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Bonus Blog "H" - "If someone came up to you, and asked you: “So, what good are these 3D printer things, anyway? Why would I want to have one?” What would you tell them?"

I would ask if they ever looked at something in their home and thought "that would work way better if I could make this small change." With a 3D printer they can make that change and go through several iterations of their design improvement very quickly.

Blog Assignment 16

Douglas Engelbart's demonstration is surprisingly close to tasks am modern computer is used for. It seems like Engelbart envisioned the personal computer to be used mainly in an office setting, but the fact that there is a computer performing similar tasks in nearly every household also would probaly not surprise him. He may not have envisined the computer to be used as an entertainment device, as his demo centers around the computer as a tool.

One "cool" idea that I have that is possible now if we had the means is to develop data on the changes in mechanical properties of printed parts due to changes in infill. If there is a strain gage commercially availale with PLA or another printable material gathering this data could be very straightforward. Strain gages are matched with specimen materials by using base materials that have a coeficient of thermal expansion equal to the specimen material. This eliminates errors in strain measurement caused by changes in ambient temperature. The tensile test machines needed for gathering this data are available here at Penn State (I know of 5). This data would allow aprt designers to choose mechanical properties and weights for parts to maximize performance and minimize the amount of material needed. This would probably also be important in additive manufacturing processes that create metallic parts. This may be useful in industries where the weight of components is very important such as the automotive and aerospace industries. This would become even more useful if the infill of the part could be defined differently in different locations of the part. Designing parts that have variable mechanical properties but are made entirely of the same material would be very useful in industry. Having a gcode generation program that allowed the user to define different infill densities and patterns in different locations of the same part seems like something that would be very useful, but this seems like it is a bit out of reach of our group.

Something "scifi-like" that I think would be "cool" would be additive manufacturing machines replacing warehousing and distribution for some parts and products. This was discussed in a previous blog, bit I think its use could be expanded to other items made of different materials. For example an auto repair shop would have to keep less parts in stock if they could use additive manufacturing to make only what parts they need when they need them. This obviously would only work for simple parts, but could become practical if the technology was developed to a point where it costs nearly the same amount to print the part instead of have one shipped in from a warehouse.

Blog Assignment 15

I personally enjoy tweaking things, so I would like to be able to mess with the firmware on my self-driving car. I don't think that the common mechanic would be able to do something like mess with the firmware of the car to force the user to bring it in for maintainence. The firmware tweaks that would do this would likely have to be developed by the auto manufacturer. I think that this is unlikely because the in the current market high value is placed on the reliability of vehicles, so an auto manufacturer would not want to have all of its cars requiring extra maintainence.

I think it is pointless to discuss the self-driving car taking a route that passes more McDonald's if it senses children in the car. The only way for this to be possible would be for the user of the vehicle to become so detached from the transportation process that he or she does not know the route and treats the ride in the car like a ride in an elevator. I think it would be impossible not to notice deviations from a normal or more direct route. I think the auto manufacturers would keep their firmwares "secret" because they would not want their competitors to gain any information about how their vechiles operate. The vechile firmware would be written to optimize the systems present in the vechile and if one manufacturer is getting better fuel milage or better performance through a better application of their ECU they would not want this advantage to be quickly repeated by their competitors.

As for the issue of writing regualtions to be applied for 3D printers, they will be most lilely written by the manufacturers of the 3D printers. The only thing that can be regulated is the hosting of illegal parts. I think that these regulations will be about as effective as those put on the distribution of music. However, I think they should be put in place so that if a weapon made of a 3D pritined part is used there is some formal accountability for the party responsible for making that part available.

Blog Assignment 14

After reviewing all three designes, I believe that the RecycleBot v2.2 would be the best option to for our class to build a filament extruder. The project is unfinished and seems like something that we can contribute to. I think that building one of these DIY systems would offer us more flexiblity than buying something like the filabot, which is being sold as a finished product. I think that the filabot is a better option for the casual 3D printer user who isn't interested in the development aspect of the RepRap community. The filabot even looks like it was designed to sit on a desk next to a makerbot.

I think that a recycling system would have a big effect on the DIY 3D printing community. Being able to recycle failed prints or damaged filament will reduce waste and lower operating costs for printer operators. The biggest effect of the filament extruder on the 3D printing community would be the expansion of materials that can be printed with. Print materials are now limited to what is commercially available as 3mm or 1.5mm filament. With the addition of a filament extruder, RepRappers can expand their materials palette to any thermoplastic with a reasonable melting point. With the open-source nature of RepRap development, print settings for these new materials would be deveopled and spread quickly. In the description of the RecycleBot v2.2, the creator describes a goal of having settings for several different materials, including #1-#7 plasic bottles. The idea of printing things out of materials that people have would normally throw away would make the idea of building/buying a 3D printer and filament extruder more attractive to the general public.

With instructions I dont think it would be too difficut to build a filament extruder. There are less moving parts than a RepRap and I believe that assembly of one is something that would likely not be very difficult.

Blog Assignment 12

I dont think I would be interested in a printed figurine of myself. I would probably be a bit more interested if it were an action figure. Action figures could be make using similar technology, but would probably requre a bit more work, as the scanned model would need to be applied to a template for the moving parts. The details and color of the printed figurines from Japan are pretty impressive, espically with the overhangs required for printing the arms.

Blog Assignment 10

Additive manufacturing will become more common in industry in the future in the manufacture of complicated parts. As the process becomes cheaper, faster, more efficient, and resolution is increased it will begin to compete directly with parts made with conventional manufacturing processes. As the process becomes more common with a wide variety of materials, the use of printed components will become more common. The ability to adjust parameters such as infill will allow designers to get the desired mechanical properties in their parts with the smallest material cost possible. The ability to control the infill will make additive manufacturing very attractive to the aerospace and automotive industries where the weight of components are very important. Printing parts in their final shape eliminates the need for post-processing. When the cost of making a part using additive manufacturing becomes competitive with the cost of conventional manufacturing processes, which often require several steps between the near net shape and finishing processes, it will likely be as common as casting and machining are today.

Blog Assignment 9

I don't think the 3D printing systems we have would fit into a library, but would be a better fit for an open lab where students could come in and scan and print with the help of a TA, similar to the learning factory. This would require a stand alone room for the printers so they could be accessed at any time. Sharing 312 Hammond with other classes prevents our project from having this open door style lab described in the article. The rapid-prototyping machines at the learning factory operate at the per cubic inch of material that the university described in the article is beginning to implement.

If the goal of implementing a similar program would be to increase participation from students outside the College of Engineering, then a location in Patee/Paterno Library would be suitable. If the intent is to keep focus on printing for engineering classes, than a room in one of the engineering buildings on campus would be perfect for a print lab.

Blog Assignment 8

I think that the only type of system that this copyright system can be applied to is the 3D printer for personal use, such as the makerbot. The reprap community will likely quickly find a way around this print-blocking copyright software. 3D printer OEMs will likely include the software in their printers to prevent implication in copyright infringement lawsuits.

I still agree with my opinion from Blog Assignment 4 that this will only hinder the casual 3D printer user. If a similar system to music is put in place, some people may pay for the ability to print out certain parts, while others will search the internet for unrestricted copies or find ways to bypass the copyright protection.

I think that there can be some type of copyright protection of designs for printable parts. I think for it to work, it would have to be structured similar to what is currently used for the purchase of online music through itunes or zune. There would need to be an online marketplace that is compatible with the software used to operate the 3D printer. The integrating the two would be essential to ensure that the cop

Blog Assignment 7

1. The printed optical sensing devices would make 3D printing a viable option for creating entire electro-mechanical devices. Sensors could be directly implemented into the design of printed parts. While printing these sensors is likely much more expensive than purchasing optical sensors, improvements in the process will bring costs down. Eventually it will be cheaper to print the sensors directly into components rather than purchase the sensor separately and attach it to the printed component.

2. It is unlikely that our printers will be able to print light piping. The resolution required is much higher than our printers current capabilities. Also, the printers used in the video appeared to print the entire layer in one pass. This can be seen on the printed parts, as there is no visible extrusion path on the surface. There are also no visible layer boundaries. This is necessary for the transmission of light through the layers without a large drop in intensity. Some of these imperfections may have been removed in the post-processing shown near the end of the video. The only way that our machines would be able to print light tunnels would be for each tunnel to be one layer thick and exist on a plane parallel to the X-Y plane of the printed part. This would have to be done using a dual extruder capable machine, as the light transmitting material and and the material used for the rest of the part would likely be different.\

3. These sensors could be used to replace the endstops on our repraps. The endstops could then be integrated into the design of other structural components of the reprap. This would eliminate the problem of endstop misalignment.

Blog Assignment 11

I think 3D printing could be only implimedted at a high school level as a demonstration or something similar to the choose your robot project described here: . I dont think the development portion of our class would translate well to the high school level. The see it as it prints nature of RepRaps and Makerbots would are better for the classroom environment than the Stratasys machine descirbed in the third article. By letting the students watch the parts as they are printed, the limitations of what kind of parts can be printed are learned more easily. I'm not sure how we're running the demonstrations in teh EDSGN 100 classes, but if we could show parts printing to small groups of students, the number of unprintable parts would proabaly decrease. I dont think any high school level program involving 3D printing can succeed without the students watching their parts being made. Even if the high school students were only printing objects they had no part in designing, this would definately help create a greater intrest in engineering in those students.

Blog Assignment 6

1. Bio-printing is definately the next step in creating artificial organs. Because researchers can already generate most types of cells for any person, using bio-printing they may be able to arrange those cells into an organ. Printing an organ out of someone's own cells would prevent organ rejection in transplant patients. One possible problem would be getting the layers of cells to grow together to form one solid system. Another problem would be keeping the cells in the correct shape while they grow together. Something water soluble like PVA might be used for this, but it would have to have no residual effect on the cells.

2. The issue with extending this to repraps for DIY bio-printing is creation of printable cells affordably. Without access to bio-materials to print with, the reprap user has no need to outfit his machine to print bio-objects.

Blog Assignment 5

1. If I was a member of the DIY firearms project I would probably explore other options for 3D printing. RepRap would likely be easy for them to get without legal complications because of the off-the-shelf nature of most of the parts. However, the resolution of the printed parts from a RepRap is likely too low for this project.

2. 3D printing should not be regulated. However, the solid part files of dangerous objects, eg guns, shouldn't be allowed to be distributed.

3. If someone were able to print something that could act as a masterkey to any lock it would probably be frowned upon.

Blog Assignment 4

I understand why makerbot made a new closed-source model. They need to make a profit to stay in business. The Replicator 2 is much more expensive than what it would cost to build a prusa-mendel, so I don't see it as a direct competitor. For it to be worth the additional cost, the Replicator 2 must be much more reliable than the current generation of reprap.

As for moving our things away from thingiverse, if Makerbot does actually own everything submitted on thingiverse than it may be a good idea. However a suitable replacement for thingiverse should be found first.

Blog Assignment 3

1. Applying a DRM-type restriction onto printable objects will likely have a similar effect as it did to music and video files. It will only reduce use by people who have little knowledge of how to get around this restriction. If it were applied to printable objects today, it would likely have little effect. Because of the nature of current OS3DP machines, it takes a bit of technical skill to operate them. This means that it is likely that people who use and/or own a rep rap are familiar with 3D modeling software. Those familiar with 3D modeling will be able to re-create the printable object, without the DRM restriction. This will then be shared with other OS3DP users.

2. I'm somewhat passionate about advances in technology in auto racing. I find it very interesting and tend to spend too much time reading about it. It's something I like to talk about. I don't see this being of any help attracting a mate or getting a job.

3. I don't think 3D printing will be the undoing of intellectual property. 3D printing is not capable of replacing a large enough portion of the manufacturing industry to make this happen. Even if 3D printers are developed to be able to print structural metals, the printed pieces will not have desirable mechanical properties because of the layered nature of printing. This may be able to be overcome through an annealing process, but it is unlikely that the average 3D printer user will be capable of this.

1. Useful item:

      I printed one of these at the end of last semester.  It works pretty well. 

2. Artistic item:

      Definately Artistic, they never should have canceled Firefly.

3. Useless item:

     These gears look cool, but it's hard to picutre what could be driven with these.

4. Funny item:

     Someone made tailfins for their makerbot.

5. Wierd item:

     Printable baloon animal, definately wierd.