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Hello, my name is Leo Funk and I am currently an engineering student at the Pennsylvania State University planning on majoring in Mechanical Engineering. I am currently in my 4th semester here at Penn State and am expecting to graduate in May of 2016.


I will be doing weekly blogs that are assigned topics for my Engineering 497J Class, Open Source 3-D Printing. My blogs will range in a variety of topics that all revolve around open source 3D printing.

Blog Number One – Wondering Around Thingiverse

This blog includes 5 items all meeting specific criteria that were found by me on They were chosen just by looking through dozens of different designs relating to each category and choosing one that I felt best fit the category. The web addresses will be available below which is where all the STL files can be downloaded.

“1. Something that is amazing or beautiful”

Certain objects on Thingiverse just appear as if they would make amazing centerpieces. This object embodies that. It seems to be very much shaped by math and logic other than art, but the “Cantilevered Orb Neti Pot” by “goldbeard” really looks like it could be a great conservation piece in anyone’s home, apartment, dorm room, or office plus planting the right plant inside could really make this a great looking object. It really is unique and is something that definitely not everyone would have.

“2. Something that is funny or strange”

Internet memes have become increasingly popular over the past few years and the “Me gusta” meme is definitely one of those that everyone at one time or another comes across on the internet. Thingiverse has a 3D printable coin-like face uploaded by “Nudel-P”. It’s definitely another one of those things that would make a great piece to just leave lie on a desk or stick to the wall in an office. It’s sure to get some smiles from passersby and maybe even lighten your own day.

“3. Something useless”

While Thingiverse has some great and useful designs on it, it has a plethora of objects that really have no use. I think that the “Sharknado” takes the cake. It seems to be a cub or vase that is themed around the movie “Sharknado” that came out earlier in 2013. The movie was about a tornado that took sharks and through them into urban areas and it was about as good as this vase is useful.

“4. Something useful”

In modern day, nearly everyone has a computer and while we try to be as wireless as we can be, sometimes we can’t avoid it. USB cables have a tendency to be one of the most common cables to use temporary items on our computers and they tend to get clutter and tangled with other cords. I feel that this “Dummy USB Port” by “mirk” on Thingiverse is a great and very simple idea. After searching dozens of intricate designs I reverted back to this because, frankly, my desk is a mess and something to keep my USB cables off the ground would do wonders for my organization. I know that I am not the only one afflicted by this and that’s why this small simple 3D printable object made it on my list.

“5. The ‘best’ printable Raspberry Pi case”

The Raspberry Pi is a very popular piece of hardware anymore and since it only costs around $35 it would seem a little silly to put it in a case that costs many times more than that so a 3D printed case seems like a viable option. The best case on Thingiverse in my opinion is the “Tinkercad” by “Cinezaster”. It’s more rounded than nearly all of the other ones most commonly found of the internet which gives it a more unique look. The vents throughout it make that small Raspberry Pi look as if it’s an impressive and aggressive piece of hardware.

So, do any of these things surprise you?

To be completely honest, they really don’t. I do really like all of these printable objects (even the Sharknado cup). They are all wonderful ideas. I think they all have their own place and that they show fine execution by their authors, but they aren’t really anything that blows the mind of myself.

The Links:






Blog Number Two – What is 3D Hubs?

A lot of people have wished they had the convenience of a 3D printer but lack the money or the know how to use one. 3D printing isn’t at the stage (yet) where someone can walk into Staples and say, “I’d like this printed in blue. Here is the STL file,” as they would to get a poster or pictures printed. Printing in 3D isn’t common enough yet for everyone to be able to attain a 3D printer. There is a solution though.

3D Hubs allows its users to find individuals or businesses with 3D printers willing to print objects for others. This can include all types of 3D printing, but has a plethora of low to middle cost printers, many that are just owned by enthusiasts. This keeps the relative cost of printing down to an affordable level which seemed to be an issue when 3D printers were in their infancy. 3D Hubs is truly trying to bring the benefits of additive manufactures to an affordable level and into the grasp of everyone.

This isn’t even necessarily the best feature of 3D Hubs. If someone has their own 3D printer, they can list themselves on 3D Hubs and they can make real money off of something they thought to be just a hobby before. It’s trying to motivate private owners to make a web of small “businesses” to cover as much of not only the U.S. but the world. 3D Hubs, in their initial press release that 95% of 3D printer owners used their printer less than 10 hours a week. If owners of these printers could use them just a few more hours a week to make profit, the idea of home 3D printing might appeal to even a larger crowd. It’s attempting to unite, what are now many single users, a huge network of 3D printers.

So what is the future of 3D Hubs?

That’s probably impossible to tell. If it really catches on, it could really be a coming of age for 3D printing, allowing literally anyone to be able to have 3D printed parts. If it doesn’t, it would still be a great idea that just was just too far ahead of its own market. It’s definitely an interesting topic and something to keep an eye one. It might even be the motivating factor to really get 3D printing in the mainstream world.

Blog Number Three – The search for the best SCRUG member blogs

The prompt for my blog this week is to find search through my classmate’s blogs and make an opinion on which one or two I feel are the best. This wasn’t a very easy task because there were a lot that were pretty good so I’ll pick which one I found best for the Week 1 blog and then the Week 2 blog.

The Week One Blog-

I thought that Tom Stewart’s (user Tms5308) blog for week one was awesome. I think that he wrote out everything he was thinking when he chose the objects from Thingiverse. He went into great detail and made some very good points. Not only that but he included clear pictures of all of the objects in real life, not just pictures of the models on a computer. He also included all the links right to Thingiverse at the ends of the paragraphs. I think that this was the best post out of the week one blogs.

The Week Two Blog-

I think that Abbie Letts’s (user Avl5279) for blog number two was really interesting. I think that the idea of a 3D scanner is an interesting topic and agree about how useful it would be in the making another model or prototype of something to print. Using nanotechnology to build things is something that I didn’t even hear about (or even consider) before but it sounds like something to look out for in the future. I’ve been hearing about a dual extruder in class since day one but didn’t consider being able to print in a water soluble structure for things that needed to be removed later. I think that this week 2 post was well written and very well supported.

Blog Number Four - RepRap and Arduino

This weeks blog required me to watch a YouTube video found here:

The YouTube video discussed two major and somewhat similar projects. The first project is the Arduino Project and the second is the RepRap project. The Arduino project is a project involving micro controllers called Arduinos. Both the software and the hardware on them is open source with the intention of not only opening the possibilities to the creativity of the public, but also provide a way to teach the starting user some basic background in electronics. They are also very inexpensive making them an ideal learning media.

The RepRap project another project in this video. This idea is also, like the Arduino, open source in every aspect allowing the public to expand on the design. The most interesting point, that the Open Source 3D Printing class is all about, is the idea that 3D printers can make more and more 3D printers or print parts for its own use. It could print spare parts or even improve itself which is definitely an interesting concept.

The open source business model is so interesting in that it doesn’t make huge profit gains by selling a product. It must come up with a more creative source of revenue. It could be based around donations, advertising in both software and on the internet, providing training for a fee, or an endless list of possibilities. It’s much more beneficial to the user and allows them to engage in the creation project if they so choose. It’s a great business model with a plethora of possibility.

Blog Number Five – 3D Printing and Copyright/Patent Laws

After re-examining all of my chosen Thingiverse objects from blog one, there is a few that may be copyrightable or patentable. “Sharknado” is a movie distributed with by The Asylum and commissioned by Syfy. That being said Syfy does not possess a patent nor do they seem to intend to attain a patent for anything of or related to “Sharknado”. All of the other objects I chose seem to be without any copyright or patent restrictions. The Raspberry Pi case has the companies logo on it but since Raspberry Pi is completely of open-source nature, this doesn’t seem as if it would cause any patent problems. The dummy USB port may be patentable as it is useful and different. The Cantilever Orb Neti Pot is very artistic and original, so it may be copyrightable.

Quinn Carpenter’s first blog post contained two objects that would have copyright and/or patent problems. First was a “My Little Pony” figurine which is still under patent my Hasbro, since 1997. Another would be the Yoda head which Disney now owns the rights to.

The licensing of non-copyrightable files could have some advantages. Legally, if copyright laws are altered in the future, objects that become licensed will most likely retain their usage conditions and thus making the future of the object much more definite. There doesn’t even need to be much enforcement to make this true. Culturally, a license object can show that the creator had a distinct purpose for the object. It shows that it was intended to expand and develop the creative community. This cultural reason may be the only reason a creator needs to make them want to obtain a license for their creation.

Blog Number Six – Classmates Observations of Copyright/Patent Laws

I think that Matt Digel made some great observations during Blog 5. He discussed that most physical objects have no copyright protection and that not every .stl file is protected either even though that copyright laws allow the protection of “maps, globes, charts, diagrams, models, and technical drawings, including architectural plans”. I think that Madeline Roche had an interesting opinion that with no copyrights, a license is nearly meaningless. She said that “You cannot enforce compliance to a license when the copies do not infringe on any rights.” I think that this is partially true and really poses the question of what is the real motivation to try and get creative works licensed. I think this ties into what I found in the article in that the advantages of licensing non-copyrightable files. The creators do so to establish permanent usage conditions and expand and develop the creative community, but with little enforcement those things may not always hold true.

Blog Number Seven – 3D Printing to Help Underdeveloped Countries

The article can be found here:

Michigan Technological University held a contest to show off some peaceful solutions that involve 3D printing. The first place prize was given to John Van Tuyl from Ontario. He proposed 3D printable plastic blocks of different shapes and colors that would represent different vaccines. These blocks could be put onto a necklace and given to children of underdeveloped countries acting as a immunization record.

I think that this is a fantastic idea. 3D printers could be effectively taken to underdeveloped countries where the beads could be made right where the immunizations were being given. This could act as an easy and effective way to create immunization records for children growing up in these countries. Clinic workers and volunteers would be better able to assess what each child needs and the solution would be relatively inexpensive. The few drawbacks are that, of course, a child could lose their beads and thus their immunization record. Another may be that the clinics and volunteers that help these children would have to be trained or have someone trained to be able to not only operate a 3D printer, but be able to repair one.

Blog Number Eight - AMRI projects and getting our own acronym


The first four projects from ARMI are interesting manufacturing projects that could be relevant to propose to try here.

The first project is a type of 3D printing with a laser and thermoplastic powders. I think that this could be very valuable especially as looking for a way to up the reliability factor of 3D printing. This could allow our own class to delve even deeper into the subject of 3D printing. I think that it would be worth at least checking into.

The second project is a little different. It uses an inkjet printer to print a living organism that has been modified genetically. I think that it does stand out as valuable however I do not think that it would find a suitable home in our own 3D printing lab. It doesn’t even seem worth proposing as it isn’t really what the class has seem to been about.

The third project using digital light lithography in such a way that it is able to print items. This is interesting but I don't think that it is something that could be turned into a project here.

Finally, the fourth project is a special cell extruder that extrudes very small amounts of a liquid. I seems as though it could have very useful applications in the biology field, but would really make sense as a project to be proposed for our own open source 3D printing class.

Words to describe what we do:

Innovation, Experimental, Improving, Practical

Our own acronym:

Maybe….. AMERICA? (Additive Manufacturing and Experimental RepRap Innovation through Collaboration and Adaptation)

Blog Number Nine - Practical Open Source Things

Original article here:

I think that this is a step in the right direction for 3D printing. The creation of something practical is something that 3D printing doesn’t have an abundance of. The appeal to be able to create something that you could use in your own household makes 3D printing, opens its up to more people. The advantages to printing your own coffee grinder is that you can reprint many of the parts should they end up wearing or breaking. There is also room to improve upon the design or tailoring it more to your own uses. The negatives might be that if 3D printing went on to become a much more household it could end up hurting the commercial. Though, that is a much stretched negative. Other things that could be manufactured would be similar kitchen appliances though a use of printed and non-printed parts.

Original article here:

The difference in making 1, 10, 100, or 1000 of these water boilers is relatively minor. Production of 1 is a downloadable manual. The cost is low, as is the precision, and it is very labor intensive. Production of 10 is as a self-built kit. The cost is high, as is the precision, but it is much less labor intensive. When the production is increased to 100, the cost is moderate, the precision remains high, and it is barely labor intensive. When production is increased furthermore, to 1,000 the cost is very low, the precision remains high, and it is not labor intensive. Therefore it seems that production of 1 is very viable as is the production of 1000 but production of 10 and 100 has their tradeoffs.

Blog Number Ten - Who are Jeffrey R. Immelt and Terry Guo?

Jeffrey R. Immelt article:

Terry Gou article:

Jeffrey R. Immelt is a Chairman and the CEO of GE. He believes that pioneering the 3D printing industry will help production business in the United States. He thinks that by using 3D printing or additive manufacturing instead of the current techniques of casting, stamping, and cutting alloys, that printed systems can reduce weight and save GE customers money. He even said that the newest jet engines they will be producing will have printed system components and other parts inside.

Terry Gou is the founder and chairman of Foxconn, which is a company that produces electronics on contract. They are the largest electronics manufacturing service in the world. Overall, he does not think highly of 3D printing. He believe that “3D printing is just a gimmick”. His reasoning is that it is not suitable for mass production and has no commercial value.

I think that both of their opinions come from the success of 3D printing in there fields. 3D printers haven’t made their way into the industry Foxconn is in yet whereas GE has found a viable place for 3D printing in their current production.

Blog Number Eleven - My experience with PSU RepRap 3D printing

Overall my experience with the printers here at Penn State has been positive, but sometimes they have been very frustrating. I think that the a main source of my frustration has been the Raspberry Pi’s. There sluggish and unresponsive but I do understand that they’re an open source and very inexpensive alternative to a Windows machine to drive the printers. As far as mechanically, I think that the Open Hybrid Mendel Design is good aside from the Z-axis rods that have slipped on me a few times which wasn’t a difficult fix. Aside from that, I haven’t really had any recurring problems with the printers I have access to.

I don’t think that I have found any problems that were not solved. Everything either I was able to mend or someone else was able to without too much difficulty.

Blog Number Twelve - OpenSCAD

Article 1:

Article 2:

I think that OpenSCAD has a lot of good qualities. It is totally free and open source. It’s also available across Windows, Mac, and even Linux machines. By using code instead of the tradition ribbon that something like AutoDesk Inventor would have, it takes on 3D design in a totally different way. It uses what is like a procedural program and its own (pretty basic) sets of commands to generate 3D models in space. I think that this may appeal to a the computer science type thinkers. Engineers might find that Solidworks or an AutoDesk product might be better suited to them, but neither of them are free. I think that its main weakness is that it is not very user friendly as it has no real interface.

I tempted to play around with a bit just for fun’s sake. As for turning images into models like in the second article, I don’t think that I would be tempted to do something like that.

Blog Number Thirteen - Printing in Conductive Ink

Video here:

The ability to be able to print a conductive ink could have many different uses. We could be able to print conductive material into circuits on different media and even, with a dual extruder, be able to print conductive material in between layers of plastic. This would expand the capabilities of the printing we can do now. We could print objects with potential as simple electrical objects.

I think it would have to work in a dual extruder set up. That way the printer could just print conductive material, just plastic, or a combination of the two. The second extruder would have to be revised to be able to print in the conductive material which seems to be the consistency of the gel in a gel pen. I think that this would give us the most effective use of printing the conductive material and keeping the utility of an ordinary 3D printer.

Blog Number Fourteen - The Smartrap Mini Design

Article here:

I think that this design has a lot of strengths over the Open Hybrid Mendel design that we are currently using. It seems to be very cheap. The overall design seems to call for less motors, and less non-printed parts. It doesn’t seem to be as heavy which may make it easier to move around the classroom if need be. I think that the biggest advantage seems to be that the design is very simple and that would allow assembly to be much easier than the OHM design. It doesn’t call for that large, intricate x-assembly like is on the Mendel nor does it have any one component that would seem to be hard to put together.

Some of the things that would remain the same between it and the OHM design are that they both are a RepRap design (much of the parts can be printed) and they are both open source.

I think that some disadvantages exist though. Both the Z and the Y axes do not look to be very rigid. The Open Hybrid Mendel supports its axes for securely. Just in general it doesn’t seem to be very durable. That may not be a huge issue as we don’t generally abuse the printers, but accidental bumps could still happen.

Alternative simplified design:

The Wallace above is loosely based on the Printrbot design. It could be another simpler alternative to the Open Hybrid Mendel design that we are currently using. It seems slightly more robust than the SmartRap mini that I talk about above. It’s even so simple that all the printed parts can be printed on ¾ of a 200x200mm bed.

Blog Number Fifteen - Doing something practical

Original article here:

Most of the things discussed in this article I’ve seen or heard of before with the exception of a few. 3D printing synthetic meat is not something that I had seen before. After a little research, it seems to be an interesting (not sure how practical) medium to print. I also haven’t really heard of home 3D printed sex toys. The part of this article that caught me most off guard, though, was the 3D printed unborn child. I think that 3D printing your unborn fetus from ultrasounds is gimmicky at best (and a little creepy) but if people are paying up to $1000 for the service, it may not be such a weird idea. I do think these types of articles really miss some of the greater points of 3D printing though.

Check out this article here:

While a PS4 mount might not be a need for everyone, this idea shows that 3D printing can have real home solutions in mind. Custom brackets and hangers could be printed for use around the kitchen/bathroom or tool holders for a garage/workshop. Someone could print these types of things for your friends or even, if your prints get good, sell them locally. Someone could easily turn a hobby into a little extra cash. I think that these types of things should be in articles rather than farfetched practices. Not to say that the more complex and different ideas don’t have their place, but it would be nice to see the more practical applications of additive manufacturing showcased more often.

Blog Number Sixteen - Open Source Laser Cutter

What could be 3D printed?

It looks as though a number of parts could be printed on this machine. It belts it uses are similar to those we use on our printers, so the part on the stepper motor that actually drives the belt could be easily printed. Some of the angled braces that hold the rails together and hold things to the rails, also appear to be printable. A large part of the carriage that holds the laser may be printable as well.

What value does having a laser cutter add that having a 3D printer does not?

The laser adds a whole new realm of materials that can be used. While it can manufacture with mediums similar to the plastics that 3D printers can, it also can cut wood, plexiglass, lexan, and a whole other realm materials that can’t be easily used in additive manufacturing. It can accomplish engraving with ease as well.

Why might we want one?

I think that we could manufacture a few of the parts for the Open Hybrid Mendel design that we use. We could cut the plexiglass beds out and flat parts like where the bed screws to the Y-carriage. Overall, a laser cutter could add a whole new open source manufacturing method to our class.

Blog Number Seventeen - A 3D printed liver

Original reddit here:

Comment 1:

I think that this comment on the article suggests the best use for a “40 day liver”. It wouldn’t really have to be a never ending cycle of harvesting stem cells to create the liver only to do it again in 40 day but, the process could, though, prolong the time that a patient could remain to wait on the donor list since that a shortage of suitable livers is a problem. Another 40 or 80 days may be enough time for a sick patient to get closer to the top of the list and get a fully functional human liver. Until the science of 3D printing a liver gets to where the liver lasts a long time, this could give patients a fighting chance.

Comment 2: This comment makes a good point. The medical field will advance with the advancement in biological 3D printing. Hopefully advances in one will push advances in the other. I think with the backing of the medical field, this technology could grow very quickly as the support for the medical field is quite large, especially as something as common as transplants. While it is currently in its infancy, there is much potential for this realm of 3D printing. Why stop at livers? If the medicine and the 3D printing both advance enough, maybe things like bone marrow could be manufactured and need for a donor list could be diminished.

Blog Number Eighteen - Being part of the State College RepRap Users Group

Original article:

I think that it’s great that the 3D printers we build are able to be used by other students. It’s a great program to be able to send printers to other colleges within the university and even to other Penn State campuses. Penn State Brandywine may have not ever gotten the chance of building their own RepRap machine if it weren't for the actions of EDSGN 497J. It was an interesting and fulfilling experience taking a class where we were able to make a fully functional manufacturing device. Not only do I get satisfaction from knowing that the 3D printers make a difference in the Penn State community, but also from being able to say that I have working knowledge of 3D printing and its practical uses.

I don’t think anything is dissatisfying aside from the fact that I won’t have this class next semester. While it was a lot of work and a bit of a learning curve, I really am going to miss the class and helping expand the 3D printing community within Penn State.