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Bonus Blogs 12/12/2012

A) Check this: How does this relate to RepRap? What sorts of new devices can you conceive of? Other thoughts?

If we can get the duel extruders going we too could print objects with electronic components embedded within parts. This could be coupled with LED components or Photo-voltaic components to create some pretty cool devices. We may be able to print some components previously bought.I don’t know what other constraints would arise when using conductive materials. Some things that would need to be looked into would be heating temperature, cooling speed (thermal diffusivity), as well as how well the two materials would interact with each other. Also if there was current running through the part would it heat it up? If so would this cause the other materials to deform or possibly fail?

B) Outside criticism of our course has suggested that we do not adequately cover design topics or the design process generally, and sometimes further suggests that the content is not adequately codified. An important question to ask is this: Is there a better way to structure class time? Do we need less open lab time and more lecture time? Was this a ‘real’ class? (by whatever definition you choose) What did you learn in it?

I think this was a “real” class. There were weekly assignments as well as large term projects. I think the open lab time was necessary in order to accomplish the build project. I think I learned a great deal about 3-D printers in general, aside from some software and electrical components I feel I could re-produce an entire printer. In addition to the opportunities offered in terms of 3-D printing experience and knowledge I got to work a great deal in the learning factory and fame lab. I had never had the chance to have hands on experience with a CNC machine and was able to apply some of the G-code knowledge with the printers to the G-code for the CNC. This caused me to gain a much better understanding of current methods of fabrication with the future as I see it (3-D printers obviously). In terms of design it also helped me further my understanding and abilities in seeing and utilizing constraints.

C) Internal criticism of other courses has suggested that our class provides “something” which isn’t often experienced in other courses. Did you find something unique in your own experience this semester? (There seems to be some consensus in that doing what we have been doing contains some merit, though there is some debate about what those merits are.)

Yes I definitely did, I feel that there was much better teacher student interaction. While we had occasional lectures I found that my conversations with David and Eric were much longer than those with other teachers. They did not necessarily start with my primary question and almost never ended right after receiving the answer to it. Instead things and ideas that may not have been discussed had the conversation been rigid were explored. I also am a huge fan of the grading system. I think some minor tweaks would improve it but I felt as though I had much more control over the grade I will receive. In a curriculum where almost everything is cookie cut (everyone in the class working on the same project, or your project pre-determined and ultimately controlled by someone else) it was amazing to get to use some real creativity and imagination. When we (the hot tip team) wanted to pursue using the fame lab’s CNC the only response we received was encouragement. In short yes this class provides “something” which isn’t often experienced in other courses.

D) Sustainability of this little project is a key problem which needs to be addressed. Currently, our prospects for long-term funding from within the university seem slim. Suggest a variety of scenarios which might allow 3D printing with RepRaps to continue at Penn State, in the absence of any course/instructor. Discuss the positive and negative aspects of each scenario.

1: Creating a PSU REP RAP club. The Club could possibly receive some funding for things like initial printers, filament and key electrical components. This would allow Rep Rap to continue at PSU just in a different fashion. 2: Having the class interact with other Universities across the United States but also the world. I feel that the strongest attribute for Rep Rap is the openness about it. It has come so far in a short time due to open source sharing. Co-operative working is key in the professional world and is definitely something that is pushed by PSU. By having projects that are interdisciplinary we are seeing much of the design and fabrication process. In most classes you deal with problems revolving around your area of study. For me this was design and mechanical attributes. In many classes we were told to remember the constraints presented by things like electronics as well as software, but rarely had to actually deal with them. This class could be portrayed as a chance for Electrical engineers, Industrial engineers, Mechanical engineers and even possibly Business Majors to interact on projects. 3: Possibly combine the REP RAP class with other classes. Some that I can think of are ME 340, ME 455 and CMPSC200 . One drawback may be that emphasis on the printer may be diminished. 4: Another option is to offer this as a first year seminar in conjunction with a tech elective. This would allow interest in REP RAP to grow, had I taken this class as a freshman I would have most likely continued to be active in the REP RAP community the rest of my college career. The class could be offered as an intro to engineering to see if it was the kind of thing that interested a student. It would also allow Engineering majors the same opportunity they currently receive with the class. The interaction between freshman potential engineering students and junior and senior engineers would be something unique and I believe very beneficial. 5: Have a lab where you test tensile strength of different designs as well as printing patterns. It would be simple to print out different configurations customized for the desired test. Again this could end in a diminished emphasis on printing and the actual printer. One solution would be to have the class provide the prints for a different lab, or just split it into two different portions.

E) Sometimes, if you’re really lucky and all of the stars are aligned, it is possible to get small contributions from other departments to operate a course. Do you think your own department would have some interest in helping to sustain the course? Can you think of other departments which might have some interest? What relationship would we have to what they are interested in?

The Mechanical Engineering Department (my department) should definitely have some interest in helping to sustain the course. It can easily be argued that 3-D printing is at the forefront of innovation and technology. I would debate that PSU should start doing research in this field. Electrical engineering as well as material science and Industrial should all be interested. I think that 3-D printing has the ability to teach valuable lessons and concepts in all these fields. I am not sure what is meant by the last question. I am not sure how departments determine whether or not to contribute.

F) Does open source self-replicating 3d printing technology relate to sustainability and the do-it-yourself (DIY) ethos? Connections have been made by others, but I want to know how you see it.

Without a doubt does open source self-replicating 3d printing technology relate to sustainability and the do-it-yourself ethos. Explinations, manuals, instructions, videos, plans, discussions… anything you would ever need in order to “do-it-yourself” is readily available to any and all who simply look for it. In terms of sustainability, almost all components can be reused. The ability to print out parts for a machine with a machine quite possibly with the same material from the broken part is the epitome of sustainability. It is quite possibly the answer to the issue of non-biodegradable plastics. Who-ever those “others” are I agree with them.

G) Someone mentioned in their Thanksgiving bonus blog about printing houses. Watch this: Likely? Unlikely? What do you think of this? Would you live in a 3D printed house?

Yes! Very likely! I think this is awesome and had thought about this a little myself. It would mean we could create structures in space, on planets, on asteroids, on moons with only a handful of people. This allows us to create a livable area possibly before the people even arrived, allowing them to save valuable time and resources. I would definitely live in a 3D printed house it would probably be cheaper and possibly have some other added bonuses like improved insulation. I think that this type of CAD CAM is going to be a big part of construction in a decade or two.

H) If someone came up to you, and asked you: “So, what good are these 3D printer things, anyway? Why would I want to have one?” What would you tell them? I would ask, “Have you ever had a small part on a chair, computer mouse, game controller ever break and you had to completely replace it? Or maybe you have used some object for something it’s not meant for. Like a book to hold something up or make it taller. Was there ever a phone case that didn’t fit in your hand? You just couldn’t find the exact shape of the wall peg you wanted. What if you could simply open a file and press print and a customized part, wall peg, controller face, phone case with your name is made within few hours possibly a few minutes. Say you have an old vacuum cleaner, a part breaks and they no longer make parts that are compatible. If you have a 3-D printer you could possibly print out a part for the cost of the filament, if you don’t you may have to buy an entirely new vacuum cleaner.”

Blog #

Recycling of Waste material is an important problem, as you’ve all seen. There are several designs for DIY Recycling systems available: Do any of the designs above seem more suitable than the others? What kind of influence might a recycling system have on the DIY RepRap community? Does building a filament recycler sound difficult to you, even with step by step guides? Due Dec 7

Block # 8 Gizmodo killed that link, the bastards. Google is your friend: Go back to your previous posts regarding DRM and control of 3D printing. Do these articles support your argument then? Do you think this technology will find a use?

I think that they do support my arguments, the implementation of in-bedded code needed to authorize a print is very similar to what I was thinking. I do think that this technology will be used, I don't know if this technology will be useful however. I agree about the part where it is only impeding the average user. It may be helpful in the way that people who are concerned with making money from 3-D printers may be more inclined to invest if they know that their product will be protected. Personally I think that an alternative solution should be found or possibly only some parts be regulated.

Blog # 7 Check out this article related to what Dan was describing to us on Thursday 1. Being able to create optical sensing devices on demand is something new, as typically we print passive components. What kind of implications can you imagine resulting from this?

This could mean much less expensive components in terms of things like toys, displays and interactive products. Things like Wii could have additional attachments (say a head band, wrist and forearm band. Add in some ankle and possibly knee pads and you can completely control a character in a video game. Skyrim anyone?

2. What sort of difficulty would we have in implementing light piping using our printers?

First off I don't think we have the appropriate material for filament, second printing with .5 mm tips means we are very limited in what we could produce. Our bundles of tubing couldn't be as tightly packed or as small.

3. In what applications might you find use for these sensors (contact switches, touch sensors, accelerometers, etc)? Do you have some project in mind where these would be useful?

All of the mentioned application could find use in these sensors. In terms of drone planes or other automated vehicles the majority or the vehicle can be printed out using a 3D printer, accelerometers can be built right in to save space as well as weight.

Blog # 6 Check out this: Most of our discussions have discussed printing object which are not alive, however many researchers are now looking into using 3D printers to create different organs or other bodily components. The NovoGen MMX bio-printer could change the field dramatically. 1. What do you think of bio-printing? What sort of legal problems or technical problems can you foresee?

I think that it is a great idea. The skin graphs and kidney cells will be a great addition to medical treatments and procedures. In terms of legal issues, printing living tissue would mean it would need some sort of DNA and at this point how different is it than cloning? Also who would be the owner of the tissue, the person whose DNA is used or the company who is producing the organs?

2. Do you think this might be extended to RepRaps for DIY bio-research?

I don't know if it will initially be extended to RepRaps it seems like it will be too expensive. I don't think that people not professionally involved in bio-research would be trying to DIY in terms of printing organs. This may change however if printing meat and other foods is achieved. At this point it would make sense for people to have their own printers at home.

Blog #5 10/5/2012

1. Imagine that you were a dedicated member of the DIY gun project: What might you do now?

I would probably think that our project just became a lot harder. It seems like they are going to be running into road blocks along the way to achieving their final goal. I would also think that this is kind of a good thing because this is the legal course, if this had not happened and they had achieved printing a gun the ATF would probably have come down a lot harder than they did. Like Wilson says he is willing to jump through the hoops so that people in the future won't have to. Plus this article and issue may cause some more light to be shed on the project and get some more investors and people involved.

2. Another article asks ”Should 3D printing, especially when it’s being used to create items like guns, be regulated? Can you regulate it?” Check your Blog #3 Questions 1 & 3 (and my comments to them) if you haven’t already. Do you have any more to say about this issue of 3D printer regulation (gov’t or corporate)?

This is not the first time that people have made homemade weapons or even fully concealable weapons. I think that corporate will get involved once large companies start loosing money and the government probably already has someone trying to come up with a way to control it. The government is probably scared S***tless because the music industry and explosion of downloaded music showed how hard it is to control something like this. However I don't think millions of people are going to start printing guns as soon as it becomes possible the way people started downloading music.

3. Guns (and other weapons) seem to be prone to prohibitions. What other 3D printable constructs might attract similar attention/derision/prohibition?

I can't think of any at the moment. The only thing that comes to mind are keys, but I don't see how that would actually become an issue. Most cars now have chips in the keys that make it not only a physical thing and as for house keys you would need to have a picture or blueprint in order to make an accurate copy. I will think about this one and update it at a later time.

Note: the article discussed today was written by Robert Beckhusen oct 1, 2012 and can be found at

Blog post #4 10/5/2012

Recently there has been discussion and concern with some moves that Makerbot Industries is making. Specifically the decision to make their new 3D printer (the Replicator 2) a closed system as well as clauses in the terms of use for thingaverse. The main issue with having the replicator 2 be closed source is as Brian Benchoff states it is hearesay. Makerbot's image has always been deeply tied with the Open Hardware movement. To make things even more interesting, they now own everything that has been put up on Thingiverse. I agree with Mr. Benchoff and hope that the changes to the Terms of use are just Makerbots way of avoiding being sued by crazy people. If however, this is a huge power move on their part, it is paramount that a new thingiverse be found and utilized. If all of the rumors and worst case scenarios end up becoming reality than it is truly a sad day for RepRap. The one great thing about RepRap however is that while this will be sad it will not be the end. The movement has begun and Makerbot cannot stop this.

Note: the article referenced was written on sept 20th 2012 by Brian Benchoff and can be found at

Blog post #3 9/28/2012

1. It seems that 3D printing isn’t going to disappear, but the exact nature in which it will develop is not well defined. On that note, we currently place restrictions (DRM) onto our media to control distribution, with limited ‘success’. Do you think this might be applied to 3D printing? How or why not?

Yes I do think it will be applied. I think that certain parts will be made in ways that cannot be replicated by printing or going to a store to buy them. One idea would be to create certain parts already assembled such that if they were disassembled in order to try and reverse engineer them they would break, becoming not only unusable but also unrecognizable. This will force users to still go through suppliers allowing them to place restrictions. However I do not think that this will continue for long.

2. According to Bowyer, many people have a great idea (or perhaps a passion) that they love to tell people about. What is yours? Do you see this as a way to attract future mates? (or to get money?) Why/why not?

My passions are changing. While in highschool I guess the thing I loved to talk about was the concept of using rail-guns and other forms of the Lorentz force to aide in space travel. More recently I am still trying to figure out some of the details of this but do not think that I will attract future mates with this but could maybe make a career out of it.

3. Professor Bowyer seems to think that 3D printing will finally kill intellectual property, and he sounds pleased about it. Do you think he’s right about ending IP? Is this a good thing, a bad thing, or somewhere in-between?

I think that it is somewhere in-between. If there is no such thing as IP or any sort of advantage like a profit people will be less likely to work long and hard in order to achieve their goals or advance their concept.

Blog post #2 9/13/2012

1. Do you think his goal of a ‘self-replicating universal constructor’ is feasible? What remains to be done to achieve this, or alternatively what would prevent such a goal?

I think that the goal of a 'self-replicating universal constructor' is feasible, however not at this time. Much of it can be done now, reproducing gears and structural components. The issue lies in the motors, computer chips and wires necessary for the machine to run. Another issue is the assembly, this could be achieved by making the parent machine much more dynamic. While this goals is an attainable one in my mind there is much work to be done in order to realize it.

2. The phrase “wealth without money” is both the title of his article and the motto of the reprap project itself. What does this phrase mean? (To him and to you if they differ). Discuss implications, problems, and possibilities associated with this idea.

Wealth without money is the idea of having many things without having to pay for them. Wealth is material goods or products we usually buy with money. The concept of Rep Rap is to be able to create wealth without using money, or as little as possible. This can concern some business minded people, how are they going to convince people they need to buy their goods if they can simply make it themselves. Also if we can simply print out a component when one breaks there is less of a need for durability, and much more waste as the article discusses.

One solution offered is to have a Rep Rap machine that can "eat" this material and reuse it. If this continues and the 'self-replicating universal constructor' is realized it will be able to multiply exponentially. Why would this machine still need us? Maybe we should remember Sarah Connor's warning about a storm coming.... Don't worry I am just kidding.

3. The Darwin design was released in 2007. It is 2012 now. Imagine future scenarios for RepRaps and their ‘cousin’ 3D printing designs (Makerbots, Ultimachine, Makergear, etc.) how do you think the RepRap project (community, designs, website, anything and everything) might evolve in the future? Describe as many scenarios as you can envision.

I think that future designs will incorporate parts of all of the 3D printer designs, taking the advantageous features from each. I also think that printers will be able to re-orient parts while making them, this would increase the types of shapes available. Also using multiple materials (one water soluble) at once would allow shapes to be created with supports that dissolved leaving only the desired shape.

Blog Post #1 - September 4, 2012 - Exploring Thingiverse is a very interesting concept, providing a space for anyone to contribute designs for a wide variety of objects. In exploring Thingiverse I discovered many of the applications and possibilities that a 3D printer offers. Listed below are a couple of things that I found note-worthy.

Thing 1 (Useful) - Luther College Norse Bottle Opener

~ This is a bottle opener which obviously would come in handy while also looking cool. An interesting aspect which should be noted is the penny that is used to make the part more durable.

Thing 2 (Artistic/Beautiful) - Gothic Cathedral Play Set

~ This print is a massive undertaking, described by some as the Everest of MakerBot prints. The full assembly is made up of 20 parts many of which test the limits of the machine.

Thing 3 (Pointless/Useless) - Cool Finger Cup Tool

~ This print was originally intended to be used to bind your hair together with one hand. As the creator states it failed miserably, making it pretty useless.

Thing 4 (Funny) - Bender, Futurama

~ As a true lover of Futurama, I was ecstatic to see a rendition of Bender. I feel he would truly appreciate having mini Benders being printed up. Seeing these just brings a smile to my face.

Thing 5 (Weird) - Chinese Throwing Spork (hire-shuriken)

~ Throwing star I can see. Even throwing fork, but a throwing Spork come on.