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I am a senior at Penn State studying Industrial Engineering and I'm excited to be in Section 1 of this RepRap class!


Blog 16: Extra Blog A, 3D Printing and Personal Electronics

Printing electronic sensors or touch sensitive buttons sounds like something out of a movie. Apparently this is possible and could revolutionize the entire manufacturing industry. For example, a manufacturing plant would no longer have to rely on other companies to supply them with specialized parts that they don't make themselves. This could potentially destroy many of these suppliers and put a lot of people out of work. This would also make the manufacturing industry smaller due to the instant and contained nature of 3D printing. One person could potentially be in charge of one or two machines which would eliminate the need for many workers on the manufacturing floor.

On the other hand, this kind of technology could wipe out the entire manufacturing industry, if people can make anything and everything they could ever want from their home printer. Sure they would need materials to print from, but there would be no need for manufacturing, unless they uploaded the designs to the internet for people to use.


Blog 15: Professor Richard Doyle and Douglas Engelbart

In his talk, Richard Doyle refers to RepRap technology part of a larger being of science. I agree with him in that people feel compelled to learn about the world around them, and inform others of their findings. From their findings, it has been accepted that people don't claim ideas or discoveries as their own; it is for the betterment of science and shouldn't give credit to just one person. This notion is similar to the intellectual property debate within the RepRap community. Maybe it should be accepted that everyone's findings and alterations to this open-source technology be for the betterment of society and of science. If this were the case, then one person shouldn't get credit and notoriety for making a discovery within this community. This would mean that people who entered into this community were not out for themselves, their highest goal was to enhance the knowledge of science.

After watching the 'Mother of all Demos' with Douglas Engelbart, I noticed many functions which are still used in computing devices and interfaces today. For example, typing, using a mouse, typing words and forming sentences, cut, copy, paste, saving files, and many more. This demo received a similar reaction to the development of accessible 3D printing technology. I think, like the personal computer, the ways of 3D printing are not going away and this technology will only continue to grow. In the near future, I think people will be able to produce patient-specific bones or skin or organs used in the medical field. In the long term, I think this technology could be used like a fax machine. Someday, all printers would be connected through the internet, or through some other means, and people would be able to send files to their friends across the world to be printed on the opposing printer. Once the open-source database grows significantly, the RepRap could be able to scan an item, recognize what it is, and pull up the .STL files of its components. This would make it easy to print lost or broken parts of any item in the RepRap's database.


Blog 14: The Coming War on General Computation

Doctorow's talk was very interesting and it brought up a lot of points in which I hadn't even thought of. It didn't even occur to me that in the near future, computer run cars could take a detour from the intended path of travel without you even knowing, or even having control over it. When he referred toa hearing aid, it could potentially shut off or block certain conversations depending where you were, or who you were with (detecting other devices around it which are connected to specific people). These could potentially be altered by 'bad guys' to actually listen in on other people's hearing devices and gain information that wasn't meant for them.

This an interesting issue, because if you give one person access to information, I think you need to give all of society access to that same information. There is always the potential for anyone to alter that information to fit their needs, which would be adventageous if your car all of a sudden started to go to McDonald's without your permission, but could be problematic if people are hacking into GPS systems and tracking where people are at any moment.

I think by giving everyone access to the information that they seek is more helpful than harmful. Maybe I live in such a place where I don't see all of the harm that it could cause, but I think people should be able to access whatever information they wish, but also tell the computer or device that they don't what that information at that time. It would be important to be able to have full control over the device, so you would be controlling the computer and not the computer controlling you. That is a very scary thought.


Blog 13: Recycling Plastic Waste

This is a fabulous idea! These ideas will lead to less waste created from the printers, and could also reduce the plastic waste from homes and businesses. If a home or business could recycle their waste this way and don't have use for the filament created, they could sell it to people who would want it for their printers. This idea could also be used for other waste besides plastic. Maybe one day, this would get big enough to have a seperator. This seperator would detect the type of material (plastic, metal, food) and route it to its respective machine which would chop it up and heat it for recreation of this material. If the waste was food, maybe it could be processes some how and used as fertilizer or something like that.

In regards to the 3D printing huts in developing countries, I was thinking of something along the same lines, but I don't think it would be feasible to maintain these machines in that type of environment. How would thos people gain access to spare parts which cannot be printed from other machines? Most developing countries have harsh climates; do you think the heat would alter the printing process, and allow the prints to solidify correctly? I think this if a great idea, especially incorporating the recycled material at filament, but unfortunately I don't think this would be a sustainable venture.


Blog 12: Modeling Yourself

My first impression of this technology is that it is a dead end business. A person might want one copy of themselves but I can't see people coming back to pay for more prints. I think it a cool idea but it's kind of creepy. One day maybe you could be printing 3D things from photographs, like I mentioned in a previous blog, by assuming the rest of the item or person.

I'm confused as to how the "action figures'" clothes are seemingly accurate in color and color placement. Does the printer have multiple colors set up in it, or are they hand painted? The color seems too good to be created from the printer. If it was from the printer, then the scanning process would also be taking in the color of the objects and processing the information to either chose the closest color the printer has or, even crazier, mixing the colors to create the exact shade of the object. That would be impressive.

The scanning process also seems a little excessive. Why does it need to take 15 minutes to scan? For detail and accuracy? Does it do more than one pass of the object? I think this scanning process takes too long and it could be improved to be faster. The article said that the scanning process was manual. What does that even mean? Does someone physically hold a scanner and walk around an object? If the scanning time was shortened and the price of each 3D figure was less expensive, I would consider buying a mini-me action figure just for fun. My parents might get one just for laughs, but I don't think they would be first in line. It might be a generation thing, but they would definitely be interested in the new technology. They probably fully understand it, but they would be able to enjoy it.

If there was competition in this market, I think prices would definitely decrease because the price is very high at the moment. Another company making similar products would have to sell at a lower price for people to even think about buying their products. Overall, I think that this is a good idea, if people had these scanners at home. Now they have to come into the store, wait to be scanned, and wait for their figure to print. If they could scan themselves at home and just send the file to the printer, I think more items would be sold and more people would be excited to invest in this technology.


Blog 11: Educational Environments for 3D Printing

I really like the idea of bringing 3D printing to K-12 environments because a lot of kids like to learn visually and in a hands-on way at that age. Being able to create something and actually see it come to life will probably inspire kids to get into the science and engineering fields more than doing math problems or science experiments would.

I'm having a hard time thinking of many applications for this technology in traditional educational environments though. I don't think it would be appropriate in a math class, possibly in a science class to demonstrate various structures or organisms. In middle and high school, I didn't have very many classes where I was able to design objects of my own, but I do think it would be very valuable to add these types of courses in this environment. I think it wasn't until my first year of college when I first experienced designing something and even thought about making it a reality. This class actually inspired me to get into the engineering design field after college. If I had been exposed to this type of thinking and technology, I think I would have been able to come to this realization much earlier in life.

In my opinion, kids in middle and high school are very concerned about what people think of them and are less likely to be imaginitive or creative in an educational environment. I think that bringing this 3D printing technology and possibly new courses which incorporate this technology would be very beneficial in stimulating their thoughts and opening up their minds to a wide variety of possibilities that weren't previously considered.


Blog 10: The Future of 3D Printing Technology

Thinking about 3D prinitng becoming a world-wide norm, it only makes me think of how much more we will be polluting our environment. Say you lost a part to your toilet or your child't toy. There would be nothing stopping you from just creating another part to replace the one in which you lost. Before 3D printing, people might have been deterred from going out and buying new parts due to the hassle of obtaining the part, or the cost of the part itself. If people were able to print parts basically on command, this would potentially make for more plastic and non-biodegradable material material as waste. Sure, people could recycle this material, but recycling hasn't become as popular in America yet as it has in places like Canada or Europe.

If people weren't able to just print replacement parts on command, they might be more willing to throw away entire products because they are not in workiong order. This could potentially be leading to an increased pollution issue already, but with the availability to create anything your heart desires at any time you'd like, I believe more waste will be generated in the future if 3D printing becomes the norm for instant manufacturing. To remedy this issue, since it is likely that the 3D printing craze will continue and gorw in the future, people should start producing 3D printed items out of environmentally friendly materials. Things that won't pollute our environment when people discard them. It's possible that 3D printing could pollute our world more than it's current state, but there are ways for this to control this notion if people care about our environment.


Blog 9: 3D Printers in the Library

On Penn State's campus, I am the most familiar with the Paterno and Patee Libraries, and not so familiar with the Engineering Library or other libraries in the area. If I were to go to a library, which I don't do very often, it would be to find a quiet place to got work done. I do understand the want and need for more collaborative spaces for people to communicate and share idea with each other because young people of today's generation are losing the value of face to face communication.

Before reading more into the topic, I didn't think that a library would be the right venue for a 3D printing lab. After learning more about the movement, It is really great to see that the library community is ready, willing, and excited to update their technology and gear their interaction space towards the new generation of thinkers and innovators. I really like how the library community is trying to get people excited about learning and coming into a library again since they are becoming out-dated since the age of the internet.

I can picture this sort of space being a great place for various types of people joining in a collaborative learning experience to create art or engineering or science gadgets. Like the articles and videos stated, this would eb a great way for our generation to start physically making things again, since the manufacturing industry in The United STates had declined significantly over the years. Libraries are meant to be places of learning and self-enrichment through the resources within that building or that community. The addition of 3D printers would just enhance that learning experience and hopefully get kids and people of all ages excited to learn and actually have their ideas come to life.

The down-side to the addition to 3D printers in a library is the removal of quiet space for people who come to a library for peace. The printers would be loud when in operation, and if many people are working together on projects, the noise level could increase dramatically. This could be solved by having a secluded area for the printers and collaborative space, while still maintaining a quiet space for people who might like that. There would also have to be an attendant or some sort of employee assignment to that area who is knowledgeable of the technology and how to troubleshoot when a problem arrises. The only way to possibly prevent this extra cost of an attendant would be to have each person trained before they are allowed to use the printers.

This print space could potentially turn into a tinkering spot, where people would comt to build their own printers. This would give them a chance to dive deeper into the appreciation for the technology of the printers and maybe even improve the existing design. But how would the printed itme s be monitored? In the case of the DIY gun project, students were printing weapons and had their printers taken away. If this happened, I would assume that the library would be responsible for the actions of many. In order to avoid situations like these people might have to submit a print request and not be allowed to print the item until it was approved by the library staff. Since it is a public domain, I would think that the library would be able to set up constraints such as those to protect themselves.

I can't think of a more appropriate venue to house public 3D printers and think that libraries could be the answer. They are currently losing visitors but the addition of 3D printers in their space would attract a wide variety of people interested in learning and experiencing this up-and-coming technology.


Blog 8: DRM and Control of 3D Printing

After reading this article about trying to control what 3D designs people have access to, I still think it is too late to try and monitor the sharing of files. Sure, the government or a government organization could ban people at home from seeing certain 3D designs which are currently in the market place, or designs that are patented. I think it would be nearly impossible to monitor the new designs created by do-it-yourselfers that are being uploaded constantly. These designs are not likely to be stolen from a company or being sold for profit, so they would probably go under the radar. I would think, then, that the creation of these files would have to be monitored. Someone doesn't even have to upload a design for it to be used, so how would it be monitored if it went straight from someone's personal computer to their in-home 3D printer?

Yes, I do think it would be wrong to steal a company's design and start printing off products in your home for a very small cost, but there is nothing stopping people from looking at that product, dimensioning it, and creating a 3D replica of it on the computer. The designs would essentially be the same, but the secret or patented ideas wouldn't necessarily be violated, to my knowledge. I think that companies are scared that people will be able to print the same products from their own homes which would cause these companies to lose a lot of money. This is a viable concern, but I think people are always going to find a way around the system. For example, people are still able to illegally download music, even though a law has been made to try and stop these actions.


Blog 7: Light Piping in 3D Objects

1. After watching the video and reading the short article on Disney's Research in 'printed optics', I don't quite understand how this technology could "potentially replace LED and LCD screens to display information on smaller interactive devices". Does this mean that large screens will not be in existence, or that the large screens would still use LCD and LED technology? I don't know how many applications this technology would have because, at least from what I saw from this video, once many 'pipes' are involved in creating one picture, the resolution/detail is reduced. So I can't really see this technology coming into play for a TV or an iPad, for example. It seemed like when there was a single pipe for light to travel through, the resolution and accuracy of the light path was very exact. This would mean that the printed object would also have to be pretty exact with little to no flaws. This would mean that a very precise and high-tech printer would be needed for this. The printing alone would be pretty expensive and time consuming, because the print is stopped periodically to insert electronics.

I don't think objects will be able to be mass produced with this technology, because it seems very intricate and delicate. Even after a part is printed, it needs to be machined in order to have the intended precision, which would also be costly for mass production.

2. If we were to use the printers at our lab, we would run into the issue of precision. Our current printers are not capable of printing such small objects, such as pipes, with great tolerancing. I also don't think that our printers would be able to create the dense portion of the object without any flaws. If there is a pocket of air, light shone through the object would probably reflect off of that air pocket. I would think it would also be hard to stop a print in order to put electronics in, and then place it in the exact spot it was in to finish the print.

3. I used to play a game on my computer called Pipe Dream, where you had to connect the correct pipe pieces in order for liquid to flow through the connections. I'm thinking you could have different shaped pipes so you could redirect the light in various direction depending how the pieces are arranged. At the moment I can't think of an application for this. It would be really interesting if a 3D model could be printed out of a malleable substance, so you could stretch the pipes without distorting them and redirect the light that way. I was thinking of using this for a keyboard, or for something where buttons are pressed. If the button was made out of this material with light piping incorporated in it, when you pressed a button, the pipe would expand and allow more light to pass through.


Blog 6: Healthcare Applications for 3-D Printing

1. I think the concept of printing skin cells and fixing a wound on the spot could positively impact the medical world by helping patients heal faster and potentially heal with minimal scaring. In regards to printing organs, I think that this could be trickier. Is there a universal organ that would be printed with the patient's cells? Is there a specified size it would print? What would be the implications if the body rejected the new organ?

The 3-D printing of tissues could be beneficial to drug companies as they test the effects of their products, but would they charge less for the drugs if they cut research costs? If so, this would be great for patients and people in general. This would mean that more people would have the potential access to the correct medication they need, which would hopefully decrease the percentage of sick patients, at least in the middle and lower classes.

2. This phenomenon of bio-research has the potential to extend to the RepRap community, but I think this could be very dangerous. First of all, I don't know how many cells would be needed to produce something like skin or an organ, so I don't know how do-it-youselfers would obtain those cells. I could also see these operations getting way out of hand very quickly. Once someone masters reproducing skin, they will move on to organs. Once they master that, they might go on to bones. By this point, they have the potential to combine all of these efforts and create limbs, or even a full human! How scary would that be?! Maybe they wouldn't be able to recreate nerves, but in a sense they would be cloning people. And if they weren't cloning specific people, they could be altering the input cells to change the genetic codes, to create whatever kind of person or limb or skin they want! I would personally be against this type of research reaching the RepRap community, but you really never know what the future has in store!


Blog 5: Open Source, Sustainability, and DIY

1. If I was a dedicated member of the DIY gun project, I would be very discouraged at this point in time. If I actually believed that creating an open-source CAD file to produce firearms in one's home was a good idea and would solve some sort of problem in the world, I would push forward dispite all of the road blocks they are currently experiencing. If I believed in an idea like the contributers to the DIY gun project believe in their sharable weapon files, I would follow all of the regulations necessary to make this idea a reality and contact everybody and anybody who could potentially provide them with access to a printer.

2. In regard to the regulation of creating 3-D printed weapons, I do think their production should be regulated somehow. Even though I don't believe that this could actually happen, a good friend of mine is a victim of the shooting at the Batman premier in Auroa, CO and having seen how guns, when in the hands of the wrong people, can change the lives of innocent and undeserving people, I don't believe that people should be able to print their own weapons from the comfort of their own home. Especially if the files for the weapons are already created and potentially tested, it is even easier for people to get their hands on a firearm. Despite the fact that these weapons could potentially only used once before they melt, one shot is all you need to change a life.

I don't believe that there is any real, effective way to regulate the uploads of these files to the internet, therefore I don't think it is realistic to think that the government, or any organization, would be able to regulate who gets their hands on these files. Sure, they could try and confiscate the individual printers so it would be more difficult to create these items, but people would still have the knowledge and potentially the files to create a new printer very soon after.

3. Some other 3-D printable items that have the potential to be prohibited are food and genes. I think there would be some serious consequences if people found a way to print food items, like a tomato or even seeds to grow such items. Then there would be the potential to alter it in any way imaginable which could cause harm to people if ingested. This would have similar effects if people started to print some sort of genetic codes. There is already the possibility to print skin cells for medical use, as well as 'grow' organs, but if this technology and knowledge was brought to the open-source 3-D printing community, the opportunities for altering genetic codes would be endless. Even though this might be far-fetched, there would then be the potential for people to clone themselves or create crazy mutations in their own homes. I would consider something of this magnitude to get completely out of control.


Blog 4: Makerbot's Position

After reading the blog about Prusa's speculations about Makerbot's Replicator 2, I think this has been coming for a while. Like we talked about last week with intellectual property, Makerbot probably knew what they were doing this whole time. I think they set up Thingiverse so people would get excited and post all of their great ideas, trusting that they would somehow get credit and recognition; or at least help other people out who are interested in this sort of innovation as well. Makerbot, it seems, took advantage of these people; making them think Thingiverse was a safe place to share ideas, but then it all came crashing down on the innocent users.

With this being said, I don't think that another 'Thingiverse' site would be immune from something like this happening again. There are always going to be one or two people who ruin all the fun for everyone else. It seems as though Makerbot got greedy and saw all of these genius ideas as a way for them to make a profit. Like the TED talk about everything being a remix, I guess it is the norm for people to get more ideas from the ideas of others, but I think that Makerbot broke the unwritten rule of this open-source 3D printing community, which is that these ideas are for sharing knowledge, not gaining money and notoriety.


Blog 3: Intellectual Property

1. In terms of putting "restrictions" on 3D printers, I don't think that will ever be a successful effort. Since people can design ans manufacture their own 3D printers currently, I think the only way to monitor this process is for the government to locate every printer ever made. I don't think this is a worth while effort because it would be very time consuming and not very accurate, as many printers may not be "on-line" so they would be difficult to track. I can understand why the government or some other groups might want to monitor or sensor the use of 3D printers, but you can't stop people from taking every-day objects and creating an intelligent machine.

2. Personally, I have a passion for making objects or systems that people interact with everyday more efficient and pleasurable. When someone asks if there is a way do do something easier or if there is a better design for an object, I get really excited and start spilling out ideas. I don't see this passion or telling people about my passion as a way of attracting mates, but I do think that the way people react to what I have to say might make someone more attractive than other people. If someone can't relate to what I have to say or if they are completely uninterested in something I am passionate about, I don't think there is potential for a relationship. To me, in order for there to be a potential for a relationship, the person doesn't have to agree with what I have to say, but they should be able to contribute their own ideas and respect mine.

In terms of making money, it would not be advantageous for people to expose all of their great ideas because then it just gives other people the chance to steal your ideas before you can make money off of them. For example, the woman who invented SPANX knew her idea could be a gold mine, so she didn't tell a soul about her breakthrough idea until she had a prototype and a patent.

3. At the moment, it seems like people still "own" their ideas because people in the RepRap community WANT to give people credit for their ideas. Since this community was formed on the basis of shared thoughts, I do think that eventually it will become harder to give everyone credit for contributions to the RepRap project. I agree that there will be a time when intellectual property will die off because there will be so many ideas being shared around the world and it will become more difficult to identify who contributed what to the efforts. I also think that people who get involved with this project know what they're getting into. For example, they should be aware that since this is an open source 3D printing community, they will be allowed to use other people's ideas and other people will be allowed to use their ideas. Since a lot of people around the world my be using one person's idea, that one person might not be given credit for their intellect. Unfortunately that is what they signed up for and that's the name of the game.


Blog 2: RepRap Background

1. I think the idea of a 'self-replicating universal constructor' is already possible. The current open source 3D printers that are being constructed can already replicate many of their own parts and I don't doubt that they are capable of replicating ALL of their own parts. The parts in which a rapid-prototyping machine cannot replicate (e.g.screws, electronic chips, motors) are already being manufactured by various companies and I think it comes down to the precision of each print and the ability to print various materials. If this technology can be harnessed for a rapid-prototyping machine, the opportunities would be endless.

2. To me, the phrase 'wealth without money' means that something has value to someone or some group of people (intellectual, emotional, cultural, etc.) other than a monetary value. In the case of rapid-prototyping, I think the value in this revolution is that the ideas and innovations of people can be shared all over the world with others sharing a common interest or goal. This revolution is about knowledge, innovation and design rather than the notoriety of a few leaders. The sharing of ideas allows for the betterment of the project in a short amount of time. With so many collaborators and new ways of thinking, people are now able to replicate items with this kind of device in their own homes if they want to. This project has given the people access to this great technology, that would otherwise be very hard to access, wherever they choose to have it.

3. Since 2007, it is evident that rapid-prototyping devices have made great advances in technology and design. In the future I envision this device to assess its surroundings, identify a problem, and fix it. For example, it would have a database of knowledge of common items and how they are constructed. If an item that it recognizes has been broken, it will realize what parts are missing and be able to create the correct parts on the existing broken item.

I could also see this device being integrated with photography. It would be interesting to see if this device could look at a 2D photograph of an item and create a 3D model of that item based on assumptions made by the RepRap.

The article by Adrian Bowyer regarding the background of the RepRap project alluded to the possibility of a device being able to recreate itself as well as assemble its parts. There could be building plans and written steps programmed into a RepRap to allow the device to identify certain parts (with the help of a camera) and place them together to create a working replication.


Blog 1: Thingiverse Exploration

1. Useful: Water Tap Fountain

I think this is a great idea because I know I’ve wanted to drink out of the sink before and it is a messy process. If this device could be easily attached to any faucet for easy drinking, sinks everywhere could be turned into water fountains! It appears in the image that this device is leaking a lot of water, so maybe it is still in the works.

2. Artistic: Trilobite Articulatum

I was so drawn to this design because of how all of the pieces connect so seamlessly. A lot of time must have gone into the movement of this item and I appreciate how it is almost life-like.

3. Pointless: Donut with Sprinkles

I do appreciate that the doughnut has sprinkles and looks fairly life-like, but if I see a doughnut, I’m going to want to eat it. This is evil and inedible.

4. Funny: Bat-Signal

Batman is my favorite superhero and I would find any and every use for this portable bat-signal. Imagine how much danger and crime could be averted with a device like this.

5. Weird: Chick Egg Cup

If I am eating an egg out of this cup, I don’t want it to look like it will start walking away. I also don’t enjoy when my food resembles the animal it previously was. Needless to say, this egg cup freaks me out.