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Blog 1: Thingiverse

Torus Knot
I. Something beautiful/amazing

The complex geometry of this shape perfectly illustrates a huge advantage of additive manufacturing. I would assume other processes (i.e CNC routing) of manufacturing would have a much more difficult time handling this type of shape.

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:231413





Almost anotomically accurate chess piece
II. Something funny/strange

Chess's attempt at becoming a spectator sport.

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:230724






Swole T-rex
III. Something useless

Well I wouldn't know what to do with it.

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:216933






Bag Holder
IV. Something useful

This is obvious... Makes trying to take only one trip for the groceries actually possible. Could also be slightly modified to double as brass knuckles.

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:26767






Trumpet mouthpiece
V. Something that surprised me

I happen to play trumpet and most trumpet players like having a variety of mouthpieces at their disposal. This could allow you to completely personalize the bowl size and depth for WAY cheaper than it would be to have one custom made for you. Also, some larger mouthpieces for other instruments (i.e tubas) can cost upwards of over $100. 3D printing a mouthpiece would only cost the price of the printing material.

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:232074




Blog 2: Marcin Jakubowski: Open-Sourced Ecology

Background:

Marcin Jakubowski is a technology enthusiast with a dream of creating an open-source set of tools for a civilization to sustain a comfortable existence. His project titled The Global Village Construction Set contains over 50 "tools" in which a small group of people could easily gather the parts and assemble. These tools alone are supposedly enough to build a self-sustaining society.

http://www.ted.com/talks/marcin_jakubowski.html


Personal Opinion:

I often find myself wishing I lived during simpler times. Our civilization's economies have grown to be extremely complex, creating a dependency for a plethora of services and goods. This extreme dependency also creates friction from the competitive market and lack of availability of these services and resources. Trade Secrets, patents, lawsuits are all products of the way we drive our economy. Instead, Marcin calls for an open collaboration between people for the betterment of society, not profit. Marcin's project would allow a civilization to avoid the extra costs from the market's profit margin and also drastically decreasing start up costs. I appreciate the idea of living with a simple and self-sufficient group of people, so I feel as though I see eye to eye with him on his concept.


New Yorker Article:


On Dec 13, 2013, Emily Eakin of the New Yorker released an article on Marcin's "Civilization Kit". Marcin wrote a rebuttle regarding 8 key misconceptions with her article. I'll keep this section short: The author of the article did not clearly understand the objective of Marcin. She spent the article critiquing the way Marcin's "Factor e Farm" preformed their designs and work. Along with this, she made a few controversial statements about how the project makes use of it's donations. Basically she focused on small shortcomings that any project would have without addressing their overall progress fairly. Marcin's response was just.


NEW YORKER: http://archives.newyorker.com/?i=2013-12-23#folio=070

RESPONSE: http://opensourceecology.org/wiki/New_Yorker_-_Article_Response


OSE Applications at PSU

Not entirely sure I have any outstanding ideas in regards to this, but I did come up with two:

1.) Open-Source Textbooks/Subject Notes:

ACCESS TO KNOWLEDGE SHOULD NOT HAVE TO BE BOUGHT. Textbooks could be run like wikipedia and registered professors could constantly edit/collaborate on them providing an up-to-date perspective on the material. No need to release a new edition every year either.

Bad news(?) - This would be the Student Bookstore's demise.

2.) Open-Source Dorm Dining Hall:

Every dorm building roof has a garden maintained by the students, chickens for eggs, brewing equipment for beer, etc. Inside there would be an area where students could prepare and eat the self-produced produce.



Blog 3: Kansas teen uses 3D printer to make hand for boy

Mason Wilde, a young tech-enthusiast from Kansas, worked with a young child with a disabled hand to help build a prosthetic hand in which they could 3D print at a local library. Before learning about 3D printing, the young child named Matthew never showed interest in obtaining a prosthetic limb. The fact that the child took to bettering himself because he was so inspired by 3D printing is very inspiring itself. This article is a perfect example that displays how useful and easy 3D printing can be implemented on a small scale.

The original "Robohand" design was created by Ivan Owens along with help from Richard Van As. If I were to undergo this project myself, I would draft up my own set of parts ensuring a proper, unique fit. I would probably however use a commercial printer for better accuracy than using a RepRap.

A Google search of "Kansas teen 3d print hand" returned an endless list of websites referencing the article. Definitely a good, positive, news story that will help move 3d printing forward. Better than the common news of 3d printed guns and such.

Article: http://www.kansascity.com/2014/01/31/4790811/kansas-teen-uses-3-d-printer-to.html


Blog 4: Responses to Blog 2

Teammates Responses:

The general consensus of my team deemed the OSE project as a good, positive open-source idea. However, Drew brought up some points that initially didn't cross my mind. He questioned the ease of assembly of various machines that the OSE had developed. Most of these machines require specific skills such as welding experience and probably a decent amount of electronics background. When it comes to implementing these systems into third world countries, these skills might be found scarcely or not at all throughout the population. Not only that, but the raw materials needed for the construction of these machines could also be difficult to acquire in a third world country. OSE has been very successful, but only within a well developed part of the world. I would be curious to see the problems that arise when this project is taken on in a less developed environment.

Classmate Responses:

The general conclusion found from my classmates was that the OSE project caters to a very specific demographic. This project isn't meant to replace John Deere and other manufactures, but rather supplement and give help to those who are handy and capable enough to utilize OSE to construct their own equipment at less than retail value.

A couple different people brought up the issue of the danger of using homemade equipment that can be constructed improperly. Such large machines such as tractors could fail under loading potentially causing harm to the operator. Beyond the machinery failing, the people constructing the machines could be unskilled and also end up hurting themselves in the process. Tom brought up an idea to send a designated skilled technician to oversee the production of the product which could cut down on these risks.

Also I was happy to see the mass dislike for Emily Eakin's unfair article. Sam said it the best stating "She is unable to write an article for the common man because she isn't connected in any way with what I look at as the common man". Basically she doesn't see the need for any open-source or DIY projects because she's the type of person who has everything she needs readily accessible to her via stores and online shopping.

Blog 5: Important Events in 3D Printing

An event very important in the progression of 3D printing technology:

In 2004, Adrian Bowyer published his idea for a self-replicating 3D printer. Whether he stole the idea from reading Micheal Crichton's Prey (2002), a story of a rogue self-replicating AI, or not he is the reason that our class can exist and function today. Without the ability to produce a majority of a printers parts with a preexisting printer allows us to continually pump out printers to others who can also do the same, spreading and popularizing the concept of 3D printing.

A not so important event in the progression of this technology:

On April 9, 2012, the first commercially available 3D printer for chocolate was put on the market. I do thoroughly enjoy a nice chocolate bar on occasion but the idea of 3D printing a material that is already easily malleable by hand defeats the purpose of 3D printing. Given I had a steady hand and some artistic talent in sculpting, I'm sure I could replicate most chocolate models faster than a printer could print it. Also the printer costs nearly $5,000.

Something which you found interesting which you would like to think or speak more about:

In June of 2012 a man named Olaf Diegal demonstrated a nearly indestructible 3D printed nylon guitar. Guitar necks are very thin, under tension, and are prone to breaking easily. This allows for not only a stronger neck, but also the possibility to customize it to better fit the size and shape of your hand. Also, hollow bodied guitars are EXTREMELY complicated and difficult to construct as they have a very intricate system of wooden supports. 3D printing completely avoids this, and also allows for more complex sound chambers to be designed, vastly increasing the acoustic potential of guitars.



Blog 6: What's next?

Fans and Heated Beds.

Watching a print go perfectly for hours only to have the part bend/peel off the tape is heartbreaking. Looking into various ways of maintaining a proper environmental temperature for printing to decrease the frequency of heartbreak would be beneficial. Also, we could make use of your thermal camera and take videos of prints with various temperature controls to see the changes and how effective they are. Maybe even some more abstract ideas such as heat guns or creating a waterproof printer that prints in hot water?

Dual Extruders

Most of the limits that the class has found in 3D printing could be surpassed by being able to create support structures through dual extruding printers. Not only that, but being able to make parts out of multiple materials opens up a whole mess of new opportunities. Also, being able to have multiple colors in a print would be pretty dope.

Different Material Extruders

Different materials such as bake-able sculpting clay would be easily extrude-able without heating. It would also have the ability to be printed over and over again if a printer was to have an error mid-print. Prior to curing the clay, the print could also be modified and tweaked to the users content. Also there is a lot of talk going around about wanting to print biological materials and foods.

Printing service beyond EDSGN 100

Tons of students want to be able to 3D print. Opening up a service for these students could help raise money for more REPRAP parts and PLA. Most student do know of the learning factories printers, but are turned off by the higher prices. Also, it would be a good way to spread knowledge of the process of 3D printing as we could give students a hands on opportunity to print.


Blog 7: 3D printed Lab Equipment

3D printing could offer developing world savings on replica lab kit

Article: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/feb/21/3d-printing-offer-developing-savings-replica-kit

This article interviews Joshua Pearce, a materials science and engineering professor at Michigan Technological University, about the benefits of 3D printed lab equipment. A few examples are given in which the vast contrast in cost between manufactured and printed lab equipment is shown. Pearce blames the gap between prices on corporate monopolies and claims these margins will be reduced with the advancement of 3D printing. He also says these corporations can, however, counter open-source alternatives by continuously innovating upon current standards. I believe both his points make sense provided the 3D printed equipment has similar functional capabilities. Sadly, large companies and corporations will always choose the industry standards to supply their lab equipment. So in my opinion this article is geared towards the low budget college researchers, to which this alternative would be incredibly useful.

How to build a low-cost AFM nanoscope out of Legos and an Arduino

Article: http://www.kurzweilai.net/how-to-build-a-low-cost-afm-nanoscope-out-of-lego-arduino-board

It appears Lego has stepped up their game since I last toyed around with them. It is very impressive that such low-tech parts can be assembled into such a complex instrument. These low tech parts sum up to around $500 while most AFM nanosopes market for $100,000. This is a very extreme example of what Pearce mentioned about cost margins. This is just an assumption, but since the machine is made mostly from Lego, one would assume that this design could be easily altered into a 3D printable model. Both of these ideas rely on open source to be viable.



Blog 8: Intellectual Property and 3D Printing

Copyright- the exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same.

Trademark- a symbol, word, or words legally registered or established by use as representing a company or product.

Patent- a government authority or license conferring a right or title for a set period, especially the sole right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention.

Trade Secret- any confidential business information which provides an enterprise a competitive edge. The unauthorized use of such information by persons other than the holder is regarded as an unfair practice and a violation of the trade secret.

The five I's of the Demise of Intellectual Property include infringement, identification, impractical, impossible, and irrelevant. Since 3D prints can basically be quantified as only an .stl file, there is no bound on what physical geometries can printed asides from physical printing limitations. Considering a print can be as simple as a cube, how can one patent or copyright certain arrangements of geometry regardless of there intricacy? In my mind there is no way to claim 3D prints as intellectual property. As for those that do or wish to, the only thing I'd recommend is hiding the .stl file and praying nobody cares enough to redraft the part. Any laws against patent infringements would be unenforceable regardless.

Groups like Creative Commons will help members of the 3D printing community publish work without the worry of it being exploited for personal gains by other parties. The format is supposed to provide for optimal innovation through the sharing of research and creativity. This format allows creators to have a reserve certain rights to an otherwise public domain. I'm not sure how CC goes about protecting their users content, but they seem to have a good understand of what IP is and how it should be treated.


Blog 9: Filament Suppliers

Link: http://reprap.org/wiki/Printing_Material_Suppliers

Using the reprap wikipedia's very own list of printing material suppliers as a starting point while setting the filters for US delivery and 3mm, I found a decent sized pool of potential suppliers. I wanted to first look into the suppliers who had reviews on them not willing to blind buy any products. While going through browsing the first couple of suppliers, I realized most of them barely had anything in stock. So I ran a search for reliable suppliers with a large supply of reliable product. Most places pointed to Amazon dealers with positive feedback, or Ultimachine. While looking into Ultimachine I found it on a couple other "place to buy from" lists. From their site they had a vast selection with an abundant stock of what was reviewed as excellent filament. Another wiki list reviewed "Guaranteed satisfaction, wide selection of colors/materials/packaging, worldwide shipping - Free Samples!" Yay, free samples! Provided shipping costs aren't outrageous, they could potentially be a good supplier.

Two options pop out at me when it comes to dual extruding support materials. The first obvious option was to use what we already have, using PLA as a support material for an ABS part. This involves using very caustic chemicals to dissolve the PLA away from the ABS. MakerBot had a good article about it: http://www.makerbot.com/blog/2010/10/19/pla-proven-as-a-dissolveable-support-material/ The second option would be to use the water soluble PVA filament. PVA is however around twice as expensive as PLA filement. In my opinion we can be mature and intelligent enough to dissolve PLA without melting or disfiguring ourselves. However, I would advise against advising those we donate our printers to do this practice and instead use the safer PVA. Penn State has had enough lawsuits.

Having an amazon prime account I would probably use a supplier from Amazon to purchase filament from. I enjoy anytime I can put that to use. Also having the safety and reliability of amazon is a huge convenience when purchasing anything.


Blog 10: Extruder Hot Tips

Starting point: http://reprap.org/wiki/Category:Hot_End

Perusing through the reprap wiki's resource, I quickly realized most of these hot tip designs called for a decent amount of milling metal pieces. So, my search narrowed to finding a hot tip that could be constructed mostly from unmodified commercially available materials. Here was were I found the LulzBot/Budaschnozzle/Farynozzle. These very similar designs utilize a resistor heating element inside a (simply machined) aluminum block as opposed to the current method we use which wraps resistive nano-chrome wire around the hot tip held in place by fire place mortar. I would assume the resistor heating element would provide a more reliable and uniform alternative. These tips would also be easier to perform maintenance on, and probably more accurately gauge the temperature of the heating element. They also feature a heat sink, PEEK (Resistant to high heat) insulating washers, and a Teflon inner sleeve. These extra features were all designed to combat the common problems arising from the heat dispersion from the tip. It is clear to me that these nozzles have been well designed (They even look very sleek) and tested and redesigned for use in what we would use them for, therefor they earned my vote.

Link to good: http://reprap.org/wiki/LulzBot/Budaschnozzle

I did search for commercially available, pre-assembled, hot tips as well. Apparently, Farynozzle sells small batches of their hot tip out of Spain, but unsurprisingly were sold out. MakerGear has a kit as well priced at $65. The kit uses a similar heating block but lacks the robustness and heat control parameters of the Farynozzle. The structural components of the shaft are made of PEEK and Teflon. Those materials are good for handling the high temperatures produced by the tip, but however are not good at providing a rigid, durable hot tip assembly. I personally feel that MakerGear was just trying to take advantage of the open hot tip market with an overpriced, cheap to produce, product.

Link to bad: http://www.makergear.com/products/extruders


Blog 11: Show & Tell Follow-up

Someone awhile back did a show and tell about 3d printing homes and other infrastructure during times of rebuild after large environmental tragedies. Not sure if this is the exact article, but it was similar:

http://rt.com/usa/3d-printed-concrete-house-727/

The discussions following the presentation were mostly about structural integrity, supporting split level floors, and the large machines to do these prints. Being a civil engineer, all these questions stuck with me and sparked new ones - one being about 3d printing bridges. Most natural disasters whether its a flood, earthquake, etc have a huge impact on the structural integrity of bridges. Also, being located in Pennsylvania, I'm well aware of the vast amount of poorly maintained bridges within the state. So the need for a faster way to construct/repair bridges is definitely there... could 3d printing lend a hand?

A few weeks passed and I never really thought about it again until I stumbled upon this article:

http://3dprintingindustry.com/2014/02/07/german-scientists-3d-print-lightweight-material-stronger-steel/

Immediately, I applied this back to 3d printing infrastructure. The structural capacity of 3d printed material is most definitely sufficient for all of aforementioned. However, I personally believe that it would be most efficient to limit the 3d printing to only the structural components. In example, the framework of a house could be prefabricated by 3d printing and assembled upon a foundation. But then the standard installation of dry wall, insulation and so forth would be done normally. Basically, 3d printing could revolutionize the concept of prefabs, but I doubt it would ever be a viable option for a complete construction of a home. As for bridges, the structural beams are already prefabricated, so its not too crazy to believe that these beams could be 3d printed and installed in a similar fashion. This is assuming these 3d printed scaffolds can in fact withstand pressures of up to 280 MPa.

To sum up my thoughts, I don't believe we'll ever be driving along a road watching large machines print out homes along the countryside. It just doesn't provide enough incentive to justify changing the way we construct homes nowadays. What I do see is a rise in the 3d print prefabrication of large structural components.