

Hex tie.jpg

An item that is useless

The author call it as a hex tie, but I really think it won't be a good ideal to replace your tie with this. Basically, I can put this into the category of funny things. However, the tie is for formal dress and any design trying to make fun of it just tends to be pointless. Other than that, the author actually use the spring rope to connect each piece and this thing tends to be very vulnerable. The most important, it is ugly.Source

Earbud case.jpg

An item that is useful

This is one of the most useful idea I have found on thingiverse. The reason that I think this ideal is cool and useful is that I am the person who is bothered by coiled earbud cables. On 3D printing aspect, this thing is totally fit with RepRap on its size. This print does have certain amount of overhang and has some narrow slots. It may take some effort to find out the setting to print this piece effectively and efficiently but I think it is printable in general. Source


An item that is surprising to me

I never imagined that 3D printer can print such a flexible product as sneakers. The author said that he use FILAFLEX Elastic filament 3mm. I don't know what printer is needed for this filament, but this sneaker just looks so innovative and the design is cool. By the way, the author also has made some printing video of sneakers, and it looks amazing. The elastic filament may point out another world for 3D printed products. Source

Blog 2: OSE project

We were asked to research about OSE projects and respond to the following:

A) I want your general impressions of the OSE project; positive, negative, utopian, etc. Please do a bit more research than just viewing the video, as it is now several years old and they have made some progress since then. Links to more recent videos and media will earn you a better blog.

B) The New Yorker magazine recently had a fairly critical article regarding Marcin's OSE project. Find/link that article and summarize its critique. Marcin had a response to that: I'd like your response to both of these pieces.

C) Imagine we want to create capabilities similar to what Marcin has made at PSU (something like an OSE student club, or another effort). I don't think the administration or trustees would support such a thing, but there might be professors who are interested in supporting such a thing. Do you know any of them? What do they do, and why do you think they would be interested in such a project? Imagine you are looking for allies to do such a thing. Whom is on your list and why?

Here are my answers:

A) My general impressions of the OSE project is not positive. I would not say that I totally disagree with their idea, but I don’t think that should be the way to do. Marcin stated his inspiration was from the broken tools in his own farming business. Because of that, he wanted to look for a more efficient and durable product and decided to make his own. Many engineers followed his idea and made their contribution to this open source product design. However, unlike the open source 3D printer, I don’t think tractor can be replicated perfectly through the open source sharing. Two critical reasons are: 1. Durability and safety issues. 2. Sustainability and environmental impact. If you mess up with your 3D printer, the worst thing probably happens may just be that your printer is broken. However, if something wrong when you operate these hardware, you may get injured. Even Marci’s team can have their open design blueprint with enough safety consideration. There will be a lot of safety issues when people try to DIY their products. Another thing I thought may be problematic is about environmental impact. Although I consider economics concepts are not very useful in a real world, but I do agree that the specialization could make this world better. What I see from OSE project are they trying to make an individual capable of doing all the stuffs. In small-scale production, that can be effective. However, it won’t be efficient in resource distribution if this project becomes a mainstream production.

B) In general, the author thought the OSE project was too utopian. For more details, the environmental condition of e farm village was too hard to handle by project volunteers. Project volunteers were less skilled compared to expectation. The whole project was really struggling rather than the beautiful and efficient image in Marci’s head. The author consider the OSE project is too idealistic and Marci always try to use passion to solve the problem which is not appropriate. I also found some responses from MJ on the OSE official facebook. In generaly Marci held an open mind to what has been told in Emily's article, he also shared the link to access the New Yorker and called it a great article. I accepted they had missed some points during the project. However, he didn't think what they have done are utopia. He thought they made their effort and what they have experienced will become the precious material to teach the followers.

C) I think the ecocar team probably will have interests on auto parts DIY sharing. However, I still feel negative about this idea and think the open source sharing should be limited to simple mechanical parts and systems.

Blog 3: Robohand

We were asked to response to a 3D printed Robohand aimed to help disabled people:

Who created this design and when/where was it done?

The design was originated from Ivan Owen and Richard Van, and the metal prototype was created in November 2012. At January 2013, the 3D printer version has been put online with free instruction. Then 2 months ago, Mason Wilde, 16 years old high school student, used a 3D printer in the Johnson County Library made a Robohand.

If you wanted to make one, where would you go to get it?

I will get the CAD files from the Thingiverse. Several things will be needed as mentioned in the ariticle: a drill, a pair of pliers, and about $60 worth of materials, including a dye kit, nylon string and hard plastic for the gauntlet. I may download Makerware or use Solidworks to do some necessary adjustments about CAD files. Then I will find a free 3D printer, maybe just in our 3D printing club, print out parts and assembly them together.

How many news articles can you find which reference this technology?

Here are some relevant news that I can find and I can be sure there are more:

“Kansas Teen Uses 3-D Printer To Make Hand For Boy”,

“Teen Crafts 3D-Printed 'Robohand' for Fingerless Boy”,,2817,2430396,00.asp

“Teen uses 3D printer to create 'Robohand' for fingerless boy”,

“'Robohand' given to West Michigan preschooler proving to be life-changing”,

“3D-printed prosthetics: How a $100 arm is giving hope to Sudan's 50,000 war amputees”,

“Boy Receives 3D Printed Prosthetic Hand”,

Blog 4: Response to blog 2

We are asked to read our teammates blogs, as well as the blogs of at least 5 other students in class this semester. I would like you to find any thoughtful points made by others which you did not note yourself in Blog 2.

Here are some good points I found in my classmates' blogs:

Vinny Iachini

The skill needed for assembling and the cost of maintenance has been mentioned, which is crucial for realizing the project. In the farm project, the food problem is a problem I did not mention in my blog.

Yuchao Yuan

Yuchao focuses on the safety issue which totally agrees with me. Besides that, Yuchao mentioned that one advantage of this project might be that since you already understand the mechanism and structure of your DIY product, you should be very easy to figure out the problems when something is broken. This might be true in some circumstances, but I thought the untested machine can also have problems that they do not consider before or hard to repair.

Yuan Chai Yuan has a doubt on the learning curve for other person try to make the projects in OSE website. He gives the power cube as the example. He thinks that it will need an integration of knowledge from various subjects and majors. He also doubts that different people may use different materials to build a same structure, which may lead to problem in practical using. He also thinks that the economic and environmental impact of these products are usually bad, which agrees with me. Yuan believes that even though this project is not suitable for a normal person or engineer to perform, it can have innovative value on education aspect.

Kyle Casterline

Kyle also mentioned the safety issue. Also, he considered that some parts in “50 things” may not be able to be fabricated by DIY at all. For example, the optical parts in laser cut need a very professional manufacture method. If the project team just buy parts from industry and assembly them, it may not considered success on criteria of OSE project.

Graham Deever

Graham has an interest to make the OSE project develop as a think-tank club in PSU, which I consider interesting. He also discusses the possibility to make this club and how the 3D printer may help in this project.

Blog 5: RepRap Timeline

We are asked to go through the media timeline on RepRap wiki site and answer several questions.

1) An event very important in the progression of 3D printing technology (open source or not)

2004: Adrian Bowyer publishes the idea for a self replicating 3D printer, and concept of the RepRap is born! More on the RepRap About Page About I think this is very important to 3D printing technology, especially for the open source part. The reason of that is this event eventually push the 3D printer to the desktop level and attracted many individual users. More important, it allow that people can actually development their own printers.

For example, there is no way that a people can upgrade his mobile phone by themselves. This might be the issue about patent. However, more important, the company fix the frame and the scope of their product. You cannot use other parts you DIY or from other brands in your phone. You have to use the parts manufactured by the company which is not only expensive but also limits the freedom of individual modification.

Also, we can easily see that there are so many FDM 3D printers now, but most of them are somewhat originated from the RepRap model. The important point of self replicating 3D printer is not a new method to make a 3D printer, but a new method to teach people how to develop 3D printers.

2) A not so important event in the progression of this technology (something overhyped perhaps?)

2011 Jan: 3d printing now in Titanium! (Charlie Sorrel on [25] Summary: The article discusses the advancements in 3D printing, specifically Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) to print with titanium.

I think this event is quite hyped. When people see the topic about metal printing, they get extremely excited. However, the metal printing still needs a long way to go. I have looked up about metal 3D printing before, and I know there are some successful 3D printed metal parts. Unfortunately, few of them have real commercial and practical value to be applied. Current technology to print metal have a lot for limitation including the size and overhanging issues. The most important is that they are extremely expensive and needs long lead time. Their property is not as good as their most competitive manufacture method - powder metallurgy. They are also mainly working in labs instead of commercial application. I would like to say that the metal printing is still not passing its milestone.

3) Something which you found interesting which you would like to think or speak more about. This might overlap with #1 a bit, depending.

2008 Nov: Thingiverse is launched, the first website where people can uplaoad their own 3D models for people to print out, open sourcing at its finest, what will you upload?

Although this event may not have a really big impact on the 3D printing technology, it does help a lot on the promotion of domestic or individual 3D printing application. It just create huge interests towards the realization of CAD model. It also provides a convenient platform for people to communicate 3D printing user experience.

Blog 6: Project