My name is Daniel and I am currently a junior in the department of Mechanical Engineering at Pennsylvania State University. I have built three 3D printers including two Mendel RepRaps and a MakerGear Prusa-Mendel. My main interest in 3D printing lies in th ebuilding of the printers and allowing all of the components to move in sync with each other, but i am also fascinated with the freedom of designing and printing what ever your brain can think up.
-BLOG #4 - Responses to MakerBot's Release of the Replicator 2 and 2x
The release of the new MakerBot Replicator 2 and 2x has stirred up many mixed feelings in people that belong to the OSHW (Open Source Hardware) community in the past week. This is because along with the big announcement of the release of a new product, also came the big surprise that MakerBot’s newest item would only be partially Open Source. They claim that this switch towards Closed Source system was mainly due to the fact that if people make exact replicas to sell to the community at a lower cost, then they would not make enough profit to pay their employees to further development of their product which would in turn hurt the community. Some members of the community argue that community loyalty counteracts this fear that MakerBot has. They argue that the recent failure of the Tangibot project proves this. To some degree they are right; it does show that there is some loyalty in the community. I do not think however that either side is completely correct in their arguments. I guarantee you that MakerBot would still be able to write checks to their employees if they had kept the new Replicator 2 completely Open Source. They may lose some profits but I do not think that it would send them into bankruptcy. But it is understandable why they might want to close off some aspects of their design. They are after all a business. On the other side, the community’s argument is flawed too, in my opinion. One of the main goals of open source 3D printing is to be able to have “Wealth Without Money”. If MakerBot sells a system for $2,500 and another company sells an exact replica for $1,500, I can guarantee you that I would purchase the cheaper one (keep in mind that I am a broke college student). Even though I am broke and in college, I don’t believe that I am the only one that would buy the cheaper one. Sometimes it’s not just about loyalty, it’s about how much funding you actually have. If I only have $1,500 to spend on a 3D printer I don’t even have a choice whether or not I want to buy the more expensive one. So that being said although most people do not approve of the decisions that MakerBot has made can you really blame them for what they did? It may not be the moral thing to do but it may be the responsible business decision for them to make.
-BLOG #3 - Responses to End of Intellectual Property
1. It seems that 3D printing isn’t going to disappear, but the exact nature in which it will develop is not well defined. On that note, we currently place restrictions (DRM) onto our media to control distribution, with limited ‘success’. Do you think this might be applied to 3D printing? How or why not?
If I understand what exactly (Digital Rights Management) restrictions are, and it's possible i don't, then they are only used to prevent loss of profit. So, if this statement is accurate then i guess it really depends on whether or not you can imagine .stl files being for sale. I think there might actually be some .stl files you can purchase, but i'm not 100% on that. Either way, people are greedy and when they think they have an idea or product that they think is worth money, eventually they will try to make a quick dime off of it. I do not think this will be fair to the found of the rep rap open source project, but i do see it as a definite possibility in the future. If we are instead talking about the 3D printers themselves being restricted, then i think you can expect the comment i will make next. I think it will be very hard to restrict previous printers that have already been released with their plans, but i don't think any one would bother anyways. On the other hand Makerbot has just come out with the first closed source printer. I think this will be a very controversial move on their part and could either hurt the business tremendously or be a step in the direction of a printer that is for the everyday average joe who could careless how his printer works and just simply wants good prints. Basically what i am trying to say is that it could be a step in the direction of the type of scenario i mentioned in my last blog about the future of 3D printing.
2. According to Bowyer, many people have a great idea (or perhaps a passion) that they love to tell people about. What is yours? Do you see this as a way to attract future mates? (or to get money?) Why/why not?
I want to comment on the second and third part of the question first. I don't necessarily see sharing my ideas with people as a way to attract a future mate as much as i see it as a way to gain approval from people or maybe even meet new people. So it is more of a way of being accepted by society than trying to attract future mates. As far as making money goes, I think that sharing ideas with strangers might instill the thought of possibility in someone. To clarify by example. Say that i am a broke college student who thinks he has the best greatest idea to come along since the iPhone but have no money to build or test or even patent it. I might feel that sharing my idea with someone else might lead to the possibility of funding from the person that you share the idea with. And even if deep down i know that this person doesn't have any money either or that they would never support me, there is still the off chance, and a chance no matter how small is always exciting to think about. As far as my great idea goes: about 2 years ago when i first started learning about these 3D printers, and how they work, i learned how hard it was to print overhangs. As i did more research on different printing filaments, I came across a water soluble filament and i came up with a great idea. I would devise a dual extruder printer that printer water soluble material as the negative space int he object and regular PLA for the positive space. This way no matter what the print would have supports for any complicated overhangs and the supports could just be dissolved away later. Since i thought of the idea there have been multiple people to successfully attempt it and post the results on thingiverse.
3. Professor Bowyer seems to think that 3D printing will finally kill intellectual property, and he sounds pleased about it. Do you think he’s right? Is this a good thing or a bad thing to you?
I think from a personal view as a broke college student, this has to be a good thing because it will make certain expensive technologies reduce in price by extreme amounts. At least in my opinion. Now looking at the larger picture, I don't know how it will affect the overall economy. I am terrible with economics and do not know enough to make an accurate statement. But in general, I do believe that he might be on to something as far as this open source movement being the beginning of the end of Intellectual property. I would definitely like to talk more about this question in class and hear someone that knows a little more about this topic and their views.
-BLOG #2 - Responses to RepRap Background
1. Do you think his goal of a ‘self-replicating universal constructor’ is feasible? What remains to be done to achieve this, or alternatively what would prevent such a goal?
Whether or not a completely self replicating machine is feasible kind of depends on the process in which it will reproduce. If we are talking complete reproduction and building of the replica, then i do not believe that it will ever happen. It just does not make physical sense unless the new machine (replica) was smaller in size then the original which contradicts the term replica. That is assuming no human interaction. If we are talking more along the lines of a machine being able to completely build each of the new components for the replica, that might be a little bit more doable but still extremely hard and would essentially need some interaction from humans or other machines.
2. The phrase “wealth without money” is both the title of his article and the motto of the reprap project itself. What does this phrase mean? (To him and to you if they differ). Discuss implications, problems, and possibilities associated with this idea.
"Wealth Without Money" This is a very inspiring phrase in my mind. Throughout life, one is taught that in order to have nice things or be productive you need money or funds. With project such as the RepRap project, this accepted standard of life can be defied. Some one who may not have the most money to spend on extremely expensive engineering equipment for rapid prototyping and other engineering needs, can sufficiently work on a ton of design and testing projects with a setup costing less than $1500 in total. This really opens up so many opportunities for the community to make there mark in the world. There are many smart people in the world that have ideas that no one will listen too, but if they have their own setup they don't have to run their ideas by anyone else any longer.
3. The Darwin design was released in 2007. It is 2012 now. Imagine future scenarios for RepRaps and their ‘cousin’ 3D printing designs (Makerbots, Ultimachine, Makergear, etc.) how do you think the RepRap project (community, designs, website, anything and everything) might evolve in the future? Describe as many scenarios as you can envision.
As far as evolution is considered when talking about the current and future open-source 3D printing systems; I believe the possibilities are endless. I believe that many people can see a RepRap type machine in everyones household throughout the country eventually. THey will eventually become extremely user friendly so that even kids with absolutely no experience will be able to operate the printer to their full extent. I also expect to see the stability of the design increase exponentially int he years to come. Now that people have made a series of beginning printers, the main goal now will be to refine each design and work towards perfecting all aspects of the printer. I have to say I am very excited to see the direction that 3D printing goes over the next few years.
-BLOG #1 - A few 3D objects to look at
I am probably biased because, I actually designed this piece but it does actually save money and can be very usefule in an anthropology lab.
I have always thought that these types of sculptures were intruiging to look at, but they look even cooler when they have been printer in layers with a reprap.
I think this object is pretty self explanatory. It is a steak made of plastics. I think the funny part is that the person that submitted it warned people not to eat it.
I think that this is very artistic but also has a good humorous quality to it. I really like chess and would love to have a set like this.
not sure if this is really considered weird but it sure it not normal and seems kinda pointless as well.