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About Me

My name is Blake Ziegler. I am a senior at The Pennsylvania State University studying mechanical Engineering. Some of my interests are Rapid Prototyping, vehicle design, and product test and validation. My hobbies include working on vehicles, riding atvs, and farming. The hobby that I have been getting involved with is longboarding.

I learned about the RepRap Project while taking the Engineering 497 3d prototyping class as PSU. I was put the Yellow Team and charged with building an Open Hybrid Mendel 3D printer. My team members and I are also fabricating more extruding tips and furthering the development of the dual extruder.

Work in Progress

Yellow Team Progress

Open Hybrid Mendel Build Guide

Machining extruder tips.

Blog Posts

Post 13:

I would like to learn more about the material addition processes that other systems use. There are a lot of different ways of adding material to make a 3d printed parts besides just heating plastic and extruding it. It would be cool to spend 15 minutes of every class having a short class discussion about different printers and the technology that is available to make parts. I also think that it would be cool learn about the material properties that the different systems take advantage of to create parts.

Since this class loves open source things, it would be cool to have teams research about open source things and have a small presentation about it. Topics could be anything. People don't realize how much free stuff there is to be found on the internet and if this class could open up the doors to more open source projects and technology, the class could help make open source more popular. And what in the world is a 'bit coin and lite coin'?

The class is too focused on making just repraps. This may be due to the fact that it is still trying to establish printers before it can branch out to working on printing other projects. But once there are good printers up and working consistently, the class could care more about the printiverse items and grow that site. Maybe require students to print objects throughout the semester instead of just at the end. Also have some students just focus on development of new ideas or redesigning parts. Find the students that are good with CAD and let them run with it.

These are all just my thoughts about what would have made the class more interesting for me. Also, it kinda sucked for me this semester because I could only attend class one of the two nights of the week due to a scheduling conflict.

Post 12:

Dual Extruder hands down is more important than the filament recycler. The reason is that to be able to print support material is very important to making huge steps towards being able to print any type of parts. Not being able to print support material is a huge restriction for the parts that can be printed with the Repraps. The dual exutrders could also start unlocking the potential for mixing colors of the parts.

The development of the filament recycler is important for cost savings. Alot of material is wasted in the test process and pla is not cheap to keep purchasing. If your reprap printer is working flawlessly, then I think it is feasible to test the reuse of material and possibly save you some money. Re-extruding material could cause quality issues with the print and give problems with the extrude quality.

I think the filament recycler is a good idea for this class because of the amount of Repraps that the class has. It would be nice to reuse the wasted material because the class has so much of it. For the individual, the recycler would be a waist because it wouldn't pay.

Post 11:

Are there any parts of the Reprap OHM that should be redesigned?

On first thought, I would redesign the z axis nut traps. My team has yet to print a quality nut trap. The slot that that holds the nut is keeps getting printed skewed. A good printed could makes these parts, it hard to have a bad printer makes these parts. If the weight of the x axis could sit on the nut instead of sandwiching the nut between the nut traps.

I also don't like how much hardware and bearing are in the printer. It takes forever to put together and sometimes your forget to tighten something or bolts come loose. I would ask that a redesign of parts on the printer try to reduce the required hardware.

My thoughts about the gears is that the herringbone tooth pitch may be causing problems with some of the lower quality printers. It may be best to use standard spur gears for the extruders while the printer is being tuned. Once the prints are perfect, then try printing the herringbone gears. The problem that I see with these gears is that they have to be perfect aligned. The printers are not capable of making these precision parts to insure that during assembly these parts align correctly.

It would also be cool to add a place to mount the temp board on the carriage.

Post 10:

For this blog post we are to address the items that could make our blog better. Because my blog was chosen by my fellow classmates only once or twice, there are definitely things that I can do to make my blog better.

Time: The biggest contribution to the success to the blog is the time dedicated to the blog. This is something that I struggle with because there are many items that I have ranked higher on my list of important things to accomplish. If I would spend more time thinking about the blog, I'm sure I would be able to share some really cool thoughts and ideas.

Format: I feel that the appearance is what draws readers to have an initial interest to read the blog. Because of the item discussed above, time, I would be able to learn how to format my blog in a pleasing manor that would draw and interest more readers.

Length: When I write, I tend to be straight to the point with my sentence structures which causes my blog post to me short and sweet. There are writers out there that can fluff any topic into a length discussion, but that's not me. I maybe should try and learn how to be more artsy and interesting with my writing.

Links/Extra Items: I should include more links and cool material that readers find interesting help people enjoy reading my blog. But this would require one of the above formats.

So the morals of story about my blog and probably the rest of my classmates:

Links/Extras = Time




Successful_blog= Time+Format+Length+Links/Extras=(Time)^2+4*(Time)

Post 9:

Ever wish you could create cool objects in CAD programs and print them out? There are a few options that you can take to make that happen. Use a CAD program and calipers to try and build the model or have the part sent out to be scanned and built or just take pictures of it.

Autodesk's new program is helping users take existing objects and create them into CAD models. Autodesk announces ReCap: Creating 3D data from photos and scans. This program takes information for user uploaded pictures to build the 3D models.

Laser scanning has been around for a while and uses triangulation data to construct models. Lasers shine on objects and the light is reflected into the camera. Algorithms take the data and convert it into 3D models.

Other programs, like Autodesk’s new Recap program, takes data from pictures of an object at different angles. The program then mashes all the pictures together to make a 3d model of the object. The more photos a user can input, the higher the resolution will be.

Both types of object scanning can be very accurate. Usually laser scanning can be expensive. I think that most DIY'ers will choose to use programs like Autodesk’s free photo scanner.

Post 8:

For blog post eight we were asked review our fellow bloggers and provide our feed back our top three:

For Blog 4:

  1. 1 Carina's post 4 is a quality post because of the available information in the post. It is organized very nicely and provides many links for readers to find out more about the robohand project. The post also included a professional and personal thoughts about the prompt.
  1. 2 I liked PwNzI post because of the organization of the page. All the sections are clearly marked and answered. Alex provides background about the projects and his personal thoughts about the robohand project. Alex also makes suggestions about how the class can get involved with the project.
  1. 3 Blacklaser'shas a good blog post on the robohand as well. I wish it included links to the articles so people reading would be able to find what is discussed. Other then that the post is very personal and insight full about what can be done to help the project. I also like the discussion about open/closed source debate.

For Blog 6:

  1. 1 Mark Keller's blog is the best one out there. Not only does he provide all the material for the readers, he also organizes and makes his page look nice. He shares the background of the articles and he personal thoughts about the subject. It should be noted that he is very consistent with his posts. All of his post are very well done and should be rewarded accordingly.
  1. 2 Djl5217's blogs are also very well done. Again all the articles are linked and the post is organized. There is a sufficient amount of material for the reader to enjoy and cover the topic well. He shares his personal thoughts about the topic and ideas about how we can make our systems better.
  1. 3 Zhang Xiaomo Zhang has a good blog 6. Again, the links are provided for the readers and everything is organized. I like how they answer the prompts but also include more information about their personal thoughts. The comparison between the UVA printers and PSU's repraps was a good read.

These six member's should receive extra points for having fantastic blogs.

Post 7:

Check out the 3Doodler pen on This pen is pretty neat. I think it will be a hit with the younger and artistic markets. I don't think that it has the resolution and cleanliness need to compete with the desktop printers. This pen will allow people a cheap alternitive to 3D printers but its coolness factor will fade quickly once users attempt to actually make useful parts with it.

The Formlabs printer is cool. I like how it builds upside down in a pool of goo and slowly lifts out as it builds. The objects that are printed are high resolution due to the optical layer building. It's a shame that Formlabs is being sued for infringing on a patent by another 3D printing system. It is believed that the optical layer setting technology used by Formlabs is covered by a patent from another company. is also getting dragged into the legal mess for offering to sell the Formlabs product. It will be interesting how this first legal battle over 3D printing is resolved.

Adjunct Engineering LLC printer looks good but it probably won't ever overtake makerbot or some of the already established desktop 3D printers available. Robo3D has a nice printer and looks like its ready to go to market and has good quality prints. The tangibot is just a makerbot, I'm glad the funding wasn't raised for this kickstarter.

I think Kickstarter is a pretty good website for some projects but I also think there are a lot of projects that go unfunded and what happens to the money? I don't think that this site will be the future of getting funding for projects. Its had to gain funding with out giving up any equity of your company, with kickstarter you can really only give back products to supporters and usually the company is a long way off from going to market with their products.

Kickstarter is making a killing on failed projects. The are also receiving 10% of all successful projects. Its not hard to manage a website and keep it up and running when the money just keeps flowing in. After reading the article on how kickstater really works, I wish I was the one who came up with this idea. From a business perspective it's brilliant. My personal opinion is that I will not be supporting projects on this site because any of the money that I would be putting out for projects would not be making the impact on the project as hoped. The site also makes people believe that any idea is work a lot of money and will be successful.

The alternatives to kickstarter is working hard and actually convincing people to back your business, not just hoping that you social network will front the cash.

Post 6:

Read Disruptions: On The Fast Track to Routine 3-D Printing and discuss the main points of the article. Nick Bilton talks about the future of 3D printing. He poses the question: Will the future be 3D printed? The internet is a great source for predictions of the future especially with technology, but Nick addresses the fact that no on predicted that 3D printing would advance so rapidly. He mentions that president Obama talked about 3D printing in the state of the union address. Basic 3D printers are also beginning to make their way in to classrooms, very cool!! I wish i had things like this in high school.

President Obama gave a shout out to 3D printing his state of the union address. The president talked about the how old warn down manufacturing facilities now can have a fresh start with 3D printing and can change the way we think about manufacturing. The U.S. can become a leader in manufacturing if it continues to develop 3D printing capabilities. I think Obama things that by mentioning this new and cool technology, he can make people feel good about the state of the U.S. and that there is the potential for jobs out there somewhere. I don't think that the presidents mention of 3D printing is really relevant to me because I still don't have job and am not convinced that Obama is actually looking out for and actually trying to help U.S. citizens.

Read: Using 3D Printers to Transform Learning in Undergraduate Mechanical Engineering Courses I think this is really cool that universities are being to integrate 3D printers into the course work. I also find this article kind of ironic that and Mechanical Engineering department is using this technology to enhance the learning experience. My senior design project is to do this exact thing; Enhance the learning experience of senior level mechanical engineering students when studying dynamic linkage systems. Sadly my team is taking a different approach and making a lab kit for students to assemble systems that they design. I think that using 3D printers for this kind of study is definitely feasible for PSU. But in the mean time, the ME undergrads will have to settle for model simulation programs and LEGO Technics.

At this point, this class cannot mimic what the University of Virginia is doing. If PSU EDSGN 497 Reprap was to attempt this, printer reliability would need to be addressed. They need to work with out being baby sat and also have high levels of accuracy. The other problem with the current repraps is that they cannot print working systems as described in the article. The nozzles need to have higher resolution and be spot on. Maybe in the next few years when there are more advancements with the repraps, this class could only then begin to attempt to do what the University of Virginia is doing.

Post 5:

In the long article "What's the Deal with Copyright and 3D Printing?" by Michael Weinberg, he discusses the copyright law and there influence on the 3-D printing society. He begins by educating the reader about copyright and patent law. Copyrights automatically protect the author for their artistic or creative work for up to 70 years after the death of the author. Patents are for new and innovative items. They must be applied for, only last for 20 years and protection must be enforced by the patent owner. He also talks briefly about trademarks and says that their isn't much relevance to 3D printing. Somethings about 3D printing may be patentable but things are more likely to fall under the copyright category.

The measuring spoons that I selected as my useful item would fall under the patent category. But because it is a use full item that is very common, the patent on a measuring spoon has expired. The Abraham Lincoln statue would be an artistic creation and is subject to a copyright. Because sculptures are and artistic work they have a copyright granted to the creator. The Colbear would probably also be considered a sculpture or artistic creation, therefore has a copyright. The three tone whistle would have a copyright for the creation, but is not patentable. I don't think a court would grant a copyright for the whistle because they will not be able to separate the artistic creation from the functionality of the whistle. I think this whistle does not have a copyright or a patent any more. The Tea Cup Dragon has a copyright because the author made something artistic to sit in their tea cup.

DM0lition21 posted link about cat bus. I think this model has a copyright because it is an artistic representation of the cat bus of Toronto.

The snap cap that was blogged by Blacklaser does not have any copyrights to it. The patent for a snap cap has probably been issued and might be expired.

Post 4:

Read this article about Liam's Robohand.

This boy looks so happy that he can use his right hand. I think that it is incredible that two complete strangers from two completely different parts of the world were able to team up and build a hand for Liam. People of society are very selfish and will not take it upon themselves to help out a complete stranger. I always like reading theses kinds of stories of people benefiting society. The open source hand is cool and a pretty good idea but it is not as refined as the closed source robotic hand is. The open source hand is nice because it uses simple parts and is easily fixable because of its simplicity. The closed source hand is very expensive and only can be fixed by the company that makes it. These type of hands are very expensive and can only be fixed by the company. Some benefits of the expensive hand is that it is a custom fit and is refined and probably reacts like a normal hand. With the open source hand it may take some time to get use to using it. The cost of the closed source hand costs more the 5,000 u.s. dollars where the closed source hands only cost a few hundred dollars at most. This group and I could participate in the robohand project by helping refine the design and finding ways to make it cheaper. We could also see if there is a need in the area for someones hand.

Post 3:

Civil Engineering

Behrokh Khoshnevis presents his TEDx Talk on additive construction. He believes that traditional construction methods are wasteful and hazardous. He believes that 3d printing homes is the most efficient and best way to manufacture homes. It was really cool to see the assembly process of these homes. I believe that 3d printing is definitely a possibility for some building, but not homes. I think it would better to print mobile garages and sheds. Conceptually the idea of 3d printing homes is a great idea but I don't think it will take hold any time soon.

Bio Tech and Food Science

The How 3D Printers Are Reshaping Medicine article shares about the advancements of printing tissues. Researchers have developed way to print human organs. Scientists have successfully printed kidney organs. Its boggles my mind to think that people can actually print living organisms. I hope scientist will share there information and help save many lives. Printed burgers don't sound appealing to me at all. I still want to eat normal red meat. And there is no way that I'm paying 300k for that burger.

The Delicious Future: 3D Chocolate Printer Finally Available for Purchase. Printing chocolate is finally here!!! This would be so yummy. It would also be a huge mess. I love some of the intricate patterns that 3d printers and it would be really cool to be able eat it.


Q & A dresses that she has designed This clothing is really ugly, but cool at the same time. In appearance, the clothing is not appealing at all. I am interested in what materials that they used to build it. The patterns are cool but the clothing is not practical at all, yet. I don't really see 3d prototyping as a viable source to make clothing.

Other Examples I think that it is really cool the variety of items available by 3d printing. There are so many companies and websites that are using rapid prototyping to be able to provide services for other companies and people. I know some companies are using the technology to create prototype gear boxes on short order to speed up testing. I think there are many possibilities for additive metal processes. I hope companies are able to find more and more reasons to use 3d printing.

Post 2:

Watch "Mother of all Demos"[1]. Do you recognize the rough features we use on every computer today in its earliest form? Are you impressed by what he's demonstrating? Do you think that you would have recognized the importance of this work in you were in the audience at the time? Copy and Paste commands from the 60's really? That's crazy! Its hard to believe that they had that ability back then. If I was in the audience, I probably would have though that it was really cool but probably wouldn't have any idea what it would be able to do in the future. One of the hardest thing to do with new findings and technology is find an application for it.

Watch "Open Source Futures" [2]. What does he say regarding the initial perception of the mother of all demos? Why do we and why should we share the information we generate? Why shouldn't we? How might we better share our knowledge? People thought the "Mother of all demos was fake. When people collaborate on things the sky is the limit. I feel that it is really important to share ideas and concepts to make some really cool things. I think that its is also important to keep things secret if the product is refined and you want to make money off of it. The internet is a great way to share information and also find it. People need to come up with better ways to share information through the internet.

Post 1:

Part A: Five interesting finds on thingiverse[3]:

1. useful: Measuring Spoons [4] because we keep breaking ours at my apartment.

2. artistic/beautiful: Abraham Lincoln[5]becuase some one sculpted this and then used an open source 3d scanner to create a 3d model of the statue.

3. pointless/useless: The Colbear[6]. Well, some one had fun making this but what a waist.

4. funny/weird: Three tone Whistle[7]. A father labored over making this fun sounding whistle for his daughter.

5. scary/strange: Tea Cup Dragon[8]. This just gives me another reason to not drink tea. I don't want a dragon sitting in my tea cup.

Part B: Read this article:[9] Watch this video:Charlie Rose interviews a successful Designer[10]

Do you feel that you are a tinkerer? Do you know anyone else who is? I love tinkering with things, mostly because I like finding out how things work. I find it cool to understand how things are made or assembled. I think that my roommate is the best tinkerer that I know of. He has so many ideas in his head about projects that he wants to work on. Anything from a car top wind tunnel to building his own quad-copter.

What do you think about the argument regarding the influence of corporate culture on tinkering? I believe that corporate causes people to stay within the lines. If everyone would be able to unlock their creativity by not getting hounded by corporate, technology would rapidly increase. I think this is why I am really intrigued by 3D printing. There are so may cool things that people have created because they wanted to, not because of they were fulfilling there requirements of being an employee of a company.

At the end of the article is the line, "...preserving the habitat of the tinkerer is one of the few time-proven ways we as a nation can get back on track." What do you think about this idea? I think that the results of tinkering is more where we are headed then actually getting us "back on track." When people come up with new things, it causes a shift of how other processes are thought about. Like with rapid prototyping, metal can now be printed in complex shapes instead of traditional metal removal processes.

What are the primary design principles you took away from the interview? What did you think when you saw his final project with his daughter? Can you think of how some of his principles might apply to our work? Some of the principles that I took away from the interview was that you should never give up or there is always a way to accomplish your task. I think it is also important to work with a cross-functional team in to create something exceptional. I thought it was cool to see him and his daughter dabbling in the 3d printing world. With all the information available from open sources, it is possible for anyone to accomplish anything. I think its great that this class is made up of so many different people. Everyone has different experiences and backgrounds. When we apply all that knowledge to 'breeding' the next generation of reprap printers it really can lead us in all directions. Only the strong and best designs will survive but thats nature.