Part A: 1. useful : Hanger http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:44433 The hanger is pretty useful just may be hard to print.
2. artistic/beautiful : ZigZag Vase http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:44153 A beautiful vase.
3. pointless/useless : Battery http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:27012 Although it's called "battery box", I do not see any useful side of this design. Well if it's large enough it could be used as a table.
4. funny/weird : 3D Catapult http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:32541 A catapult in a modern car shape.
5. scary/strange : Alien Head: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:44825 A classic icon of movie industry.
Part B: Am I a tinker? Probably not. Just like every other Chinese kid, or I should say just like the majority of Chinese kids, I do not have a childhood where I can take apart of whatever I'm curious about.If I do that, it will be really a serious family event. No kidding. But, while I'm prohibited to do such "Scientific exploration", it seems that my father can "play“ with everything he wants. Just like he has been trained before, he can fix anything. Well now I know it's more like life experience than inventing. When I saw the final project David Kelly has with his daughter, my first thought was "now I know why we need to see this". I think, to invent, to be creative, you have to think out of box. Just like David Kelly united a group of people with different backgrounds, our class have students from different majors,which is really good. I think diversity is the key, which keeps the whole team creative.
I can recognize some features like COPY&PASTE, Creating File etc. I have to say that I'm really impressed by his demos. If I were there, I think I would definitely have recognized the importance since it's such an impressive work. This kind of work does not need any relevant knowledge to know it's greatness. It's just simple awesomeness.
Talking about Open Source Project, I think it's a trend. Sooner or Later, more and more people will start doing open source projects and more and more of services and products we are using right now will be open source. Just like you can not hire every single engineer in the world to work for you, for one project, the people you can find that are willing are limited, but if it's an open source one, everyone could be your potential employee then you could have "every engineer" working for you, which is definitely helping you a lot.
The most "famous" example of the use of 3D printer is probably the potential Futuristic Moon Colony Project(http://news.yahoo.com/3d-printers-could-build-futuristic-moon-colony-135300655.html). I think it's pretty innovative and of course really bold. But to be honest, I somehow think that may work, since we can not take every aspects into consideration but if the Lunar Colony or the Space Station has one then they can print whatever they need. But that's under the circumstance that the 3D printer tech has been really really advanced. Nonetheless, i think it's the right direction to go.
The second example I found is the open source Wiki Weapon Project(http://defensedistributed.com/). Basically, it's an open source project about 3D printable guns. If you have a 3D printer, you can just download the STL files and then print your own guns. I don't know if this is a riight way to go or not since we are in such a time that Weapon Control is a serious topic but on the other hand, if we can print a 3D gun that is strong enough to fire then we can probably also print our own Armors that are strong enough to protect us.
A) I think they did a really awesome job. Of course, people can make money using technology but the primary goal of technology should be something like this, changing people's life and bringing happiness everywhere.
B) I don't know how much exactly a commercial robot hand will cost but I assume it will be no less than thousands of dollars while this one will cost only about hundreds. Even plus the cost of the 3D printer itself, the final cost should be around $1000. I think that's one of the benefit of open source projects, the cost is really relative low. The other big advantage is that since it's open source which means everybody can contribute it, so it can be easily improved. The benefit of the commercial one is that they hire the best engineers to build it and they will do a lot of R&D work to make you feel it worth every penny you paid. So I think the trend of the future is the border between the open and close will become less and less obvious. With more and more people and companies join the Open Source Projects, the world will definitely be better and the technology will develop much faster as well.
C) http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:44150.Well obviously the easiest to participate is to print one. To go further we can try to improve the design.
A: 1. useful : Hanger http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:44433 The hanger could be patented.
2. artistic/beautiful : ZigZag Vase http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:44153 The vase can be considered as a work of art so it could have copyright.
3. pointless/useless : Battery http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:27012 The battery box is really simple and has no special design so I do not think it's either patent-able or copyright-able.
4. funny/weird : 3D Catapult http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:32541 I think the mechanical part of the catapult could be patented.
5. scary/strange : Alien Head: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:44825 I'm sure the company who owns the the movie Alien also own everything about the Alien design.
B: I found that one of my classmates had found the design of Eiffel Tower( http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:22051), which I think may have been copyrighted since it's a famous design as well as the symbol of France.
C: As the article said, the main purposes of licensing non-copyright-able files are legal and cultural. The legal purpose is the most crucial one from my perspective. Nowadays, lawsuits are happening more and more often and I think if licensing could help a bit then we should do it. By doing so we could encourage all the creative designers to keep innovating. On the other hand, the cultural side is important as well, since only in a healthy and rich ecosystem, can the most innovative and creative designs come to life.
(A)The first article discussed about the future of 3-D printing -- how will it impact our daily life and the world. The article goes from past predictions to President Obama's speech. I think that the 3-D printing technology definitely promises a lot but yet still needs more time to prove itself. It's pretty exciting to imagine that we can just print breakfast someday -- omelets,waffles, toast, you name it. I'm sure that such day will come when we can print everything we want but right now we are still pretty far from that level and when can we achieve it still remains as a question. We just need to be patient about it because if all the companies, all the investors and even the government are so eager to push it. It might hurt the market, the field, and then even "kill" it. Then it will take even more time to get back on the right track.
(B)I think the reason why mentioning "this year's state of the union address" is that it's such a big event and shows even the government has paid a great amount of attention to it.It's a significant point that, since it's still a pretty advanced technology, being mentioned in the state of the union address will definitely draw more attention from the public. But as I said before, it could be bad or good. This is something we should develop fast as well as extreme carefully.
(C)The merit of this method is that it's always better to be able to visualize your design or the concepts from the textbook than just studying on the graphs from the book, especially in ME field. The other good part is that it's much cheaper and more convenient to print plastic modules with strong intensity than actually using assembly line to produce real mental parts. Considering that the ME students often need to have different designs so it's actually a really good approach as everyone will be able to print their own designs. I don't actually see any obvious flows yet as I think it's a great direction to go.
(D)We might run into troubles when we try to print some complex designs as our printer can only print parts separately and then assembly the parts together while it seems that their printers have ability to "print dynamic mechanisms fully assembled" and a more user-friendly software that can directly covert CAD to 3 D objects. I probably would not say that theirs are more "advanced" but apparently, it has more functions.
Form1 is by far my favorite one among all the 3D printers I have seen. It seems that the quality of the product and its printing are really decent and solid. It's definitely something I would love to buy if one day I want to own a 3D printer (if I have the money, of course).It's a pity that Formlabs is being sued by 3D Systems --“3D Systems invented and pioneered the 3D printing technology of stereolithography and has many active patents covering various aspects of the stereo-lithography process,” said Andrew Johnson, General Counsel of 3D Systems. “Although Formlabs has publicly stated that certain patents have expired, 3D Systems believes the Form 1 3D printer infringes at least one of our patents, and we intend to enforce our patent rights.”。 On the other hand, 3doodler is a totally different thing. It's not a typical 3D printer but something quite unique and fresh. It's more like lots people have dreamed of when they were young, being able to draw/create things in the air. I have to admit it that, though I may not be one of the potential consumers, it's a pretty attractive idea.
The 3D printer projects on kickstarter:
Though I never spend any time on Kickstarter, I think it's actually a briliant idea. I will not say it's the future of crowd-fundraising because it's already famous and popular and proved quite useful. So it's not the future but something happening right now.
I think, comparing to the traditional ways, Kickstarter has more risk because it lowers the bar that everyone can fund a project there. It's also its advantage because it's much easier to get money people need. But, in the same time, the quality of the projects is hard to control and it also has the risk that expose your unique idea to the public too soon. Overall, I still think it's a great website that can help a lot of people achieve their dreams.
I really like Chris's blogs.
In blog 4, Chris did a really good deep analysis about the Pros and Cons of Closed and Open Source. As Chris has touched some very detailed aspects, it makes the analysis very convincing, so it's my favorite one.
In Chris' blog 6, he said "while our printers often break, by fixing them we learn how they actually work and how to service them - this is something the students at the University of Virginia may lose if they are using expensive state-of-the-art printers ". I think he hit the point! That's exactly what I thought when our printer was down. So I think this is a really nice blog.
Overall, Chris did a good job on the blogs. All of his blogs are very well organized, directly to the point. He usually has his own unique and different thoughts. I also like his words, which makes it not boring reading his blogs. So I would love to give Chris extra XP.
I coincidentally had a chance to visit a small start-up located in Innovation Park, which is specializing on 3D modeling using laser. It's called L4IS(Laser for Innovative Solutions http://l4is.com/). The method they use is something like a reversed process of our 3D printing process. While we print our things layer by layer, they use the laser to remove the surface layer by layer and then take photos for each layer. After collecting all the photos, using a software to do the 3D modeling part. While the result is really great, we can even say it's almost perfect, the price is of the system is really high and even the software itself will cost about $20,000. So I'm happy to see more people/companies are working on this.
For the photo based method, I found insight3D(http://insight3d.sourceforge.net/).
I think that I should make more fresh thinking when I write blogs. I should also pay more attention on formatting and wording to make it more attractive and better organized. Another I should mention is that though sometime I write a lot, most of them are not really meaning something. I should write more things that are right on the point in the future.
Now, I have worked with the OHM Reprap printers about 4 months. Overall, I think the design is pretty good, not using a lot material to build while having a strong structure. Yet, there is one part that I really wish that could be improved - X Bar. The little part made of 5 small parts. It was just so much pain when trying to put these five parts together, especially when we are using parts printed by many different printers. The quality of the parts are inconsistent which makes it even harder. So if we can try to improve some parts, this part is definitely the one I want to see an improved version.
I will say to push the recycler project because I think it follows the principle of RepRap most. During our whole semester, we have gone through a lot of failed printings, which gives us lots of failed prints, laying in the recycling box,waiting for such a special printer to let them do what they were supposed to do. I'm pretty sure same thing happening to every room working on the RepRap project. I think the merits behind the dual-extruder is efficiency (faster to print) and flexibility (possible multi-color, still able to work even one of the two extruders is not working) while the recycler stands for economical and, of course, recycling.
I think overall this course is awesome (fixing the printers could be pretty annoying sometimes though..). To make it better, as well as to make the best out of the RPG system, I sincerely ask you to consider building a mature platform that we can monitor our progress more easily. A platform, where we can also put the progess/current status of our printers on it. Anyway, David is awesome, Eric is awesome, pretty much every one is awesome!