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About Jess | Blog | Things I Like

This page contains my blog submissions for EDSGN 497J. Enjoy!


Blog 1: Thingiverse Designs

Due: 1/22/14

Blog Description: "Go to and look for printable objects, which other people have actually printed, finding designs which satisfy these descriptions in your mind: something amazing/beautiful, something funny or strange, something useless, something useful, something which surprised you".

Something Amazing/Beautiful

Elephants are my favorite animal, and I love the style of this necklace. I think that the fact that even the chain is printed is pretty amazing. I would probably actually wear this.

Something Funny or Strange

Apparently this is an old game, but I had never heard of it! The little zombie figures made me laugh, mostly because of their facial expressions. Maybe I'll look into how this game works!

Something Useless

I honestly cannot think of a single real use for this accessory. If you watch the YouTube clip they take a video on the phone while the mixer is going, and this is the only purpose I believe this could serve. Using your iPhone to mix ingredients would obviously ruin it. I did enjoy one of the comments on the picture that said "this is what Bill Gates uses to make cookies". It also come with a headphone jack in case you were worried that you couldn't listen to music while your iPhone is being destroyed!

Something Useful

My apartment always seems to lose "chip clips", or we never have enough to go around. Being able to print a bunch of them would be very useful for us. It seems like a fairly simple design, so maybe one day I will be able to make these!

Something Which Surprised You

I didn't really know anything about 3D printing before this class. The reason why this iPhone dock surprised me is because I would have never guessed that something like this could be 3D printed. The fact that functioning technology accessories such as this can be made is incredible, and could save people tons of money.

Blog 2: Open Source Ecology

Due: 2/1/14

Blog Description: "Marcin was just here at PSU talking about his Open Source Ecology project. You may notice or suspect that 3D printers are on his list of systems which should be included in the toolkit. Respond to the following:"

A) General Impressions of OSE

Description: "I want your general impressions of the OSE project; positive, negative, utopian, etc. Please do a bit more research than just viewing the video, as it is now several years old and they have made some progress since then. Links to more recent videos and media will earn you a better blog."

After watching Marcin's TED talk , and several more recent videos of his project's progress, I still find myself having a very torn opinion on his Global Village Construction Set (GVCS) idea. Our society is definitely already entering a recycling and DIY craze. There are several websites and blogs out there that can show the average person how to hand make many everyday items from things that they would already have in their own home or could purchase at a very small cost. Because of this, it is obvious that Marcin's project will become more and more popular. Personally, I think that learning to make what you need on your own is a great idea. It will not only save people a lot of money, but also give them the opportunity to make something that will specifically fit their needs. Marcin first began with making a tractor after his kept breaking down, and building his own that was more durable (and much cheaper) saved him tons of money. I think that using his GVCS for helping third world countries, as he mentioned was one potential use, is a good idea. I do see several problems for the future of this project, however. First of all, Marcin describes the GVCS as a "DIY open source platform that allows for the easy fabrication of the 50 industrial machines that it takes to build a small civilization with modern comforts". I think that when it comes to building machinery, the average person would not consider them to be DIY, easy to fabricate projects. Even as a fairly intelligent person, myself, that is about to graduate with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, a project like this would likely take me a long time with the help of several people. Average people do not have the machining skills required to build any of the GVCS machines. Another problem I foresee, is how it would affect our economy. If everyone would someday begin building all of their own products, it would run so many companies out of business, eliminating millions of jobs. It would, however, save people lots of money. There are so many pros and cons to Marcin's ideas, and quite frankly I cannot pick a side. I think that the best idea, right now, would be for him and his team to continue building these machines and try to use them to start up communities in struggling areas.

B) Response to New Yorker Article and Marcin's Response

Description: "The New Yorker magazine recently had a fairly critical article regarding Marcin's OSE project. Find/link that article and summarize its critique. Marcin had a response to that: I'd like your response to both of these pieces."

Emily Eakin's article, "The Civilization Kit", from The New Yorker both summarizes and criticizes Marcin's GVCS start up and progress thus far. She says that his "following" are more enthusiasts than experts. Another criticism is that his Factor e Farm has no kitchen or bathroom, and barely produces any food. The article then begins to tell the history of Marcin's Open Source Ecology (OCE) ideas. After receiving his PhD, Marcin started the OCE website "with the aim of collecting the best techniques for creating sustainable communities". Marcin and his girlfriend bought a farm and built their own hut to live in. After his tractor repeatedly broke down, he decided to build his own, and quickly realized that he could build everything that he needed in his life. That was the beginning of his GVCS projects. Since then, Marcin has gained quite a following, given an extremely popular TED talk, and inspired others to try to build their own machines. Marcin's goal is to get to the point where he can build a tractor a day.

I don't really think that her article did Marcin's projects any justice. While, it is a news article and they usually focus on the negatives, she didn't even focus on the project as much as she did his personal life. Obviously, the GVCS will cause some controversy, but it seemed as though Eakin was trying too hard to find problems that don't actually exist. The fact that his farm doesn't produce and food, or have a kitchen or bathroom doesn't really matter. From what I have gathered, it's main purpose is a space where Marcin and the Factor e Farm workers can work on building their machines. There are moments where she seemed to praise Marcin's progress, but also tear him down, so I can't quite pinpoint her stance.

Marcin's response to the article basically just defended himself, and his work, in each area that Eakin targeted. I think that he did a good job further describing how they started, what their intentions are, and where they hope to go from here. He explains everything from how the article's title is misleading to how they are bettering the quality of the Factor e Farm's site. As I stated above, I agree with him that Eakin focused too much on his personal life, and the negative outcomes of his work. I don't know that I would go as far as him to say that this Open Source Ecology idea is more critical than trying to end war and environmental injustice, but I do believe that it could help a lot of people.

C) Potential Support at PSU

Description: "Imagine we want to create capabilities similar to what Marcin has made at PSU (something like an OSE student club, or another effort). I don't think the administration or trustees would support such a thing, but there might be professors who are interested in supporting such a thing. Do you know any of them? What do they do, and why do you think they would be interested in such a project? Imagine you are looking for allies to do such a thing. Whom is on your list and why?"

If an OSE club was created here at PSU, I think that there would definitely be student interest. I think that the biggest problem would be to get the materials or funding for the projects, and, at first, I don't see the club actually doing too much each year. Even though Marcin and his team can now assemble his designs in a matter of days, college students are very busy so I think it would take students longer. Getting access to the space and machines would also be an obstacle since there are limited shops to work in (The Learning Factory and Leonard Building being two bigger ones for students to use). I believe that there would definitely be professors interested in support an organization like this. I don't know any that have specifically expressed interest in this area, but professors that have already taken an interest in 3D printing would probably be interested.

Blog 3: Kansas Teen Uses 3-D Printer to Make Hand for Boy

Due: 2/9/14

Blog Description: "Read and respond to this. Who created this design and when/where was it done? If you wanted to make one, where would you go to get it? How many news articles can you find which reference this technology?"

About the Design

This design was originally created by Ivan Owen (theatrical artist who makes parts for puppets) and Richard Van As(a woodworker). Van As came up with the idea after he lost a finger and parts of other fingers during a workshop accident. He wanted a new finger, but didn't want to pay for an expensive prosthetic, so he contacted Owen for help. A mother in South Africa contacted the men, and asked them to build a hand for her son. The Robohand prototype was completed in November of 2012, and the 3-D printer version in January 2013. Designs for this Robohand are open to the public, and can be found on Thingiverse.

Similar Articles

I found several related articles after searching "3-D printed prosthetics" online. One article by the Huffington Post details a similar situation to the one above. This article is about a father that used Owen and Van As as inspiration and printed a hand for his 12 year old son that was born without fingers on his left hand. Another article that I found was from gizmag and features a 17 year old boy, Easton LaChappelle, that created a very advanced 3-D printed prosthetic arm and hand. This invention allowed him to participate in the White House Science Fair, and present his design to President Obama. LaChappelle hopes that his design can be used to help amputees. He was even invited to speak at a TED conference, and the video of his talk can be found here. Finally, I found what I believe to be the most interesting article: 3-D printed eyes. Dezeen magazine's website highlights the British company Fripp Design and Research who claims to be able to print up to 150 eyes per hour. The iris and blood vessels are already included in the printing process, so it eliminates the time it would take for someone to actually paint each eye, which is the current practice. So far, the company has received a lot of interest from India where surgical procedures are not advanced and people are unable to afford expensive prosthetics.

Blog 4: Response to Teammates' and Classmates' Blogs

Due: 2/15/14

Blog Description: "Read your teammates blogs, as well as the blogs of at least 5 other students in class this semester. I would like you to find any thoughtful points made by others which you did not note yourself in Blog 2. (What did your classmates notice which you think worth adding to your own discussion?)"

Response to Teammates' Blogs

I have to give points to Zack for making this assignment much more interesting on a Saturday afternoon. Probably unknowingly, he has also brought to my attention something that I cannot believe I previously overlooked. Marcin's designs could be used to settle on another planet. People have already applied to be the first on Mars with the Mars One non profit foundation (and my friends and I did look a lot into the criteria to be a part of this mission over the summer). Their goal is to train people to travel to Mars and start a human settlement up there. Marcin's designs could possibly be built in space to start the settlements up there.

I agree with Sam's points that the designs are primitive, and that for this to take off, more people outside of OSE need to start "messing with" Marcin's designs. Where I disagree, is that, yes, the designs are primitive to those that have knowledge of tractors, I still don't think that average American's could replicate these designs. Taking my own family as an example, I would maybe name two of them that would have any skills to actually build one of Marcin's designs.

I like that Nate read a lot into the OSE environment. I didn't think about it before, but I do agree that if they would invest in some modern technologies for their workplace, they're process could be improved.

Response to Other Classmates' Blogs

Anthony made an interesting point he doesn't see OSE taking off or being effective in the US as more than a hobby, just more so for underdeveloped countries. I think that if there was more press on this project, people in the US would definitely start taking to it. DIY is a craze right now. I could see a small group of people that enjoy building, taking Marcin's designs, building them, and selling them. It could be the start of a manly, mechanical version of etsy.

Along the same lines, Kevin pointed out that with this being open source, big companies, like MakerBot and John Deere, could begin taking the OSE technology designs and use them to sell cheaper products. I could definitely see this happening.

I enjoyed that Dongao completely disagreed with the OSE project, it was nice to see another opinion. I agree with him in that having people duplicate Marcin's designs could be dangerous. I will reiterate again, most average people do not have the education and skills to do these sorts of projects.

Blog 5: Media Timeline

Due: 2/22/14

Blog Description: "Look through the RepRap Media timeline page and attempt to identify the most significant events from the last few years. If you think there's something missing from the timeline, add it and claim it for XP - but include a summary! What projects continue to recieve coverage/press over time? What projects seem to have slowed or stopped?

Make sure you pick and point out at least one entry which you find: 1) An event very important in the progression of 3D printing technology (open source or not) 2) A not so important event in the progression of this technology (something overhyped perhaps?) 3) Something which you found interesting which you would like to think or speak more about. This might overlap with #1 a bit, depending."

I think that the biggest topic that has continued to receive press over time is 3D printing in the medical field. I, personally, have found some of the articles to be fascinating, and a few of my responses below will touch on that.

1) Scientist Develop Printer to Print Cartilage

Scientists have developed a 3D tissue printer that can print cartilage for implants or to regrow cartilage in joints. So that cartilage cells integrate into the surrounding tissue, an electrospinning machine is used to generate the extremely fine fibers from a polymer solution. I think that this is really important to 3D printing's progression because it is something that can be used on a wide variety of patients and on all parts of the body. This could also be used in cosmetic surgery, potentially decreasing the price. The more discoveries on how 3D printing can be used in the medical field, the more scientists will experiment and find easier solutions to help patients.

2) 3D Printed Shells Save Hermit Crabs

I am probably one of the biggest animal lovers, and love when others try to help animals in need, but I'd have to say something that is a little overhyped is 3D printed hermit crab shells. Until I read the article on the media timeline, I had no idea this was even a problem, so I did some more research and found more articles that prove this point. Yes, it's great that people want to use technology to help the poor hermit crabs that are running out of good shells, but I'm not sure that they have thought it all the way through. The first article even says that sometimes hermit crabs eat part of their shells so having plastic shells would probably not be good for them. Also, I'm not sure how great it would be to fill our oceans with plastic once the crabs die or ditch one of these shells. I could see the idea being good for household pet crabs, maybe, and then the shells that pet stores sell for them can, instead, be thrown into the ocean for the wild ones to use (or something).

3) Researchers Grow Bio-Engineered Human Ear

Researchers at Cornell have created a fully functioning, life-like human ear. Their main purpose for this discovery is to help children born with deformities such as microtia, where they have a fully formed inner ear, but no outer ear is present. The problem with the older methods that is mentioned is that extra cartilage had to be taken from elsewhere on the body to form the ear. With this new method (and with methods I spoke of above in section 1), the full outer ear can be printed in a matter of days. Like I said previously, I think that the medical discoveries will completely change our world. So many people will be able to live more "normal" and easier lives because of some of these scientific break throughs.

Blog 6: The Next Step

Due: 3/1/14

Blog Description: "What projects do you think would be a logical next step for us to pursue? These may be things you see others doing elsewhere, or ideas of your own to push the boundaries of what we are using. We have been putting in significant effort to upkeep the printers we have, but as we get good at that, where might we go next? What would enhance our capabilities or put a new twist on what we are doing? Can we make a composite printer? Do we need more dual extruders everywhere? I know some of you have had ideas on this subject already, so please document them in this blog for everyone."

I think that there is definitely enough interest at Penn State between this class and the 3D printing club that many new projects and ideas can be explored. Dual extruders and composite printers would open up more possibilities. I would like to see more students having access to 3D printers because they have so many applications. As I mentioned in my previous blog, 3D printing is heavily influencing the medical field, and even food science. If Penn State could purchase composite printers, they would have so many more applications. It would help with many student projects so that more intricate objects could be custom designed and fabricated by students instead of having to be purchased. I would love to see, perhaps, the Bioengineering and Food Science majors start to experiment with some of these more advanced printers. It would be awesome to see students at one of the top food science departments start researching how to 3D print more food (maybe there will be 3D printed ice cream at the Berkey Creamery some day?).

It wouldn't be a bad idea to have either more 3D printing classes available, or have the club teach more students how to use the printers. It might also be useful for them to put together a "how to" guide on using and fixing these printers. I will for sure admit that I am no where near an expert on how these printers work, and since, for most of us, every little issue is guess and check and ask the internet, a sort of instruction manual would be very beneficial.

Blog 7: Responses to Articles About New 3D Printing Technology

Due: 3/8/14

Blog Description: "Read this. What do you think about this idea? Can you think of any examples of cheap research equipment we have made? "Read this. What do you think of this? Does it seem printable to you? Why or why not? Relate it back to the first article. Discuss the importance (or lack thereof) of open source in this."

Response to "3D printing could offer developing world savings on replica lab kit"

As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I am still very much on the fence about mass distributing 3D printers. It is a wonderful that we have discovered the ability to manufacture things at 25% of the cost (example in the article is printing a calorimeter for $50 instead of $2000). I agree with Pearce, however, that "with the advent of 3D printers, companies relying on extracting monopoly prices on products for which there is already an equivalent open-source alternative must either reduce their margins or continue to innovate to remain economically viable". I know it sounds horrible for me to say that these kinds of things because one might think I don't want to help those less fortunate, which is something this article really hits on. This is really why I can't decide how I feel about this new technology. The article says that it is important for these technologies to be available, and not hidden behind intellectual property rights, to poor communities. It would be great to help these poor communities, but, like the article says, these countries need to be able to support the funding of this technology. Can they really afford that? Of course, it is much cheaper, but the question is, is this what they should be spending their money on? As I stated in my Open Source Ecology blog, even if they have the technology, will they have the educated people to utilize it? It's not a question I can really answer.

This article shows a few pieces of equipment that have already been 3D printed for a fraction of the "real" cost. Some examples include pipettes and test tubes. The designs for most of these can be found on Thingiverse.

Response to "How to build a low-cost AFM nanoscope out of LEGO + Arduino board"

This article was very brief, and pretty vague. It states that "low-cost scientific instrumentation is can be a huge enabler for hospitals and clinics in developing countries", which is similar to what the previous article discussed. This LEGO2NANO initiative allowed students to demonstrate functionality of one of the AFMs in just five days. If students could do this in five days, imagine what professionals could do given some time and access to this technology. I found another article about this program that gives some more details about it. One thing that it mentions is how these nanoscopes can be used to study the affects of air pollution, something that China really needs to work on. If more people had access to this, more scientists, or even students, could be studying pollution or even viruses.

Blog 8: IP and 3DP

Due: 3/22/14

Blog Description: "Intellectual property is something which many companies base their operations upon. Research and describe (and contrast) Copyright, Trademark, Patent, and Trade Secrets. Then read this: What are the five I's and what do you conclude from them? From the perspective described in the article (or your own if you disagree), what are the futures of copyright, trademark, patent, and trade secrets? How does Creative Commons fit into your perspective?"

Copyright ©

A copyright grants the creator of an original, substantive, and desecrate idea or information exclusive rights to how it is used and distributed. Copyrights can be shared in percentages to rightsholders. Both the creator and rightsholders can control and profit from the copyright. The duration of a copyright usually spans until about a hundred years beyond the death of the creator.

Trademark ™ ®

Trademarks are for a recognizable logo, design, or expression. It differentiates a certain product or service from another. Individuals, organizations, and businesses could be possible owners of a trademark. They are usually associated with a particular brand, and are located on their packages, labels, or buildings.


A patent is a form of intellectual property that is a set of rights granted by a nation to an inventor for a limited time (twenty years). Patents must include one or more claims that define the invention, defining specific property rights. The invention must be novel and non-obvious meaning that it must be a new idea and one which someone having common knowledge of a subject matter would not consider to be an obvious solution to a problem. A patent prevents others from making, using, selling, distributing, etc an invention without permission from the patent holder.

Trade Secret

A trade secret can be a formula, process, design, pattern, instrument, or information that is not generally known or easily ascertainable. They are considered confidential information that allows businesses to gain an economic advantage over competitors. The three commonalities between all trade secrets is that it must not be generally known to the public, it confers economic benefit on its holder, and it is the subject of efforts to maintain its secrecy. There is not a limited time frame for trade secrets.


A copyright protects an individual's work, while a trademark protects a logo, design, or frame. Trademarks are only valid for ten years and patents only offer protection for twenty years, while copyrights and trade secrets last much longer. A patent guarantees protection for the twenty year time frame in exchange for disclosing the information to the public, while a trade secret doesn't protect the owner if information is uncovered (reverse engineering).

Article Response

The five I's are infringement, identification, impractical or impossible, and irrelevant. These basically are reasons as to why IP will become harder to control and unnecessary in the future. With open source it is nearly impossible to figure out who is using coding or ideas found on the internet, and I think that theses five I's pretty accurately describe the future with 3D printing. If everything is online for people to use, why control it? In an article that I read (that I, of course, cannot find again), the author compared it to sharing recipes online. We freely exchange, modify, and use other people's recipes, and isn't that basically what GCode could be?

According to the article, copyright will not be a major concern in the future because most 3D printable things are unable to be copyrighted, though the software used to print could be. The issue with trademarked products would be that printing generic substitutes of these products would increase creating counterfeit problems. Also, there wouldn't really be a way to prevent people from producing too much of a product, which could become a huge issue for drug companies. Since most of 3D printing information is open source, patents will be difficult to control as well, though patent rights are protected by the Constitution. Everything will be a tricky battle when more and more discoveries are soon made, and laws regarding IP will have to become more strict and detailed if the government is out to protect inventors and businesses.

I think that the Creative Commons is a good way to obtain 3D printing related copyrights. Personally, if I invented something I would want the credit and benefit from others using it, and, from what I read, this seems like a good way to give the creator's credit where credit is due. It still allows others to utilize the invention, and make all of the information available online. I don't know exactly how this would interfere with the open source culture of 3D printing today, but I think that it is a better solution that strict copyrights and patents.

Bonus Blog: 3D Printed Meat

Blog Description: "This blog contains details about the advances in 3D printing meat replacements. As a vegetarian, I will discuss some of my opinions on this matter, and share the opinions of others as well."


As I have discussed in previous blog posts, bio printing is becoming more and more popular. Now, scientists are experimenting with 3D printing meat "substitutes". They are called substitutes, or replacements, because the meat is not actually taken from an animal, though it is grown in vitro. The cells are grown and tissue layers are laid down by the printers. The process is still in its early stages because it is such a great expense - estimates say that that a petri dish worth can cost about $330,000. PETA even created an in vitro chicken contest in 2008 that would award a lab 1 million dollars to make in vitro chicken commercially available by March 4, 2014. Although this deadline has recently passed and there has not been any success, the contest did make some headway. Many research labs and companies, such as Modern Meadow, have been working on making this meatless meat a reality.

Modern Meadow aims to leverage "advances in tissue engineering to solve global resource challenges". Their site explains many of the reasons why bio printing meat would help the economy, environment, and health of people and animals. Something that really surprised me is that animal farming currently uses 1/3 of all of the ice-free land on the earth. With our populations rapidly growing, having some of this land would be useful. Modern Meadow's co-founder, Andras Forgacs, believes that bio printing will really help the "environmental train wreck" that is caused by traditional meat production.

Some Thoughts and Opinions

Some things to consider about this whole process are how would this new way of obtaining meat affect those that must keep Kosher or Halal for religious reasons, what about those that want to eat naturally and avoid processed foods, and would it convert vegetarians that don't eat meat because of the unethical treatment of animals? From a Ted Blog that I read, it seems as though a majority of people that do not eat meat now (for various reasons) would be willing to try it, though they probably still would not regularly eat meat. The fact that no animals would be harmed in the printing process seems to be the biggest deciding factor. Some still say that it is not different because it will be mass produced, and unnatural. I thoroughly enjoyed a comment by Morton Bast, one of the interviewees: "It’s exhilarating and awesome to watch a concept as futuristic as printed meat come into contact with a concept as old as religious tradition. Reconciling them is awkward, but in a way it captures something deeply important. How do we bring what is comfortable and beloved with us into a world that is unfamiliar and new? This is definitely a match I want courtside seats for!”

Personally, I think that I would try it, though I am so used to a diet without meat and I don't miss it so I don't think that I would ever go back to eating meat daily. My main reasons for giving up meat were because of the unethical treatment of animals and because of the unhealthy hormones (and other things) that are consumed when eating most meat today. Bio printing meat would eliminate those factors. Portions could be printed to any size without having to plump cows up by injecting them with steroids, and factory farming could go down the drain. We are still pretty fair away from this becoming a norm, but I am excited to see what the future of bio printing holds.

Blog 9: Filament

Due: 4/5/14

Blog Description: "Given the subject of filament materials and suppliers, I want you to do some searching to find links which are useful. They may be aggregated suppliers, filament reviews, or other sorts of content on the subject. I want you to apply your brain to the following problems. Find links. Post them in your blog. Explain why you think they contain useful content. There are several areas of interest here:"

1) Supplier Information

"We want to know the good, bad, and ugly with regard to suppliers. Who makes quality filament at a good cost? Who should we avoid?"

My initial search for 3D printing filament suppliers brought me to the MatterHackers website. Even after searching several other sites and consulting our Printing Material Suppliers wiki page, they seem to be one of the better companies. Their cost is fairly cheap and they offer free shipping. The site seems to have a wide variety of products, and they post specifics on each one. They only negative that I found was that some previous buyers were not 100% satisfied with the color of the material once it was printed. MakerFarm was one of the other few that had a very positive review, though there wasn't much information in regards to why they were liked. After looking at their website, their products seem to be a little more expensive.

Another good idea would be to order from sites that offer many different suppliers and have a lot of reviews on each product such as Amazon. You know that Amazon is a trusted site and always has very low prices. Since it is so widely used, their products usually have many reviews. I also stumbled across Alibaba's 3D printing material section. Alibaba is a site much like Amazon that connects Chinese manufacturers to overseas buyers. Their 3D printing page was organized by suppliers, and they offer a lot of information about each one (year founded, location, photos, total revenue, etc.). You also have the opportunity to live chat or message the suppliers.

A company that received a bad review from our wiki was The Future is 3D. The review's only positive comment was that they received more material than they should have. Apparently the colors were off, the material didn't want to stick, and it left behind an oily residue.

2) Materials

"Materials. We want to start doing dual extrusion on a more regular basis. There are a variety of ways we might start using support materials. Which materials do you think we should use? (Here's a starting place: Why do you think we should use them? Once you've chosen a material you think we might use, find suppliers and estimate costs in $/kg or $/lb."

I think that we should start using either HIPS or PVA. HIPS is used in many commercial products today such as drinking cups, gas tanks, toys, etc. It is rigid, is mostly used to print structural supports on objects with complex geometries, and non-toxic. This material would be good to start using because, right now, we mostly print parts that are for a class project, and since many students are not familiar with how parts are 3D printed, the structures tend to fail. Having good quality support during printing would allow us to print more complex pieces to use in projects (such as capstone projects or ME 340 vacuums and turbines). PVA is very similar, except that it does not require a heated bed. This may be better for us to start with because we are used to printing without heated beds. The downside to PVA is that it cannot be heated above 210 degrees C or it will destroy extruders, which we cannot afford to destroy.

MatterHackers has PVA priced at $45 for .5kg. Jet Filament also received a good review on our wiki for their HIPS, but the site does not show prices for individual spools, you must to wholesale. has HIPS for about $28 for 1kg and PVA for $69 for 1kg.

3) Who to Choose

"Pretend you are shopping for material for your own needs. Who do you choose?"

Anytime I buy products from a company that I am unfamiliar with, I make sure that I read reviews from other customers. That being said, I would probably order off of Amazon or other suppliers that have been given positive reviews on our Rep Rap "Printing Material Suppliers" page.

Blog 10: Hot Tips

Due: 4/5/14

Blog Description: "Apply the same analysis you did in blog 9 to the subject of hot tips. (what designs are currently available, how do they compare, who should be avoided, etc) I have tried to give you some basis for knowing what is available the other day in class, but more options are always appearing. I want you to tell me what designs you think are most reliable based on your own research (pros/cons are nice). include links or lose XP."

1) Supplier Information

Currently, Penn State students have been working with modifying Bowden Extruders, and their project information can be found on the SCRUG "Hot Tip" page. What sets the Bowden design apart is that the extruder's body and motor are separate from the hot tip, and connected by a teflon tube. The advantage to this design is that since the motor is fixed, there is less weight on the moving parts, and the extruder can move faster. There are several suppliers that have this type of extruder. Pico by B3 Innovations is a compact design with a single body, variety of nozzle sizes, and is apparently capable of reaching up to 500 degrees C. MakerGear also offers a variety of nozzle sizes and seem to have very positive reviews

2) Who to Choose

The wiki also has a table that compares hot tips, and offers reviews of the products. I think that Pico seems like a good choice. Their website is very informative and does a much better job describing each component of the hot tip, and why it was designed that way. This is something that other companies don't do, so I would probably order from them. From what I have read, several customers said that they have excellent customer service and they are 100% satisfied with MakerGear products. Their hot tips seem to be a favorite among RepRap users.

Blog 11: Show and Tell

Due: 4/5/14

Blog Description: "Some of you have satisfied the Show & Tell requirement already. Please talk about something you learned or thought was really interesting in a presentation which one of your peers has done."

I really enjoyed the presentation about the iPhone apps that you can download to take pictures of objects to use to 3D print them. I think that this is important progress because it allows 3D printing to be even more user friendly. It will allow anyone to potentially recreate any object without needing to create the object in SolidWorks first. Along the same lines were the the examples that Drew showed of Flickr images being used to create a model of the Notre Dame cathedral via PhotoSynth and how he recreated his own boot using Autodesk 123D. While it seems as though he and some other users have experienced some complications with the programs, for the most part they seem to work well, but take some time. I'm sure that there will only be more and more of these programs becoming available, so they will become improved. I do think, though, that this will start the IP and copyright war. How can you stop someone for taking pictures on their phone, especially if the objects are in their home? Flickr images can also be easily shared for anyone to use.

The other presentation that I found really interesting was the one that Vinny gave about the idea of 3D printing houses in the future. This has started to become a reality in Amsterdam. If this becomes a norm, people will be able to completely customize their own homes. It would also allow companies quickly produces houses for our ever-growing population, or for third world countries.

Inside the Notre Dame Cathedral PhotoSynth

Blog 12: Blog #5 Reflection

Due Date: 5/3/14

Blog Description: "Read Blog #5 for your initial teammates as well as 5 other classmates. Note the points you agree with, disagree with, as well as things which you missed which others noticed. (as with Blog #4)"

All of these media stories can be found on the SCRUG Member Media Timeline

My Group Members

Sam Carroll: Sam picked the same useless article that I did about the hermit crabs! Hermit crabs are great, but 3D printing their shells? Not that revolutionary. I also agree with what he said about printing metal. This would open the door to a lot of opportunities, and attract more people and companies to the 3D printing world. (Also, Sam is ca-razy...I did my blogs...)

Ben Gorenc: I agree with Ben that 3D printing guns can be dangerous. With this technology open to the public, gun control would be...well...hard to control. I have to disagree with him on President Obama's speech, however. Having the President endorse 3D printing would get a lot of publicity meaning that places could get more funding. Thus, progressing 3D printing.

Nate Myer: Since part of my project involved printing food, I have to slightly disagree with Nate that printing food is "just a novelty". Creating food printers is just another step forward for the 3D printing world. Don't most of the new discoveries revolve around using new types of materials to print? This way, companies such as Barilla can help restaurants, and soon households, quickly 3D print custom meals. I thought that his article on 3D printing with moon rocks was interesting as well. I have looked into 3D printing being used when we finally try to colonize on the moon, and I think that it would be a great solution to trying to start from scratch up there. It's basically the same thing that the OSE and other projects are trying to do with third world countries.

Zac Cameron: I believe that Zac shares the same viewpoint as me in regards to the IP debate. I think that open source is great for sharing and inspiring, but I do feel as though it will cause a lot of legal and economical problems. Like he said, if people are printing for their own personal use, that would be fine. It's when people start selling things that it would become a problem. Unfortunately there would not really be any way to regulate that. In addition, it needs to be said that Zac's prose for the Pirate Bay article was outstanding. I love pirates so I thoroughly enjoyed the theming of that one.

Other Classmates

Nam Pham: I'm not sure if I disagree with Nam or not about 3D printing guitar bodies being useless. While it might not be the most revolutionary, I still think it could be significant. This would allow people to experiment with quickly and easily printing different types of bodies and seeing how they would affect the sound produced. It also is a good example of how this technology is even affecting something so classic as musical instruments.

Kyle Casterline: Something that I thought was interesting was how Kyle mentioned that 3D printing organs could eliminate animal testing. This is a highly debated topic, but I think 3D printing could provide a great solution. Imagine being able to print skin to test beauty products or organs to test drugs. It would be saving lives of innocent animals.

Mitch Engleka: I agree with Mitch that the idea behind RepRaps is very important. Seeing as basically the main purpose of 3D printers is to quickly, easily, and cheaply print your own parts, why shouldn't the printers be able to print parts to replace themselves? It would be silly to manufacture a machine that can print a wide range of complicated things. I also agree that 3D printing becoming available to universities is important. It helps students fully create their own projects, and also introduces them to this modern technology.

Lee Schwartz: I both agree and disagree with Lee's blog statements. I think that saying the 3D printers can "copy anything" is both attention grabbing and pretty accurate. He goes on to describe how they can print food and human organs. I think that fact that we can bring many different materials, food, and organs shows just how wide of a range of things can be created. Thus, basically copying anything.

Vincent Iachini: Vinny said that he thought that the 3Doodler was overhyped. I think that it is actually awesome. If you could move your hand around and print exactly what you were trying to draw, everyone would feel like a superhero - making something out of nothing. I really do think this is a great invention. While it may require a pretty steady hand, every aspect of the print is completely custom. You could also use this to touch up previous prints.

Blog 13: Blog #7 Reflection

Due Date: 5/3/14

Blog Description: "Read Blog #7 for your initial teammates as well as 5 other classmates. Note the points you agree with, disagree with, as well as things which you missed which others noticed. (as with Blog #4) Choose some different classmates blogs from the last time."

My Group Members

Sam Carroll: Sam has clearly jumped on board the print your own everything train. I agree with him that it wouldn't be too hard to print all of the nano scope parts. I think that most people in our class and other people here at PSU have created much more intricate parts.

Ben Gorenc: I like the comment that Ben made about how bringing technology to third world countries gives them a chance to compete scientifically. I agree that it would give the less fortunate a chance to see what they are capable of.

Nate Myer: Nate brings up a good point that may lead me to change my mind on open source. He says that he wishes the nano scope design was open source because he would never take the time to do the research to make one himself. I guess this is true, and would still separate inventors from consumers. It's like regular printing now. You can print any page off of the internet, but not everyone has the abilities to build an actual printer themselves.

Zac Cameron: Ya Zac, stick it to the man. Billy Mays will be missed.

First OxiClean Commercial: "Long live your laundry"

Other Classmates

Graham Deever: I agree with Graham about the intellectual property rights. Like he said, this is a great idea, but the nano scope already shows how some people don't want to make their designs available to the public, which to me defeats the whole point of these printers.

Dongao Yang: I have to say that I disagree with Dongao that it is not worth it to 3D print parts. While traditional methods may still be more efficient, I think that 3D printing will eventually get better and it will be worth it to print parts and keep improving this technology.

Hao Yuan: I agree with Hao that for now, we can only 3D print basic equipment. Even though there are more accurate printers than the RepRaps we have, research equipment needs to be perfect and standard.

Drew Golterman: Similar to my comments above, I kind of disagree with Drew about using 3D printing for surgical equipment. It may be feasible in the future, but like I said above, I don't know that the quality of 3D printing is accurate enough yet for this. I wouldn't want poor quality equipment being used during a surgery I was having.

Yuan Chai: I agree with Yuan that intellectual property rights are going to be a problem in the future. Like he said, it could end up replacing large companies so it would be good for design, but not business.

Blog 14: Blog #8 Reflection

Due Date: 5/3/14

Blog Description: "Read Blog #8 for your initial teammates as well as 5 other classmates. Note the points you agree with,disagree with, as well as things which you missed which others noticed. (as with Blog #4).Choose some different classmates blogs from the last time."

My Group Members

Sam Carroll: I really like Sam's point about the purpose of patents is for companies to make money and people needing money to buy things. If we don't have to buy things, but can still print them, the money aspect becomes pretty irrelevant. Especially because we are starting to be able to print virtually anything.

Ben Gorenc: Ben's comment about how this 3D printing IP is similar to what the music industry went through is interesting. I hadn't thought about it before, but they are pretty similar. I can see programs starting (or maybe there already are some) like iTunes where you can buy files the honest way, and the creator gets some benefits from it. It would be like a Thingiverse where you pay $.99 for a file.

Nate Myer: Nate brings up an interesting point about companies restricting their employees use of open source. I definitely agree that some companies may be irritated if their workers are contributing to this. Especially because most companies have employees sign agreements saying anything they invent during their employment is property of the company. This would defeat the no IP on open source.

Zac Cameron: I agree with Zac that it will take a lot for the government to get rid of IP rights. Once companies' ideas or products start getting reproduced, there will be a big blowout and big companies have the money to get their way.

Other Classmates

Kevin Moyer: I definitely agree with Kevin that having everything open source will eventually kill innovation. It will be way too easy for people to steal everyone else's ideas, and eventually no one will think for themselves and we could regress.

Anthony Fanelli: Anthony said the same thing that I did above about Thingiverse charging people to download files. I agree with him also about the Creative Commons and that it's great that they give credit to the designers.

Jarred Glickstein: I both agree and disagree with Jarred's comments on 3D printers having limited use. While we may not be able to print everything, I think that we are getting close. Printers can already print many different materials, and even food. Houses and organs are even being 3D printed. At the moment, I can't actually think of anything that we couldn't make, though I'm sure there is something.

Tony Armlin: I'm not quite sure what Tony means by IP and open source reaching equilibrium. I think it would be very difficult to distinguish between what is a complex design and what is too simple to be granted IP rights.

Carson Geib: I disagree with Carson's thinking that open source printing is similar to the encyclopedia vs. Wikipedia. The information stored in Wikipedia is facts, not necessarily product designs or trade secrets. I also am not sure how companies would be able to file trade secrets and not other IP patents or copyrights. It would be hard to say one secret can be protected, but others can't.

Blog 15: Blog #11 Reflection

Due Date: 5/3/14

Blog Description: "Read Blog #11 for your initial teammates as well as 5 other classmates. Note the points you agree with,disagree with, as well as things which you missed which others noticed. (as with Blog #4). Choose some different classmates blogs from the last time."

My Group Members

Sam Carroll: While I honestly don't really remember Carson's show and tell (Sorry, Carson!), I think that Sam's point about engineers learning that their designs won't always work is important. Sadly, we don't get too much practical experience in school with creating a product that we design (ME 340 is one and possibly your capstone project depending on what it is).

Ben Gorenc: Ben's blog was about 3D printing chocolate. I have already said many times that I am interested in how food is 3D printed, so I enjoyed this presentation as well.

Nate Myer: I agree with Nate that Zach's show and tell about the hair hockey table using 3D printer technology was pretty cool. No, it is not a ground breaking discovery, but it shows other ways the technology can be put to use.

Zach Cameron: I definitely agree with Zach that bio printing is a big step. The presentation that Sam gave about it was pretty good. I think that it is important because it will allow us to do testing on actual human organs instead of animals. It will protect those animals, but also give more accurate test results.

Other Classmates

Eric Prindible: Eric's blog was about 3D printing homes and infrastructure. He says that it is not likely that a whole home would be 3D printed, but there is a place in Europe that has done so. In response to the worry of it not being sturdy, now that we can 3D print using many different materials, I'm sure that this would not be an issue.

Eva Abeniacar: Eva's blog on the show and tell about 3D printing being used for construction in third world countries brings be back to our OSE blog. I think that it could be a good idea, however, I don't think that most people in third world countries would be able to use the technology for it to really be beneficial to them.

Tom Vassa: I think that Tom wrote about the same show and tell that I did. I thought that the presentation on 3D printing models based on a series of pictures of the object was really good. I think that this will allow people to easily recreate every day objects, and replace objects that they already have in their home (ie. a plate that breaks that was part of a set).

Todd Troutman: Todd mentioned that people asked why Hershey wouldn't wait until the design is already perfected. I think that they are trying to gain an advantage as being innovative and openly utilizing technology that many other companies are not.

Yuchao Yuan: I thought that Yuchao's blog made a good point about 3D printing houses being used for natural disaster relief. It really would be a great way to help people quickly that have lost everything. It would be cheap, quick, temporary housing.