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Sam Carroll's RepRap Wiki

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Main | My Printer | Class Blog

Blog 1: The cool place to spend hours searching for random things, no not Youtube, but Thingiverse

For those unfamiliar with Thingiverse, it is a huge online warehouse of files of 3D object people have designed. Why spend hours drafting something that has already been done? If you can't find what you need on Thingiverse, design it and consider uploading your creation yourself!

Something Amazing

I'm amazed.


Design Here: Chain

Something Funny and Strange

Come on it's a Jetpack Bunny, a lot of them!


Design Here: Jetpack Bunny Design

Something Useless

No Real use


Design Here: Minecraft Steve

Something Useful

GPS holder.jpeg

Design Here: Garmin Mount

Something that surprises me


Design Here: Chainmail

Blog 2: Open Source Ecology

What is open source ecology? Taken directly from their OSE Wiki, "Open Source Ecology is accelerating the growth of the next economy - the Open Source Economy - an economy that optimizes both production and distribution - while promoting environmental regeneration and social justice. We are building the Global Village Construction Set. This is a high-performance, modular, do-it-yourself, low-cost platform - that allows for the easy fabrication of the 50 different industrial machines that it takes - to build a small, sustainable civilization with modern comforts."

Basically their an organization, opperating under open source ideology, that is trying to create a DIY attitude and set of machines that will allow people to become more self sustainable and inprove their quality of life. Why buy huge expensive machinery that you need for whatever you're trying to accomplish, when you can build machines that will fulfil the task for a fraction of the cost? OSE opperates under the same ideology of RepRap, that open sourcing allowes individuals to innovate and create things that they need.

LifeTrac Tractor - Prototype III

Here is a link to a video of one of their tractor's. As a farmboy I find it quite primative. However, I can imagine how for people with less, it would be an amazing improvement to thier quality of life.""

I think that Emily Eakin's article is a disgrace to Open Source Ecology. If you watch this interviewwith Emily about what she intends for the article I think there is a huge gap bettween it and her article. In the interview she is sweet, and seems to suport the project. She says however that information about OSE has stayed in a heady, techy, educated circle of people, and the lay person hasn't had a chance to be informed and learn more. I think her article comes off as a more snobish view of the project than the project really is. She calls it radical, calls the farm 30 weed choked acres, she paints Marcin as a obsesive scientist in kahki's and button down shirt. I don't know what she thinks a layman is, or what she thinks he values, but she didn't write this article to garner support for the common man. As a common man I think Marcin sounds like a nice dressed snob trying to do man's work, some crazy scientist, living 15 miles from anywhere working on stuff. 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; Her husband is a professor at the Prestigious Brown University, she writes for the New Yorker. Come on..

Marcin's response on the wiki has simily tones to what I just said. No article is perfect, but he felt the need to write an eight point rebuttle to what was supposed to be a favorable article.

Open Source Ecology, is more than just a good idea in itself. It has created a paradigm that can be studied and replicated to boost inovation and creation. If this open source revolution is to really change the world, it needs to be adapted and replicated by more than people inside the OSE structure. If I was looking for faculty who might be interested in getting involved with something like this, my only suggestion would be Dr. Asbury of the chemistry department. I'm not sure how he feels about open source etc, but I know he is very intersted in technology. He does research with printing flexible photovoltaic cells like a newspaper. While he probably isn't willing to open up about his on going research, I definately respect his intelligence and his chemistry knowledge.

Blog 3: Bionic Hand

The following [ Article] is a story about a high school student who used local and online resources to print out a 3d hand for a small boy with a deformity. The 3-D hand grasps objects when the boy moves his wrist. This object can be found on thingiverse at this link: 3-D Hand File. The project was a team of two men, one in South Africa, and one in Washington State. In addition to overcomming physical handicaps, the men had to overcome time differences and thousands of miles bettween them. In January of 2012 I believe the first hand was 3d printed. Now the files are all available online.

Much of the story is available online as well in numerous places and articles: Blog Facebook Page CBS News Youtube: Makerbot & Robohand

Blog 4: Reflection and Peer Review of Blog 2

Everyone had a lot of their own opinions varrying interprestations on our 2nd Blog about Open Source Ecology. While I thought that my response was all encompasing, a few of my peers had other ideas or found better ways to convey certain points.

Team Members:

While I though that the projects were generally simple enough, Jess disagreed and thought that the designs were quite complicated and pointed out the fact that they require advanced machines like welders, cutting tools, etc.

Zack had other ideas about how the civilization starter kit can be used. He was skeptical about it's use for developed nations but thought it would be a good to help with overpopulation and growth, and also could be an economical way to quickly develop the moon or mars

I respect his opinion, and maybe others agree with him, but I thought that Nate missed the idea of the way that Marcin and the volunteers live and work. He doesn't see the need for them to live/work/build in the basically barbaric conditions that they do. He says that the project would move along faster if they used modern technology, facilities, and didn't try to do everything the hard way. Sure, as Nate says as long as the plans are out there and they build a working prototype, OSE has accomplished it's goal, but that's not how I think movements like this work. Why would anyone care Marcin was some high class engineer, sitting in a high tech lab building these machines? The idea is that it's a civilization starter kit. How can you prove that this is how civilization can be restarted unless you build it in the conditions that civilization would be rebuilt in. I think it adds authenticity the way that Marcin and the volunteers live and work in an "outdated" environment. It's real. Maybe it's because, I have plans to be a farmer and live this kind of life, and grew up watching my grandfather build all kinds of things like this in his shop, but I think it would be a great place to be. It's how real inovation is made.

Class Mates

Eva had some interesting thoughts about the final question about building a Penn State team. She thought it was a good idea, and would want to work with internationals. As the robohand project in blog 3 proved, it is a way to get things done that brings in opinions of people from different backgrounds. I mean how many people do any of us know who legitamately need or have a use for any of the kit machines? While there are problems in our society that we need to work on, a lot of obvious problems with great room for growth and improvement are avaible abroad. It just makes sense that anything for people abroad should have their opinions taken into consideration.

Carson noted something that I overlooked from Marcin: the value of hands on skills. It's really true, we had Industrial Tech clas back in middle school where we got some experience with woodworking, circuts, etc. The teachers would always comment on the number of people who can't hammer a nail. In a way that kind of proves Rousseau's thought, society has made man week. We rely on other people to do everything for us and only do a few specialized things for ourselves. In theory, this works well, especially from an economical perspective, but what if we didn't have those people to rely on. No one knows how to build anything. That's why I like this class more than any others. In other classes people might learn how an internal combustion engine, or a thermal couple, heat transfer, building a bridge, are all done in theory, but actually using any of them is a whole differnt ball game.

Dongao brougth up a point that I acknowledge but I don't think it's a good enough reason to not continue building awesome things like OSE is doing. He was really concerned with the safety of building such big machinery that has the ability to hurt someone if it malfunctions. I know bad things can happen, but I think the best solution isn't to be to afraid to try something new, but to move forward with caution. As long as you use your brain, and you're not an idiot, you can minimize risks.

I just really like a quote from Nam's blog that kind of correlates to the when every you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. He said "As the saying goes, there are many possible solutions for any problem."

Both Yuchao and Hao also noted the saftey issues, and liablity that could arise from using these machines. I thought it was strange that 3 of the people who's blogs I read mentioned this, but it never crossed my mind.

Blog 5: In the News

I think that the Jan 19, 2011 article about the creation of direct laser sintering of metal, DSLM, is critical to the future of 3-D printing. While plastic parts are good, if we think about the development of 3-D printers to an advanced stage, and maybe even the implementation of them in the average household, metal printing is a key step forward. In my mind metal printing is what would attract the people with the money to push development and research farther, industry and the government. With more cash from invested industries printing will no doubt be here to stay.

I thought that the article from Oct 5, 2011 is just strange, and really unhelpful to the advancement of 3D Printing. It's about printing shells for captive hermit crabs because of a shortage. I suppose if this is a probablem, it needs a solution. However, it isn't really groundbreaking in any sort of way that I see.

I was really attracted to the article that disgussed the use of 3D printers to make the models for a Chipotle commercial. I did an english paper about this commercial last year, and never knew, or never made the connection to the use of 3D printers. This would really, in my mind, help the still animation industry, because lots of time and money goes into crafting models. 3-D printing would drastically cut down on costs, and spead turnaround time. It may be able to turn around the industry.

Blog 6: PSU 3-D Utopia

Current Status:

In response to the question of where do I see our little RepRap Printing Group going, I'm going to begin with a big picture analysis of how I see things currently, and how I see them going in the idealized future. So, what do we already have? We have a club and class, which may or may not continue after this semester; we have a substantial stockpile of functioning printers, parts, and equiptment; and most importantly, we have a lot of enthusiastic young minds and engineers with various bacgrounds and skillsets. What we don't have is a large number of extremely well running precise printers, and there isn't a solid direction that we're headed in. Now I am a fan of the open ended style of this class, as it allows for ambitious students to pursue whatever their interest may be. However, I think having a goal or an aim is important so as to establish a focus for people to work toward and make accomplishments toward. Right now we have a lot of people working on individual or small group projects, but mainly, or atleast our group, spends all of our time trying to get our printer to work... So, now's the time to talk about Sam's Utopian ideal for a 3-D printing program here at Penn State.

Future of RepRap:

I believe that 3-D printing is the way of the future and that we are at the forefront of a manufacturing revolution. Technologies are spreading, but remain costly and sparsely used. I feel like working in the field of 3-D printers now is like working on computers before the 90's. I've finally had a chance to check out the 3-D printers at the learning factory, and they're really nice. Anyways, there are already large, accurate, precise, expensive industrial/commercial 3-D printers. It would be a waste of time to think that RepRap's are going to take over the that marketshare. We have to acknowledge and work to in our niche, inexpensive, at home, personal 3-D printers for useful household items and decorations. The qualities that the ideal printer for that scenario would have are: low cost, faster, easy to use, reliable, creates structurally sound and visually attractive parts, and can run unattened for long prints. That's where I see RepRap going, and I think we should shoot for those goals ourseleves.

Future of the Class/Club:

Since, since we're not commercially producing printers, we need to slightly adjust our aims (I think the following would be good ideas for the club as well). In order to remain solvent we need to make it clear that we're not just another project on the budget, and a use of valuable space. We can make ourselves to valuable to get ride of by taking advantage of two things: offering a service to the community, and continually prove that we're innovating and creating valuable additions to the 3-D printing community. In regards to serving the community, we already run the print service, but we should offer our skills even more. I feel like we should hold maybe semester or montly information sessions to spread the word, inform more people about 3-D printing, new advances, the impact that it can have on the future, and ways to get involved. The best way to make sure a technology stays around is go get younger people involved, so maybe we could tailor presentions appicable to the highschool, or even middle school level. On the topic of innovation and advancing current technology, Penn State is a huge research university, and loves people at the cutting edge that are creating new things, writing about them, and increasing the prestige of the university. I'm actually extremely surprised at the idea that the department feels like they don't have a reason to keep us around. If we were to get something published about the work that we do, I think it would help to establish ourselves. My suggestions would be a write up in the Collegian, or The Center Daily Times, on the club/class/makespace and how we're studying the technology of the future. Also, I'm not saying I want to write one, but an actual academic paper on the strenght tests I think is not only a great paper, but it's also information that is valuable to the community. The wiki is a another great resource, and should be developed and updated further.

The Plan:

The logical question becomes what do I see actually needing to happen to make these things starting to happen. I've learned from printing with our printer, and by printing on the nicer working ones in the class, that the key to a printer that makes good prints is having a printer made from good parts. Should be common sense, but too much of our time is spent bandaging old problems and rebuilding systems. So, I suggest that there be a maintained fleet of a few printers composed of great parts that print round things. Establishing, and retaining these printers will allow for the creation of quality parts that will lead to more quality printers. That is one thing that will make us more solvent. We need to be as self sufficient as possible, so getting the used filament recycling system up and running is a priority. The proposed system is composed of two parts, a grinder that will hopefully create plastic bits small enough to go into the second part, the actual plastic melter and filament extruder.

         Goal: Remain Solvent
         How: Make the Program too Valuable to Dissolve
         Plan to Increase Value:
           A)  Offer services and be a benefit to the community
               1. Print Service
               2. Information Sessions / Printing Summits
               3. Education Outreach to Youth
           B)  Get Acknowledged
               1. Be Innovators
               2. Get articles in news/magazine/web
               3. Publish Academic Research Papers

This may not exactly fit the assigned prompt, but it's the bigger picture that I think I'm good at analyzing. I also believe the previous material is benificial in it's own way. I'm open to thoughts, comments, and additions from the community.

Blog 7: Creating Low-Cost Scientific Equiptment

During your high school and college years, or maybe at work, wasn’t there some cool lab equipment or just fun “Toys” that looked really expensive and impossible to get for yourself? What if you could create your own science lab equipment, electronic devices, and other research equipment? Well, with the growth of 3-D printing over recent years, people have proved that you can do just that. Often times, the reason that science equipment is so expensive is because only one or two companies produce it, and because they have a corner on the market, they can charge whatever exorbitant price they want. There isn’t anywhere else you’re going to go get a Digital Colorimeter. But now there is! Professor Josh Pearce of Michigan Tech, in collaboration with other has developed an open source colorimeter for $50 instead of $2,000. That’s 2.5% the price of the commercial version! It has been proven to not only work, but be nearly as accurate as the $2,000 instrument. Here is an article that highlights the benefits of creating low cost lab equipment, and it highlights the colorimeter as the main example: Low Cost Lab Kits

 Here is a $50 colorimeter by Josh Pearce of Micigan Tech

Why wouldn't you want to make equipment that can be used to assist in learning, or catalyze research? It's a great idea. Some things that The Penn State SCRUG has created are the paste extruder, bionic hand, and we've developed our own hot tips.

For anyone interested in creating the colorimeter: $50 Colorimeter

In addition to developing the colorimeter, Joshua Pearce has written a book about creating low cost research equipment called Open Source Lab: How to Build your Own Hardware and Reduce Research Costs:

For any non PSU readers Amazon Review

For PSU students, Library Location

Another amazing resource that researching this blog has led me to is Appropedia! It is a website dedictated to, "Our vision is that all of humanity is able to work together developing and realizing rich, sustainable lives. We build the infrastructure, and help make the connections and populate free content to effect that vision. We provide the living resource library of individuals and organizations working towards a sustainable, healthier future, so that efforts can be spent evolving instead of duplicating past efforts. We briefly capture our vision and mission in this way,

Sharing knowledge to build rich, sustainable lives.

Here is another interesting article on student who created an atomic force microscope How to build a low-cost AFM nanoscope out of LEGO + Arduino board Nanoscope2.png

I think that we could print the structure and brackets for this project, it isn't too hard. By the looks of it, and the article they still used lots of consumer electronics and other microscope parts. I'm not knocking what they did, because it is quite an accomplishment. I am saying I don't think it would be much harder than building one of our printers. The problem is that it doesn't have the method open source on how they built the design.

Blog 8: The Future of Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property3.jpg

We were tasked with reading the following article, 3-D Printing and the Future (or Demise) of Intellectual Property. I found the article quite interesting, not necessarily for its IP info, but for reopening my mind to the capabilities and future of 3-D Printing.

The article creates this possible future world where mass production is no longer needed; where things are printed where they're needed, when they're needed, by those who need them; and where IP rights could dissolve away as a vestigial structure of the past. They make a good points using the 5 Is of why IP, especially patents, will become pretty futile.

5 Is Infringement: when anyone can 3D print things with virtually any functionality, the risk of IP infringement away from control will become increasingly high. Identification: infringement away from control will be increasingly difficult to identify. Impractical or Impossible: it will be increasingly impractical or impossible to enforce IP against infringement away from control. Irrelevant: IP will become increasingly irrelevant.

As far as the future of IP goes, I think that we're thinking about this in a functionally fixed way. The whole idea of IP is so companies can make money over their competitors. The reason people need money is to buy things. If people don't have to buy things, they don't need money. If they don't need money, where's the incentive to create some silly invention and profit off of it. IP limits the advance of innovation. It prolongs the time it takes for people to be able to adapt and change the way things work. I agree that for some things it will be hard to protect the IP rights. However I believe that companies will still be able to make money. I don't see the world where everyone is printing everything they need coming any time soon.

From what I could gather, I think that CC is a good idea to continue if not just prolong some IP right retention. Creative Commons (CC) allows creators to retain some rights while allowing use of their materials on a limited basis. For example, this could allow people to adapt a design or other limited use. This way people can still claim ownership, but not be total jerks.

It's hard to argue with that logic, but I'm not sure that all the points made in the article are necessarily true. It made the point that if you could have a generic substitute for a smart phone or such, why would you buy the real one? Well, you can buy generics of any medicine, and people still pay more for the same medicine that iis branded and formulated with extra aesthetic additives. Even though I don't have one, some smart phones are a work of art. They are visually appealing and the status quo. I find it hard to believe that people will be just printing out smartphones anytime in the near future. Could all of this innovation and technology happen enough to the point where you could sure. However, does everyone necessarily want to? I don't think so. This article's ideas are a bit too stuck in the old cliché of, If you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. 3-D printing some objects just doesn't seem as economical as current methods. Like are we really going to print out steel I beams to build a house some day? I don't know.

While I don't see the breakdown of mass manufacturing happening anytime soon, to those who find a problem with it get over it and think about the big picture. Most people who are concerned with current situations changing are those who benefit from mass manufacturing and don't want things to change. Well, they are the ones in the best position with the most capital to adapt and continue to make money doing something else. Exon acknowledges the fact that oil won't last/be used forever; they are one of the largest investors and builders of wind farms. The acknowledge that times change. There will always be ways to make money, it's just about adapting to the current way things are done and finding your niche in that system.

Blog 9: Filament Sourcing

When it comes to filament it's not as simple as it may seem. There are many considerations for buying quality filament besides price. Here is an article from boot industries about the need for, and how to determine high quality filament. Filament Comparison Highlights I found interesting from this article are, reasons to choose PLA or ABS, the diameter of the spool should be >100 mm to ease unspooling, it must stay dry to prevent water absorption, and a good tolerance for diameter is .05 mm.

This article by HackADay includes a chart with statistical data comparing prices for PLA in August of 2013. Price Comparision Aug 2013 It lists kbellenterprises, Matter Hackers, Just PLA, Maker Geeks, Monoprice, and 3D printing supplies as suppliers cheaper than 1 STD below the mean. It list the more intstitutionalized suppliers as greater than 1 std above the mean, Ultimachine, MakerGear, and Makerbot. Interestingly enough, 1kg of PLA 3mm filamet is $35.95/kg from Maker Geeks, while 1kg of 3mm PLA from Ultimachine is $42/kg. Both of these suppliers have an advertised tolerance of 0.1 mm.

My endorsement is for Makergeeks. I'm waiting for some filament from them to try for myself, but I like their prices, the forums seem to have favorable things to say about them, they have variety filament packs and sampler packs for exotic materials, and they also offer quantities of strange filaments beside pla and abs (wood, sandstone...) They also have decent kits to get what you need if you're building printers.

This supplier, althgough it is through ebay, They have over 3,000 positive reviews and 13 negative, they are the cheapest supplier of filament fo my knowledge 27.95/kg Kbellenterprises

This supplier,Monoprice has bulk pricing and is comparable in price to the cheapest, especially when bought in bulk.

Blog 10: Hot End Sourcing

The hot tips for 3-D printing have came a long way in the recent years. The new extruders are turning towards using all metal parts which opens up a whole new array of printable materials.

Here is the link to an all metal hotend available for a relatively cheap price. It also has pretty detailed plans for how to make one. We could theoretically make this design ourselves. $25 DIY Metal Hotend

This is the alternative end of the spectrum, and goes to show you the things that people will fork over money for. $289 All Metal Fancy Extruder

A wide variety of options exist, the perfect extruder will offer the best accuracy and reliability for your money.

Blog 11: Show & Tell Discussion

I was really interested in the presentation this week by Carson, I found out more about the troubles when manufacturing our hot tips. I thought this was a really great point because the thing people often complain about engineers for most is that they can design great things that work in theory, but either can't be made or won't work in the real world. Having this knowledge going into the working world that things won't always work the way you designed them is invaluable. I thought it was also interesting to learn more about how the bowden extruder works, and I think it's a really great idea.

Blog 12: Peer Review of Blog 5

Jess Mewkalo:

Ben Gorenc:

I disagree with Ben's comments on the President's speech being useless. While politicians really know nothing, they still decide where lots of government funding goes. Attention from someone like the president pushes the issue further into the light for many other investors as well.

Nate Myer:

Zack Cameron:

Eva Abeniacar:

Carson Geib:

Drew Golterman:

Vincent Iachini:

Yuan Chai:

Blog 13: Peer Review of Blog 7

Jess Mewkalo:

Ben Gorenc: Ben seemed pretty excited about the opportunities and I was too, but I've looked and there isn't that much out there yet. I don't know what I want to be there, but I thought there would be more designs out.

Nate Myer:

Zack Cameron:

Eva Abeniacar:

Carson Geib:

Drew Golterman:

Vincent Iachini:

Yuan Chai:

Blog 14: Peer Review of Blog 8

Jess Mewkalo:

Ben Gorenc: Ben noted that one person had experience with excess oil in filament that wouldn't stick to the bed. This is something that I hadn't heard of before.

Nate Myer:

Zack Cameron:

Eva Abeniacar:

Carson Geib:

Drew Golterman:

Vincent Iachini:

Yuan Chai:

Blog 15: Peer Review of Blog 11

Jess Mewkalo:

Ben Gorenc: Ben thought that Kevin's show and tell on 3D printing food was the coolest and I have to disagree. Sure printing food is a cool novelty, and it may have some applications. I see it more as being used negitively as a novelty way to make things more expensive just to say I'm eating something 3-D printed. Why would we want to do that. Yeah chocolate is cool, but he also says what if Mcdonalds started printing burgers one day? I have huge issues with industrial food and believe in more natural and healthy foods. This is an artificial step that I don't see the benefit of yet.

Nate Myer:

Zack Cameron:

Eva Abeniacar:

Carson Geib:

Drew Golterman:

Vincent Iachini:

Yuan Chai:

Bonus Blog: The Workings of Innovation

How does Innovation happen? How do new ideas come about? What types of environments are conducive to innovation? What restricts innovation? The following is a brief study into these quesitons and an analysis of conventional "creative environments" and their ability or inability to promote innovation.

What is/isn't innovation? First of all, Innovation in creating new things that are of value to society. Innovation is creating NEW products. While Samsung is quite successful as a bussiness, they aren't really innovating the've merely copied what's sucessful and taken advantage of their ability to have rapid product cycles. Their turn around time for products they offer is comparably short. However, they're simply taking what has worked before, making small changes and profiting. This is not innovation, innovation is creating and finding new ways and products.

What hinders innovation? Innovation is hampered by fear: fear of loosing money, fear of not producing results, fear of failure.

Seek to satisfy the needs of people. People are closed minded and only see incrimental improvements on what they already have. So innovate by looking at what they need, and build a something that satisfies that need. Don't try to fix whatever broken system they already have. Start from nothing, not from what is already out there and doesn't work. That is how true innovation works. The Delta bot 3-D printers are nothing like the typical x,y,z system. You don't think to turn a Mendel into a Delta. They're too dissimilar.

Sources: [1]

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