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Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. According to HackaDay's blog post, owners of Makerbot are frustrated about people violating the integrity of open source technology and claiming it as their own. More specifically, developers of TangiBot developed a Makerbot cloned and were selling it for about $700 less than that of Makerbot. That's just messed up. I want to believe that everyone has good intentions, but there are countless examples that prove otherwise. This is another. While the open source movement has spread to its present popularity by-and-large by people who genuinely believe in the heart and soul of open-sourcing to better the common good, there exists an ever-increasing probability that viruses will arise and leach off of and profit from the hard work of open-sourcers. While Makerbot is technically violating the unwritten decrees of open-source, their actions are justified. As I discussed in last week's posting, I believe that prominent instances in the human history experience peaks and valleys. Maybe the open-source movement has already reached its peak, or maybe this will be a rallying point for the majority who believe in it. Either way, Prusa is entitled to his action as well, and I don't blame him.

Ultimately, despite the underlying pessimism that exudes from my post thus far, I do think that this will be a small blip in the world of open source. The movement will rally behind its backing and be stronger than ever. Although Makerbot is a strong figure in 3D printing, people will take them as the example of what not to do; this is what I want to believe.


1) 3D printer technology is relatively new, and as such, the concept of open-source licensing has worked very well thus far. In primitive stages of technological development, people are more inclined to share ideas and gather information from others in order to utilize expertise and skills they do not personally possess. As that same technology improves, however, the scene shifts dramatically. People begin to imagine great success and wealth stemming from the technology at hand and they may decide to horde it for themselves through patents and copyrights. Recently, developers of the Replicator 2 have initiated this stage of development by closing source. Additionally, these trends are reflected in Kirby Ferguson's TED Talk, Embrace the Remix. He shares that in 1996, Steve Jobs openly admitted that great artists steal ideas from others, just as Jobs has done; shift to 2010, and he verbally berates Android claiming they stole his technology.

In short, you love to steal when you have nothing, but fight to keep when you have everything.

2) My passion is art. I love to draw, and when I can find the time or inspiration, there's no stopping me. In the deepest recesses of my mind, I may believe there are women in this world that find artistic ability to be a redeeming quality of a potential suitor. In all seriousness, I find that people genuinely love to be given artwork personally crafted to please them. That's my favorite part. If I were able to refine my abilities and people liked my work, there may very well be a market for it. However, open-source artwork may be difficult...

3) Feeding off my blog response for question 1, although I do believe technological advancement trends towards backstabbing and name-calling, the realm of 3D printing has a different aura. 3D printing has a strong potential to end intellectual property because people may begin to realize how dependent we are on one another. As Ferguson emphasizes in Embrace the Remix, everything is a remix. Everything taught to our youth is something someone else learned, developed, or discovered already. Technological advancement hinges upon understanding the current technology, developing inventive ideas to better that technology, and having resources available to physically produce it. Open source 3D printing greatly accelerates this advancement. As more people come to realize these concepts, the end of intellectual property may be close at hand.


1) Practically speaking, the idea of a Universal Constructor (a machine that will both self-replicate and self-assemble) is not plausible with current RepRap technology. Assembly requires many steps, solutions to unforeseen obstacles, and fine-tuning that's unique to each machine. Programming a parent RepRap that will print all parts for a child and simultaneously assemble them into working order would be extremely difficult and most likely require a much larger structural design/electronic capacity.

2) Wealth without money, in my interpretation, means that RepRaps are worth their weight in gold. For as much money as it would cost to buy/produce a 3D printer, over time they pay for themselves and provide a exceptional amount of wealth. This comes as a result of owners being able to print useful objects to replace broken ones or obtain something new, produce new RepRaps and print more things faster, and perhaps even sell their prints to others. The possibilities are endless.

3) At Penn State, I'd imagine the RepRap community will expand significantly in the next few years. With printers spreading to other departments and as more students and faculty get involved, awareness and interest in the product will explode. This will lead to different minds working with the current design, meaning a greater probability that designs will improve. As the RepRap website is edited and made more user-friendly for those not familiar with RepRaps or even technology in general, more people will be able to learn about the machines and eventually work to better them as well. Many circumstances can lead to successful RepRap evolution.


Useful: How many things can clone themselves? 3D printers have the ability to recreate their own parts to repair damaged elements or develop brand new printers, which I consider to be its most useful adaptation. While you could download a complete part set for the Mendel90 [1], individual printer parts can be extracted from Thingiverse as well, such as boltable PLA bushings [2].

Artistic/Beautiful: I love Legend of Zelda games. If I owned a 3D printer, I would make this Crest of Hyrule mantlepiece [3], or perhaps two, because it's awesome...and artistic/beautiful.

Pointless/Useless: This art sculpture [4] may look nice if it were crafted by an artist, but not with RepRap printing. A 3D printed version would probably require more support material than there is plastic in the actual sculpture, and the end result probably won't be very presentable.

Funny: "Its difficult to perambulate in a haughty manner when you have eight appendages..." [5].

Weird: I'm not sure if this is a model for a box of fries or a batch of machined rods [6]. Either way, I find it weird that anyone would think it necessary to print this.