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Main | Class Blog

This page is for the class blogs we need to write for different topics about the 3-D printing.

Blog 1: Thingiverse

We had to find different items on the Thingiverse that inspired us.

Brain preview featured.jpg

An item that is amazing/beautiful

The model of human brain is really detailed and we can see the structure of it. I don't agree with the author said it's rather coarse, it isn't creepy and I think it's beautiful.Source


An item that is funny or strange

On the first glance of this object it reminds me of the Iron Man, it was made of 3 type of colors. Although it's very tiny, but it looks like the same as the original one with every detail on it. Also it is curved and I don't know how to do that by 3D printer. Source


An item that is useless

We already had a perfect industry for plastic box. They are cheap, strong, large and useful, why should we take a long way to use 3-D printing to make it? I don't understand.Source


An item that is useful

Do you ever imagine you can made one of your own phone case? I want one badly. This allows you to use your needs and ideas to made it that different from others which is convenient.Source


An item that surprised me

There is a video about this object in the source link shows the operation of it. It works smoothly, every part of it is perfectly matched and rotating very well.Source

Blog 2: OSE project

We were asked to research about OSE projects and respond to the following:

A) I want your general impressions of the OSE project; positive, negative, utopian, etc. Please do a bit more research than just viewing the video, as it is now several years old and they have made some progress since then. Links to more recent videos and media will earn you a better blog.

B) The New Yorker magazine recently had a fairly critical article regarding Marcin's OSE project. Find/link that article and summarize its critique. Marcin had a response to that: I'd like your response to both of these pieces.

C) Imagine we want to create capabilities similar to what Marcin has made at PSU (something like an OSE student club, or another effort). I don't think the administration or trustees would support such a thing, but there might be professors who are interested in supporting such a thing. Do you know any of them? What do they do, and why do you think they would be interested in such a project? Imagine you are looking for allies to do such a thing. Whom is on your list and why?


A) It's really hard to determine whether the Open Source Ecology is positive, negative or utopian. Definitely it is amazing and attractive, imagine just by downloading the blueprints from the website and build it on your own. It will save you a huge amount of money and because you built it, when some problems occur, you actually know the solutions. Marcin built a tractor in his farm, also he listed total of 50 things that need to be open sourced, here is the list. Source When I check on OSE projects site, I found thrilling that they are trying to make Microcars.

However there are still lots of issues may happen to this project. One of the main and the most important thing is the safety issue. First, the open source needs to make sure there is no error on it. Second, this requires you understand more mechanical knowledge rather than a normal person. Because if such a big thing like tractor has some problems, the result maybe very dangerous.

B) The New Yorker Magezine talks about the OSE which can be found Here.The author Emily Eakin criticizes many problems that Marcin had, and the first one is the worker on his farm has more enthusiasm than skills in building these things. Secondly, the author questioned the ability to produce food by using their own machines. The article said it can't even satisfy the labors' needs. I don't know why the author trying to criticize the OSE by telling us that Marcin is on the diet and his punctual, it doesn't make any sense to me.

However, the Marcin's response was well organized and can be found Here. He is trying to proposing a more optimistic representation to his work and by listing the answers to the questions, it become really convincing. Also he admit there is some problems because it seems unrealistic, but they are working on the way to turn this into a better result.

C) I honestly don't have many thoughts on this question but I'm assuming some of my Design course professor would like to join into this group, like Eagle Leland, Lamancusa. Or I also know we have an Ecocar team in Penn State which may also be interested.

Blog 3: Robotic Hand

Read and respond to this:

A.Who created this design and when/where was it done?

B.If you wanted to make one, where would you go to get it?

C.How many news articles can you find which reference this technology?

A.The idea came from Ivan Owen and Richard Van, and the metal prototype was created in November 2012. At January 2013, the 3D printer version has been put online with free instruction. Then 2 months ago, Mason Wilde, 16 years old high school student, used a 3D printer in the Johnson County Library made a Robohand.

B.I will get the CAD files from the Thingiverse. Also there are some other tools needed like a drill, a pair of pliers, and about $60 worth of materials, including a dye kit, nylon string and hard plastic for the gauntlet. Then I will go to the 3D printer and print out parts and assembly them together.

C.Here are some relevant news that I can find and I can be sure there are more:

“Kansas Teen Uses 3-D Printer To Make Hand For Boy”,

“Teen Crafts 3D-Printed 'Robohand' for Fingerless Boy”,,2817,2430396,00.asp

“'Robohand' given to West Michigan preschooler proving to be life-changing”,

“Boy Receives 3D Printed Prosthetic Hand”,

Blog 4: Response to blog 2

I thought that many of your responses to blog 2 were thoughtful, and I'd like you to reflect on the thoughts of your classmates. Read your teammates blogs, as well as the blogs of at least 5 other students in class this semester. I would like you to find any thoughtful points made by others which you did not note yourself in Blog 2.

Carson Geib

Carson thought that Marcin's idea is too utopian. He had a valid point that as being an agriculture engineer, by looking at the tractor that Marcin built in six days, there are many basic parts that are not qualified. It can be only used for some situations that farmers can't afford it or in some developing countries, but can't apply for more expectations.

Tom Vassa

Tom put the faith in the OSE project and it is on the right direction. I don't agree with him that Marcin should focus on quantity over quality. Quality is always the first priority in hand-made machines. Also, Tom had found the original New Yorker article by retrieving a pdf.

Kevin Moyer

Kevin well analysed how Marcin respond to the New Yorker Magazine's article. At the mean time, he actually suggest an interesting idea that OSE project can be similar compared to THON. I'm not familiar with THON but it is really thrilling if those kids can get benefits from OSE. We had the same idea on OSE is perfect for the ME 340 course, which is for engineering design.

Vincent Iachini

Vinni is positive on the OSE project, he found the things on the 50 tools list is very interesting, especially on the "Global Village Construction Set". It is very convenient and has a bright future.

Jessica Mewkalo

Jessica thought our current society is already in a particularly stabled environment. The products chain is fully functional and cycling. There are no needs to bring another structure of society. However, it isn't fair enough that the New Yorker Magazine to criticize Marcin only focused on the disadvantages.

Blog 5: Media Timeline

Look through the RepRap Media timeline page (accessible from our SCRUG main page) and attempt to identify the most significant events from the last few years. If you think there's something missing from the timeline, add it and claim it for XP - but include a summary! What projects continue to recieve coverage/press over time? What projects seem to have slowed or stopped?

Here is the timeline. Timeline

A) An event very important in the progression of 3D printing technology (open source or not)

On the November, 2008, Thingiverse is launched. It is the first website where people can upload their own 3D models for people to print out, open sourcing at its finest.I mentioned it as the very important because it had benefit so many people including us. People can upload all the things they want or hope to make and share the ideas with people. It offers a great opertunity and stage to help the developing of 3D printing. As I said, we are stilling using this website, I would definitely assume it will keep growing with a bright future. [ site]

B) A not so important event in the progression of this technology (something overhyped perhaps?)

When I looked at this article 'A Merry Maker’s Christmas' Source it is entertaining.However, I don't think it deserved to be published on the timeline. First, it is not a new technology be created. Second, the article just talks about a suggestion that we can make our Christmas gift from 3D printing. Although I would definitely bring this topic to class to chat with my friends, it is not revolutionary enough to be put on the timeline, it seems overhyped. Timeline should include all the amazing inventions and meetings or decisions, it can quickly feed the information to the people who want to know what important happened. We can use this article as an promotion of 3D printing, shows to people who doesn't know well about it.

C) Something which you found interesting which you would like to think or speak more about. This might overlap with #1 a bit, depending.

I found this article Source interesting. As we know, the 3D printer we currently used, or those printers on the market has a common disadvantage, that is they only able to move along straight lines, but the robot arm from this printer is able to print in all directions, which means that the arm can move the printer head along complex, curved surfaces. This invention reduces the printing time and improves the quality of the printed surface. I don't know how much it would cost but it greatly enhanced the capability of the objectives we want to print.They ran several tests to prove that it is functional and can be produced on the market.

Also I found the timeline on July 23rd 2013 had some errors. The article linked is not the right one.

Blog 6: Future Thought

What projects do you think would be a logical next step for us to pursue? These may be things you see others doing elsewhere, or ideas of your own to push the boundaries of what we are using. We have been putting in significant effort to upkeep the printers we have, but as we get good at that, where might we go next? What would enhance our capabilities or put a new twist on what we are doing? Can we make a composite printer? Do we need more dual extruders everywhere? I know some of you have had ideas on this subject already, so please document them in this blog for everyone.

Firstly, I think everyone is doing a very good job in this class. We have a small presentation at the beginning of each class to tell us something new about 3-D printer. Also students are putting a great amount of effort on the printers. As I know some of them stayed until 9 or 10 pm to try to fix the printer. For next step I would suggest to keep up the work to repair those printers, some of them still has a long way to go, several teams needs the hot tips for the printer. After we finish this, I'd like to build one RepRap 3-D printer with my team members or we separate the work into the groups to build one together. We already learned the knowledge from fixing it, it definitely would help us gain a deep understanding of how it works. And duel extruders will be one of the goals. Besides this I think we can do some promotion for 3-D printer like we are planning to introduce it to the EDSGN 100 students. One last suggestion, the organization of the stuff that we used in the class can be done better. There is a printing club and our class that could use the machine and there are some other class will be in the same room. If the back of the room seems messy, it will not only give us a hard time to find what we need but also a bad impression for the others. Thank David who offered us a great chance to learn it and I am looking forward we can keep doing a good job.

Blog 7: Article Discussion

Read Article1

What do you think about this idea? Can you think of any examples of cheap research equipment we have made?

This article focused on trying to use 3-D printer to print out cheap lab kit instead of buying expensive tools produced by the company. If it works that would benefit numerous people, however, I have some questions about this topic. First, where could you get the knowledge and source from? You need a complete database to print out the lab kit and you can expect get it from the company? This idea will completely destroyed their business and there is no way they help you to build your own tools. That's why they are able to charge a lot of extra money from you as the article said: "For example, my lab developed an open-source 3D printable colourimeter for water testing, which costs $50 (£30) instead of $2,000." Second,the article mentioned using RepRap printer, as we know, it has advantages. Such like cheap, easy to assemble, and easy to perform. However, it sometimes isn't precise enough to print the object, any small problems will cause defects on the parts. Therefore it might cause safety issues. I couldn't think anything we made for research equipment but I think RepRap printer can be considered as an equipment that is made by us.

Read Article2.

What do you think of this? Does it seem printable to you? Why or why not? Relate it back to the first article. Discuss the importance (or lack thereof) of open source in this.

The design is: build a functional nanoscope, using only LEGO, Arduino microcontrollers, 3D-printed parts, and consumer electronics.It mentioned again the low cost of this process: "Research-grade AFMs typically cost $100,000 or more, and use custom hardware. The newly designed low-cost version could cost less than $500 to produce."I will keep optimism on us to print it out because I don't think there is a large difference between the students from Tsinghua and Peking had any advantages than us. If it is open sourced and the material is easy to get, we definitely can make our own Atomic Force Microscope. I'm happy to see more and more 3-D printing involved in the scientific field such as in this and the first article. And open source is a great catalyst to it.

Blog 8: Intellectual property

Research and describe (and contrast) Copyright, Trademark, Patent, and Trade Secrets.Then read this Article

Patent- A temporary monopoly granted by the government to an inventor to exclude others from using an invention.

Trademark- A trademark is an exclusive right granted by a government to a trademark owner to use a specific name or symbol in association with a class of products or services.

Trade Secret- A trade secret is information used in a trade or business that offers its owner a competitive advantage and that can be kept secret. A trade secret is not a right conferred by a government but is the result of vigilance on the part of an organization in preventing the dissemination of its proprietary information.

Copyright- A copyright is an exclusive right grated by a government to copy and distribute an original work of expression, whether literature, graphics, music, art, entertainment, or software.

What are the five I's and what do you conclude from them?

Five I's are infringement, identification, impractical, impossible, and irrelevant.It indicates the author's opinion on the future Intellectual Properties on 3D printing. As we know 3D printing is part of the Open-Sourced project, the rules that used to be applied need to adjust or not useful anymore. The five I's indicate the chances of infringement will be extremely high;it is also extremely difficult to identify the certain designs; it is difficult to identify who certain advancements belong to;and intellectual properties will be irrelevant to the 3D printing.

From the perspective described in the article (or your own if you disagree), what are the futures of copyright, trademark, patent, and trade secrets?

I think it definitely will affect the IP system that right now, but unlike the author has a concern about the future of Intellectual Properties, I keep optimism on the process. Our society are developing, whenever a brand new thing be invented or come out, it takes time to adapt and adjust to it. Like years ago people can download the musics or videos from the internet freely(In fact, you still can in China right now), there is such a grey area at that time. However, at present, there is a complete system about how to protect these products away from being copied or something. Therefore in my opinion, we shouldn't worry about the future, as the 3D printing is also in kind of starting period, we'll figure it out eventually.

How does Creative Commons fit into your perspective?

At first I didn't know what the Creative Commons is, so I looked up the Internet. Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. This will help the 3D printing find a place to both protect their works and continue the spirit of sharing.

Blog 9: Filament

1) We want to know the good, bad, and ugly with regard to suppliers. Who makes quality filament at a good cost? Who should we avoid?

As an international students I performed this research on both side of the world. Here is the two links I found for the filament price:


Chinese market


American market

These two are the best qualified suppliers can be found on the market for a good price. For the Chinese market price it's roughly $15/kg while the US market is $31/kg. They are both PLA material. I think the difference between the price may because China is the original place to manufacture the filament. It is way more easy to collect the material from the factory rather than transport oversea. But the quality overall is the same.


My suggestion is we stick with the PLA material. There are the reasons:

1. PLA will not bring disgusting smell when its burning

2. By using PLA, the edge of the object that you want to print will not tilt even if the bed is not heated.

3. PLA has a low rate of shrinkage, which will perform greatly on large object

4. PLA has a low melt strength, so the model will be easier to shape and the surface will be smooth.

Also, the PLA is bio-economic material which is very good to the environment.


If I'm going to buy the filament I would choose the second link which is from American market. Although it's more expensive, it is also very convenient.

Blog 10: Hot End

I found this page that compared all different types of hot ends on the Reprap Wiki. Here

There are three main aspects we need to focus:

1. Build material

Decide which material you want the hot end to be, metal, PEEK, or wood. For sure the metal has the highest melting point and I stull haven't figure out how wood can be possible to be used as hot tips but mostly we choose metal such as stainless steel or aluminum.

2. Filament size

Currently there are 2 main sizes of filament 1.75mm and 3mm. The 3mm filament need more force to extrude but will give you a more firmly object. Thus I suggest the 3mm filament.

3. Nozzle size

The last aspect is nozzle size which decide the accuracy of the object and the time you need to print out the same sized objects. By consideration the 0.35 is the best choice to buy.

Where to buy?

Hotend collection.jpg

On the left is a picture including all the possible hot ends from the Reprap wiki. There is one on the amazon called: 'Geeetech J-Head Hot End Hotend 0.35mm Nozzle for 3mm filament 3D Printer Reprap Prusa Mendel' here which cost $22 for it.

Blog 11: Show and tell

Since personally I haven't done any show and tell yet, I can't describe how the feeling when you stand in front of the class and explain what you find interesting about 3D printing. However, I did learn a lot from other students. There are several show and tell impressed me, first is using large 3D printer to build houses. I never thought this technology can be used in such a large scale and helps people. Although the house doesn't have a foundation but it's enough for the people who lost their houses in disaster and need a place to live. I will write a bonus blog about a company in Shanghai actually built 10 houses from this idea. Second one is the Kevin's show and tell. It is fascinating when you can print chocolate from the printer with the shape you want. And the best part is you can eat it! I'm planning to do the show and tell as soon as possible, one aspect is to get the XP, and the other is I can't wait to tell my classmates about the cool things I found for 3D printers.

Blog 12: Bonus blog

Back in 2011, University of Southern California Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis said new technology will soon allow massive 3D printers to build entire multi-level houses in under a day. Recently, a group of 3D printed houses, 200 m2 each, appears in Shanghai, China. These building were created entirely out of concrete using a gigantic 3D printer, and each costs only 30,000 RMB ($4,800).The company behind these 3D printed building, Shanghai WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co, said it has for years been working on developing the system and its materials. The company owns 77 national patents of construction materials, such as glass fiber reinforced gypsum and special glass fiber reinforced cement. WinSun's 150(L) x 10(W) x 6.6(H) m gigantic 3D printer is capable of printing entire building within hours. The 'ink' it used is based on high-grade cement and glass fiber. Like traditional 3D printers, the system carefully spills out those materials layer by layer, consistently building upward.




Blog 13: Response to Blog #5

Kevin Moyer

In Kevin's blog he thought the CNN article was overhyped. I disagree with that. In this article CNN mentioned the Reprap 3-D printer as :"A revolutionary machine that can copy itself and manufacture everyday objects quickly and cheaply could transform industry in the developing world." As we know CNN is a world-famous media. And given that there is an article publicized by them, it is a great opportunity to raise the reputation of 3-D printer.

Vinny Iachini

I really like the interesting thing that Vinny found on the RepRap timeline.Using the electronic waste to build up a 3-D printer. It's very economic and efficient. However, it was not so successful because of the functionality though.

Carson Geib

Carson talked about 3-D printing a gun or weapon. I think it's really cool if I can print a gun myself. However it may encounter many issues like federal laws. I don't think open source will have the information for people to print a GUN!!

Tom Vessa

I agree with Tom on the most important thing on the timeline is the Thingiverse website came online. It offers lots of customers a convenient way to share the ideas and an open sourced place to get the resource freely.

Dongao Yang

Dongao mentioned 3-D printing Titanium is little bit over-hyped. I cant agree with him on that. It is always exciting when we successfully have the technology to print metals, especially such a high standard metal.

Sam Carroll

It's interesting to hear about printing shells for a crab but it is unnecessary to put up on the timeline. Just another normal daily news.

Drew Golterman

The Charles Hull's role in technically creating the first "3D-Printer" is remarkable. If it wasn't him we may take much longer to use the 3-D printer and develop the technology we had right now.

Lee Schwartz

Same as Kevin, Lee thought the CNN article was too exaggerate. I disagree with him. Also 3-D printing food definitely will become more and more popular in the future.

Hao Yuan