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My name is Madeline Roche and I am a Senior at The Pennsylvania State University majoring in Psychology. I intend to graduate in May 2014.


Weekly blogs are assigned by the professor and my answers to the prompts will be displayed here. These blogs will relate to 3D Printing and sometimes more specifically the RepRap printers

Blog Number One

The Prompt: Go to thingaverse and look for printable objects, which other people have actually printed finding designs which satisfy these descriptions in your mind:

Useful: Hand for Rings

Part A

An item that is useful

This item is useful for holding rings, and even bracelets. Use of this item can prevent the loss of jewelry, a very common issue as these items are typically so small.

Beautiful: Football

An item that is artistic/beautiful

This football has rhythmic twists and curves creating a beautiful spiral football. The spiral effect is intricate and artistic.

Pointless Mickey statue

An item that is pointless/useless

This Mickey statue is useless. Although it may bring joy to Mickey fans, it does not serve any concrete practical purpose.

Funny: Gnome Pimp

An item that is funny/weird

This gnome statue is funny because he is carrying a pimp cane. This is something I have never seen before, so I found it not only funny, but also weird.

Raspberry Pi: Case

The 'Best' printable Raspberry Pi case you can find

This raspberry pi case is both sleek and small, and was designed for 3D printing.

Blog Number Two

The Prompt:

Write about a topic (or two, or three) which interests you which we've discussed so far - or not discussed in detail yet. It could be your project, or a particular type of 3D printer, or something you think would be cool for us to explore in the future.

3-D Printing Implications for China

As 3-D printing continues to develop and expand, China will have to give up their role as the mass-manufacturing powerhouse of the world. China has partnered with every economically mature country to outsource manufacture all their goods on a mass scale. They create enough demand to mass produce extremely cost efficiently and minimize labor costs. The Chinese government favors the growth of the country’s manufacturers over the purchasing power and living standards of its people/consumers. However, as 3-D printing advances and becomes widely implemented in manufacturing, China faces several challenges. The first being that mass manufacturing supply chains won't be a good fit for 3-D printed manufacturing. Mass manufacturing uses centrally controlled supply chains to produce our everyday goods, or commodity products. This centrally managed approach won't work well as highly specialized 3D-printed parts begin to play an increasing role in the mass-production of products. Under 3-D printing's model of widely distributed, highly flexible, small-scale manufacturing, the advantages of China's current manufacturing model quickly become burdens. 3-D printing enables manufacturing on a smaller scale and closer to the location of consumption. Not even China's workforce can be paid little enough to make up for the cost of shipping across oceans. Furthermore, few managers raised in a pro-producer environment have the consumer instincts to compete with the customization of 3-D printing. The strategies that have placed them in their current position won't serve them in the future. However, their local market is still huge, so a locally-based market will likely not make them the outcasts of the 3-D printing era.

In comparison to the United States and Europe, China is off to a slow start with 3-D printing, but they are making strides. A fun fact portraying this is that in Chinese astronauts' most recent space flight they sat in 3D-printed seats. Each seat was tailored specially for that particular astronaut’s unique size and shape. I will be interested to see how China adapts to the concept of 3-D printing and its implications on their role as lead manufacturer to the rest of the world.

Blog Number Three

The Prompt: Comment on the best posts from classmate blogs

I really enjoyed reading Steven Rekstad's second blog in which he discusses deep space travel as an application for 3-D printing. The subject of deep space travel alone is interesting enough, but I really liked his innovative way of thinking here, and his ability to so practically apply 3-D printing. He brings up several good reasons why 3DP would benefit deep space travel, such as: it can quickly create emergency repairs, and a RepRap's lightweight quality will not weigh down the shuttle upon takeoff. Steven has some great thoughts here, and even shows a little sense of humor, making it an even better read. However, there is always room for further detail and elaboration.

Blog Number Four

The Prompt: Comment on each project, and their mode of operation (give it away for free). How does this compare with traditional business models? Can you point to any companies using a similar business model? How does this sort of thing strike you?

Traditionally speaking, most business models consist of making a profit by selling a good for a higher price than what that product cost to create. However, the business model being employed by both Arduino and RepRap is quite different than this. Both Arduino and RepRap are open-source companies. This means that their products can be accessed free of charge to the consumer. The companies are then able to create revenue from other sources on the side. One company that sort of reminds me of this business model is Olympia Media Group. This company is able to distribute a weekly publication free of charge to consumers, thereby increasing the amount of people who may come in contact with the publication. The way that they are able to make their money for this is by selling advertisements that are then displayed in the publication. I think this open-source method being used by Arduino and RepRap is an incredible idea, as it does not limit the pool of people who can collaborate with this sort of technology. This enables free input from 7 billion designers, greatly increasing the ability for advancement.

Blog Number Five

The Prompt: Re-examine the objects you found on thingiverse in your first blog. Assess each one for copyrightable or patentable elements. Look over the things which your fellow students found. Are any of them particularly obvious cases of copyrighted or patented material? Discuss both reasons why you might be interested in the “licensing of non-copyrightable files”.

I did not observe any patentable characteristics of the objects I uploaded for blog #1. None of these objects were revolutionary in their function, there were no new inventions, or uniquely useful objects. However, I would say that the artistic uniqueness of the hand, spiral football, and gnome statue may warrant some copyrightable eligibility. The mickey mouse statue is not copyrightable because Disney has opened the doors for the public to regenerate this iconic figure at free will.

Similarly, I did not find any objects uploaded by my classmates that seemed worthy of patenting. Nothing stuck out to me as being unique/new in function. However, many things stuck out to me as copyrightable. For example, the unique and artistic shape of the vase depicted in Dimitri Lewicki's first blog. I think that all of the different raspberry pie cases serve the same function of protection, thus aren't patentable. However, they are all very different in appearance, and therefore could be copyrightable.

If there is no copyright in place, a license is essentially meaningless. You cannot enforce compliance to a license when the copies do not infringe on any rights. However, there are too useful purposes to licensing noncopyrightable items. The first is legal: The license can act to proof the item in advance, so that if in the future copyright law changes the protocol for their item is already established. The second purpose if cultural: The license serves as a guideline to the public of how they SHOULD work on the object. It may not be legally enforceable, but many people will respectfully obey regardless, and successfully work on the project as the creator wished.

I think that Ben Proper came off slightly naive in that he seemed so shocked by copyright issues arising within 3D printing. In the title of his article he calls this a "strange milestone." In my opinion there's nothing strange or unpredictable about copyright issues arising where innovation is involved.

Blog Number Six

The Prompt: Blog 6 is in some sense an extension of blog 5. I want you to go through your classmates responses to blog 5 regarding IP and the penrose triangle model. Your blog should consist of any points which you missed on your own, but which you realized in the process of reading your classmate's work. Try to summarize the most important points as taken both from your own readings and the contributions of your classmates.

I had a somewhat difficult time trying to come up with what exact part of the the article should warrant us to think that the author is naive. However, in looking over my classmates' blogs, I think that Brandon Tunkel made a great observation, pointing out that the author never mentioned the fact that the Penrose triangle does not necessarily belong to Ulrich Schwanitz in the first place. He may have created a real one, but he did not necessarily design the concept. Furthermore, the author never mentions the original creation of the optical illusion or if it is even copyrighted.

Somewhat similar to Brandon Tunkel's, is Matt Digel's response. Matt Digel provides a more definite and logical response regarding the naivety of the author in saying that it is impossible for the designer to be granted copyright claim over the figure because it is based off of an optical illusion, which are not subject to copyright law.

Blog Number Eight

Penn State is among several other schools in making strides with 3D printing education and research. Rice University is one school in particular that has been doing a lot of cool stuff that we here at Penn State would one day like to work up to. Jordan Miller seems to be leading the charge at Rice University with his AMRI lab. AMRI stands for Advanced Manufacturing Research Institute. Some of the projects they have been working on there include: 1. "3D Printing via laser-sintering of thermoplastic powders"

2. "Ink-jet printing of genetically modified living bacteria" I found this project to be particularly intriguing. Although it might seem very ambitious for Penn State at the moment, I would think that serious collaboration with faculty in the biology department, and integration of related research could lead to some interesting progress with this project.

3. "Digital light projection (DLP) photolithography of plastics and hydrogels"

4. "Bacterial cellstruder for synthetic biology studies"

Virginia Tech's DREAMS Labstands for Design, Research, and Education for Additive Manufacturing Systems. This acronym is a pretty decent depiction of what we are currently doing in the field. Some other words that could be used to describe our activities are: Exploration, Innovation, Involvement, Creation, Solving, Improving, Evolving, Developing, and Optimizing.

Some ideas for an acronym for Penn State: -I am (Improving Additive Manufacturing)... and then another word to follow? -Team Race (The Evolution in Additive Manufacturing through Research, Application, Collaboration, and Education

Blog Number Nine

Jesse Howard has created a prototype for a coffee grinder (that can also be used to grind other things such as spices) with the intention that it will be user-friendly for your average regular old person. He hopes that this project he is working on will enable users to become involved in producing, repairing, and customizing their products. The appliances are composed of many different 3D printable pieces. He hopes that by creating a coffee grinder than can be repaired by almost anyone, he will prevent people from being forced to buy entirely new appliances when the issue is concentrated to just one small piece of the device. There is a clear economic advantage from this standpoint. It will also be cool that people will be able to customize their products. It is also multi-functional, as you can use the grinder to grind more than merely coffee beans. I do not foresee any disadvantages for the consumer of this device. However, for the companies that produce coffee grinders, I would expect that they would see a significant decline in purchases overtime, as people will no longer need to buy new grinders nearly as often. I would assume that these design principles could be implemented in many other kitchen appliances, specifically those with handles which may fall off overtime (cheese graters, toaster ovens, spatulas, etc.).

Howard has also designed an Open Source Water Boiler. In this design he breaks down what parts are open source, and where parts exist at different quantities of production (Production of 1, 10, 100, or 1000). I am not a very big fan of this design as it would take a long time to put together.

Blog Number Ten

Jeffrey Immelt on 3D Printing:
Jeffrey Immelt: Chairman & CEO of General Electric

As chairman and CEO of General Electric, Jeffrey Immelt has publicly expressed his high hopes for the impact of 3D printing on the manufacturing of airplanes. Immelt has said that he believes with 3D printing, the time it takes to plan and complete an aircraft will be cut by 50%. Furthermore, he believes that the cost it takes to build the engine will decrease by 25%. Immelt has good reason to think so, as with 3D printing little to no material gets wasted. You are merely laying out the necessary material, rather than cutting it away from a larger section. There is less labor involved, also enabling costs to decrease.. Parts that are more complex and require more effort to plan and build will now have a more simplified method of building as they will be printed layer by layer. This will also increase their ability to be easily customized.

Terry Gou on 3D Printing:
Terry Gou: President of Foxconn

Terry Gou is the president of Foxconn technology group, the world's largest electronics manufacturer. In contract to Immelt, Gou is far less taken by the implications of 3D printing. Gou even goes so far as to call 3D printing a "gimmick." Gou doesn't see any real existing or potential manufacturing benefits as a result of 3D printing. He does not believe that it is practical for mass production, or that it has any commercial value. I think Gou believes this to be true because of the limitations of 3D printing, specifically those that involve manufacturing electronics. 3D printing clearly does not assemble and wire electronic goods. Therefore it is true that there are currently quicker methods to mass-produce electronics, and 3D printing is not one of them. 3D printing could be used to cheaply manufacture components to electronic goods. However, as an electronics man, Gou is more focused on how he can most quickly currently mass-produce assembled electronics.

Blog Number Eleven

The main problem I experience while printing is issues with extrusion, leading to distortion of the print. One thing I have done to fix this issue is to make sure the bed is level. For example, one way you could do this is by making sure the blue tape is evenly laid out on the bed. Another way I've been able to fix problems with extrusion is by making sure that the temperature is appropriate for the printer. I am not currently experiencing any troubles, I typically just tackle them as they come per class.

Blog Number Thirteen

Why would we want to incorporate this into our printing? What capabilities would this give us? If we could print conductive pathways into objects, what would you try to make with it? How might we try to make it work with the printers we use?

Using the conductive silver ink ballpoint pen explained here has potential to increase the variety and capabilities of the objects we 3D print. The pen writes just like any other ballpoint pen, but it writes lines of metal rather than ink, thus enabling conductive abilities. If we were to implement these pens in our 3D printing, we could place the pen where the extruder is so that as the motors move the pen would write. Using these conductive pens, we could create objects that produce light. For example, flashlights, and decorative lights.

Blog Number Fourteen


The SmartRap is a printrbot-inspired reprap 3D printer. The smartrap is composed of 3D printed parts, and therefore can be 3D printed. This makes it easy to construct, deconstruct, and make smaller-scale changes without having to start builsing from scratch. This printer is targeted towards at-home printing/DIY printing, so they have made it very affordable to the public. The affordable price of the SmartRap, as well as how simply it can be constructed and used, would make it a great addition to our classroom. Having more of these would allow students to print more often, and easily make repairs whenever an issue came up with the SmartRap. Because of its simple and affordable build, it might not be the best quality printer, and might need repairs and adjustments fairly often. However, partaking in these repairs could also serve as a learning opportunity for the students in the class.

Blog Number Fifteen

This List of Fifteen Thingslists some unique uses for 3D printing. I was unfamiliar with many of them including customized surf boards (useful in my opinion), replica of fetus still in utero (not sure of the purpose of this?), human masks from the DNA off a piece of gum, drug paraphernalia, sea scallops, cookies and banana-flavored burritos, 3D replica of people who have passed away, and a dinosaur skeleton.

In contrast to these somewhat pointless uses of 3D printing, there are also many practical household applications of 3D printing shown here. This link made me think of the many things 3D printing could be used to repair around the house. You could print the supports that hold up picture frames, the supports that drawers slide into, light switch covers, cups, bowls, and more. With all of these possibilities, of course there is room for entrepreneurship. People could create businesses to build these things, and people could make them in their own home, and either keep them for themselves, or sell them.

Blog Number Sixteen

The lasersaur is an open source method of laser cutting. The laser cutter can be used to efficiently create 2D shapes/objects. I would imagine that the coaxial nozzle could be printed. Similar to our printers in class, I would also think that the mounts of the motors could be 3D printed. I think we could print any part of the laser cutter that is not made of metal.

here is a video of the assembly of a lasersaur. I think it would be cool to have an open source laser printer in our lab so that we could gain more experience in using 3D printing for practical uses. Being able to print parts for the lasersaur would increase the scope of what we use 3D printing for. We might even then be able to use the laser cutter to create things needed for our 3D printers.

Blog Number Eighteen

This article is about the first 3D printer that Penn State Brandywine just received on campus. The 3D printer is almost identical to the ones we build and use in class. I would assume that this printer was a gift from the University Park campus.

The general sentiment around campus was of excitement for this new addition. The students are now being given the opportunity to 3D print, and work on printing parts for a new 3D printer. Asad Azemi, an associate professor of engineering at Brandywine, said it well in this quote, "The more resources we provide for our students the more engaged they’ll become. It gives the students enjoyment because it is something they see on their computer monitor and then all of a sudden, they can actually touch that item." This kind of hands-on learning is great for students. To be able to play a role in providing fellow students with these opportunities is very rewarding for me as a student in this class. It is clear that our efforts have implications for other students, and I am happy that our learning experiences of building 3D printers can be handed down so that other may do so as well. I am definitely not dissatisfied by this, we have numerous printers and do not need them all. It is a positive thing to put them at other campuses, and share our opportunities with others.