Penn State University
Schreyer Honors College
Computer Science and Mathematics
RepRap OS3DP Blog
I think that Dr. Doyle brings many important thoughts to the table. If Adrian Bowyer hadn't shared his vision of self replicating 3D printers, then the RepRap movement would not exist today. I think that there is a lot of merit to sharing ideas, especially for free, since collaboration and competition are what drive innovation. In the demo video, I recognized one of the most basic programs on the computer-a text editor. Yet despite how basic it is, I am currently using a command line text editor called VI and have been for all my blogs. Why? Because it is simple and works, unlike Word. I think that if we are to abstract the changes of the PC to the evolution of 3D printers, we have a lot to look forward to. I can easily see in 5 or 10 years RGB extruders that dynamically mix melted PLA to form any of 256 or even 512 colors. I can see 3D printers accurate enough to print the finest of parts, things like speaker grills or even bio chemistry equipment that requires the uttermost precision. In the long term future, I can see 3D printers printing whole buildings, even skyscrapers. I think that at some point, we will have print heads that rotate to perform a variety of purposes. Print, solder, weld, cut, arc, dremel, mill, you name it. These print heads could be attached to large crane sized "printer bodies" that move the print head in 6 or more axis. x,y,z, spin, and turn. I think that if we dream big enough, 3D printers will be the way of the future.
I think that in the case of self driving cars, as much as I want free and open firmware, I think that it would be best if the firmware was locked in the case of cars. It would be interesting to see how they work, but at the end of the day, cars are extremely dangerous machines, and if one were to edit the firmware, even just to make a small change, it could have catastrophic effects. The sponsorship theory raises valid concerns however, concerns that I never thought about but ones that we will have to move past. I think that it might be better to keep it locked however as a programmer I am very torn on the issue. I don't think it is a great analogy to reprap though, because cars are so much more dangerous than printers. If I were asked to develop a regulatory framework, I would do it similar to android. There would be the regulated "official" store for 3D part files that have DRM and are locked by vendors, and an "unofficial" one with files uploaded by the community. Printers would be able to print both types of files. I think that his predictions for the future are plausible, especially with a growing movement in 3D printers. Both arduinos and 3D printers were started as open source products and have really taken off since then. But we must be careful that our open source products don't get snatched up and hammered with DRM. I think that while it is a long and hard battle, the copyright war can be won. Just look at the iTunes music store. After years of coating their music with DRM, apple finally decided to release all of the songs without DRM and it has worked out very well.
Do any of the designs above seem more suitable than the others? What kind of influence might a recycling system have on the DIY RepRap community? Does building a filament recycler sound difficult to you, even with step-by-step guides?
I think this is arguably the coolest thing that I have seen in this course. I can honestly imagine taking my Gatorade bottle when I am done with it and just putting it into a trash compactor. Then, once a month or so, I could simply run this material through a filament extruder and have meters of PLA. At that point the only cost of the printer would be the initial investment. While PLA isn't very expensive, I think it is still a reoccurring cost that could easily be eliminated with a relatively simple machine like these filament extruders. I think that the even though the filabot needs smaller initial pieces, it is slightly more feasible as it has a bigger team/company backing it and has been tested more thoughorly. However it would be pretty cool to just be able to print one yourself like the RecycleBot. The idea of having it be powered by an arduino is a very good idea, as one could relatively easily develop simply number recognition algorithms and place a camera in the hopper. When a bottle passes past it, the camera and arduino could determine what kind of plastic it is and adjust the temperature, and feed rate accordingly. Also, one could possibly add support for custom coloring by adding small die extruders to add to the melted filament while it is still hot. I think it does sound difficult to build a filament extruder but at the same time it would be worth both the initial investment and any trouble (and time) for building it. The hardest part I think would be the shredding and heating of the plastic. Some of the designs have talked about using commercially available paper shredders and I think that would be the way to go, as it would be much cheaper and easier going that route. All in all, this is a very cool and promising future for open source 3D printing.
What’s your impression of this use of 3D printing technology? Would you buy a model of yourself? Would your parents buy one? Explain the merits (or lack thereof) in this business model. How much might competition drive down prices in the future for these kinds of novelty items?
I think this use of 3D printing technology is a prime example of something that would draw peoples attention in a store. I can imagine having it at a Maker Fair type event or even at a mall. People would be drawn towards it since it is such a cool concept. However I don't think it would actually sell all that well as it is more of an expensive gimmick than anything else. I personally would rather a 3D scan of myself than a printed model. Levis uses 3D scans of customers to manufacture custom jeans that fit perfectly and I think it would be very useful to be able to do that. I don't think my parents would buy one either since it is a creepy thing to have in my opinion. I think this so called "Business model" is more of just a foot in the door in a sense. Maybe if people see that this can be done they will be more likely to buy other things related to 3D printing. In addition, I don't think there would be lots of competition for this particular example, but other novelty items, like possibly a 3D copy of your dog might be cooler and more popular. It is very easy and cheap to get into the market of 3D printing and I think many people would do so.
So, you’re in a class and classroom dedicated to 3D printing - Do you see a place for this in other educational environments (K-12?) What points do you agree with or disagree with in these articles? Support them with something from your own experience.
I think that there are some good uses for 3D printers in the classroom, but I believe the majority of the uses revolve around simply having 3D models. For example, it would be really useful to have a model of various 3D shapes in vector calculus class (MATH 230) such as elliptic paraboloids and saddles, but I don't think it would benefit the class to have an actual 3D printer in the room. Another example is biology. We could print out large scale models of the parts of a cell, like the mitochondria, but I think it would be a waste to have an actual printer in the room. The same goes for chemistry and having large scale models of complex molecules, but chemistry students might be interested in the different types of plastic that we use and why some work better than others and such. However I think that is more of a one time thing than a good use to have in the classroom. After taking this class, I really wish that we had a similar class in high school. I think that 3D printing is the way of the future for machining plastic parts and it would have been very useful to gain experience on using 3D printers when we got to use other machines such as CNC routers and lathes. I agree with the things that the guys at MakerBot are doing by providing a print service similar to ours. I think that that would be the best use of 3D printers as the parts it can print can be applied to so many different fields.
Some cool relevant links:
What sorts of changes can we expect? What sorts of changes might we not expect?
I think if the technology actually became widespread, we could realistically expect to see a decrease in certain stores. We could go to a small store that contained a couple of 3D printers and they would print out anything we wanted. Product designers could license their designs to these "print shops" and then the designer could get a chip of the profit. Another change we could expect would be [email protected] type services. Imagine if instead of buying simple hardware things, like coat hooks, you could pay $1 for a design from an "App Store" like market place, then print it out in front of your own eyes. PLA filament would be like ink, and the 3D printer would be just like a 2D-printer. Many applications could talk to it just like a printer and you could make many things you currently have to go out to the store to buy.
I think that while commercial 3D printers could be large, the ones at home will not be much bigger than RepRaps. They simply cannot print large objects without being much larger than said objects themselves. In addition, I don't think that they will be able to print in more than 2 colors at once, due to the complexity of the extruders. However, it would be pretty neat if one day we had a 3 color RGB extruder that mixed the colors in such a manor to produce any color of the rainbow.
Discuss the suitability of libraries as hosts for RepRaps (or other 3D printers). We have a number of libraries on campus, as well as the one on allen street: How many are you familiar with? Do you think any of them would be suitable for this?
First off, I really enjoyed the Gizmodo article about using libraries as more of a maker space and less of a scary place where you are scared to talk. I think that these schools such as the University of Nevada will see great success as libraries are a place to learn, and will these days, learning is as much if not more a collaborative effort than an individual one. Peers teaching each other has been shown to be much more effective than lecture based learning. It is only natural that will this new ideology behind libraries comes a showpiece to get the gears turning. In this case, the 3D printer was the perfect tool for the job. One of the coolest things about the entire 3D printing movement is that it requires skills from so many different fields. Everything from the chemistry behind PLA to the electrical engineering behind the stepper motors and RAMPS boards to computer science behind the software used to generate G-code and obviously the mechanical aspects of the structure of the actual printer.
I think libraries would be excellent hosts for 3D printers, but maybe not RepRaps. They require a lot of knowledge to simply keep them printing, and I think it is asking a lot of a public library to simply host this hacked together device. If someone who doesn’t fully understand RepRaps tries to use it, it can catch break itself, and possibly catch fire (in the extreme case). However, there are many commercially available printers that might be better suited for a public library. I still thing there would need to be someone to keep an eye on it, but a tech-savvy librarian could easily do this. On the other hand, the engineering library is right in Hammond, near where we currently keep all of our 3D printers. I think it would be pretty cool if it turned in to a collaborative maker space but we still need to respect the quiet study aspect of the library. One possibility would be to use the Kunkle Lounge as the 3D printer would get more traction there and people could discuss it without risking being too loud. I dream of the day where college campuses are like Google with whiteboards and projects everywhere but right now, the collaborative library idea is a great start.
It is hard to generate traction and publicity with our RepRaps as they are buggy and require lots of training and a good working knowledge of them in order to use effectively. But I think if we were able to make them a little more reliable and use slightly higher quality parts along with better builds and more accurate calibration, then we would be ready to put a RepRap in the library. I don't think any of the other libraries around campus other than the engineering library would be a good host as most people at Penn State could care about 3D printers, with the exception of engineers. I think if we did this, we could generate lots of publicity for 3D printers and that we could start lots of ground breaking projects like the ones we keep reading about; ones like bio printing, metal printing. Things like this are the things keeping the RepRap project going, and the more publicity and traction it gains, the better the chances that RepRap stays around for quite some time.
Does this article support your argument then? Do you think this technology will find a use?
I don't think this article supports my argument. I think that there is a very real possibility that this technology will make it into commercial printers but there is no way that it will infiltrate the open source community. Everything about the open source 3D printer movement is about being open and free and this completely violates that point. Since OS3DP printers are build by the community and for the community, I don't think this DRM will even be able to infiltrate the software. They use the example of iTunes, but it is a closed store which can do whatever they want. In addition, Thingiverse would be nothing if it wasn't open source. If it were to implement DRM, we would just move everything to Github. I don't think this technology will take off in the open source community, but it may be successful with the commercial products as there is a real threat with issues like gun control.
1. Being able to create optical sensing devices on demand is something new, as typically we print passive components. What kind of implications can you imagine resulting from this?
I think that we need to look at what these components really are, and what they are not. These light sensing components are simply different ways to reflect light. They are not the other 90% of a device. In order to use them, you need a both a light source, and controller. This controller is often more complex than a simple mechanical toggle switch. While the concept is cool, I think it is much more difficult in the long run. I think that the one area where this could be big is precise fiber optics. If one needed to print a part, which contained fiber optic channels that were stationary, and a followed a relatively complex path, then this could be very useful. But at the same time, we can already do this rather easily by heating glass fibers and moving them.
2. What sort of difficulty would we have in implementing light piping using our printers?
I think that we would have a lot of difficulty making it precise enough. Our printers are not all that accurate, but these parts require very good accuracy in order to make a part that can transmit light effectively. Also, we would have trouble making the surface of these parts smooth enough. In the videos, they often had to manually sand the part to make it reflective. Yet if the part were complex, it would not be feasible to sand it.
3. In what applications might you find use for these sensors (contact switches, touch sensors, accelerometers, etc)? Do you have some project in mind where these would be useful?
Personally, I think that this light piping is a gimmick. It is like building a structure out of Lego. Sure it will work, but it will be heavy, expensive, and time consuming to build. It would be interesting if we could make intelligent machines with all of these sensors, but the complexity of the controller is simply too great. The size of the components is also rather large with the light source and the controller. One possible use of light piping to build sensors could be simple multitouch surfaces. If you piped lots of little holes to the surface, you could use a smaller array of light sensors at the end of the pipes to figure out where the fingers / hands / objects are.
In addition, here are some cool random os3dp links:
http://www.ted.com/talks/anthony_atala_printing_a_human_kidney.html http://www.engadget.com/2012/10/19/reshaping-universities-through-3d-printing/ http://www.engadget.com/2012/10/19/formlabs-form-1-eyes-on/
1.) I think that if bio-printing get the attention and funding it deserves, it will be incredible. Just imagine being able to produce organs without needing someone to die in the process. If we were able to manufacture organs it would save millions of lives. Right now, there are over 100,000 people on the transplant list in the United States alone (http://www.unos.org/). However, with all of the good that bio-printing would do, there would have to be legal implications for it. The first thing that comes to mind is the movie Repo man. If we could 3D print organs they would be incredibly expensive. If there was no sort of price limit, I could see companies selling the organs with payment plans, and then who knows what would happen if people couldn’t pay them off. The other legal limitation that I could see would be about reselling the organs and how fast that could get incredibly complicated. In addition, there are many technical limitations to overcome before organ printing becomes a reality. I think that right now, the biggest problem is that we are not able to print things that move. We can print static objects very easily but when it comes to moving things, like motors, we cannot print that. Part of the issue is that they are made of more than one type of material, and that applies to human organs as well.
2.) I think that the RepRap project generally follows the commercially available technology, but it is generally a few iterations behind. I think that eventually, bio-printing research will be feasible on a RepRap, with the exception of the extruder. That may be something that must be purchased, as I highly doubt that we will be able to 3d print such a complex part.
If I was a member of the DIY gun project, I would turn to the RepRap project. If you build the machine, there is no limit on what you can print. However, my primary concern would be safety. Even the very best RepRap machines still have their flaws and do not print as accurately as professional machines. As much as I hate to say this, I would consider turning to the new MakerBot Replicator 2. With it's all metal design and incredible accuracy, I would be much more confident using a part printed from that machine in a gun.
Short answer: No. Long answer: It is very hard to do. Does the government regulate 2D printing, or CNC milling, or lathes? No, of course not. I think that it would be reasonable to regulate posting copyrighted materials online, but only if there were acquired from companies. For example, if I steal the CAD files for a gun, it would be illegal for me to distribute them. Yet if I used a 3D scanner and scanned the part myself, then I see no issue with that. It is original content that I am creating, thus it is legal and should be legal to distribute it.
I think other 3D objects that could be subject to denial are ones that companies rely on their designs to profit on. One example is toys. I think one could rather easily print a cast for legos, then make unlimited legos for just the price of PLA. I think that potentially drug paraphernalia could be subject to regulation but then again it is legal to own so it should be legal to print. It is hard to come up with a better example than guns. I think that if the resolution of 3D printers was good enough to be able to print knives, there could possibly be concern but in the long run, you are making it yourself and I don't think there should or could be much regulation on that.
If this news is true, I am really disappointed. I have known (of) Bre Pettis ever since 2005 when I read the first issue of Make Magazine. Make has always been so crucial in the open hardware movement. One of the lines of the Maker's Bill of rights () is "Schematics shall be included." Now Bre Pettis is leaving everything that he once put so much effort into and going to take the new MakerBot to the "dark side."
While I am very upset at this news, I can see some of the logic behind why it is closed. They are striving to fix all of the problems of the open source 3d printers so that people who don't have the knowledge of how they work can use them without constantly struggling to make it function. It costs a whopping $2200 and for a good reason: It just works, and it works very well. The advertised minimum layer resolution is 100 microns and the nozzle diameter is 0.4 mm (). Our current printers are nowhere near that accurate but they are much cheaper and open source. So the question remains, is it worth it to buy the expensive printer that works without any user interaction, or do you build your own that is rather finicky.
I think Prusa's concerns are very real. While the openness of a printer made by those who were the first to define "open" is bad enough, owning designs on Thingiverse is just wrong. Even if the Makerbot is closed, we can still figure out how to build new printers. But thingiverse is such a central location for those involved in the OS3DP movement to connect and if it truly won't let creators own their own designs, I think we do need to find a new home for thingiverse. Github has been used for several years and has worked flawlessly for the open source software development community. The github template provided by Prusa looks as though it is a good starting point and I think that the community will be able to migrate to github if thingiverse will no longer work.
As a side note, this is pretty cool: 
1.) I think that ultimately, this will not be an issue. The government may try to place restrictions on 3d parts, but considering that the RepRap project is entirely community driven, the community will always be able to find workarounds. In addition, everything is man made-with music, the publishers want content to be protected from stealing it. But with 3D models, the creators want them to be given out for free.
2.) I think my passion is computers. I love helping people fix them, or building them, or even trying to break them. I think that while it is not the best way to attract future mates, it can diffidently make me money. I think that one of the best aspects of the human population is that we all have our own niche and enjoy spreading that knowledge.
3.) I think that there will still be IP because people will still be greedy. While 3D printing may solve lots of those problems, I think that creativity is still worth money and people will still want money for it considering the effort put into it. Also, while some people are creative others are not and need to rely on mooching off that and providing other service to communities, like engineering.
1.) I think that while not currently feasible, eventually we will be able to create (almost) self-replicating universal constructors. Currently, a few major tasks still remain. First, we cannot and probably will not be able to print integrated circuits. They are currently made in pressurized argon gas. Printing them is not possible, but it would be possible to use the printer with another type of extruder that effectively acted as a pick and place machine. Another issue is the metal. Any extruder hot enough to melt metal would most likely not be able to replicate itself. But if we were able to melt metal quickly we could potentially make many more of the parts on the machine.
2.) Wealth without money is the idea that currently, many commercial products are extremely expensive due to licensing issues. But if we could simply make whatever we need from raw material, we could save incredible amounts of money. Some problems with the idea are one; there are only a handful of materials that currently can be printed. Yet almost all products are made with at least a handful of materials. Also, currently the exact model of an assault rifle is posted on the Internet. If you were able to print out the parts you could make a fully automatic ar-15 rifle, which is currently illegal to purchase.
3.) I think the RepRap project will do one of 3 things. Either it will take off because people like us can spread the ideas and continue to innovate. Or it will simply stay where it is now and not improve very much over time. Lastly it could die off because nobody is innovating.
1. useful: eStand for iPhone This little stand is the perfect iPhone dock. It's small, relatively simple to print, and has a smooth and elegant design. On top of that, one could easily make a derivative of it that included a hole for you to place the Apple dock connector to USB cable to make it a functioning dock.
2. artistic/beautiful: Alien Egg Vase I think this vase is incredible. Like most of the Math Art on Thingiverse, it contains many complex mathematical shapes. It is also rather abstract which is why I like it so much. I think it is really cool how the beauty of the design overcomes the fact that it is only one color.
3. pointless/useless: iPhone Mixer Attachment The iPhone mixer attachment is really pointless. Why would you want to every attach your phone to a high speed motor, especially one that is meant for food? Unless you are trying to use your iphone as a mixing blade, this is useless. Or maybe it is meany for taking videos of mixing food, that is if your iPhone survives.
4. funny: Minimal Surface Pencils Holder While this abstract pencil holder looks really funny, I think in reality it is also useful...that is if you like alien art. I am not entirely sure how one would go about printing this as it contains some holes that may have to be bridged. But all-in-all a pretty funny shape.
5. weird: Thing5 Whoever made this really wanted to confuse anyone who looked at it. The designer decided to randomly place things on a base and call it a day. I think that if you were to print this, it would just be a waste of plastic.