Hello! I am Andrew Selzer a Computer Science major in Section 001 for EDSGN 497D of Fall 2012.
Things I have worked on!
M8 Hex Nut.
A Better Nickel Calibration Test.
[Extra Blog H] - If someone came up to me, and asked me: “So, what good are these 3D printer things, anyway? Why would I want to have one?” I would reply first with it is a convenient way to replace small components of things that otherwise would be difficult to replace. An example of this can be the breakable smaller pieces of any furniture one can purchase at IKEA. In addition they are useful as a way of creating prototypes for engineering projects at an affordable cost to individuals in the academia world or at a discount for employees of companies.
There is also a wide application in the field of science to allow individuals to conduct experiments without having to have grants to fund their research. An example of this is the Mullis project which allows individuals to conduct genetic experiments without purchasing expensive PCR machines which can run in the thousands. To quote wikipedia, "Other applications would include creating open-source scientific equipment  or used for other science-based applications like reconstructing fossils in paleontology, replicating ancient and priceless artifacts in archaeology, reconstructing bones and body parts in forensic pathology and reconstructing heavily damaged evidence acquired from crime scene investigations."
[Extra Blog B] - I think there are better ways to structure the class time. The current description of course EDSGN 497D is "EDSGN 497D Open Source 3D Prining (3) Students build, test, and redesign open-sourse 3D printers, design models, and run a 3D printing service." The thing is students currently do not have to do all of these within the course to pass. Either the description for the course should be altered or the course should be altered to ensure students fulfill all of these descriptions by the end of the course.
The blog idea I think would be better replaced by requiring students writing papers on topics within engineering & 3D printing. Often one of the criticisms within the engineering department is that students often have sub-par writing skills. By having a writing portion of the class that students have to write with a professional manner, it allows for the course to have an added value of contributing a learning opportunity which is lacking in the majority of their classes. An example of this could be have students read this article: http://www.geek.com/articles/geek-cetera/3d-printed-baseball-bat-proves-perfectly-durable-20120916/. After reading the article have a prompt that says, "Write a 12 Times New Roman font double-spaced paper on potential everyday objects that can be replicated 3D printing and why or why not that would be a viable option. Use a minimum of two reliable sources in this paper."
In terms of the design process the papers I suggested above could be an excellent venue to combat this criticism. A prompt can ask something as simple as "Identify a need which could effectively be fulfilled by a use of a 3D printer, in this paper research this problem and develop one or more solutions using 3D printers." This addresses the first three parts of the engineering design process while allowing students to work on their writing abilities.
In response to the question asking if I would prefer locked or unlocked firmware for a self-driving car I would say this is a question that is making me choose the lesser of two evils. As a computer science major and programmer of course I want open firmware because I would want to be able to go in and understand the technology behind my car. However if I allowed someone to work on my car you would bet I would only signed contractual documents that would allow me to sue the living hell out of anyone who attempted to alter my car to their personal needs.
The second question is something that is currently debated in the programming community to this day which is open source versus closed source. I would say it depends upon the organization which produces the code, many companies like Intel/Sun Microsystems has successful products in which the majority of their code is closed-source. However they have the resources of highly-paid and qualified programmers who will spend their time to review and test the code. If a company was not well funded and do not have the resources of a company such as Intel, Open Source would be a much better option because using the online community would be a much more effective way of having a well tested product.
If the U.N. asked you to develop a sketch of a regulatory framework for 3D printing, I would decline. One could write guidelines, but trying to write a regulatory framework to be enforced by some governing body would be a naive dream at best and would be similar to trying to regulate people painting with brushes or drawing with pencils.
Doctorow's predictions for the future are plausible or likely because as he says, "[...]yet those people who are experts in policy and politics, not technical disciplines, nevertheless, often do manage to pass good rules that make sense, and that's because government relies on heuristics -- rules of thumbs about how to balance expert input from different sides of an issue." Ignorance is the root of many problems, as long as we have people in government writing and deciding upon policies in which they lack the knowledge to make informed decisions about will lead to unrealistic and poor policies and laws.
I do not believe the copyright law can be won. Unfortunately when it comes to politics unless if someone is attempting to commit a grave injustice, often whoever has the deeper pockets to lobby and petition the government to sway in their favor wins. The direction to go from the legal direction would be to raise awareness about the poor choices being made in terms of copyright law. In the illegal direction the hacktivist community will likely distribute methods to undermine the government and prove the futility of their laws.
My impression is if it has commercial viability by all means people should cater to this market. At the very least it is publicity for 3D printers. Personally I wouldn't buy one because I already have enough clutter in my house, however my mother would be likely to by kitsch like this. This is definitely viable business model, wax hand castings have sold for years so this should work as well. In the future prices for this may be driven down because if 3D printers become more common place the only advantage stores like this will have is individuals who are more highly trained at operating printers.
I think this would be an appropriate learning tool for high school level students and possibly 6th through 8th grade if adult supervision was added for STEM based education. Last semester I took an engineering elective class SCIED/ENGR 497C that was a collaborative class between engineering and education majors. The goal for the education majors was to understand the idea of integrating technology into their STEM based classes. For engineering majors our goal was to understand how education worked for science related concepts and how to simplify ideas in engineering at a level that non technical people and young children could grasp.
One important concept I learned from the class is the quickest way to bridge the gap between considering mathematics/science as this intimidating concepts that are only for "smart people" to understand is having visuals or hands-on experience for your target audience. With 3D printers the designs students make are no longer just visual representations on a pixel screen but real objects one can interact with.
A future where 3D technology is more widespread I can envision several developments. The first would be the ability for individuals to have more customized cubicles and rooms. An example of this would be how many desks have you seen at Penn State with miniature replicas of the Lion Shrine? Individuals would easily be able to recreate works of art or things that inspire them to decorate their desks or homes.
In addition the world of board game development would be more open to individuals entering the market because anyone with creativity, skill for game design, and artistic skill or friends that can do that could develop their own versions of popular board games such as Warhammer 40k or Risk. Figurines for these games which traditionally come in sometimes expensive kits can be easily printed and assembled.
A change we may not expect though is the increase of price of hand-crafted goods. Because things that are already manufactured in factories will become even more available, the value of products which take time by humans to produce could increase.
1. I think a library could definitely benefit by having a fabrication lab/makespace. However it would have to be implemented in an environment that is appropriate to have a lab. There would definitely need to be some sort of supervision or training program before using the printers otherwise they could be damaged by careless or outright malicious users. In addition they would have to be put in enclosed environments in order to not disturb other library patrons.
I am familiar with the Paterno/Pattee Library, Engineering Library, Mathematics Library, as well as the Allen St. Library. I would say out of the libraries on the list the engineering library/mathematics library would be the best choices. However I am unsure if either library has the space for an idea like this to be physically implemented.
1. Yes it does support my argument because to quote the article, "It has all the makings of the much-maligned digital rights management (DRM) system that prevented copying of Apple iTunes tracks - until it was abandoned as a no-hoper in 2009." (Marks) Government can attempt to regulate this all the they want but it is highly unlikely any organization has the resources to regulate every 3D printer in the world.
2. The technological world might find a use for it, but if it does I hope it is under a different patent then a company that is essentially a patent troll.
1. The implications I can imagine resulting from being able to create optical sensing devices is the ability to make devices with an interactive experience. This could range from entertainment devices, safety mechanisms for manufacturing, to even military applications.
3. The first applications that I might use for these are a display of the amount of pressure on a level/switch when it has pressure on it.
1. I think bio-printing if standardized and heavily tested could be a useful tool in the health care industry. However liability issues that would arise from using the products of these machines would definitely be a concern.
2. I could see it being used for bio-research but I think it would be utilized by higher end commercial machines for awhile before it trickles down to DIY machines. The reason for this being is because higher end commercial machines are often standardized and not as susceptible to the issues that arise in DIY 3D printers because of the individual nature of each printer.
1. My first reaction would be to consult legal advice and see if any contracts or agreements signed for the machine was broken.
2. I truly think while you can use scare tactics to attempt regulate it, ultimately if someone is dead-set on manufacturing something with their 3D printer they will get hold of the resources they need through legal or illegal means.
3. Other 3D printable constructs that may warrant similar attention/derision/prohibition are components used in military grade weapons. This is not just limited to guns but missile technology, tank components, and the list could go on. Because these are utilized as not just trade secrets, but national security issues it could cause a lot of controversy if an individual attempted to replicate them.
My opinion on Makerbot's position until the dust settles is simply wait. It is a rash to make a decision based on hearsay and not on facts. If what is speculated is true though, the open-source open replicator community does have something to worry about.
To quote a user named idolcrasher from this article,
"The ethical dilemma here is that MakerBot has a website which collects open-source ideas, while running a business that sells closed source products. " - idolcrasher at Thingiverse from a Different Viewpoint
Though after reading this article by Thingaverse's lawyer I am inclined to believe for now the community is just having temporarily a backlash reaction. However as a Computer Science major I see a great problem in their drastic change of the Terms of Services (TOS) without a tactful manner of informing their user base about it. It is disrespectful at best and insidious at worst.
1. I think they will only attempt to enact DRM on digital printing if it becomes a significant enough factor that it cuts into companies that benefit from DRM profits. However like with currently DRM it will have limited effectiveness at best and only effectively work as a scare tactic. No one currently has the resources to monitor the use of every 3D printer in current existence for illegal activity.
2. My two things I have a passion for are computer science and swing dancing. While both have the ability to earn me money, computer science tends to lend itself more in that department. Whereas having the ability to dance is usually more conducive to impressing women.
However I find the author's viewpoint that it is individuals with an intellectual background makes them unattractive to potential mates a naive generalization at best. I know people with an intellectual background (engineers/scientists/et cetera) who are fairly successful with attracting the gender of their choice. What I find is many people with these backgrounds suffer from a lack of social awareness. Bowyer writes, "[...]why we all want to tell people any inspired idea as soon as it comes into our heads.". I had a friend who is a biology major with a specialization in flora who would go on... and on to women he just met about whatever floral experiment he was involved with at the lab. In result he would bore women to tears and he was confused of why things never worked out for him. Many individuals with these scientific/intellectual backgrounds get so obsessed with their work they lack the social context to interact with others outside of their fields in my opinion.
3. I think that intellectual property as a concept being challenged is a likely probability if 3D printers become a mainstream device. However I think it is dependent upon how intellectual property law develops along with it, one should never underestimate the craftiness of lawyers.
Personally I am against the ending of intellectual property simply because it ensures artists receive compensation for their work. There are individuals/companies that currently exploit the system as it exists, however I think it is outweighed by the individuals that have a lively hood and can continue in their artistic endeavors because of it.
1. I think Boywer's goal of a ‘self-replicating universal constructor’ is feasible, however several obstacles remain in the way. First would be legal issues that may arise, what would stop people from obtaining blue-prints for popular commercial products by illegal means then creating far cheaper imitation products. Second obstacle goes hand in hand with the first obstacle which is businesses attempting to lobby government and use their wealth to prevent this device from taking business from them. Solar power, electric powered cars, and other newer industries deal with the problem of existing businesses attempting to prevent them from becoming successful. The last obstacle is certain materials/components of this constructor are difficult to self-replicate with current technology because of either the assembly process or the materials required.
2. Wealth without money means the idea that one can have a certain standard of living without having to have an income at a certain level. It's the idea of giving each individual the ability to produce what not just want they need, but even what they want. In terms of the RepRap project, it's the idea that with this ‘self-replicating universal constructor’ one can literally produce things they need in their everyday life from brooms to other constructor devices.
The biggest implication I see from this advancement in technology is if the material to produce these devices are cheap then an excess of waste because people would produce objects on whims. In addition perhaps durability of things would become less of a priority since they could be easily replaced. An interesting side effect I would think would be an increase in the value of art, in a world where anything can be manufactured electronically perhaps things manufactured by hand would take on a new value.
3. I think the RepRap project will evolve in the future in different ways. First will be the introduction of new materials that can be used by the machines. ABS and Polylactic acid are currently the two most used materials in RepRap machines, however recent successes have been made in creating ceramics. With some research and development, I think the utilization of different materials can open up many new possibilities for these machines are able to create. While the RepRap community encourages experimentation as part of an open source community I think another way the project can make signification leaps and bounds is standardization. If a machine built in a certain way to specification can create predictable results when creating certain products, this may open up the RepRap project to becoming more viable for rapid manufacturing.