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Bonus Blogs - 12/12/12

Blog Entry #15 - 12/12/12

Blog Entry #14 - 12/12/12

I feel that even if the firmware were locked, people skilled enough would be able to unlock it and do with it what they please. Because of this, I think it would probably be best if the firmware started off locked, and if you are skilled enough, you can go about modifying the firmware to fit your needs. This is pretty much exactly how the Android operating system works right now. While the OS is technically locked to prevent the normal user from accidentally damaging the phone or removing the bloatware some companies like to put on their phones, skilled programmers have found a way for more skilled users to get around doing so. This allows users with the proper skill to make the modifications they desire on their phones. This same idea could be applied for a self-driving cars firmware. Having it be locked by default will protect the everyday user of the car to be safe from someone like a mechanic making un-wanted changes to their car, but giving the more advanced user the ability to unlock it if they wish. In the end, I feel this would make both parties happy.

Obviously I don't think placing a regulatory framework on 3D printing is all that necessary and is certainly not something that is needed to protected the good of the people. As mentioned in the article, there are so many other topics that could be resolved in our country that has incredibly more importance than regulating the 3D printing industry as a whole. Honestly, I don't know what action I would take, but I don't think something like it is necessary because it is not really harming anyone the way it is. Putting regulations on things for the sake of regulating them is not something I believe in, and 3D printing is no different.

Blog Entry #13 - 12/08/12

By the looks of it, the Filabot design seems to be the most suitable in terms of easily recycling your waste material. The other two design seems like they will work, but in terms of a complete product, it seems to me the Filabot would work the best. I think as a whole, recycling in the RepRap community is very important, especially in regards to fixing and replacing existing parts on your RepRap printers. As we have seen in class, we have a good bit of waste material from prints that messed up. Having a way to do something with this waste material is important because it cuts down on the filament going to the trash. Additionally, having something to do with your old prints that you no longer want is important as well. It would be much more beneficial to be able to reuse the filament you used on the print than to just throw it away and have to purchase more filament to make a print. While it may be expected you'll have to do that regardless, at least if you recycle old filament or prints, you will never have to worry about being wasteful with your filament. The difficulty of accomplishing this task, however, may make some people stray away from building their own and purchasing something like a Filabot whenever it should become available. However, for someone like an engineer who is good with building stuff, I don't think it would be too difficult of a task and would certainly be something that students in our class could probably pull off.

Blog Entry #12 - 11/30/12

Personally, I find this use of 3D printing to be kind of weird. I mean, I personally wouldn't want a 3D printed action figure of myself sitting on my desk staring at me all day. I think it would be kind of creepy, but that's just my opinion. However, I do think having the opportunity to do 3D printed family portraits would be a cool thing to be able to do. The article didn't mention if they are able to do such a thing, but I think something like this will eventually be developed. I certainly do think there are parents out there that would eat something like this all up. I could see a parent having something like this done every year on a child's birthday to have a memory of how much they've grown and changed over the years. That in my opinion would be one cool use of it. However, as I've already said I most likely wouldn't have this done and I'm not sure if my parents would either. I definitely think this is a very small market to be using 3D printers, however, there's definitely clientele out there. Set up a few of these shops near large tourists attractions and I definitely think it would eventually catch on to the mainstream. I think as the popularity goes up and more companies have the ability for such a product, I think the prices would certainly be driven down. Like I said, there's most definitely people out there who would find this type of thing incredible and would take full advantage of it if it were available.

Blog Entry #11 - 11/17/12

While I think 3D printing is a great tool for learning, I'm really not too sure how much of a benefit it would be for someone in K-8 grade, but above that I do think it would be great. To truly get the most out of 3D printing, I think it needs to be used as a means of creating an idea and bringing it to life. Personally, I did not have any 3D modeling experience until I reached 9th grade. If 3D printers were as readily available back then as they are today, I definitely think that having the ability to turn my virtual designs into real objects would have been a great tool to stimulate my learning. Additionally, having access to something like this also stimulates one's imagination and creativity, which is something very important in the early years of a students academic life. I also completely agree with the one article where it was stated that children are great with visuals. I made many things in Solidworks and AutoCad through my high school career, but never really had a chance to turn those designs into anything. Having the ability to turn your ideas into an object that you can physically hold and see in the real world, you really do get the most out of the experience as I've seen in my college career. So I honestly don't see how 3D printing technology wouldn't work in a high school classroom. It's a great learning tool and the possibilities are endless with the things a child could make on it.

Blog Entry #10 - 11/10/12

With the large growth 3D printing has seen over the last few years alone, I feel the sky is the limit to what types of things we'll see in the near future. I think one of the big things we'll probably be hearing about is the developments in bio-printing, with the potential of progress being made on being able to print organs. Another thing I definitely think we'll most likely see in the future is the transition from 3D printing with plastics and maybe begin to see printers that are capable of printing metals such as aluminum. I feel that using the same process we see with our repraps, utilizing similar technology will allow us to be able to print using metal. I think the advancements made in bio-printing alone have shown that the sky really is the limit with 3D printers. However, one thing I do not think we'll hear much about in the future is the 3D printing of weapons. I feel that this is definitely something that would most likely be shut down if it were to ever completely get off the ground. We have seen that attempts have been made to 3D print an entire hand gun, and I think eventually the government is going to have to step in and prevent any such advancements in the art of 3D printing. Lastly, I feel that overall we're just going to see a major increase in the technology being readily available to even more users. As the popularity increases and more time passes, I definitely think the price of a 3D printer will be much lower and more manageable to your everyday consumer. This will only lead to even more advancements with the technology and I honestly can say that I only see good things in the future for 3D printing.

Blog Entry #9 - 11/2/12

The two libraries on campus that I am most familiar with are the Pattee-Paterno Library and the Engineering Library in Hammond Building. I think that both of these libraries would be viable locations for setting up labs for Rep Raps and other 3D printers. Every library is utilized by students and other patrons as venues of learning. Most libraries offer computer access with internet and printing capabilities, so 3D printers would be a great new tool that libraries can use as another means of learning for students. Students use libraries to print out their pieces of work on a daily basis, whether it be art or general work, so what better place to host 3D printers? Instead of printing out a paper they just worked on, having access to 3D printers at a library would allow students to design a widget for one of their classes and print it out. This would allow them to have a physical object to turn into rather than just a simple drawing that most engineering students are accustomed to. As the one article mentioned, having this available to someone would require them to take up a 3D modeling software in order to utilize these machines, thus expanding on their knowledge as well. As a whole, a 3D printer is a great tool to use to enhance one's learning, so having them available at our libraries would be a great asset to everyone. I really don't think it would be very hard to pull off either, having a dedicated computer lab that focuses on 3D printing. This would be much easier to pull off at Pattee-Paterno, as it has a lot more space, but having them available at the Engineering Libary would be a great asset for all the engineering students who utilize it. Overall, I completely agree with all the articles put forth for this blog in that libraries are a great place to start introducing 3D printing to the masses. They are great pieces of technology to learn about and from, so what better place is there to have them available then institutions that are known to be venues of learning in our communities?

Blog Entry #8 - 10/27/12

1. This article agrees with my initial post on 3D printing DRM saying that the validity of such a patent is very weak as it extends out to other techniques in addition to 3D printing. Additionally, the article also mentions that the company filing for this patent has no ties with 3D printers and is merely in the business of trading patent rights, which people have named "patent trolling". I personally think nothing will come out of this patent and there truly isn't much of a use for it. The article mentioned that museums were looking into some kind of DRM to protect 3D sculptures against printer piracy, but that fact that these machines can't print anything the size as some of the sculptures you find in museums, there really is no real concern here. I think that all of this is nothing more than companies worried that they will lose money on selling small souvenirs an other objects that you would normally find in gift shops or other stores. So at the end of the day, I don't see this patent holding much weight and have nothing become of it.

Blog Entry #7 - 10/19/12

1. I think the implications of creating these optical devices is that we will see a drastic simplification of the manufacturing process of them. Being able to create one solid object rather than a bunch of internal pieces that need to be assembled makes these prints easier and costlier. In regards to cost you save money by having to produce less parts and thus save even more money on cutting the cost of labor of assembling these pieces. Honestly, I see nothing but positive things from being able to print optical sensors, as it is essentially revolutionizing the way we manufacture these types of parts.

2. The difficulties we would face trying to implement light piping using our printers is in the capabilities of those machines. For one, printing an object with internal pipes with a diamater of half a millimeter just wouldn't be possible with our machines. Secondly, our printers can generally be considered as very sloppy at times. Achieving a perfect print is very difficult and sometimes even impossible, so even the slightest mess up during the print of the internal light pipes would ruin the print. The printers used to create the items Disney Research developed were very precise machines and thus were able to create some very cool objects using light pipes. I definitely think creating a light pipe with our printers is possible, but the pipes would have to be at a sufficiently large diameter and thus limiting the type of objects we'd be able to create.

3. One of the obvious applications for these objects is interactive toys. Since there aren't a hundred different tiny parts making up the sensor, you wouldn't have to worry about a child swallowing and choking on a part. I also think these sensors would be pretty cool for maybe something like a optical light switch that you could use to dim lights with nothing but an IR emitter and receiver. Since these switches have many levels of adjustability by limiting the amount of light reaching the receiver, this would be a perfect switch you could use to dim the lights on any kind of light source. Since its so easy to make with a 3D printer, if your regular dimmer doesn't work you could make a new one, or print one to use on an existing light source with no dimmer.

Blog Entry #6 - 10/19/12

1. I think bio-printing is a very interesting concept, one that I feel should have a major impact on our healthcare system in the future. The idea of being able to print someone a new organ, even though probably many years from being accomplished, is very appealing. However, I do feel like a technique like this is certainly gonna have its share of opposition especially on the legal side of things. For one, we already have a lot of controversy in the use of stem cell research for medical purposes. On top of that, the use of bio-printing would probably be even more controversial, especially since with the right knowledge, anyone would be able to do it and use it for their own personal gain. So while its a great idea and one that I think would be very useful in the future, it certainly has its share of drawbacks.

2. I personally think its a good possibility something like this could be extended to RepRaps. Obviously, the capabilities of certain printers might not be adequate enough to perform bio-printing, but I do not see why this isn't a realistic goal. This technology has already advanced greatly in the last couple of years, so I definitely think something like bio-printing could be possible with a RepRap. However, there are implications with this with RepRaps being open source. The positive side being that you could share all your bio-prints with the community, but the negative side being this could be used in a negative manner such as how people are now printing guns with their 3D printers.

Blog Entry #5 - 10/5/12

1. I feel as if now that Makerbot is an established company competing with professional grade 3D printers, they are starting to shift to a more closed source system to protect their intellectual property and prevent other companies from improving on it. With open source, anyone can take an existing product, build upon it, and call it a new product. It seems as is Makerbot wants to avoid this so another company or person cannot use their intellectual property, build upon it, and sell it as a better product. This would in turn hurt Makerbot, and is most likely why they are shifting to a closed source system.

I think Prusa's concerns are very warranted, if Makerbot owns the rights to everything uploaded on Thingiverse, they can ultimately use anyone's ideas or designs, implement them into their systems as their own, and someone like Prusa has no means of receiving royalties for that and probably can't take legal action against Makerbot. He has every right to take his designs down from the site to prevent any theft of intellectual property and protect his own interests.

Ultimately, I do feel that having a company like Makerbot who is making money off of these 3D printers run a site like Thingiverse is a bit of a conflict of interest in a way. While it seems great to have such an open place to share your designs, it seems to give Makerbot ownership of your designs which I don't feel is right. As mentioned earlier, Makerbot could take anyone's improved design and implement it into the new improved Replicator 3 (theoretically speaking) and the person who created that design would most likely benefit nothing from it, whereas Makerbot can label it is a new feature to help sell their product. This doesn't seem right if it is indeed true, and I think there should certainly be a neutral party controlling such a site rather than one who is making money off the sale of these 3D printers.

Blog Entry #4 - 10/28/12

1. I personally don't think continuing the goal of creating a gun from a 3D printer is really worth it. Wilson has had to face some very strong opposition and it doesn't seem like it will get any easier for him. If I was a dedicated member of the team and had heard that he had been questioned by the ATF even though he went to them willingly, I would probably be very concerned about my position in the company. Regardless of how dedicated these guys are to this cause, I don't think it's worth breaking laws and having the ATF potentially label me as a person of interest for firearm trafficking. To me, regardless of how dedicated I am to a cause, nothing is worth potentially being arrested for breaking some law regardless of if it exists or not.

2. I certainly think that regulating the creation of 3D printed guns is something that needs to be seriously considered. For one, since these guns would be made out of plastic, the means of disposing of them would be especially easy. If someone were to use one of these weapons to murder someone, the means of melting away the evidence would be very easy. Not to say this isn't already possible with metal guns, but the means of melting plastic as opposed to metal is much more plausible to your typical person. The melting point of plastic is much lower than that of steel, so there are so many ways a person could go about disposing a weapon should they use it to murder or cause harm to someone. I personally don't know how you would regulate it though. It's not like your typical weapon where you can put a serial number on it and have a means of tracking it. It's very easy to manipulate plastic so even if you had a way of marking these guns, someone will find a way to get around it just like they do with a typical gun. I personally think having some sort of license for 3D printed weapons is a possibility, but even then people would see have a means around this and be able to sell them on the black market. The only other realistic means of regulating it is to impose very strict laws for the possession of a 3D printed weapon without a license, even more strict than your typical weapon. Other than that, I really don't know how you could go about imposing regulation, but I do think something needs to be done to deter people from doing it in their homes.

3. At this time I really can't think of many objects other than those that can cause physical harm to someone that could attract similar attention to 3D printed weapons. Even though it's not really a weapon, I also think having the means of constructing a silencer or other similar weapon modifications should also reason similar prohibition.

Blog Entry #3 - 9/21/12

1. I think that if 3D printing were to ever go the route of protecting individual designs with the use of DRM, it would never last. Adrian Bowyer made a very good point in that intellectual property is only stable when the copying is difficult and the legal ramifications are steep. Since these machines are so easy to make through reproduction, there is going to come a time when everyone is going to want one and all they'll have to do is go to one of their friends who already have one and print out the parts themselves. I think even if these designs were protected in some manner, eventually the code would be cracked so to speak and stealing designs would be no more difficult than stealing an MP3. Much like with MP3s, as more and more people contribute to the cause, eventually stopping people from stealing would be impossible, unless you plan on finding the millions of people who do it and try to charge them which I feel is unreasonable.

In today's age of everything being digital, there are so many artists out there who really could care less about the piracy of music. There are many artists out there who release EPs and mix tapes on the internet free of charge, mainly because they want to get their work out there. The people who are most upset with piracy are the ones making a majority of the money, the record labels. Which brings me to the point I found most profound in the article, which was that most people don't create these things to make money. Their real motivation is to get noticed by people and have their work appreciated by the masses. I feel this applies very much to 3D printing especially when you have sites like Thingiverse where you can share your designs openly and essentially "get noticed" as the article states. Clearly most of the people involved in the RepRap community care more about advancing the technology than making money off of it, and therefore I don't think putting any kind of DRM on it would ever work. Eventually these people would find a way past the DRM just like what people did with mp3s.

2. One of my great passions in life is roller coasters, which has lead me to seek a career in the design of what I consider one of the greatest inventions of all time. Having had the opportunity of working for a company that designs and manufactures these machines, I love sharing my knowledge with people who have similar interests. However, I don't see this as a way to attract future mates mainly because some people might find this nerdy (much like with a lot of engineering topics) and uninteresting. I do believe this passion will eventually lead me to making money off of it, primarily because it will hopefully lead to a career in the roller coaster design industry. And while I do have quite a few ideas on ways in which to improve the design of today's roller coaster designs, I probably wouldn't be open to sharing them with others within the industry primarily due to its size. With industries as small and specialized as the manufacture of roller coasters, one good idea means the success of one company over the rest. There really aren't that many roller coasters built each year when you compare their sale to something like a car or cell phone, so every idea counts. Companies in this industry need to advance in order to sell products and stay alive, so every idea counts.

3. I personally don't think 3D printing will "kill" intellectual property as Bowyer believes as I don't think intellectual property will ever completely go away. While Bowyer's argument that most people care more about getting noticed then making money is very strong, there is always going to be someone out there who has a great idea and would rather make a huge profit on it then share it with the world for free. However, the demise of IP could be seen as both a good thing and a bad thing if it were ever to happen. On one hand, everyone's ideas would be free reign and people could combine the best ideas to make objects superior than those in existence today. As consumers we wouldn't have to worry about companies skimping out on features just so they can include them in the next iteration of a product as a selling point to convince people to buy it. This is what makes RepRap designs so popular as anyone can take the existing designs and improve them to create better designs. This also spurs creativity, which is one of the main driving forces behind RepRap's success. On the other hand, it eliminates any monetary gain anyone can have when it comes to a great idea. I think there are some ideas out there that deserve to make someone wealthy, but without the help of IP those opportunities just wouldn't exist.

Blog Entry #2 - 9/13/12

1. I personally do not feel that a self-replication universal constructor is completely feasible, mainly because there are certain components that aren't able to be replicated with this technology. For instance, with the RepRap's themselves, you obviously can't replicate the electronics needed to make the machine run. While much of the body and mechanism could indeed be replicated with one of these machines and substitutes could be found for certain components that can't be replicated, without the electronics, you can't make it run. So I think that while the goal isn't completely out of the picture, I do not feel that it is completely feasible due to these constraints.

2. The phrase simply means that people have the ability of obtaining the things they want without necessarily having to go out and buy them. With one of these machines, people have the ability of manufacturing so many different things that they would no longer need to buy themselves. This in turn helps keep money in their pocket and essentially makes them wealthier in the process. One problem with this statement is while you certainly have the means of making all these things with these machines, there is always going to be a need for raw materials. If everyone has one of these machines, there will be a high demand for these materials which will result in an increase in the price of those materials. Because of this, there may come a point where the cost of manufacturing something yourself is higher than if you were to go out and buy it, thus negating the benefits of the reprap project.

3. As the popularity of these machines continues to increase and are put into more and more people's hands, I feel the possibilities of evolution are endless. There's always going to be someone out there that can do something better or knows of a way to approach something different. That is what makes open-source such a great thing with this project because the amount of feedback that you can get is immense, and only contributes to the increased quality of things and reprap machines. I envision that in the future many different types of materials will be able to be used with these machines. I do not think that creating a reprap that is capable of producing things made out of aluminum, copper, and other soft metals is completely out of the question either. With a development like this, the number of objects that can be replicated would increase dramatically and increase the overall quality as well. I also think as more people contribute to the cause, the cost and ease of making a machine yourself will drop substantially. This in turn will result in an exponential growth of the type of things that are available to be downloaded and manufactured due to the larger community. Overall, I feel the quality of anything and everything reprap will increase as more and more people contribute to the cause.

Blog Entry #1 - 9/3/12

After browsing Thingiverse for awhile, these are the items that I felt met each of the categories:

1. Useful: Bag Holder

While this design may seem silly, I feel like it would be useful in my everyday life. For someone who knows the pain of having to carry four, five, maybe more grocery bags at once while unloading your groceries, this would definitely come in handy for me. I'm a college student, I'm lazy, and I definitely hate taking more than one trip when unloading my groceries from my car, so something like this would make that task very easy and less-painful when trying to carry multiple grocery bags in one hand.

2. Artistic: Flame Light Shade

While browsing through the popular things, I stumbled upon this particular design. It caught my eye and I think its really neat looking. I feel like someone very art oriented would be the person to print something like this out and have it sitting in their house.

3. Pointless: Wolverine Claws

Aside from using these as a prop during Halloween, I honestly can't think of any other reason why you would want a set of Wolverine claws. I understand there are certainly people out there who would love a pair (specifically comic book fans), but I just don't see why I would want to print out my own set to be honest.

4. Funny: Sleeping Pig

I found this design funny simply because the person took the time to make a miniature sized version of a statue they had sitting in their garden. The sleeping pig sitting in someone's yard is funny enough, so if I saw a small sleeping pig sitting on someone's desk, chances are I'd probably chuckle a little. However, I must say the creator did a pretty good job at recreating the object.

5. Weird: Robohamster

This particular design was featured on the main page last week, and my first impression of it was that it was pretty weird look. While I thought this particular design could certainly fit in several other categories, I think weird describes it best. I'm not really sure why someone would want a robot hamster, but whatever floats your boat.