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Saving the RepRap Project

Posted by andychang28 
Saving the RepRap Project
March 24, 2016 11:40PM
Business and technology have become closely intertwined with each other in recent years. While this has helped to bring technology closer to people, it has also led to some potentially disastrous situations. Fortunately, it is not too late to save developing technologies like 3D Printing from these dangers.

3D Printing can benefit everyone.
Every Reprapper knows the potential of 3D printers to benefit humanity as a whole. In fact, the Reprap project was founded upon the principles “expediting power to the powerless”.

3D Printers are used to help the disabled, for R&D in other industries, in schools as educational tools, the list goes on. 3D printing is a technological revolution which has great potential to change the world for the better.

3D printing communities like the Reprap Forum are sources of creativity in the field, and engineers like us drive the innovation behind every 3D printer in the world.

However, a dedicated community doesn’t mean that this emerging technology is safe.

Excessive marketing is a threat to the growth of technology.
While some marketing is necessary to sell a product, excessive marketing results in misguided customers who believe in advertising lies.

Take Makerbot, for example. Printers like the Rostock Max V2 and the Prusa i3 are evidence of the fact that Makerbot’s products are far outstripped in price, build volume, reliability, and more.

However, Makerbot’s marketing strategy still convinces customers that Makerbot printers “lead the hardware revolution”. These claims are nothing short of lies, as evidenced by Makerbot’s reviews on its own Google group.

Even worse, greedy businesses like Makerbot take innovations from the existing community and patent them to gain a monopoly in the market.

If no one stops this abuse of developers, development in 3D Printing technology will become bogged down sooner or later by marketers who hurt innovators and lay claims to their work.

The consequence? A breed of “fanboys” is born, one which helps the business take over the market and exploit clients to its own benefit.

3D Printing is valuable to everyone, and it’s a shame to see such a useful technology being imperialized by selfish businessmen.

(Mind you, I’m not trying to say that all businessmen are excessively greedy, nor am I trying to frame Makerbot as the only example of false advertising out there.)

Reprappers can defend 3D Printing.
Reprappers helped to turn 3D Printing into the technology that it is now, and we can help to shelter 3D Printing from those who would abuse it for personal gain.

If we fail to do so, new advancements in the field will be robbed from developers until growth slows to a halt, and the Reprap project will have failed.

Technology should never be a marketing tool; a technology controlled by a single company is a technology lost.
Re: Saving the RepRap Project
March 25, 2016 05:16AM
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Even worse, greedy businesses like Makerbot take innovations from the existing community and patent them to gain a monopoly in the market.

AFAIK one cannot patent a thing that had been discussed before in a open community, because then it's no longer a "novelty".
Re: Saving the RepRap Project
March 25, 2016 05:47AM
unless you have money... oh wait.....
Re: Saving the RepRap Project
March 25, 2016 06:53AM
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o_lampe
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Even worse, greedy businesses like Makerbot take innovations from the existing community and patent them to gain a monopoly in the market.

AFAIK one cannot patent a thing that had been discussed before in a open community, because then it's no longer a "novelty".
Sadly in most cases a judge will take mostly papers in relevant publications into consideration, the web in general is not seen as a valid source for prior art claims.


[www.bonkers.de]
[merlin-hotend.de]
[www.hackerspace-ffm.de]
Re: Saving the RepRap Project
March 25, 2016 08:15AM
This is a very eloquent statement and I agree with most of it but a couple of questions :
1. What are you asking us to do?
2. It's a very anti-makerbot post, now I know makerbot are stratasys, but to give them their fair dues they did innovate a lot of the technology we currently use. Are you asking us to boycott makerbot?
3.We have the bizarre situation that often European and United States reprappers create something new and Chinese cloners copy it, sometimes well, often badly and then the original designer feels it isn't worth continuing as they can't make enough money from their idea to cover their development costs or make a profit. But then this is an expression of open source. How do you feel we ought to handle this situation?
Re: Saving the RepRap Project
March 25, 2016 09:54AM
You know how to fight all of that? Learn. Go out and learn. While there are individual part examples that can only be made on a 3D printer man got along fine for some time without them. Go out and learn to make things, with a mill, a lathe, a file or a pencil. Relying on one technology (3D printers) to save the world is foolish. And it takes no less know how or skill to make a part on a 3D printer than on a machine tool. You've just been discouraged from learning to use them.
They can patent what they want, but they can't stop you from making your own for yourself. So stop whining about what someone else does, take some responsibility and educate yourself and help others do the same. A tool doesn't change the world, what you do with it does.
Re: Saving the RepRap Project
March 25, 2016 12:31PM
@ DjDemonD:

1. All I'm asking is for us to defend 3D Printing from monopolization in any way we see fit.

2. Makerbot innovated a lot of the technology we currently use, but they never would have risen to where they are now if it hadn't been for us. However, do you see the RepRap Project turning its back on its creators, like Makerbot has?

I am calling for a boycott of Makerbot due to:

a) their betrayal of the open source community.

b) their use of the community's technology as a marketing tool.

c) the threat that they pose to continued development in the field.

3. Like you said, this is an expression of open source. If cloners copy existing technology, the cloned machine will be either better or worse than the original. If it's worse, people must learn to see why it's worse. If it's better, cheer up, because it's a development on existing technology.

Cloners shouldn't be a reason for innovators to stop their work; innovators should think of cloners as incentive to continuously develop the original design. As long as it doesn't lead to monopoly, competition stimulates the development of science.



Cheers, Andy
Re: Saving the RepRap Project
March 25, 2016 12:49PM
Seems a little naive innovating a new idea, sharing it on the internet, and then bitching because it was stolen. Especially when the theft could have been easily avoided by filing for a patent.
VDX
Re: Saving the RepRap Project
March 25, 2016 12:51PM
... I personally know several inventors, which stopped their blogging and posting because of the inferior chinese "clones" of their developments sad smiley

I'm following/supporting the RepRap project since the beginning ... and know all the 'spicy' details of the makerbot story (and the acteurs) too eye rolling smiley

It's a much more complicated situation with this sort of Open-Source development, that gained momentum ... and too attracts many individuals and companies, which hopes to earn some money from their inventions, inputs or simply better clones ...


Viktor
--------
Aufruf zum Projekt "Müll-freie Meere" - [reprap.org] -- Deutsche Facebook-Gruppe - [www.facebook.com]

Call for the project "garbage-free seas" - [reprap.org]
VDX
Re: Saving the RepRap Project
March 25, 2016 12:53PM
... and a simple patent won't stop the chinese cloners eye rolling smiley


Viktor
--------
Aufruf zum Projekt "Müll-freie Meere" - [reprap.org] -- Deutsche Facebook-Gruppe - [www.facebook.com]

Call for the project "garbage-free seas" - [reprap.org]
Re: Saving the RepRap Project
March 25, 2016 03:13PM
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Koko76
A tool doesn't change the world, what you do with it does.

Wise words right here.

As for the OP, if a profit can be had, the market is going to be exploited. I'd be willing to bet, that if anyone was in the same position as Makerbot, they would have gone the same route. Sure it goes against the Open-Source code of conduct, but the point of a business is to grow. Now do I agree with their passing off of renderings as finished printed parts? No, absolutely not.

Oh, and the US is a first-to-file country now. Discussing things in a forum or community doesn't get you anything except the possibility of someone patenting your idea before you.


greghoge.com

HUGE 3D PRINTER PARTS SALE!!!
Re: Saving the RepRap Project
March 25, 2016 04:42PM
@gmh39:
People will always try to exploit the market for personal gain, but does that really mean that developers like us should sit back and let our work be abused?

How is technology best used; to benefit people, or as a businessman's source of income?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/25/2016 04:43PM by andychang28.
Re: Saving the RepRap Project
March 25, 2016 06:23PM
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gmh39
Oh, and the US is a first-to-file country now. Discussing things in a forum or community doesn't get you anything except the possibility of someone patenting your idea before you.

This is incorrect. The US system may be called "first-to-file", but the way it actually works is more complicated. Discussing things in a forum or community does prevent someone else from patenting your idea. (Although if you disclose your idea and someone else tries to patent it, the burden of proof is on you.)

Source: First-To-File Patent Law Is Imminent, But What Will It Mean?

Quote
First-To-File Patent Law Is Imminent, But What Will It Mean?
However, the term “first-to-file” is a bit of a misnomer. In the United States, whether under first-to-invent or first-to-file, an inventor can publicly disclose their invention, such as in a blog post, and still file a patent application within one year of that public disclosure. The system being implemented under the AIA is not a true first-to-file system as in most foreign countries because this grace period on public disclosure will remain. Thus, the new system can really be considered a “first-to-disclose” system.
Re: Saving the RepRap Project
March 25, 2016 08:47PM
Why do you keep demonizing "Chinese cloners"? Do you think that no one else would try to commercialize 3D printer designs if the Chinese weren't so good at it? Don't forget, most of what we do was originally copied from industrial machines. As far as those manufacturers are concerned, it is we who have turned a useful and semi reliable process, developed over years and at a cost of many millions of $, into crap so we can mostly print tugboats and Yoda heads.


Son of MegaMax 3D printer: [www.instructables.com]
Ultra MegaMax Dominator 3D printer: [drmrehorst.blogspot.com]
Re: Saving the RepRap Project
March 25, 2016 10:54PM
Quote
MattMoses
Quote
gmh39
Oh, and the US is a first-to-file country now. Discussing things in a forum or community doesn't get you anything except the possibility of someone patenting your idea before you.

This is incorrect. The US system may be called "first-to-file", but the way it actually works is more complicated. Discussing things in a forum or community does prevent someone else from patenting your idea. (Although if you disclose your idea and someone else tries to patent it, the burden of proof is on you.)

Source: First-To-File Patent Law Is Imminent, But What Will It Mean?

Quote
First-To-File Patent Law Is Imminent, But What Will It Mean?
However, the term “first-to-file” is a bit of a misnomer. In the United States, whether under first-to-invent or first-to-file, an inventor can publicly disclose their invention, such as in a blog post, and still file a patent application within one year of that public disclosure. The system being implemented under the AIA is not a true first-to-file system as in most foreign countries because this grace period on public disclosure will remain. Thus, the new system can really be considered a “first-to-disclose” system.

Hmmm. Didn't realize that. Good to know.


greghoge.com

HUGE 3D PRINTER PARTS SALE!!!
Re: Saving the RepRap Project
March 26, 2016 03:47AM
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the_digital_dentist
Why do you keep demonizing "Chinese cloners"? Do you think that no one else would try to commercialize 3D printer designs if the Chinese weren't so good at it?

I hope I wasn't demonising them, in fact I have no issue with what they do. I think a lot of people disagree with what they're doing and I read a lot of anti-chinese sentiment in the forum. I agree with the OP if you're an inventor you need to make and sell your product on quality and keep innovating to stay ahead, or get the Chinese manufacturers on side and work with them to make the product.

I personally find the idea that some people here can both embrace open source and then whine bitterly that it isn't worth designing anything because they can't patent it and get rich. Can't have it both ways.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/26/2016 10:52AM by DjDemonD.
Re: Saving the RepRap Project
March 26, 2016 07:10AM
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DjDemonD
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the_digital_dentist
Why do you keep demonizing "Chinese cloners"? Do you think that no one else would try to commercialize 3D printer designs if the Chinese weren't so good at it?

I hope I wasn't demonising them, in fact I have no issue with what they do. I think a lot of people disagree with what they're doing and I read a lot of anti-chineses sentiment in the forum. I agree with the OP if you're an inventor you need to make and sell your product on quality and keep innovating to stay ahead, or get the Chinese manufacturers on side and work with them to make the product.

I personally find the idea that some people here can both embrace open source and then whine bitterly that it isn't worth designing anything because they can't patent it and get rich. Can't have it both ways.

first off they actually don't "clone" anything , they do to the opensource community exactly what they have been doing for decades to every other industry which is produce counterfeit goods and sell them as if they were the original item.

In the case of the opensource community and opensource products what they are technically doing is producing a "variant" and ignoring the licencing by not publishing sources to their variants, instead claiming they are the original item and linking to original sources, This is the main reason producers like myself stop publishing our developments , money does come into it, as in this development stuff isn't exactly free it costs money to get things machined in a cnc shop




-=( blog )=- -=( thingiverse )=- -=( 3Dindustries )=- -=( Aluhotend - mostly metal hotend)=--=( Facebook )=-



Re: Saving the RepRap Project
March 26, 2016 07:46AM
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andychang28
@gmh39:
People will always try to exploit the market for personal gain, but does that really mean that developers like us should sit back and let our work be abused?
Any kind of market is always about personal gain, that's effectively the definition of a market. You would not participate in the market if there weren't something in it for you, be it an immediate or defered financial gain or, if money is no objection for you, a different kind of personal gratification.
My personal solution is that i made a clear decision that i am not in it for the money, thus i decided to not take part in the market and make my designs open source without limitations (OHCL). As a result one of my designs was produced by a Hong Kong company, which is now competing on the market with other similar products.
The situation is different for people that do want to combine open source development/design with commercial aspects. The software industry has shown how this can work, but the solution there is often enough to provide services (know how) as the product, not the software. Of course this is not a good solution for open hardware. I have yet to see a working solution for this.


[www.bonkers.de]
[merlin-hotend.de]
[www.hackerspace-ffm.de]
Re: Saving the RepRap Project
March 26, 2016 07:55AM
I can see the argument from both sides. I just can't see how we can square open source and its egalitarian ideals with designing something, patenting it, selling it for a profit. That's the old way of doing things. I appreciate it takes time and money to make something but is it impossible for the designer of something good to cover their costs?

It seems a lot of the unhappiness is about not being able to fully capitalise on an idea as people in China copy it, where as a little while ago it would have been possible to protect the intellectual property fully and enforce it. The Chinese copy sells for 1/4 of the cost, but is probably only 1/2 of the quality. It's hard for the consumer to make the "ethical" choice.
Re: Saving the RepRap Project
March 26, 2016 03:52PM
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Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/28/2016 11:10AM by rmlrn.
Re: Saving the RepRap Project
March 26, 2016 05:23PM
I think it's the just a variation on the recent Thingiverse/eBay issue. In the end, if you don't want anyone to freely copy your design, spend the money necessary to avail yourself of legal protection for the design, if it qualifies, then be prepared to take people to court for copying your design. If you aren't willing to do all that our don't have the resources, the only thing you can do is not publish your design. The minute you post it on the internet, all bets are off. If you make it easy for people to copy, don't be surprised when people do.


Son of MegaMax 3D printer: [www.instructables.com]
Ultra MegaMax Dominator 3D printer: [drmrehorst.blogspot.com]
Re: Saving the RepRap Project
March 26, 2016 07:07PM
Funny how a musician doesn't have to pay anything to anyone to copyright their creations, and is protected for many years,
even though they are generally just sequences of freely available notes & words.

But surely the RepRap Legacy will continue, it's DNA will ripple through many designs to come.
Printers that can print themselves may just get a little more complicated, but might be a little out of reach
for a long time to come?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/26/2016 07:18PM by MechaBits.
Re: Saving the RepRap Project
March 26, 2016 10:38PM
Hello,

GBKEQQw.jpg

Pictured above is the J-Head Mk 9 hot-end. This is a proper Bowden J-Head that is capable of printing at speeds in excess of 150 mm/sec. It does not require kapton tape, uses a heater cartridge, uses axial thermistors that will not fall out, has a proper adjustment for the ptfe liner, has superior cooling to previous J-Head designs, has two internal seals to prevent leakage, does not require a cooling fan to print with either ABS or PLA (cooling is suggested for PLA, though), and is light-weight at only 21 grams. This hot-end is the product of over four years of J-Head research and development and many thousands of dollars of development costs.

Sadly, I have no plan to bring this product to market.

The reasons for there only being one prototype ever made have already been discussed in this thread. However, I will explain the reasons in my own words. If this hot-end were to be sold, distributed, given away, etc., there is a good chance it would be "cloned" by china. The "clone" would be a very rough copy and no blueprints would ever be followed.

The "clone" would be sold for around $25 each for a reason: Corners would be "cut" and the $25 clone would be nothing but a cheap shadow of the real thing.

There would be many failures of the "clone" and many people would no longer ever consider buying a "J-Head" hot-end again. It would not matter if the J-Head was a real J-head or a "clone". (This has, of course, already happened with J-Head hot-ends in general.)

In the past, I have made the blueprints and machining instructions readily available. I never had any complaints about anyone making J-heads to the proper specifications because the design works very, very well. (Another company makes and sells J-Heads to the proper specifications and I never complained a bit.)

The chinese have taken a quality product (the J-Head hot-end), made counterfeit versions, sold them for prices below what anyone can conceivably make and sell them for, spammed sales of the counterfeits everywhere, and destroyed it's reputation.

People have told me to do everything from trademark it to patent it to copyright it. Such ideas are games to be played by companies with legal departments. For me, it would be a full-time job just sending out "cease and desist" letters.

Other people have told me to invest in more equipment and drop prices so as to compete with china. This "strategy" is a mathematical impossibility that would only lead to bankruptcy.

One big difference between open source software and open source hardware is the ability to make copies. Open source software can usually be copied by a cheap computer. For the sake of numbers, let's say a used $250 computer. Open source hardware, such as a J-Head, requires around $3,000 worth of machine tools to make a single copy in around 6 hours or so. Reducing the "copying" time down to around 15 minutes requires at least $30,000 worth of machinery and a considerable amount of time. (Some of this machinery is bought used to get to that price point.)

Anyone making this sort of investment should not be expected to just give the product away nor should they be expected to sell copies of it at a loss. This is just unreasonable. However, this is what many people have told me to do.

I have tried educating people on the differences between J-head hot-ends made to the proper specifications and the chinese "clones" and much of the information is available after a quick search via Google. However, this has not been successful.

Finally, the market has supported these chinese "clones" by purchasing them in large numbers. This is even though many people report problems with them.

I'll readily agree that the entire Reprap concept was to make a cheap 3d printer that can reproduce most (or all) of it's parts and that was what attracted me to the project in the beginning. Realistically, I feel that there are some parts that cannot be 3d printed in the near-term, if ever. Even so, this requires considerable research and development to accomplish and research and development costs both time and money. I firmly believe that there are many people who would continue with the research and development of new RepRap parts. I have noticed that most of the people who do research and development do not come from china. I have also noticed that china seems best at copying and the chinese have not done much, if anything, to make improvements to the RepRap project. It is only natural that people should be compensated for their time, expertise, equipment, etc. Expecting new developments in any project, and expecting that the developers freely give their time and expertise only to have others (i.e. china) profit off the fruits of the labors of the developers is insanity. With a handful of exceptions, this is the situation that exists today.

I will close by saying that the J-Head Mk 9 will be marketed if somebody can convince me of a way to bring it to market that will not result in cheap chinese knock-offs that get spammed everywhere and destroy the product.

Best Regards,

Brian
Re: Saving the RepRap Project
March 27, 2016 06:16AM
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Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/28/2016 11:11AM by rmlrn.
Re: Saving the RepRap Project
March 27, 2016 08:29AM
Whats even worse Brian, is that while they are selling 4 slot jheads, they use the blueprint with the 5 slots!
I feel like ordering one, and when it comes say it's not as described!
It's a pity that over the years a partnership with a successful 3D printer manufacturer wasn't developed,
where they would push your design, make larger numbers, or you could have at least sold some rights,
but once the design & building bug has bitten, the temptation to build a hotend creeps in.
The black J-Head is still probably the most compatible hotend to go with my machine,
Though maybe V10 you could try a whole new geometry....small, black, 5 guide throats each side of a V...Vrooom
I wish I was selling great numbers in order to do that deal(but they would have to be assembled & tested).
but then the user might think they where secondhand, how to square that circle?

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/27/2016 09:49AM by MechaBits.
Re: Saving the RepRap Project
March 27, 2016 10:37AM
I am perfectly aware of the open-source ideal. As the author of some open-source software I have given my time and expertise. While it costs me time to write software, it costs me almost nothing to make copies of open-source software to somebody.

I tried to explain that copying open-source hardware has a lot of costs. However, some people do not grasp this concept and feel that somebody should invest tens of thousands of dollars into providing them with a free product. These people will never understand.

Also, making a successful design and having somebody else destroy the reputation of the design by using the name, not following the blueprint, not releasing the changes, and claiming that there was no change is NOT what open-source is about.

I will not continue to argue the point with you. Please feel free to buy from china. When all development stops and china is your only option I do not ever want to see you complain about it.

The fact that many people seem to have the expectation that I will continue to develop new products for china and to be manufactured for next-to-nothing by china is why only pictures of the J-Head Mk 9 are available.

Regards,

Brian




Quote
rmlrn
Quote
reifsnyderb
It is only natural that people should be compensated for their time, expertise, equipment, etc. Expecting new developments in any project, and expecting that the developers freely give their time and expertise only to have others (i.e. china) profit off the fruits of the labors of the developers is insanity.

I'm sorry, but this IS the open source ideal: giving freely of your time and expertise for the benefit of everyone.
It's not fun when others make money selling your stuff, but you should still find satisfaction in creating a design that others find useful.

If you're in it to make money you're playing an entirely different game - the one Makerbot/Stratasys and 3D Systems are in. And if your work (including paying for designer time) was economically viable in the western world, they probably would have designed and patented it years ago.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 03/27/2016 10:48AM by reifsnyderb.
Re: Saving the RepRap Project
March 27, 2016 10:43AM
duplicate...deleted

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/27/2016 10:44AM by reifsnyderb.
Re: Saving the RepRap Project
March 27, 2016 11:25AM
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/28/2016 11:11AM by rmlrn.
Re: Saving the RepRap Project
March 27, 2016 11:54AM
Maybe as China starts to up prices, it will fall in your favor, many people are trying to bring manufacturing back onshore, you already have the tools, keep exploring maybe try to disguise solution, maybe throw out a few red herrings for others to imitate.
Re: Saving the RepRap Project
March 27, 2016 12:32PM
"Reducing the "copying" time down to around 15 minutes requires at least $30,000 worth of machinery and a considerable amount of time. (Some of this machinery is bought used to get to that price point.)"

Nonsense. Farm out production to a shop that can do the work. None of the parts to anything you've shown is difficult to make for a reasonable shop. You might have a few dollars in fixtures but it isn't 30k. In the US there are tons of mom and pops with a horizontal in the garage making gun parts. Find one of them with a few open hours that they'd like to get paid for.
If you want to manufacture, learn to manufacture. If you want to develop let someone who knows what they are doing do the manufacturing.
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