Spring Semester Blogs:
Thirteenth Blog 4/20/2013
I would have really liked to expand on the idea of scanning object and creating g-codes from them. I know that we have a scanner in the room that may or may not have this capability, but it has not exactly been the most reliable component. I would love to see the ability to replicate any object that already exists. I have seen plenty of really cool things that I would have loved to print, but sadly solidworks would not have been able to make these objects. However, a scanner could make duplicates of almost anything. There is so much precision to real life things that solidworks does a very poor job of mimicking. I would never be able to create a face in solidworks, but I could easily make a code of the face using a scanner.
In terms of the evolution of this course, I think we need more emphasis on printer maintenance. While I recognize that some lessons can only be taught through trial and error, this is a very inefficient way to learn. I would prefer some more dedicated lectures in the beginning of the semester detailing exactly how a printer works and how to troubleshoot some of the more common problems. The majority of this semester was spent maintaining existing printers. I feel that if the users had received more detailed instructions on printer handling at the beginning, then many of those issues would not have occurred. Human error is the primary reason that a printer no longer functions.
Another thing I would like to see is more emphasis on secondary projects. Building printers is really cool and allows us to better understand the technology, but there is so much more to this class. However, since constructing a printer is such a large task, almost no time is spent on other things. I feel like the best way to do this class would be for it to be a two semester thing. The first semester would be spent on a build team, creating a printer and learning how it works. The second semester would be on a team that is dedicated to a different project, such as making a quadcopter or a filament recycler. Every student should have that foundation on a build team, but they also need to see that there exist so much more to do with 3D printers.
Twelfth Blog 4/20/2013
In terms of the two big projects that we are planning on completing, I would focus my efforts on the filament recycler over the duel extruder.
The filament recyler is a great project for keeping this class sustainable and helping the environment. We produce a lot of wasted filament, from messed up prints to normal leaking while using the printer. After a while, all this filament adds up. We literally have boxes of the stuff arranged around the room. Instead of continuing to spend money purchasing new filament, we should focus our efforts on using what we already have. Obviously we won't be able to completely remove our need for new spools, but our dependence can be greatly reduced. One potential problem with the recycler is the issue of color. Will we sort out individual types of filament, or will we just throw everything into the recycler and hope something cool comes out. Neither choice is particularly appealing to me, but I would suggest digging out like colors to keep the new spool uniform.
The duel extruder does have some interesting properties. The ability to print with different colored filament at the same time would lead to some really cool designs. However, I feel that the many challenges posed by this extruder are more trouble than they are worth. First, two extruders means twice the leak of material. This also means prints are more challenging, thereby increasing the chances that something will go wrong. The amount of wasted material with a duel extruder will be much higher than a normal printer. We should wait until we have a method of recycling this excess waste before constructing it. Another problem is the amount of complexity. Setting up prints will get significantly harder. The amount of things that can go wrong will double. Since there is no way for both extruders to be operating independent of each other, the time to complete a print will stay exactly the same.
Overall, I think the duel extruder is a cool idea, but it is far less necessary to this class than a filament recycler. Once we have a way to reuse all the filament that we waist, we can begin wasting even more material on the duel extruder.
Eleventh Blog 4/20/2013
In my two semesters with this class, I have had much experience with the OHM's design. Overall, I think it is a great solution to the problem of how to cheaply create a reliable 3D printer. One of the biggest changes I would make would be to reduce the overall complexity of the components. We need to figure out ways to combine parts together so that less prints are necessary. The current design uses an absurd amount of fasteners. One area in particular that could have improvement is the x-axis vertical bearing. This component uses seven parts and eight different fasteners to be assembled. With our better precision printers, I believe that the same part can be made with only two prints and far less fasteners. The reason that we need two prints is to trap the nut.
Another improvement would be in the bed. The current design uses sheets of metal that are not that great. They suck away heat, causing objects to delaminate and warp, even through multiple layers of tape. They also become easily scratched, whether through a problem with the z endstop or attempts to remove stuck prints. A know that attempts are being made to find new plates for the newer printers, but we must also figure out how to replace the plates of the old ones.
Tenth Blog 4/20/13
For this assignment, I was not selected by anybody to have a superior blog. If found this to be concerning, since I had felt that I had done a really good job with those blogs, especially blog 4. I said many insightful and personal information that gave my own views on the topics. Although I will admit that I do not have the best posts from the class, I still figured that at least somebody would place me in their top 3.
I think the primary reason why nobody selected me was readability. I do tend to have my blogs be large paragraphs of text. Each paragraph is meant to answer one of the assigned questions, but I do not give context for what the response is about. Somebody who was not in the class and reading my blog would have a very difficult time understanding what is going on. Also, it is very difficult to locate where one blog stops and the other starts. I do have headings, but they are currently just lines of text. Another improvement could be the addition of pictures to my blogs.
Basically, I thought I did really well in terms of content, but I doubt very many people actually took the time to read my blogs because they were are to find. I will try to figure out a way to make it easier in the future.
Ninth Blog 4/20/13
There is a big difference between using lasers and photographs to create 3D models of objects. Lasers are far more accurate technology, allowing exact precision. However, lasers are very limited by the scanning device. High grade laser scanning hardware can be very expensive, and cheaper options are far less reliable. Photography, on the other hand, is open to a much wider range of people. Almost everyone these days has a camera on their smartphone. All that is needed to create this model is a few pictures. However, these models are far less accurate than the laser version.
One interesting example of photo based 3D modeling is the website Photo-To-3D. This website automatically creates 3D images from a pair of normal pictures. Although the results are not always the highest quality, they are still quite good considering the time and expense that is required (very little and none). Only models can be created from things that are shown, so most images have no bottoms or backs. These models can then be used for a variety of different applications, such as being place in Google SketchUp.
A more advanced piece of software is insight3d. This software is still free, but requires more effort on the part of the user. However, the reward is far greater. The software can handle far more photos of an object, so a full 3D model is capable of being created. There is a bit of a learning curve, but a detailed tutorial is provided. With technologies like this, I believe that everyone will be making 3D models of simple objects by the end of the decade.
Eighth Blog 4/19/13
Review of other's blogs
Best Blog 4:
Mbilyk - This blog does a great job of addressing exactly why this robohand project was so great. He emphasized two particular advantages to 3D printing, the ability to quickly iterate designs and the customization that comes with designing it yourself. There are a few issues with grammar, but they do not detract from the blog as a whole. I was particularly impressed with the section on participation. This section contains some good ideas on how our class could help with the project, such as creating a lighter version to be better used by children.
Xiaomo_Zhang - I was really impressed by the emotion that was conveyed through this blog. Creating a new hand for a young boy is a very powerful achievement, and I'm glad that somebody actually recognized this fact. The achievements of these men were great mechanical accomplishments, but more importantly, they were humanitarian accomplishments. The blog also contained good analysis of the differences between open source and closed source technology. I found this to be a solid blog that expanded on many of the questions and added some of the human element. I would give them a minor amount of extra XP.
Carina - Carina did a great job at this blog by making the format look very impressive. She not only had a variety of pictures, but she also included a chart. While most other people just listed their comparisons between open-sourced and closed-sourced in a paragraph, Carina visually demonstrated this difference but placing them side to side in a chart. She also included many links to more information about the topic of 3D printed hands. Although all of this was very good, her content could have been expanded on a little. Therefore, I don't think she really deserved extra XP, but I did enjoy the blog.
Best Blog 6:
PwNzI - There are a few aspects from this post that I particularly appreciated. The first is the clear organization. So many people, myself included, create blogs that are just paragraphs of text that prove very difficult to actually read. By clearly placing the questions and answering them, this person made the blog much better. In terms of content, this user made some interesting points, especially considering the use of 3D printers in high schools. I completely agree that my first couple years of college would have been much better if I already had a 3D printing background. I would give them a slight XP award for having a very easy to read blog
Wjf5042 - This individual fully addressed all the questions with well thought out answers. The president does seem heavily in favor of 3D printing, and I also agree that this is a good sign for its continued existence. A program at Penn State similar to UVA's would not work out particularly well because our printers are indeed less effective. Most blogs address all the questions, but few actually develop there answers to any extent. It is a good change to see a blog that talks about the answers a little bit. I would give them a small XP boost for going beyond the bare minimum.
MarkKeller22 - I was greatly impressed with every aspect of this blog post. Mark clearly answered all the questions, as well as placed his own unique spin on the issue, such as mentioning the Jetsons. It has good grammer and flow, and seems simple enough to be understood by somebody not familiar with the industry. I would not be surprised to see a blog post like this from an actual news source. He even managed to include some pictures. He adds specific details and clearly sites every article. This was a spectacular blog post, and Mark should definitely get some extra points for it.
Seventh Blog 4/19/13
Formlabs is being sued by 3D systems because they believe a patent is being infringed upon. Formlabs is arguing that the technology was listed under an expired patent that no longer applies. Apparently Makerbot has utilized similar technology without fallout. However, the difference is that Formlabs has significantly higher quality and precision at a fraction of the price. An interesting component of the case is the fact that Kickstarter is also listed on the lawsuit. If this lawsuit is successful, it could set a dangerous precedent that harms Kickstarter in the future. The website should not be held liable for the potential patents broken by its users.
The 3Doodler is one of the coolest uses of 3D printing technology that I have ever seen. One of the biggest drawbacks of traditional rep rap machines is their reliance on complex technology. In order to create something, you need to use CAD software to make a 3D model, then use slicer to make gcode, then use a printer to actually make the object. When everything is going well, this process can take a few hours. If problems arise, then that time can increase exponentially. However, with something like 3Doodler, I just need to turn it on and start creating. My precision won’t be the greatest, but I can still create plenty of really cool objects. One of the greatest parts of 3D printing technology is the ability to rapidly prototype. By using something like a 3Doodler, I can understand the shape and design of an object with very little effort. Also, if I want to make something bigger than the confines of a tradition print-bed, that is no problem.
I think Kickstarter has made amazing progress in crowd-sourced funding, and I hope that this business model continues in the future. It makes perfect sense: instead of developing something and hoping that people buy it, have people pay for something and then make it. I know that Kickstarter has been used in a variety of different ways besides creating physical hardware. Small game developers are using the website to fund their new and unique ideas. Instead of having to rely on a major retailer to distribute their project, these small companies can give it directly to the fans. Another interesting use of Kickstarter is by musicians who want to fund their music. A great example of this is Amanda Palmer, who chose not to use record labels and instead funded her album through Kickstarter. Her story can be heard at this great Ted Talk 
Despite the many benefits of Kickstarter, there are a variety of problems that I have never realized. I had never considered exactly where all the money that was raised would actually go. Apparently, 10% of every campaign goes to Kickstarter and Amazon for providing the service. There is no way that these companies deserve $100,000 for simply hosting a project that raised 1 million dollars. Although I will admit that they deserve some compensation, it should be a flat fee, not a percentage. Hosting a project that is raising $100 costs just as much as hosting an expensive project. When taxes, rewards, and the price of labor are calculated, the person is likely to actually receive two thirds of the money that they raised. Now a project has to be completed with far fewer funds. While there are plenty of great benefits to freedom and independence that Kickstarter provides, it is far from a perfect system.
Sixth Blog 2/25/13
Routine 3D Printing
The first article described the view that 3D printing technology has been growing far faster than anybody anticipated. While most futuristic technology, such as flying cars, are still decades away, 3D printing is already here. The price of personal 3D printers has been reduced from $20,000 to $1,000. Advanced technology that was thought to be a decade away, such as printing a house, should be available within a year. 3D printing has been rapidly snowballing into a popular technology that many people of various backgrounds are embracing. Schools have begun using 3D printing in the classroom to teach design and analysis. These concepts, usually limited to just university, are now able to be taught just about anywhere. There is no better teacher than hands-on experience.
President Obama mentioned 3D printing in his state of the union adress. This is a huge step forward in the future of 3D printing. The biggest issue that has been prohibited the future growth of 3D printing technology is a lack of recognition. When I tell people that I am taking a class on 3D printing, most have no idea what I am talking about. There are so many great advantages to this technology, but like most innovation, it requires funding. Organizations such as Congress are unlikely to give money to support Obama's plan for fifteen 3D printing hubs if the people they represent know nothing about this technology and its potential. The state of the union is one of the most watched broadcasts of the year, and now many people at least have an idea that this technology exists.
There are many advantages to using 3D printers to support and advance a curriculum. Many textbooks use 2D drawings in order to explain 3D concepts. For many cases, these representations are not enough to allow students to fully grasp the concept. By holding an object that shows how a catapult functions or examining the motion of a complex dynamic machine, students can begin reaching levels of comprehension that are impossible with looking at just pictures. While the cost of printers have been steadily decreasing, they are still not trivial. Programs might be better suited diverting those funds to hiring more TAs or other staff rather than creating pictures of objects.
While I would love to say that one day our printers will be as good as the ones purchased from industry, I know that is not yet the case. If we attempted a similar program at Penn State, the students will be spending so much of their time trying to get the printers to function properly that they would have no time to actually work on dynamics. Maybe this program can be adopted in a few years when we finally get all the kinks out of our design, but right now it does not seem feasible.
Fifth Blog 2/25/13
Intellectual Property Blog
The monarch glider is a functional glider that is meant to be used. It is not exactly a unique solution to the problem of a glider, so it is probably not patent-able. Mumble the snow monster is definitely an artistic sculpture, but he is based off a movie entitled Rudolf the Red-Eared Reindeer, so he might be a patent infringement already. The Dynamite Domino Tumble playset could probably be patented as a unique device to hold dominoes, but that might not be different enough from the standard way to play with dominoes to warrant a patent. The Maker Faire Robot should be protected under a copyright because it is a unique design of a robot and does not serve a function except to be aesthetically pleasing. The same goes for the Black Dragon, but it was created from pictures of a previous model, so it might be a copyright infringement on that previous model.
I have not found anything in my classmates that are obvious cases of infringement of existing patents or copyrights. However, some of these new designs could become copyrighted or patented. This finger plate serves the useful function of holding finger food at parties; it could be patented. A copyright could be given to the designer of this Santa Garden Ornament .
The legal reason to license non-copyrightable material is to protect against the future. The current laws may say that these objects are not protected by copyright, but those laws may change in the future. You will want to be prepared to protect your work if that work eventually does become protected. The more important reason to license is to tell the community that you want them to adjust your work and build off it. A license is an agreement for somebody else to use it. Even if it was not protected by copyright, some people may not have known that and been afraid to do any work on it. Providing a license is only a good thing if it allows people complete freedom to use and modify the work. Restrictive licenses hamper creativity.
Fourth Blog 2/8/13
Few times do instances of 3D printing come around that make meaningful differences in the world. Sure, my last blog talked all about the potential benefits of removing slums or having printable organs, but all of that still seems very fictional and far into the future. However, because of 3D printing, a young child now has a new hand. His life is being permanently changed for the better, and this is all at almost no cost to his family. Rarely do you see some truly good deeds in the world, and this is one of them. The people involved don't want to make a big profit, but just improve the life of a young boy.
A project like this needs to be open sourced for many reasons. First, closed source wouldn't allow for rapid modifications. If you make the device and see that one component doesn't fit perfectly, you can instantly adjust the code and make a new one, without having to spend the time and money necessary to hire the company to change it. Plenty of artificial hands already exist, but they cost tens of thousands of dollars, a price tag that few can afford. Closed source technology usually has the benefit of being higher quality. The exception is when a few individuals devote significant amounts of their time on a project with no expectation of getting paid. People doing a good deed to help the world will beat closed source any day.
I think this is a spectacular project, but I don't really see how we could be too helpful. Maybe if we find a disabled student or resident of state college, we can modify the design and create a hand for them. However, without a subject to use, any work we do would be entirely theoretical.
Looking at a topic like this, it is hard not to think back to Thon and how important it is to help kids with problems. I'm planning on spending about 30 hours next weekend at Thon, showing my support for this great cause. However, there is so much suffering in this world, and the fight against it is never ending. There are few things online that can make me cry, but this is one of them. I got tears in my eyes when the kid was using his hand, and the floodgates completely opened while watching this video from the Robohand's blog. This is why those guys do what they do, and this is why we need more people like them in the world
Third Blog 2/2/13
Different types of 3D printing
A) Construction of houses. I am amazed by the strides that this technology has taken. I understood theoretically that it would be possible to build a house using 3D printing techniques, but I did not anyone was currently working on it. While delevoping the technology enough that it could challenge current construction in the US is still a ways away, the idea of promoting it as an alternative to living in slums is a great idea. There is no reason that 1 billion people should be living in such horrible conditions. The government of India should put many recourses and funding to making this technology a reality. The basics, like the extruder and material, are already there, and it just needs somebody to create the frame and software. The hard part is done. I cannot think of an easier way to have a significant impact on making the world a better place. Also, the ability to print on the moon and mars may not be as important to the lives of people, but it is still pretty cool.
B) Printing Organs - While the previous technology may have been geared toward some poorer costumers,printing organs is definitely a novelty to the richer crowd. Right now, the only way to obtain a new organ is to receive it from somebody that no longer needs it. This process is unreliable and leads to great organ shortages. A machine that could create new organs from scratch would have a significant impact on the lives of people who could afford it. As with any new technology, this machine would take a while to distribute to the third world, but even in the United State it could change the lives of many people. I was really interesting to read about the problems with blood vessels. I did not anticipate that would be such an issue, but it makes perfect sense. I do hope that this technology gets created as soon as possible
C) Edible Food - This neat printing ability does not necessarily have as much potential to do good as the previous entries, but it still has some humanitarian applications. Animal activists would love a way to get meat that does not come from killing an animal. While the current meat printing technology is ridiculously expensive, it could eventually go down. Think about the advantages to people living where meat is not readily available. Astronauts would be able to eat a steak, not just freeze-dried "meat." The nutritional values of each might be pretty much the same, but I know which one I would prefer. The advantages to moral cannot be overstated. Printing chocolate is just neat, although I would have a hard time justifying the extreme cost. However, converting the extruder of a current Rep Rap does not seem as though it would be too difficult. It seems very possible, and I bet our group could have a functional chocolate printer in a month.
D) Design - I have never cared very much for fashion shows and that entire industry. They create very strange clothing that does not look that good. However, I am intrigued with the possibility of having an outfit that fits perfectly to my body. The ability to just be scanned and return to pick up a perfect pair of pants would be really great. It would save a lot of time with fitting rooms, and it would make sure that my clothing is very comfortable. I have never been a great clothing shopper before, and I tend to keep my clothes for far too long. This new technology could change that by making the experience of getting clothes new and exciting. If I had one of this machines at home, I could create clothing for any situation. Halloween costumes especially would be a breeze.
E) Tourism - I know that I already talked about this in an earlier blog, but it is still really cool that disney is using 3D printers to create models for tourists. You can put your face on a disney princess, or freeze yourself in carbonite. I personally would love to have a statue of myself in carbonite, and I think it would be a great way to make my trip to disney memorable. The current price of $100 is a little steep, but hopefully that will come down in a few years. Having a model of myself just because I can is hard to justify, but having it as a souvenir is an entirely different story. People bring back pictures all the time, and how is this different? http://singularityhub.com/2012/10/19/3d-printing-comes-to-the-disney-universe-your-face-frozen-in-carbonite/
Second Blog 1/27/13
The technology of a mouse has proved vital to advancing the computer. Even the very primitive device in the video demonstrates some of the core features of mouses that make them so vital. This mouse could select different text, could copy and paste objects, and move anywhere on the screen. The purpose of a mouse is to provide an interface for a user that is simple and easy to use. Older computers were run solely on commands imputed through a keyboard. While the result of both methods is the same (the computer winds up performing the same task), the difference in the route for the task is very significant. Typing commands through a keyboard takes significantly more time and expertise than just clicking on stuff with a mouse. It takes significantly less experience to know that clicking on a specific symbol will cause a web browser to open, rather than knowing that you need to go into the command line and enter the code that tells the computer to run Google Chrome. I am impressed by this mouse and the great achievements that it led to, but I am not sure if I would have recognized its importance. When in the mindset of computers that need to run on commands, I doubt I would have seen the advantages of having computers that run on a mouse. It is so different that I probably would have seen it as a passing fad, instead of a technology that revolutionizes the industry. Professor Doyle's speech made some interesting points about the first mouse. He said that this technology was so revolutionary that many people believed it to be a hoax. It is easy to look back at these people and consider them short-sighted, but there are plenty of example of that mentality even today. The internet is full of people with fake videos of them performing amazing feats. Last year, I saw this great video of a man flying with bird wings. The link is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojSkxF6Qq_c If this was true, then this would be a spectacular piece of technology. There are a ton of people, myself included, who would love to fly by only flapping my wings. However, soon after the video became popular, people set out to prove it false, and some believe that they were successful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8KdEGSCGW0 When shown with such revolutionary technology as the mouse, I would find it much easier to come up with how it could be faked rather than think of how this great technology could actually be produced. His speech also covered the very important topic of intellectual property. I am very proud of this classes ability and willingness to share our knowledge to the greater community. I understand some arguments about being compensated for good work, but they only go so far. Sometimes intellectual property laws prevent vital technology from ever being created, and that is just unexceptionable. The gene that detects cholera is very important and could save many lives, but stupid intellectual property laws prevent this vital technology from being developed. In terms of our own research and expertise, I would argue that we are a class that is being funded by a university, and the primary purpose of a university is to spread knowledge as much as possible. I would not be comfortable with attempting to profit on what we learned. If yo want to read more of my views on these issues, scroll down to my last blog of the fall.
First Blog 1/18/2013
Here are 5 objects from thingiverse:
1. useful - The Monarch Glider
This new iteration of the stratos glider should be easier to print and have improved flight capabilities.
2. artistic/beautiful - Mumble the Abominable Snow Monster
This is a very accurate and realistic model of the classic character from Rudolf the Red-Nosed reindeer. The precision might be difficult, but I would really enjoy making this.
3. pointless/useless - Dynamite Domino Tumble Playset!
I think people are capable of lining up dominos by themselves, without the need for a holding
4. funny/weird - Maker Faire Robot
This little model of a robot amused me. I imagine an army of these guys wondering around the lab.
5. scary/strange - Black Dragon
A mighty and ferocious black dragon! It may be a little difficult to print, but it looks really cool.
I would not describe myself as a tinker, though I aspire to be one. I have trouble just diving into a piece of broken technology because I would be afraid that I would damage it further. Working on a piece of functional equipment just to see if I can make it run better would be even more crazy. However, my brother is very much a tinkerer. He is always the one to approach when the door isn't shutting properly or the remote has stopped working. He may not always be able to fix the problem, but he is far more successful that I would be.
I think that the modern corporate culture has removed a lot of the desire to tinker. Modern companies are all about maximizing efficiency and minimizing liability, and tinkering goes completely against that. A worker could spend days tinkering on something and get no profitable results. At the same time, if a tinkered product doesn't work very well and hurts someone, that could be a liability. Tinkering is necessary for innovation on a whole, but it's value is difficult to express to a company.
Tinkering spurs innovation, and innovation spurs economic development. Nothing creates more economic growth than new technologies, and one of the best way to obtain these new technologies is through extensive tinkering. Modern people have so many stimulants and demands on their time that they do not put the effort into tinkering. It is an activity that is usually caused by boredom, and people are just not bored enough these days.
The innovation at IDEO is legendary, and they follow a few simple design principles. You need to have a wide variety of expertise in as many fields as possible in order to create the best projects. The employees of IDEO come from many different backgrounds, and they use that wealth of knowledge effectively to make great things. IDEO also has a policy of never giving up. Although coating the mouse will with plastic proved difficult, they never thought that it would be impossible. The final project with his daughter is a great way to maximize the time that they have left, especially considering his cancer. Children are the greatest gifts, and every moment with them is precious. In Rep Rap, we must use the wealth of engineering talent available in an effective way that maintains are printers and creates new and innovative objects. A diverse group is always better than an individual, but effort must be put forth to efficiently pool the knowledge.
Fall Semester Blogs:
Doyle Lecture Blog: 12/12/12
Doyle made a very compelling case in the importance of rapid prototyping. He talked about the advantages of knowledge and how we need to move away from an individual mentality (I came up with a great idea) to a group mentality (We came up with a great idea). A group has a much better chance of creating something amazing than a person working alone. The culture of a group of people has a significant impact on it's creativity. One of the best advantages of a rapid prototyping class is it creates a culture of people who had to tweek and modify machines until they begin to function again. We don't give up after being faced with some limited hardships, but instead learn to keep trying at a problem until we find something that works. He also made some important points on branding. If Doyle presented his ideas as independent lectures and podcasts, he might be able earn a full salary. However, he would lose the advantages of a Penn State brand name, which means people would take him less seriously and he could attend far fewer special events. In an open source world where anyone can upload anything, it is very difficult to distinguish between qualified people who engineered a fancy design or a casual person who made something quick in solidworks. Both have the chance to succeed, but it is far more likely that the casual design will fail spectacularly.
I was amazed to see how closely the Mother of all demos resembled an actual computer. He could select text with a mouse, could copy and paste things, and could save it as a file. Modern computers can achieve so much more, but the fundamentals were all there. I think that 3D printing is in the same stage right now. We can create 3D objects form printers, but the results are sometimes crude and printers break down far too often. Even though we have produced many models, it feels as if we are still in the prototyping phase. However, the dreams for printing technology seem to be getting closer to reality with each passing day.
In the near future, I think we can create machines that will recycle the leftover filament into more usable sizes. We currently have boxes full of messed up prints that could be transformed into many spools of useful filament. If we had a good enough grinder, we might be able to create filament out of common plastic containers, such as milk gallons. This would effectively reduce the price of printing to almost nothing. I would also like to see a general improvement in the reliability of the printers. Right now the printers break down after limited use. I'm not quite sure where this advancement could come from (better belt connections? Improved software? Better endstops?), but it would be very helpful to have 5 or 6 printers working on a consistent basis.
In the distant future, I would love to see printers that use different types of filament simultaneously to create complete objects. I would like to be able to obtain a game boy by just printing a model and uploading some software. Obviously there would be some patent issues with this, but think of the possibilities. Trips to the store would become redundant and meaningless. Shipping costs would drop down to practically nothing. This could revolutionize the entire economy. People living on a Mars base could create the most recent versions of computers and other important technology right there on the spot. Big enough printers might be able to create entire structures and cars. There is so much potential.
Bonus Blog D: 12/12/12
One way this project could continue would be with a club mentality instead of an actual class. There are plenty of clubs at Penn State that currently perform work that is on par with actual classes. Examples are University Student Launch Initiative (USLI), which is a group of students who build model rockets that perform at a yearly NASA competition. The Formula SAE club creates an entire functional car every year for that competition. A rapid prototype club would require far less funding from the University than an actual class.
This club would be more limited in what it could do, but hopefully the income would be enough to buy filament and maintain the current printers. Most of the infrastructure is already there, all that is needed is manpower and filament. This club could sell designs to the student body as a whole to help offset the cost of filament and maintenance. Engineering design courses will always need new prototypes. They have experienced the advantages of having physical manifestations of designs, and they might be willing to pay for this service. The club would have it's own elected leaders that will lead the club for limited costs. I know that I would love to put of an organization like that. It would basically be a simulation in how a company would actually be run. Obviously all profits would go to promoting and improving the club.
Some downsides of the club would be it's potential to expand would be far more limited. We probably would't be able to build new printers, and major repairs to existing printers might also be out of the budget. Without a major task for the group, like a big competition at the end of the year, the club might fall into a rut where all they do is endlessly print with no purpose. Eventually, the printers may loose their novelty and membership would decline. There needs to be tangible accomplishments so everybody feels like they are getting something out of this club. One solution would be allowing members to print anything that they wanted without paying or having to risk getting in trouble. That would improve moral and lead to more innovation.
I feel like this unique organization is very important to the Penn State community,and I would hate to see it disband.
Bonus Blog C: 12/12/12
I really enjoyed taking this class this semester, and I feel like a learned many important skills. Too many engineering courses feature all theory but no hands-on experience. I would dread spending two hours on pointless math homework, but I would happily spend hours in the lab if it was for a project that I enjoyed. By allowing us to choose our own assignments, you guaranteed that we would be passionate and willing students. We got to choose what we wanted to know, not what a professor wanted to teach.
I personally gained a lot of experience with actually designing and making things. In EDSGN 100, we spent most of the semester learning about different design tools that are all mostly pointless. It really makes little difference if I use a concept selection matrix vs. a pairwise comparison chart. At the end of it, we produced one thing. This class allowed us to dive in and make things for ourselves. Ideas could be transformed into real objects in the time it takes to CAD it and print. We could make anything, from razor blade holders go gliders.
The most important take away from this course is from the difficulties with dealing with the printers. I had to take a machine that I barely understood and figure out why it was not working. Sometimes the fixes were really simple, like the z stop was out of alignment or the heater was not on. But other times it would seem like everything was working fine, except no filament was coming out. When you take a bunch of semi-skilled workers and have them use delicate machines, something is bound to break eventually. I remember the panic that I felt the first time the z-stop was out of alignment and the extruder was driving itself into the bed. Eventually I found the power and shut it off, but not after it knocked the bed out of alignment. I had to figure out how to put it back. Or the time that the filament got tangled and caused the belt to be knocked off. That took a while to figure out. I even attempted to make a system of zip ties before discovering the rather simple solution.
Basically, the merit of this course is it teaches us how to make/use/fix machines that we knew almost nothing about. It teaches the critical thinking skills necessary to respond to unpredictable situations as well as gives us the confidence to try things on our own.
Bonus Blog B: 12/12/12
In terms of structure, I feel like there should have been a lot longer of an introduction at the beginning. I know that I had a lot of trouble learning how the printers functioned and what to do with them. I was afraid to use them for fear of breaking them, and I had no idea how to fix even minor issues. I know that it is difficult to show 20 people how to use printers, but it would have been nice if we could have known more initially. Maybe somebody should create a handout that details exactly what to do and when. I was able to follow everything when I got my print licence, but by the time I attempted my first print I had no idea what to do. If I had followed along with what Eric was doing while reading the handout, it would have been a lot easier to retain what I was supposed to do. I think a problem in general was a lack of ways to retain information. You showed us some interesting powerpoints on how to use skineforge, but it went too fast to write down the important commands and numbers.
Class time had too much of an emphasis on lab time. With so few printers, it was very difficult to get one. If you weren't on a printer or build team, then there was very little to do. I had many occasions where I felt lost and seemed to just be waiting until class ended. I know now that I should have spent that time on blogs or wiki edits, but I did not know that then. I would have like to see a lecture/discussion every tuesday on something related to RepRap. It could be a presentation on a student project, a lecture on every component of a printer, or a discussion about the differences between skinforge and slic3r.
I think a good structure of this class would be to have the first 2-3 weeks with nobody touching the printers. This time would be spent learning skinforge, replicator G, and Slic3r. The experienced people would tell the new ones everything that they could about how to manage a print and how to fix common mistakes. I know that hands on experience is important, but a solid foundation of theory would have been very useful.
Bonus Blog A: 12/12/12
This carbomorph technology is a great leap forward in the development of rapid prototypes. This technology allows a 3D printed object to come with sensors and electronic connections. One of the biggest disadvantages with current printing technology is the fact that they cannot print anything that uses electricity, but that will now change. Once this technology becomes more widespread, we will see a great surge in the popularity of 3D printers. Not only can an electronic device be produced in a very short amount of time, but the electronic connections will be far more reliable because they will be built in, not held together with glue or paint. People could utilize this technology to create reliable electronic components that are cheap and quick.
The article mentioned a mug that could sense how full it was. I personally would love to have one of those. There is nothing more disappointing that attempting to take a swing of hot chocolate, then noticing that there was nothing left. Other containers could tell you how empty (or full) they were getting. This may be a little extreme, but you would know exactly how full a septic tank was without having to check. I am currently working on a project that focuses on adding bleach to water in order to purify it. We are having difficulty in coming up with a reliable method for determining how much bleach is remaining in the bleach reservoir. If I had this technology, I could just print out a container that would tell me. Another use would be to print a chair, and then use this sensor to monitor how people sat in the chair. You could then use that data to create an even better chair design
The field of rapid prototyping continues to advance at an astonishing rate. Although I doubt that I will be seeing Star Trek level replicator technology in my lifetime, advancements like these make me really wonder how different the world will be when I am 60 and everyone has a printer in the basement.
Thanksgiving Blog: 12/12/12
Something that I find really interesting about 3D printers is their great amount of uses in the aerospace industry. One of the most common do it yourself projects out their is the quadcopter. There are a dozen websites devoted to getting people together to share their designs in programs. This community is very similar to Thingiverse,and it was a logical next step to combine the two. Many people have uploaded their designs on Thingiverse, with varying degrees of rapid prototyping. Some are entirely 3D printed, but most use 3D printed parts in conjunction with stronger materials, like carbon fiber. Although many of the most important aspects of a quadcopter, such as the motors and flight control software, need to be purchased, most of the components of the frame can be designed to specifically fit the rest of your materials. You could even print the propellers, if you are feeling ambitious. The biggest advantage of using Thingiverse is it acts as a bridge between two very innovative communities, the 3D printers and the copter builders. As these technologies continue to improve, quadcopters will get cheaper, easier to build, and more widespread.
On the other side of the spectrum is how industry is utilizing material additive manufacturing in the aerospace industry. Unlike other industries, when a company needs to mass produce an aircraft, it is usually on the order of dozens or hundreds, not thousands or millions. With such a small order, it makes more sense to utilize 3D printing technology over trying to create a factory to do it. There are companies like Arcam AB that can 3D print titanium and cobalt chronium, which are two expensive metals that are both very common in the aerospace industry. Another advantage of 3D printing is it reduces the amount of waste. Instead of cutting out from a larger piece, 3D printing only uses exactly how much material that is needed for the part. Considering the expensive nature of these metals, this manufacturing process leads to extensive saving. Modern airplanes are already starting to have 3D printing components, and the trend will only continue in the years to come.
Twelfth Blog: 12/11/12
There are many issues where I think information should be available for everyone to know, but self-driving cars is not one of them. The only way that self-driving cars would work would be if they were perfect, if they never made mistakes and always delivered you somewhere on time and in one piece. However, if somebody tampers with the code, to say allow themselves to go faster or something, then the entire system is thrown out of wack. These people would be putting themselves and everyone around them at risk. It would basically be the equivalent of drunk driving. I am not sure how easy it would be to keep this information secret, but every effort must be taken. The benefits of having self-driving cars far outweigh the discomfort of having to pass a McDonald's or see other subliminal advertising. As long as the car takes a fast and efficient route, I could not care how I got from point A to point B.
If the UN asked for my help, I would tell them that they should not make any attempts to regulate 3D printing. Every scenario that I can come with, like putting chips in every printer to authenticate prints, would be easy to avoid by skilled professionals who want to get around it. This action would cost a lot of money, seriously hamper the 3D printer movement, and ultimately not solve the problem. I am unable to think of a spectacular solution that will promote intellectual property without harming everything else. Maybe that solution does exist somewhere, but I just do not know it.
I think his predictions are very likely. Every time that the government has imposed a sanction to try and deal with the issue of intellectual property in the digital age, the solution has wound up being far worse than the problem. SOPA would have been a horrible bill that significantly hampered some of the best qualities of the internet. This technology is more than just an appliance, and putting limits on some of its capabilities would serve to to kill the best qualities of the internet. Now, obviously there are extremes to all of this. Nobody wants to see a terrorist put up a public execution or something horrible like that. However, there are already laws that can take down stuff like that. The biggest draw for new laws come from lobbyists of media companies who see vast amounts of potential revenue that is lost through illegal downloads. This constant pressure, plus some public outcry over a shooting cause by a printed gun or something like that, will inevitably lead to a stupid law that is expensive to enforce that prevents innovation while doing little that skilled hackers cannot get around anyway. It has happened before, and it will happen again.
The war cannot be won. The producers of intellectual property will always want to make more money from their work. Eventually, government will side with them with actions that do more harm than good. The most skilled individuals will be able to get around any sanction or prohibition, and the average people like me will suffer. In this war, nobody wins. However, if people can just let bygones be bygones and only pursue the most egregious breaks of copyrights instead of every instance, then society will prosper. These laws would be unnecessary if people stopped trying to take advantage of the system. At the same time, access to free information would also be less of an issue if things like the spying on kids from Lower Merion didn't happen. If people were honest and trustworthy, this issue would be much simpler. However, I am asking for human nature change, and that will never happen.
Eleventh Blog: 12/2/12
I am a really big fan of printing 3D models of people. The main for the development of photography was people's desires to have pictures taken of themselves. Portraits took too long and were not accurate enough, so even black and white pictures were deemed superior. Family members wish to remember their loved ones, and people wish to leave a legacy, an object that says "I was here, and this is what I looked like." These 3D sculptures are a much quicker and easy method of creating a 3D model of somebody over, say, hiring a professional sculptor to do it. It is much easier to remember somebody through a 3D model over just a picture.
The main problem with me buying a model of myself is price. There is no way I could justify spending over $250 to just purchase a miniature version of me. I can see myself anytime I want. Maybe I would spend that for a model of a girlfriend, but not myself. However, parents are a different story. I am already away from home for most of the year, and my visits back will become even less frequent as time goes on. They have plenty of pictures of me, but I can definitely see them wanting models of all their children.
Right now, the business model is seriously hampered by price. It is not prohibitively high, but it is too much to be an impulse decision. The best way for this to work would be if people can notice this cool technology and buy it right there. With the high price tag, I can really only picture them purchased as a present for a special occasion, like Christmas or an anniversary. This niche group might be able to support the business for now, but prices will need to drop if it wants significant growth.
With the right competition, however, these models may become far more popular. One the printing technology becomes less of a novelty and more of an everyday thing, the cost of these models will be driven mostly by materials, not the cost of the machines that make them. If the costs come down to, say $50-100 a model, I can see plenty of uses for them. ?Some examples are Graduation statues, athletic statues, couples embracing, statues with a baby, ect. There is no rule that these portraits need to be limited with only one person. Pretty much any significant event that people want framed pictures of could be made into a statue to be remembered forever.
Tenth Blog: 11/26/12
I think adding 3D printers to primary schools is a great idea. There needs to be a larger focus on inspiring younger students to pursue STEM fields, and I believe 3D printers are exactly what is needed. There devices not only use science and computers to achieve tangible goals, but also have a coolness factor to them. The ability to create an object from just a computer file references the replicators of Star Trek, one of the most successful science fiction series of all time. Any device that helps bridge the gap between science fiction and reality will be popular among students, and this popularity will cause them to pursue careers in science and math, areas that the US desperately needs more talent in to stay competitive.
I am a big fan of hands-on learning, and therefore I am a great supporter of the STEMulate program that uses 3D printing technology to educate students about robotics. Only a 3D printer allows the freedom to create any structure that they can imagine to go along with their servos and controllers. I know that just teaching the students about these pieces of technology is far less effective than giving them a goal and letting them figure it out for themselves. The 3D printing allows them the freedom to have complete control and design anything that they are inspired to build. I hope that this pilot program is successful and built upon. I also agree with David Warlick's point that innovation will be driven by 3D printers. If technology needs to be developed, but there is no obvious commercial benefit to it, than it will take a long time to be created, if ever. However, 3D printers provide the perfect conduit to help develop this micro-precision technology. The more precise the printer, the better the print. I know there have been plenty of instances where I wished that our printers were better. IN Buzz Garwoods' article, he discussed giving 3D printing technology to 8th graders. I am glad that he only focused on the design aspect of the machines, not on how they actually operated. They work with some pretty advanced robotics, and I believe it is too much for an 8th grader to understand. However, an 8th grader is perfectly capable of using a Cad program to create a model, and that experience is greatly amplified if there model is actual turned into a tangible object. The program is good, and should continue.
Ninth Blog: 11/10/12
3-D printing has a nearly unlimited potential to make a significant impact on the future. There are so many scenerios where 3D printing will revolutionize the way things are done. A soldier in the field can deploy a printer from his backpack and create medical supplies to treat a wound, spare parts to fix a vehicle, or even an entire gun. As long as this individual has raw material and this machine, he can do anything. Another change will be in the classroom. If a teacher needs to show the students how to view a molecule or the bone structure of a person, they can print an example right there. This ability will eventually have 3D imagines become just as widespread as their current 2D counterparts, especially if we can find a way to quickly and efficiently recycle the plastic. Another innovation will be in fashion. With the ability to print designer clothes and jewelry, fashion will progress at an astonishing rate. While many people will also be "in fashion", the leaders will be pushing the envelope so much that dramatic changes in style will be recorded on a weekly basis.
Eighth Blog: 10/26/12
Hopefully Intellectual Venture's new patent will fall apart in court because it poses a great threat to the 3D printing community. Attempting to control 3D printing before an issue has developed is ridiculous. Right now 3D printing is such a small community that any restriction is completely unnecessary. People want others to use and improve on their work, not place controls so that only paying customers will have access. Modern printing technology is not cheap; commercial printers can cost thousands of dollars, and building one yourself requires extensive technical knowledge. At this point, an additional licensing fee would greatly hurt the entire community. And how would this even be enforced? Why would a machine that I build myself refuse to print a file? Can't I just remove the code that is undesirable, or worst case use the CAD model as a blueprint to build my own CAD model. There seem to be plenty of legal issues associated with this patent, and I hope it fails. I agree that this type of regulation may become necessary in the future, but I would hate it to be controlled by such a sleazy company.
Seventh Blog: 10/23/12
The ability to print optical sensing devices would greatly increase the relevance of this class, and significantly improve our capabilities. Right now Rapid Prototyping is held to only printing structural components or preparing a 3D model. However, with this sensing technology, a whole range of possibilities emerges. We could make automated robots that can sense their environment. We could create new controller interfaces for games. Currently, our printing technology cannot produce electronic components, but this new technology would go a long way in bringing that gap.
The main difficulty in using this technology exists in attempting to extrude it. The video showed that the manufacture required industrial machinery that looked very expensive. The fibers would have to line up perfectly for the effect to work, and I am not sure that our current technology has that much precision.
I think these sensors would be great in some sort of robotics project. The structural components can be made from traditional printing methods, and the sensors can add capabilities to the artificial intelligence. Nothing complex needs to be done, but building something that can roll across a room and not hit walls would be a great experience. Another idea would be to build an elaborate haunted house using the touch sensors to trigger specific scary events, but that is not really feasible in the short time frame until Halloween.
Sixth Blog: 10/23/12
I believe that bio-printing is a great way to move the industry forward. Tissue is just a collection of cells layered in a specific order, and that is exactly what 3D printing produces. Instead of using plastic or metal as an input, living cells can be substituted. The potential applications of this technology are limitless. I envision a future where a heart transplant list no longer exists. If you require a new heart, all you have to do is order one, and it can be quickly constructed. Depending on the speed of these printers, some mortal injuries may be survivable. However, there are many legal issues that are associated with this technology. Where does ownership of these printed tissue end? Can somebody own and sell a heart or a leg? What about an entire person? In the TV show Eureka, they had an advanced printer that could print an entire human body in a manner of hours. Would these artificial people have the same rights as you or me? The bthe iggest technical problem with this technology is finding a way to keep the cells alive. Do you store them in large vats? Do they grow on there own? How do you feed them? Also, could you combine different types of cells in one print? Could I combine bone cells with muscle and skin to print an arm?
I think that once the technology becomes established, there is a very good chance that this bio-printing could be expanded into somebody's private laboratory. There would be many specialized components (I cannot even picture how the extruder would function), but a traditional 3D printer should be able to make these machines. Once large companies pay the extensive R&D costs and solve the problems with bio-printing, I can see no significant hurdle preventing somebody from creating small tissue samples. I doubt that home printers will be able to produce a heart, but they should provide good test surfaces for biology enthusiasts.
Fifth Blog: 10/5/12
If I was a member of DIY trying to 3D print a gun, I would attempt to obtain a printer in a less public manner. The reasoning that Stratasys used to take away the printer was that they could not knowingly allow people to break the law. The solution is to not let Stratasys know what they intend with the printer. Or, just use a different service to buy a printer from. There are plenty of companies out there that sell 3D printers, and $20,000 will go a long way. I understand that they wanted publicity, but there cause would go a lot farther if they advertised it after they had a completed gun.
It is very difficult to regulate 3D printing, and I cannot imagine a system where it is done successfully. The printers are so easy to build with off-the-shelf components that any successful regulation seems impossible. The government could put some form of print-tracking chip in pre-made models, but the next generation of printers would not contain this restriction. Unless the government banned all 3D printers, I do not see how they could effectively regulate the industry. I guess all they could do is make it illegal to have one of these banned prints, like a home-made gun.
The possibility that comes to mind is a key. If somebody could match a borrowed key, then they could easily break into a place. In fact, if only the lock is known, a person could theoretically produce a key that would fit the lock. A key printed out of plastic, as long as it has enough precision, could be able to match any metal key.
Fourth Blog: 9/27/2012
I understand that Makerbot is a company that is trying to make money, but they are treading a very dangerous line. The great thing about 3D printers is that they can create copies of themselves. However, Makerbot does not seem to understand that even a device that replicates still needs to have a parent. Makerbot is concerned that people will not buy their new model, and that is simply wrong. People who want to get started with 3D printing still need an initial printer. That is where Makerbot comes in. Their goal should be to create the initial printer, and to make a printer that is higher quality than what people can manufacture at home. The only people who would buy a Makerbot product in the first place are one's without printing capability. Nobody would pay that much money for a slightly better printer than they have at home.
Prusa has a right to be concerned. He was one of the initial investors in Makerbot, and Makerbot has done many great things in its live, like run Thingiverse and provide start up printers. However, it now seems that Makerbot is attempting to take control of 3D printing, and that is unacceptable. The best part of 3D printing is the fact that it cannot be owned by anyone, that it is a group of people who just want to create cool things. The community cannot exist unless it is open source. Hopefully Makerbot's attempt at ownership is just legal junk, but if they truly try to control other's designs, then the community will just move to other sites, like GitHub. The transition will be awkward and slow the development of 3D printing, but it will by no means stop it.
Third Blog: 9/21/2012
1. I see only two paths for restrictions to be placed on 3D printing. The first is if it becomes such a large industry that a person's entire job becomes creating new items. Since the company is paying money to produce this complex design, they will want to charge people to download it. However, this restriction should only apply to really complex and fancy designs, far more intricate than what is currently available. The other path I see is that if this technology becomes dangerous, such as the modeling of firearms, then the government will be forced to step in and monitor it. This would only happen after some sort of tragedy, but the government moderation could make the entire society so inconvenient that nobody uses it anymore.
2. Back in elementary school, I had this great idea for a food converter. You would put bad food into this device, like broccoli, and it would produce delicious food, like chocolate. The chocolate would have all the nutritional value of broccoli, but it would have the taste and texture of chocolate. I never really thought about how this transformation would take place, but I figured some sort of science would be involved. Now that I am older, I think the idea would still be amazing, but I have no idea how it would actually be implemented. Right now I doubt anyone would be attracted to this idea, but maybe that would change if I actually develop it out further.
3. It would only be a death to IP if people are still willing to make designs without some sort of reimbursement. In an optimal world, everyone who contributes to thingiverse will be able to use thingiverse, and that access to thousands of designs would be their payment. However, people usually require some sort of more tangible reward for their efforts, so I doubt this form of utopian society will ever develop. IPs do have a lot of downsides and wastes, but it does cause people to spend the time and money to create great things. This can only be removed if people will still be willing to create great things.
Second Blog: 9/13/2012
1. The dream of complete self replication isn't really feasible, at least given the current technology. Right now we have a system that is pretty good at quickly making almost any object out of plastic. This system is pretty good for making joints and specialized components, but there is no way that an entire machine can be constructed with this method. For this system to begin to look feasible, the rep rap community needs to begin experimenting with ways to build with other materials. There is no way to produce a power brick or a motor with one of these machines. The way I interpret the dream, he machine is able to construct anything, as long as it is given the right raw materials. Unless we find a way to work with things like metal, that dream can never become a reality.
2. Wealth is tied into the means of production. If you own the means of production, then you are wealthy. However, to obtain a means of production, you must also be wealthy, because it is prohibitively expensive. The goal of rapid prototyping is to give people wealth without costing them a lot of money. If machines can duplicate themselves at little cost, then nearly everyone can afford to own one. Eventually, if the machines evolve enough, people will be able to have whatever they want, which is the definition of wealth. However, there is a problem with this plan. If the machines are used by everyone, the materials needed may become scarce, thus driving up their cost to prohibitively high levels. If this problem is overcome, then the economy could eventually be revolutionized. It would focus almost entirely on food production and these machines.
3. One future scenario is that this technology will eventually be scaled down small enough that it becomes nano technology. Medicine will be revolutionized with little particles that could travel inside a body and internally fix any health problem. Any of this machines that wear out or are destroyed can be easily replicated if the person swallows a special pill. A different advantage of this nano technology lies in space exploration. Send a few of this small machines at really fast speeds to distant planets. When they arrive, they can begin replicating using natural resources. Once they have enough numbers, they can begin construction of habitats and infrastructure that will eventually be used by humans.
This wheel can be modified in a large variety of ways to fit nearly any situation or design. People building models will find many uses for such a versatile wheel. The wheel is one of the greatest inventions of man, and here is an easy way to manufacture one.
The light shade is a beautiful flame shape that is very aesthetically pleasing. Any colored LED can be placed inside it to change the color of the fire to the user's preference. It is a great room decoration.
While this steak could fit under a variety of different categories, it is primarily a rather useless object. Steaks are meant to be eaten and enjoyed. A steak constructed out of plastic cannot be eaten, and is therefor a pointless object.
The mustache Ring is a humorous object that can give anyone an instant mustache. By wearing the ring, the mustache will always be only seconds away. Everyone looks silly in a fake mustache.
Bobble heads are usually nice paperweights, but this one is just plain weird. Why is Black Dynamite's head on the body of a space marine? The combination makes no sense, and so this strange object will remain a mystery.