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About Me

Name Kristen Murray
Major Mechanical Engineering
Expected Graduation May 2013
Current Jobs Edsgn100 Senior Lead TA

Edsgn100 drawing tutor

ITS Lab Consultant

Previous Jobs Manufacturing Engineer at Datalogic Automation, Inc.

Merchandise Team Leader at Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom

Cashier at a ShurSave grocery store

Hometown Sugarloaf, PA (Hazleton area)
Current city Allentown, PA
Hobbies Windsurfing



Any water sport that I have the opportunity to try!

Short-term Goals Attain a full-time Design Engineer position after graduation

Move to the DC metro area

Learn to surf

Hike Rickett's Glen

Contact Me

Email: [email protected]

Editing STLs in Solidworks

  • File>Open
  • Select .STL as the file type and choose your file.
  • Click the options button.
  • On the Import Options window, select STL/VRML.
  • Select Solid Body in the Import As section.
  • Select the units that the model was designed in. Note: If you select the wrong units, your model will look the same, but may be many times larger or smaller than you intended
  • Click OK.
  • Click Open.

This will open your model as an editable .STL file. If it asks you if you want to run Import Diagnostics, you can click No. Your model will have lines all over the surface that split the model into many triangles. This is normal for an .STL file. To learn more about what .STL files are, click here.


Week Eleven

Read through these links: So, you’re in a class and classroom dedicated to 3D printing - Do you see a place for this in other educational environments (K-12?) What points do you agree with or disagree with in these articles? Support them with something from your own experience.

I think that 3D printers would be great in elementary or high school classrooms. Kids always seem to just 'get' new technology as soon as they see it. Also, young kids are often the most creative because they have an open mind. Our adult minds tends to get convoluted with the loads of other things that we think about daily. I believe that 3D printing is a technology that's here to stay, so every child should have a chance being exposed to it. With RepRaps like ours, young kids may not be able to easily and safely run the machines yet, but they could watch the teacher use it and eventually be able to try it out on their own under supervision. Older students like high school students would be able to do something similar to what we do: use printers, build printers, fix printers, etc. Overall I think that 3D printing is going to be widely known very soon, so it would be great to expose young students to the technology by having 3D printers in classrooms.

Week Ten

Now that you know a little more about the different types of 3D printing or other additive manufacturing methods, You should envision scenarios of a future where this technology is more widespread. What sorts of changes can we expect? What sorts of changes might we not expect? I’ve included some links here to give you something to think about, which we’ve generally talked about before.

One of the most important changes in manufacturing that will come when additive manufacturing processes like 3D printint gain popularity and use is that less material in a part will mean less time. In subtractive manufacturing, you start out with a block of material and remove away some parts until it functions like it needs to. Removing more material takes more time and makes more waste. In additive manufacturing processes, it takes less time to have a low-material part. Additive manufacturing doesn't have to deal with all the extra time it takes to remove excess material, because you only need to print or add the material that is needed. This cuts down waste and time for a manufactured part. Less time and less waste are two factors that will save manufacturing companies a lot of money. 3D scanning will also create a big change in the manufacturing process. People will now be able to save a lot of time that would have previously been used modeling things because they can 3D scan the objects instead. The first prototype of any part can be made in basically any way, then the item can be scanned and printed repeatedly. 3D printing is surely helping launch the manufacturing industry closer to be completely automated.

Week Nine

Read through these links: ; ; ; Discuss the suitability of libraries as hosts for RepRaps (or other 3D printers). We have a number of libraries on campus, as well as the one on allen street: How many are you familiar with? Do you think any of them would be suitable for this?

Out of all the libraries on campus, I am vaguely familiar with several of them, but I don’t spend much time at any of them. I think that the Pattee/Paterno library would be a good place to put a 3D printer. To have a good place to put a 3D printer, you need a big enough room to fit the printer and several computers. You also need a room that can have noise that won’t affect people who are reading or studying quietly. 3D printers make some noise, and people collaborating together can also cause a bit of noise. In small libraries like the engineering library in Hammond, I think a 3D printer would distract other users and destroy the quiet place that people often look for in a library. Pattee/Paterno library has a lot more space, and there are already rooms for group study, sound recording, etc. that don’t distract studiers. I think that libraries are a great place for 3D printers because they will allow people to learn tactically as well as become experienced with 3D modeling. 3D printers can be fun and functional, so having an affordable way for ordinary people to access them would be a great addition to any community. A library should be “a university of people” as discussed in this article ( meaning that all kinds of information are free to share, not just information in books. People have the right to learn and to experiment, and easy access to 3D printers would do just that. Since libraries are utilized less and less while the internet is used more and more, why not switch out some books with obsolete information with a more useful tool? How many people really actually prefer to go to the library to do research over googling something these days? I think the answer is “not many,” so why not change the focus of the library system? That being said, I’m not sure that RepRaps, in their current form, are right for libraries. A library is a place where you go to use technology, not a place where you go to find a broken machine. RepRaps require a lot of tinkering, and I don’t think a library is the right environment for that. Imagine if someone decided to go to the library and print out a part, and when he arrived, he found a broken printer. Some users might make the attempt to fix the printer, but others will just be frustrated that they can’t do what they wanted to do. And some people who try to fix the printer might break it even more. I think that for now, a more reliable printer (read: more expensive) printer might be best.

Week Eight Go back to your previous posts regarding DRM and control of 3D printing. Does this article support your argument then? Do you think this technology will find a use?

This article has a similar point to what I thought about DRMs on 3D print designs in previous blogs. DRM can be useful for certain things, like 3D printed art or a company's design for a product, but at the same time, if you design something that you want to keep secret, all you have to do is not distribute the file. Adding DRM checkers to 3D printers will greatly stunt the creative explosion that has emerged on websites like Thingaverse. Average people can build stuff in their home using other methods, so why should 3D printing be limited? Say I broke a piece off of a piece of furniture at my home. I could 3D print a replacement part, sure, but I could also make a replacement part with other materials. A 3D printer is a machine that creates things, and those willing to make or purchase one should be able to do so freely. If I bought a melting furnace and started casting aluminum parts in my basement, no one would regulate that, so why regulate 3D printing? I think the DRM checking technology could definitely have a use, but it would only benefit a few people, and it would seriously injure the RepRap community as well as independent creative minds who just want to create things.

Week Seven

Check out this article related to what Dan was describing to us on Thursday:

1. Being able to create optical sensing devices on demand is something new, as typically we print passive components. What kind of implications can you imagine resulting from this?

Being able to print optical sensing devices will help lead our society away from being dependent on large manufacturers for goods. One machine will be able to produce parts that previously needed several machines (and probably a human worker) to produce. Barring price, this technology will allow any company with just a small amount of space to produce these parts. Unfortunately, this technology, along with any other automated technology, decreases the amount of jobs in our economy, but that is the nature of automation I suppose. Since this technology prints parts without assembly, this decreases the user's ability to repair the part, so the cost of production would need to be quite low in order for this to be a feasible manufacturing method. On the other hand, it will remove the possibility of human error during assembly which might be the cause of some failures.

2. What sort of difficulty would we have in implementing light piping using our printers?

Our printers are not very accurate, and they can't print solid objects. Our printers deposit lines of filament that can be put close to each other, but they never really bond into one smooth solid object. This will affect our ability to produce clear material. If the material is not completely fused and solid, light will not pass through the material effectively. It will be like looking through a window that has chips all over it.

3. In what applications might you find use for these sensors (contact switches, touch sensors, accelerometers, etc)? Do you have some project in mind where these would be useful?

The first application that comes to mind is enhancing our printers. This technology would allow us to print more parts of a RepRap. Power buttons and end stops wouldn't need to be purchased hardware anymore. This enhances the self-replicating nature of a RepRap. We could also add new features to the machines without having to add more purchased hardware... maybe xyz movement controls right on the RepRap rather than in the computer program.

Week Six

Check out this: Most of our discussions have discussed printing object which are not alive, however many researchers are now looking into using 3D printers to create different organs or other bodily components. The NovoGen MMX bio-printer could change the field dramatically.

1. What do you think of bio-printing? What sort of legal problems or technical problems can you foresee?

Honestly, bio-printing blows my mind. I am surely not a biology person, but I have a hard time believing that many of the things that were discussed in the article would actually work. Sure, you could print prosthetics, and maybe even lay out new skin over a wound, but once you start talking about printing full organs, I start getting skeptical. As far as I know, organ function depends less on shape and more on interaction between cells. I think it's totally possible to print something that looks like an organ, but to have it actually function in the way that it needs to might be a long shot. The article says "bio ink" is being used to print these things, but what exactly is in "bio ink"? I assume it is some type of stem cells, which may cause an ethical issue. The most useful type of stem cells is embryonic stem cells, and many religious groups are extremely against using these stem cells for research. If printing organs was possible, it could save a lot of lives, but it could also cause some sort of black market for organs. People might start selling organs for very high prices to people in need. This would call for some legal intervention.

2. Do you think this might be extended to RepRaps for DIY bio-research?

Perhaps this will be extended to DIY research with RepRaps, but I sort of hope not. It creeps me out to think that some dude in his basement may be printing out a stockpile of organs. It would be difficult for DIYers to get involved in independent research of this type because the matter used to print ("bio ink") is probably not easy to come by. I really hope that people don't try to start extracting their own bone marrow or something to have material to print with.

Week Five


1. Imagine that you were a dedicated member of the DIY gun project: What might you do now?

I would build a RepRap myself to do the printing rather than use a rented commercial printer. The quality of hobby printers may not be as high as that of commercial-grade, but for the beginning stages of the product, a hobby printer should be fine. Obviously, when they plan to test a prototype, it needs to be very accurate for safety reasons, but until then, a hobby printer will allow them to create the part without having to work around the policies of another company. Building a RepRap would take a bit more time than the project was intended to take, but it would free up the regulations that they are dealing with. While building a RepRap and printing preliminary prototypes, they could shop around for a print rental company that is open to their project or work on changing their design to be considered legal.

2. Another article asks ”Should 3D printing, especially when it’s being used to create items like guns, be regulated? Can you regulate it?” Check your Blog #3 Questions 1 & 3 (and my comments to them) if you haven’t already. Do you have any more to say about this issue of 3D printer regulation (gov’t or corporate)?

I don't think 3D printing should be regulated. Personally, I believe that people should be able to freely create things in their home. Regulations should only be applied when something affects others outside of the home. Though you could argue that creating things like guns can affect others because weapons are dangerous, people can create weapons in so many other ways besides 3D printing them. Right now, 3D printing guns is about whether or not it can be done. Since a fully printed gun would probably only be able to shoot one bullet, it is obviously not meant to be used in a shoot-out. In many states, it is not necessary to get a permit to purchase a gun, so obviously state governments are not intending to limit the amount of people who have guns at home. Regulating 3D printing is probably more hassle than what it's worth for the government.

3. Guns (and other weapons) seem to be prone to prohibitions. What other 3D printable constructs might attract similar attention/derision/prohibition?

Drug paraphernalia would be problematic if someone tried to print it on a 3D printer. The government might rightfully become involved in the control of this, but probably not actively. If a person has 3D-printed drug paraphernalia that is found by a police officer, they should be punished in the same way that a person would be punished for other drug paraphenalia.

Week Four Comment on Makerbot’s position (as far as we know), Prusa’s concerns, and ownership of designs. Should we look for a new thingiverse?

Having an open source 3D printer model seems like a great idea... in theory. But people aren't as honest and full of integrity as you might hope. Many people take any opportunity to work the system to their own advantage, and this may have been a factor that pushed Makerbot to shy away from an open source model. Let's be realistic here... companies are formed to make a profit. Giving away all the designs and information needed to make a product is not a great way to make money. Though it is a nice thought that a company would give away their designs for the benefit of the 3D printing community, it may not be a feasible business model. For all the time and effort that the people at Makerbot spend on their products, they do deserve recognition and reward for that. Perhaps they feel the only way to be justly rewarded and/or to protect their rights to their designs, they had to stop making open source models.

As far as Thingiverse goes, I am unsure of exactly what rights Makerbot is attempting to gain. Saying that they "own" everything on Thingiverse is not very clear. Maybe Makerbot is just trying to protect themselves from lawsuits. Maybe, though, Makerbot is trying to make profit on other people's designs, in which case it would seem unethical. I would need more information on the legal details of this issue before passing a judgement, but to play it safe, I would say that we may need to start using a site other than Thingiverse. If you ever intend to sell a design or profit from something you may post on Thingiverse, think again, and protect yourself before you risk losing rights to your own design.

Week Three

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?

Yes, I do think that some designers may attempt to put DRM protection on their designs, but I don't think that it will be an effective way of protecting their designs from being distributed. As seen in other media industries, DRMs are only slightly effective. For instance, DRMs on digital books only prevent people from converting the file to a different file type; they do not prevent people from sharing their Kindle book with all of their friends who also have Kindles. People will still distribute them on a black market of 3D printing designs like they do with music on P2P sharing programs.

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 am passionate about 3D modeling. Ever since I took Edsgn100, I have enjoyed 3D modeling as a hobby and as a tool for classes and jobs. I have been a TA for Edsgn100 for three years, I took a 400-level Solidworks class, I used Solidworks at my internship, and I tutor students who are struggling with 3D modeling concepts. I love learning new things about Solidworks and sharing tips and tricks with fellow users. I don't think this passion is necessarily very useful in attracting a mate. I doubt that any men have a checklist of ideal traits in a woman with "proficient in 3D modeling" listed. This passion may be useful to get money though, if I use 3D modeling in my career after graduation.

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 about ending IP? Is this a good thing, a bad thing, or somewhere in-between?

I think it's somewhere in between. On one hand, people may not benefit from their inventions or designs like they once could. Someone could design the next big thing that everyone has to have and not get recognition for it. On the other hand, the design world will be rid of the people who design just to get rich, so people who genuinely care about something will be the only ones creating and improving designs. I believe this will result in better quality designs. Passion is a much more respectable motivator than money.

Week Two

Read This should give you some feel for where Adrian Bowyer was coming from when he started the RepRap project. Respond to the following:

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?

I do not that that a self-replicating universal constructor is feasible. Many parts of a 3D printer can be made by another printer, but to have a printer be completely self replicating, it would require every single piece of the printer to be made from another printer. A problem I see with this is that the printer would have to print the electronics, hardware and extruder. The electronics would need to be made from conductive material. The hardware would need to be very precise and strong. The extruder would need to bemade from a material that is easily melted for original extrusion but heat-resistant when it came to printing other things. These issues, along with the fact that printers often have unforeseeable problems during the construction that would be hard to troubleshoot without human interaction, make the idea of a self-replicating universal constructor seem far-fetched.

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 means being able to create anything you can imagine without having to go to a store or order the product online. Having an advanced 3D printer essentially allows a person to create any product at home. On another note, manufacturing can grow exponentially if a 3D printer can make products to sell along with new printers. Eventually, there would be more printers than a person or a company could ever think of using at once.

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.

In the future, RepRaps will continue to evolve, but at some point, the advancements will level off asymptotically. When the price of fully-assembled industrially-produced 3D printers has dropped low enough, I believe that a 3D printer will become a household appliance like a refrigerator or a stove. Every family will have one. Objects printed on 3D printers will be used for fun and for functionality. Kids will make art projects using 3D printers, people will create their own knickknacks on 3D printers, and some people will use a 3D printer to fix things around the house. I think that, like the way it is now, only very ambitious people will attempt to make their own 3D printers. Like any other hands-on task, many people will rather just pay for the work to be done instead of doing it themselves. For instance, anyone can buy parts for their car and do their own maintenance, but the amount of people who spend the time learning how to do repairs versus the amount of people who just pay a mechanic to do the repair is quite small. I do not think RepRaps will die off, but I also do not think that the use of RepRap machines will grow much larger in the coming years.

Week One

Go to Use any means you like to look through the objects submitted to thingiverse and pick out 5 designs which you consider to be the most: 1. useful 2. artistic/beautiful 3. pointless/useless 4. funny 5. weird. Link to the 5 objects you’ve chosen, and discuss why you consider them well described by the 5 adjectives above.

Useful Carabiner I find this carabiner to be useful because I used to constantly lose her keys,and having a carabiner saved me from so much frustration. This design would remove the need for a spring in a carabiner, which is generally the piece of a carabiner that I break. If the right type of plastic was selected to print this carabiner, it would theoretically last much longer than a store-bought carabiner. This design may not be appropriate for climbing or other adventure sports, but it would work very well to hold keys.
Artistic/Beautiful Chen-Gackstatter Thayer Vase This vase is very beautiful. The level of detail contained in this design is astounding, and the symmetry of the object makes it very visually pleasing. According to the description of this vase, the shape was created mathematically using a Chen-Gackstatter Thayer Surface.
Pointless/Useless Buttered Corn I find this Buttered Corn design to be extremely useless. I'm not really sure why anyone would waste their time modeling an ear of corn, let alone add butter and a husk.
Funny iPhone Upgrade Kit This design of an iPhone Upgrade Kit doesn't do anything other than bang the life out of an iPhone. It is a humorous idea but could also be classified in the "useless" category... unless you're looking to destroy your iPhone, that is.
Weird Beaver This beaver model is apparently supposed to be a chess piece. Why anyone would like to play chess using a beaver as a piece is beyond me. I find it quite odd that someone took the time to create such a detailed design of a beaver.