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Blog 1: Thingiverse

We had to explore around on thingiverse and find different items.

Exhaust Compressor Wheels.jpeg

Something that is amazing

This is something I think is amazing, and could be very useful for an engineering demonstration if a prototype turbo was in the design process. I have a turbo that I modeled in SolidWorks and was not sure if the 3D printers would have the ability to print all the parts for it, but clearly they are fully capable of doing so.


Something that is funny

I think this is pretty funny because I follow a website called "TheChive" which has a lot of t-shirts, novelties etc. for Bill Murray. I always thought Bill Murray was really funny, especially in Caddyshack and wouldn't ya know it...somebody already has a 3D printer ready keychain!

Deer Ring.jpg

Something that is useless

Besides being somewhat funny, this ring is absolutely useless in my opinion. It's going to get caught on everything, and be in the way. Just don't.

Plastic Buckle.jpeg

An item that is useful

I like making paracord bracelets, but it's not always easy to find plastic buckles that curve to the shape of a person's wrist, so with 3D printing one could choose customizable radiuses for a specific person or just make one anytime the buckles break. In my case, my roommate's dog destroyed mine!

NeoPixel Coat Buttons.jpeg

Something which surprised me

This definitely surprised me as I was browsing through Thingiverse. I thought it was a pretty cool idea though if you want to stand out in a crowd at night!

Blog 2: Marcin Jakubowski's Open Source Ecology Project

Question 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.

Response to Question A: After watching the short video presentation by Marc Jakubowski on the OSE project my first impressions were both positive and negative. My first positive impressions came about when Marc admitted to being useless with his hands, in the sense that he could not build or create any physical piece of equipment. I often find that many people who live in their minds, and can prove mathematical theories, derivations etc. do not place any value on those others who are just the opposite. Those opposites are people who have a tough time grasping difficult concepts in their mind, but can build just about anything with their hands, and get practical work done. So, it was nice to see somebody as brilliant as Marc admit that those hands-on skills are extremely valuable, and take the time to learn and understand them to the best of his ability. I personally believe that developing both aspects is extremely important, and produces some of the best engineers.

It also left a positive impact on me that he was not only willing to humble himself by learning those hands on skills, but then took the time to create open source blue prints with instructions on how to build essential equipment for a self-sustaining society. Most people who come up with good ideas just want to cash in right away, sell out and leave the project they started behind them. However, I think Marc truly has a good heart and means well with his intentions to help developing/underdeveloped countries create a self-sustainable society with what seems to have an ultimate goal of ending starvation.

The one negative thought that was running through my mind while the video was quickly highlighting some of Marc’s equipment, specifically his tractor, was that his lack of experience in the field may lead him to believe that he has designed an adequate piece of machinery, but in reality it is anything but that. Just because it has four wheels with chains providing decent traction and a motor does not necessarily qualify it as an adequate tractor. As an agricultural engineer, things such as drawbar pull, floatation, compaction, weighting, and a PTO for implement attachment points are some of the first things that crossed my mind when I got a quick glance at his “tractor” that he built in six days. Will his equipment work on a very small scale for the “average joe” who wants to tinker around and start their own farm? Probably. Is it a better solution for a third world country with limited resources, and better than pulling a plough with a donkey? Absolutely. Will his equipment hold up for anything more than that? I am highly skeptical. I did find a more recent video (2011) of Marc outlining his project in more detail, as well as some of the plans for his machines. After watching this video, I do have a bit more confidence that they will meet the job requirements because he claims that each machine will meet industry field testing and specification standards. However, I am still skeptical of how the cost analysis was done for the machines. Starting at 2:56 in the video, a chart is displayed comparing the cost of his machines to comparable machines used in industry. According to his chart, it looks like the cost of a skid loader built is only a couple hundred bucks?! I do condone the fact that he is developing CAD models for each piece of equipment, and has even hired developers full time provide free CAD software for the builds.

Question 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.

In response to the New Yorker article: I think the author is poking a lot of fun at Marcin, which I guess is necessary to keep the attention of the audience as a journalist. I don’t think I would be so hard on somebody who is trying to do something for a good reason. However, some of the cracks at Marcin and his utopian self-sufficient community are valid points. I also had a hunch that Marcin is probably having trouble finding qualified workers to help construct his projects which seems to have been confirmed in this article. I can’t really say if I like or dislike the article. I am indifferent.

In response to Marcin’s New Yorker article response: I really liked how Marcin responded to the heavy criticism of the New Yorker article. He thoroughly broke down each point of criticism that the author of the New Yorker article brought up, and either defended himself/his community or elaborated on how they are making progress. For example, the author of the New Yorker article basically stated that the workers that typically come to help Marcin are highly unqualified to perform the necessary hands on work. Marcin admitted that this is sometimes a problem, and specifically outlined that he and his team are doing their best to continually upgrade the living spaces of the Factor e Farm so that it attracts better candidates. He also specified that his project is more than just for self-sufficient communities, which definitely made it more clear to me what his goals are. Also, after viewing the video Marcin had embedded in his response to the New Yorker article which highlights the progress made in 2013, I have higher hopes for his machines. They clearly have been able to perform their function, but I still would like to know the true reliability of his rudimentary craftsmanship. Marcin's 2013 progress video can be found here. I had to join vimeo to view the video, so if it does not play right away, that is probably why.

Question 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?

Response to Question C: If an OSE student club or something similar were started at Penn State I can think of one professor that would be interested. His name is Douglas Schaufler and I am currently enrolled in his class which covers internal combustion engines for agricultural applications. The class covers all types of engine platforms from small Briggs and Stratton gasoline engines that would be used in something like a lawn mower, to heavy duty diesel engines that can power large tractors, agricultural equipment and could provide adequate power generation for a small community. The class not only covers design theories and practices, but also has a designated lab time for tearing down engines and rebuilding them to their original state. The professor who teaches the class has had thirty plus years of experience working at Caterpillar, one of the most successful large industrial equipment manufacturers in the world and is extremely knowledgeable in the field. He also has done extensive research for Penn State in alternative fuels such as vegetable oil and biodiesel for compression ignition engines. These fuels are renewable and widely available through the fermentation of natural sugars available from crop waste/residue such as the corn stalk or leaf. If properly refined, these alternative fuels can serve the same purpose as current petroleum products that we rely on foreign countries for. This professor also grows his own fruits and vegetables as the seasons allow, so he is knowledgeable in proper crop management and harvesting techniques.

Blog 3: Kanas City Teen Makes 3D Printed Prosthetic

Who created this design and when/where was it done? - Ivan Owen originally designed the 3-D printer “Robohand” with Richard Van As, a South African woodworker. Richard Van As was originally inspired to make a prosthetic for himself after losing a finger in a shop accident. Then, he found Ivan Owen, a puppet designer who worked with elaborate extremity functions and the two came together through online communications to design the 3-D printer "Robohand".

If you wanted to make one, where would you go to get it? - The files for the 3D printed prosthetic hand are on thingiverse!

How many news articles can you find which reference this technology? - A quick Google search found many, many related articles. Here are just a few...

Dad Uses 3D Printer To Make His Son A Prosthetic Hand

Using 3-D printing to address the need for prosthetics in Uganda

3D printed prosthetics: How a $100 arm is giving hope to Sudan’s 50,00 War Amputees

Teen’s inexpensive 3-D Printed Prosthetic could Aid Amputees in Third World

Prosthetic Hands that can be made from $5 to $1000 dollars

Faith in humanity restored!

Blog 4: Reviewing Classmates' Responses to Marcin's OSE Project

After reading many of my classmates’ responses to Marcin’s OSE project I found that I had many thoughts/ideas in common as well as many differences. The first response that I read (Drew Golterman) made me think of something that I had not discussed in my response. He did not necessarily mention this in his response, but after reading his I thought it would be interesting to conduct a study on how much it will cost a person to buy all the tools necessary to make one of his simplistic machines, versus how much it would cost to buy the machine. If a person is planning on making more than one of the machines, then in my opinion it would be worth investing in the proper tools. However, if it is a one time and done shot at building one of his machines to save some money, it may be more expensive to buy all the necessary tools than it would be to buy for example, a consumer brand skid loader.

One point that Kevin Moyer made that I thought was a great point and was worth including in this response was that if something critical were to fail on one of the machines, a person who just blindly followed an instruction manual may not know how to diagnose or troubleshoot the problem. This would result in long down times of the machines, and if they are critical to the crop production or survival of a small community then obviously this could create a huge problem. However, I think it is great that Marcin is holding workshops to formally educate more and more people on the design, maintenance and troubleshooting methods for his machines. I was not aware of this or must have not picked up on it in the most recent video I watched as Kevin shared.

I also read Sam Carroll’s response, and found it very useful with the links he provided to the overview of the OSE tractor progression as well as the link he provided to the interview of Emily Eakin. I was kind of shocked when I watched the in person interview of Emily Eakin because all her comments, ideas and views on the OSE project seemed very positive during the interview video. However, as we all know from reading her article, her views and thoughts written for the New Yorker article were very condescending and pessimistic. In my opinion she went out of her way to bash Marcin’s idealistic and humanitarian views as well as the people who were contributing to Marcin’s project. Her article was written in such a way that I believe it could completely turn a person off from any further investigation of the project and thus turn away a potentially valuable contributor.

One simple, but very important point that Zach Cameron made that I actually didn’t mention in my response was that if the OSE project is meant partly for developing countries, they will probably not have access to the internet. This proves to be an extremely big problem in my opinion. So, unless Marcin finds a way to personally hand deliver the contents of his OSE civilization starter kit, or has a plan for distributing his designs through a network of people, I don’t see how they will make it to developing countries.

Lastly, I read Tom Vasso’s response and it made me think of a very important point that is related to the last paragraph. In order to build these machines, it is necessary to have very advanced tools like welders, lathes, band saws etc. Many of these tools require more than standard household electrical service of approximately 200 amps. A large machine shop such as the one needed to build any of the OSE project machines should probably be outfitted with a 3-phase connectors and have a supply of at least 350-400 amps to be running everything simultaneously. How is any developing country going to be able to get that much electrical power? They would have to first invest in some large diesel engines for power generation and get all the proper electrical wiring/components. It just doesn’t seem that feasible when I think about this.

Blog 5: Examining the SCRUG Members' RepRap Media Timeline

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

I think one very significant event that occurred in March of 2012 was 3D printing from an android device. I think this is so significant because I believe as we learn more about 3D printing, and the process becomes more efficient and repeatable that it will become commonplace to the general public. I think back to how rapidly cell phones evolved over time and would use this as an analogy of how 3D printing may develop. I think about when I got my first cell phone at 12 years old, which was earlier than most kids in 2002 and how it was so big I couldn’t fit it in my jean pockets. I simply had to carry it everywhere I went or put it in a backpack. The cell phone could speed dial a maximum of 10 contacts and if you wanted to send a text message it would cost you $0.15 and be a maximum of 150 characters. Now, I can use my cell phone to view a PDF, track a flight or lost baggage, play a video game online, send email, text message or group chat, manage my bank account, browse the internet, check where the nearest bus is, remind me to do something based on location, check the weather, video chat with family, function as my alarm clock, and the list goes on. It truly is incredible how far they have come. Seeing how far the cell phone has come in 10-12 years leads me to believe that 3D printers in a home will be a common thing, and there will be an app that everyone can get for their smart phone to print out some cool object they found on Pinterest or other website. So, the fact that android has already began to develop such applications solidifies my beliefs that 3D printers in many households is in the not too distant future.

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

One not so useful item I found was in May of 2012 when a fully functional lathe was made with 3D printing. In my opinion this is kind of counter intuitive. The whole point of 3D printing is so that any object can be made via additive manufacturing so something like a lathe would not be necessary. I guess I don’t understand why somebody was so adamant about proving that a 3D printer could make “useful items”. The whole reason 3D printers are taking off so fast is because people recognized their ability to make useful items. If people thought they could only make useless items the idea would have died long ago.

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

Something I found interesting which is discussed many times throughout the media timeline is the use of 3D printers to manufacture guns or weapons. 3D printing actually first caught my attention back in high school because I am a gun enthusiast and came across an article about a “3D Printed Gun”. I was immediately skeptical because I thought there was no way somebody could have printed an entire functioning gun out of plastic, which turned out to be somewhat true, but I did see the potential of using them to print the lower receivers for assault rifles and anything but the slide and barrel for pistols because they are often made out of extremely tough polymers. In fact, a lot of times the weapons that include the use of extremely tough and weather resistant polymers are more desirable than an all metal weapon because they are

Blog 6: Projects that would be a logical next step...

I do not feel that I am qualified enough at this point in the semester to make any suggestions for the electronic systems or mechanical structure of the printers. However, I think one project that would be effective in improving the efficiency of how we work in the classroom/lab is visual organization of any parts for the printers, tools etc. I am slightly OCD when it comes to organization of a shop area, or any area that requires hands on working to perform a specific task. The reason I think it is so essential is because often times when tools and parts are not visually organized with a specific spot where they all belong I will spend more time looking for a part or tool than I actually spend performing the task I set out to do. It takes a little more time to put everything back where it belongs and organize everything, but that small amount of time is far outweighed by the time saved searching for parts. Some of the best car mechanic and tuning shops I have ever been to have immaculate shops where you wouldn’t ever find a tool laying out of place. I believe this is one key to a successful work environment.

One other thing I have been thinking about is a way to improve the printer beds. I am curious if there is a better way to apply a material quickly to the printer bed that is rough enough to allow the filament to stick to, but can quickly be changed rather than having to apply multiple strips of tape. Applying the tape takes time, and can actually be tough to make sure the tape is perfectly aligned and not overlapping which creates an uneven surface. I am thinking of a simple system where a roll of material the same size of the printer bed is mounted to the side of the printer and can quickly be pulled over the surface of the printer bed and cut. I think this would obviously help reduce the time it takes to apply the tape, and also ensure a consistency in the material used on the printer beds instead of mixing up different kinds of tape that don’t always allow the filament to stick.

Blog 7: 3-D Printed Lab Equipment & LEGO Atomic Force Microscope

I think this article just highlights another great use for 3-D printers. The possibilities for means of cheap parts for simple things that we often find ourselves paying a lot of money for is where I believe 3-D printers will continue to have the biggest impact over time. People will not only want them to make simple things for around the house and start small businesses, but they will also utilize them like they are discussing in this article to reduce the cost of lab research equipment. Obviously research is a huge way for less developed countries to further develop, create jobs, remain stable, and compete in the world market. So, cutting costs for the research equipment could be a crucial first step. I cannot think of any research equipment that we have made right now, however it is something I will look into.

I think this is pretty cool that students were able to make something as complicated as an atomic force microscope that normally costs $100,000 for $500. Obviously, I am skeptical of the quality, convenience, and user friendliness of it comparing to the $100,000 dollar production models. However, when proving that something can be made for a lot less using the most basic options available I don’t think anybody would expect it to compare. Hopefully they continue to develop their version of the AFM and come up with a kit that an average person, school or small company could easily afford to purchase and build.

Blog 8: Intellectual Property and 3D Printing

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

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

Trade Secret: a secret device or technique used by a company in manufacturing its products.

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

Above are the definitions of copyright, patent, trade secret, and trademark for reference. Looking at these definitions we can easily see that copyright, patent and trademark all have legal rights involved so that others may not use whatever technology, logo, process etc. that is involved. I think copyright and trademark are set apart from patent because other people can pay to have access to a copyrighted or trademarked item. For example, people can wear Nike clothing but obviously have to pay for it, but they cannot legally print t-shirts with the Nike logo on it and sell for money. Also, somebody can pay to watch a copyrighted movie, but cannot legally record that movie and distribute it for free or money. However, it seems that if something is patented then nobody can use that technology, method, design or process no matter what until the IP time period is over. Trade Secrets will always exist, and are really the platform for which IP exists. However, if those trade secrets are not patented then they just remain trade secrets rather than IP. Trade secrets will always exist, but are always at risk of being compromised.

The five I’s are infringement, identification, impractical or impossible, and irrelevant. From the five I’s and reading this article I have concluded that the development of designs or new concepts for virtually every industry (aerospace, automotive, materials, health) will be increasingly more difficult to patent. Just as the encyclopedia was replaced by Wikipedia, I believe that open source will replace IP. As fast as technology and 3D printing are growing I believe it will eventually get to a point where claiming IP will be more of a worthless hassle. Another words, it will take more time to claim IP for a technology, concept or design than it will for somebody to come up with a new and better idea. Instead, I think companies will just invest that time, energy and money in research and development rather than filing for IP. I do believe trade secrets will continue to exist. There are always tricks of the trade to certain processes and I think a small startup company would keep their unique processes to themselves, especially if it sets their product apart from someone else’s. This is one way I feel IP may continue to exist. For example, if 3D printing company has a great hot tip design that truly sets their product apart from others, then they may try to patent that design to gain revenue and stay ahead of their competitors.

I could not find “creative commons” in either article for Blog 8.

Blog 9: Filament Reviews and Support Material

1: Below is a table I created from a few filaments I looked up and read reviews on. It includes ABS and PLA filament, the size it comes in and whether previous customers found the filament to be of good or poor quality.


2: I think we should use support materials for the most obvious reason; that is it allows for more complex shapes with lots of overhang and extreme draft angles to be printed. I personally would be interested in using 3D printing with support material to quickly produce prototype parts for automotive applications. As far as what support material to use I think I would personally choose PVA because it is soluble in warm water. I would want to be able to print things and have something as widely available as water to be able to dissolve the support material. In my opinion, that is a huge selling point and probably the most important because it is not going to cost anything extra, and there's no need to worry about having limonene laying around to get rid of the support material. It is also biodegradable which appeals to the conservationist side of me. 1 kg of PVA from UltiMachine is $88.00 so it does seem a bit pricey.

3: If I were buying material for myself I would buy IC3D PLA or ABS filament as my main printing material and buy PVA as my support material if I were running a dual extruder.

Blog 10: Hot Tip Designs

There are many different hot tip designs available for 3D printing which range from very basic to very complex. Typically with complexity comes increased cost. Some of the most basic early generation hot tips included a wooden block with a brass nozzle press fitted into it as shown in class. However, most hot tip designs now consist of a brass nozzle with a 0.35mm or 0.5mm extrusion hole diameter, a steel or aluminum body and a heating element. Our (SCRUG) hot tips include Teflon as an insulator and guide for the filament. The SCRUG hot tip designs can be found here. We are also looking to use and test aluminum oxide ceramic rod as an insulator so we can print Teflon.

The design goal for a hot tip is pretty simple, but not as easily accomplished as one would think. The goal is to keep the brass nozzle at a constant desired temperature (approximately 210-220C for PLA) and have everything upstream of that as cool as possible so that the filament remains rigid/solid for successful extrusion. An understanding of heat transfer and how different materials conduct heat is essential for a good design. The three different designs I would like to discuss for this blog are the SCRUG design , the Micron E.M.E Ltd "J-head" design, and the E3D V5 design.

The SCRUG design is relatively cheap and easy to manufacture compared to the $300 Micron and $90 E3D tips. I think the SCRUG design also has an advantage because it does not require a fan to be cooled properly like the other two do. However, the Micron and E3D tips do not require any insulating Teflon to prevent the filament from melting. Their designs dissipate heat fast enough that there is no need for an insulator. They also have a specific heating element where the necessary heating wires and thermistor can be quickly rigged up. This seems like an advantage over the SCRUG design because we have to epoxy our wires on which can get kind of messy and annoying. The Micron and E3D tips are aesthetically pleasing and very reliable according to all the reviews, so it may beat the SCRUG design in that category. All parts for these two tips are CNC machined, so the tolerances are always very tight and repeatable which definitely helps the reliability. Another problem with the SCRUG design is that sometimes because the steel body retains the heat, it creeps up and makes the extruder plate hot enough to warp the plastic extruder motor mount.

Blog 11: Show & Tell Education

I enjoyed the show & tell recently done on how to use Repetier. I felt like it was very informative and something I wanted to learn how to do, but had just not gotten the time to do so. It was also helpful to me that he clarified what versions needed to be downloaded and modified for our personal computers versus the school computers. I would like to use Repetier in the future because I like how it is a one stop shop for part placement, G-code slicing and a printer control interface. What might be interesting for future classes is to have each student teach on an area of their interest. This is similar to the reverse classroom style already practiced, but instead of show and tell have each student teach a topic.

Blog 12: Reflecting on our Classmates' Innermost Deep Thoughts, Feelings and Emotions Regarding the RepRap Timeline

Kevin Moyer: I agree with or feel the same way Kevin does in Blog 5 in regards to his feeling of surprise that the basis of 3D printing technology has been around since the 80’s. To most people 3D printing is a new and abstract concept, but yet somebody had an idea and vision of it for the future the whole way back in the 80’s. It is also interesting what he pointed out about the style of replicating a part layer by layer has not changed since then either.

Tom Vassa: I agree with Tom’s initial thoughts on Thingiverse being a very important step in the progression of 3D printing as a common household practice. The website is nicely laid out so that people can quickly see the various and pretty much endless applications of 3D printing for purposes around the household, tools, art, fashion, learning, models; and the list goes on.

Vincent Iachini: The first thing that caught my attention that I did not know about or notice on the timeline is the use of 3D Bio-Printing and that with this technology medicine could theoretically be sent electronically via email. This is really cool and really terrifying at the same time. I think it would be awesome that a drug that is critical to someone’s health could get a customized version of the drug just for their particular issue. I think it would really help healthcare develop drugs on a need specific basis. However, it is scary because I could see this opening up some crazy illegal loophole for drugs smugglers or abusers.

Nate Myer: I agree with what Nate pointed out as far as the useless novelty of 3D printing food. The only way to have affordable food is to have it mass produced and distributed. I can see it maybe being useful for custom cake shops, but as far as using them for food consumers on a large scale I don’t see it happening.

Brian Prentice: I was interested that Brian brought up the significance of 3D printing weapon systems. I agree with his statements regarding the path that legislation will take to ensure people can’t print a gun. The reality is that unless a person can afford a metal 3D printer they will never make a reliable gun out of all plastic. At most, they may be able to get one small caliber round down range and then the gun will blow apart. However, an interesting debate has come about regarding the “lower” of the AR platform. This is where the serial number is stamped, and ties a person to that particular weapon. This piece can be and often benefits from being made out of a tough polymer because it reduces the weight of the weapon as well as makes it pretty rugged. If people can successfully print these lowers, there is no need to register that weapon to their name and this could allow more criminals to get easy access to weapons.

Todd Troutman: One thing that Todd pointed out was the use of 3D printing for the music industry. This is something I had not necessarily thought about before, but it makes sense that a 3D printer would enable a company to make a complex shaped instrument that gives it a unique or better sound than its competitor just like a super car company like Koenigsegg is utilizing 3D printing to make a variable geometry turbo housing.

Kyle Casterline: Something Kyle mentioned is the use of a 3D printer app developed by Microsoft for Windows 8. I didn’t realize Microsoft was already working with 3D printing, but that is exciting and good news to me. I’m very interested to see how fast they will get in the game and how involved they will get with the technology.

Jessica Mewkalo: I was very interested in the article Jess talked about related to 3D printing cartilage. That would be a huge step in the medical field, and a relief for many people with injuries out there as a result of destroyed cartilage. I personally could probably use some in my knees after being destroyed from football wrestling and rugby!

Blog 13: Review of Blog 7: Printed Lab Equipment

Kevin: Kevin brought up the possibility of larger corporations who have already made a lot of money from the monopoly they have on specific lab equipment, and how they could just buy them out, sue them into submission or provide a huge settlement for the company. I like that he brought this up, because I think it is one of the main challenges start-up companies face and also one of the challenges behind trying to keep things open source for the better good of the world. It always seems as if there’s a humanitarian world battling the business world. It is an issue worth discussion.

Vincent: The main concern that Vinny brought up is also one that I addressed in my response for Blog 7. That is we are skeptical of the accuracy of 3D printed parts for some lab equipment that can get pretty complex. As he also states, do these companies really have a monopoly, or is the manufacturing process for this equipment one that requires extreme precision and quality control? I also agree with his opinion on the RepRap printers not being precise enough to print something as complex as lab equipment.

Tom Vassa: A main theme that Tom has conveyed in his Blog 7 response is that while the printed lab equipment may not be of the same quality as the original, it is better than nothing. This kind of counters my previous thoughts of agreeing with Vince on his skepticism towards the quality, accuracy and precision of the lab equipment. In cases such as getting supplies to developing countries and classrooms, I think 3D printing it is a perfectly good solution. While it may not be the best of the best, it’s better than nothing, and something can surely be learned from having it in a classroom setting.

Eric Prindible: Eric mostly touched on the same topic as Kevin did as far as large corporations being able to retain their market because as soon as a printable version of equipment is released, they will change something. He also makes a good point that if other large corporations who are buying the equipment think that the equipment supplier is the industry standard, then they will not hesitate to spend a lot of money to purchase it. He makes a good point that the 3D printing option could be for college researchers who are on a budget, and do not need a large supply of the equipment.

Sam Viknyansky: I enjoyed reading Sam’s response and it was nice that he included a picture with it. This allows us to see the physical result of a piece of 3D printed lab equipment. It was also interesting to see how this particular set up was utilizing an iPhone with some additional modifications as a microscope. Not bad! He also made a very good point that if we are looking to use these 3D printers for a developing country they may only make or live off of a couple dollars per week, so a $500 dollar or more printer is a huge investment.

Hao: Hao brought up a lot of ideas that have been previously discussed such as the accuracy of the equipment as well as the researchers not wanting to take a risk on printed equipment that may not be precise enough. This is a good point and important, because many people would not want to put their name on the line if they are presenting data that could be falsely interpreted due to poor equipment quality. It was also interesting to hear his personal experience of not having sufficient equipment like this in China, and how underfunded high schools in China may be a good place to try this.

Graham Deever: Graham does a good job covering the negative side of our current IP obsessed world. I also think it is true that the advances of 3D printing will be limited and I think even hidden from the majority of the public due to the interest that most have in themselves as well as their own personal financial gain. Until we can become more generous on a global scale, development of low cost solutions for the better health of large communities of impoverished people will be limited. I don’t agree as much with his statement on this said lab equipment being very useful for medical research and development. I don’t know if I would personally trust people’s lives and well being on the accuracy of printed lab equipment.

Lee: Many of the topics discussed in Lee’s response are one’s that have been discussed already such as the use of the equipment in developing countries and the significant cost reduction it allows. Stating that even if the printed lab equipment is not as good as the large manufacturer’s that it is still good for the big companies to feel a bit of competition so that they continue to innovate and do not become complacent. As we all know, this is what drives innovation and continual development.

Blog 14: The Future or Demise of Intellectual Property!

Kevin: What stood out to me most in Kevin’s response is his personal experience in class where he received a poor grade despite doing a significant amount of his own work while another group of students just copied what was already available through open source and claimed it as their own. He stated that for this reason alone, IP is helpful in preventing somebody from stealing other people’s hard work and getting personal financial gain from it. In this case, I think IP is a legitimate and helpful way of preventing liars from reaping the benefits of others’ hard work and dedication.

Vince: I enjoyed reading Vince’s article and how he compared the future of 3D printing to digital music. As we all know digital music is widely available and vulnerable to piracy from the internet. However, there are also reputable places where you can buy music, and some artists as Vince stated have a “pay what you want system” where people can get the music for free, pay a little or pay a lot. This is an interesting way to run a business because as he said, some people will pay nothing, some will pay a lot and other’s will pay a reasonable amount so it all comes out in the wash to something close to what the artist would have charged in the first place. I also agree that something similar to this could happen in the future with 3D printing. If a person is very good at designing a specific type of item and continues to release very useful STL files and allows people to donate for his or her good work then I think everybody ends up satisfied.

Tom: I agree with Tom as far as IP slowly diminishing with the increased use of 3D printing in households around the world. I think there will still be IP for distinct technologies involved with designs of hot tips, extruding methods, printer architecture and maybe even the software. However, common objects made from plastics will be nearly impossible to patent. As soon as somebody gets a hold of one and creates an STL file from it, it is no longer a secret.

Ben: I agree with what Ben is saying about the government. That is, they don’t want reform and they sure as hell don’t want to lose control of all the limits they like to impose upon us as citizens of the United States. The good news is I believe 3D printing will force them to give up some of their control unless they are going to try to run cyber security on every single person downloading STL files on their computer to see if they are copyrighted or not.

Zach: Zach makes a good point that although 3D printing seems limitless, look what happened to digital music when everybody just assumed we could continue to get it for free with no repercussions. The government will do what they can to make the availability of free information seem as if the people who use it are bad and criminals. Personally, I am on the fence about whether or not the government will be able to keep up with something as revolutionary as people using 3D printers in their home and making whatever they want. It really is difficult to what the future holds in this field. Maybe the zombie apocalypse will come first and it won’t matter anyway.

Tony: Tony loses because he does not have Blog 8 done right now. I win because it’s one less thing I have to read! WAHOOOO THANK YOU TONY!!!

Eva: Eva makes a valid point about Creative Commons and how people could just slightly alter an STL file and claim it as their own. This option needs to be explored because I think it is a very valuable and logical idea for people trying to save money on simple things. I am not sure how it will pan out in the long run though. She also touches on the subject that if Thingiverse were to get enough people that rely on their website for all their 3D printing models, but then they start charging for their services what would happen. I think we can all agree that another website very similar to Thingiverse would open up and allow free transfers of files, if there is not already many others like it right now.

Wenxin Song: Wenxin is clearly passionate about film, filmmaking, post production and all that good stuff which is neat. She does a good job of drawing an analogy between what has happened with the film industry over the years with how she believes 3D printing will flourish. It is an interesting thought approach, but she does make a valid argument that IP may not just be there for people to benefit financially but they more or less want credit for their hard work and brilliant creativity that was invested in a product. I too believe this is important. I would want myself, my friend or even a person I don’t know at all to be recognized for doing something that’s benefitting the greater good. If they make a lot of money off of it, that’s fine. They should be recognized whether it ends up being profitable or not.

Blog 15: The Show & Tell Awards

Kevin: I agree with Kevin’s thoughts about bio-printing not only being interesting, but also the huge opportunities is presents for the medical field. The ability to create and grow artificial organs has already been implemented in the medical research field, but I believe that 3D printing of organ tissue will further enhance their ability to customize organs. Right now people who need transplants often heavily rely on organ donors, but don’t always make it long enough or find themselves on a long waiting list. With this type of technology organ transplants may become more widely available.

Vince: Vince was very interested in the capabilities of the use of 3D printed homes. I also think this is an interesting concept, but I think it will take much longer to develop because of the large scale operation it will be. I think 3D printing a home would allow end customers to choose a more unique and complicated house geometry. Things that I think still need to be more thought out is how safe 3D printing a home will be, as well as whether it will be as structurally sound as a conventional home. As far as using 3D printing technology to quickly print simple homes for disaster relief is a great idea. This would reduce the amount of people needed for manual labor and reduce the amount of time needed for construction.

Tom: Tom you don’t have Blog 11 done you jerk!

Nam: Nam reflected about his interests and the potential he sees in scanning software that can be used to replicate any object. I agree with his viewpoints on this, and this type of technology is already very available. As shown in the Koenigsegg supercar presentation they are using a scanner to pull their seats into modeling software and make changes to them. There are also programs which utilizes the very available Xbox Kinect to scan objects. This is a very convenient process for people who want to print an object that already exists, but do not want to spend a significant amount of time trying to replicate it in modeling software such as SolidWorks.

Oliver: Oliver was excited about 3D printing homes, and impressed with their capabilities. He also covered how a company in Shanghai built 10 houses this way. However, one of the concerns addressed with this company was that they were using a chemical and recycled waste that are widely known as hazardous carcinogens to humans.

Dongao: Dongao doesn’t have Blog 11 written. I hit the jackpot today!

Jarred: Jarred mainly covered his interest in Wenxin’s show and tell presentation which discussed all the possibilities presented in the film industry through the use of 3D printing. I agree with their thinking. I think movies often need stage props, and a lot of structures that cannot be easily recreated. 3D printing might allow large movie companies to replicate these structures easier, and at a lower cost. It also might allow for smaller start up film makers to get into business easier by making production more affordable.

Anthony: Anthony discusses the use of an app called “123D Catch” which uses a series of pictures (about 40) to create a 3D image of an object. He goes into detail about how this has the potential to replace expensive 3D scanners. I agree with this. I think this type of technology needs a lot of development yet, but has a bright and exciting future. Imagine being able to have an app on your phone that you can do something similar to a panoramic shot, but instead take multiple pictures which encompasses an object’s profile. Then, the app would use those pictures to convert the object’s profile into a printable STL file. I think it will be tough to develop reliable and accurate software which does this, but is possible.

Mitch: Mitch covers all the possibilities and great uses of remote 3D printing. I highly agree with this and think it has great potential. As he mentions, this technology is pretty buggy right now, but it is new and that is expected with newly developed software. It all has to start somewhere, and people need to be patient as this type of technology is refined. The one obvious problem I see with this right now is if there is not somebody monitoring the printer. As we know, many fine adjustments need to be made as the printer is starting, and right now there is no way to do this remotely. As the quality of consumer printers increases, and better designs are created I think this problem will be greatly reduced. I think within our lifetime we will see a time when we can just pull up a file on our phone and remotely send that file to our 3D printer to print the object out. There’s a cool future ahead of us!

BONUS BLOG! Funny Story...AKA The Adventures of Rock Boy

While walking home at approximately 4:30 a.m. Saturday morning I was approached by a stranger who asked me to help him pick up very large rocks and then throw them back down because I was , "a very large man, like the biggest I've seen go by here who might actually be able to lift these rocks". I couldn't turn the guy down solely because the sheer ridiculousness of his request. So I followed him to a small patch of woods where there were in fact very large rocks. The rock boy insisted that I try to pick one up over my head and throw it down on the others. I was able to get one up on to my chest, press it over my head and then drop it on to the others. Rock boy was ecstatic and cheering me on the whole time, but was quite disappointed when it didn't break like he had hoped after dropping onto the others because he wanted to carry the small pieces back to his house and weigh them. He told me that I was his hero though. At that point we parted ways.

The end.