Universal Paste Extruder Project
In the fall semester of 2012, I worked on a Universal Paste Extruder by RichRap. I did not quite finish it because of time constraints and issues with inventory. I will not be returning for future semesters. The following contains instructions regarding how to finish the project. The partially finished extruder can be found in 312 Hammond. There is a brown shelf that is currently (when I originally wrote this) being used for putting print service prints onto. The extruder is in a white RAMPS box in the third shelf (from the top). I apologize for the vagueness of the location, but I don't know of any other way to describe it. Springs, a glass syringe, and a needle are included in the box. Additional/alternate syringes and needles can be found in the second shelf. If anyone who continues work on this encounters any problems or has any questions, feel free to contact me at [email protected] and I will try to respond as best as I can. Here is a video showing assembly instructions.
•1 x 55mm M4 Bolt
•1 x 75mm M4 bar or bolt
•1 x Plastic sheet
•1 or 2 x 45mm M3 bolts for Idler
My progress was halted by a lack of the previously stated materials. I believe an order has been placed to retrieve them; if we still don't have them, they will need to be bought. McMaster-Carr is an excellent seller of such parts. Regarding the 55mm and 75mm bolts: make sure that they are threaded for all or most of the length. When we previously ordered the bolts, they were only partially threaded. Nylock nuts need to be placed at each end. It can be seen how the current bolts have failed in the current assembly. It may be necessary to buy longer bolts; they can be sawn shorter if needed. I don't know where to get the plastic sheet, nor whether it is even necessary. It can be seen at 7:20 in the assembly video. Only one M3 bolt is needed, but two would probably be better to hold the idler up. Once again, longer M3 bolts can be sawn shorter if needed. Once these parts are obtained, 2:55 onward must be completed from the assembly video (with some exceptions; you'll see which parts are done when you come to them in the video). This may seem like a lot, but with all the remaining parts collected, this can be done in a relatively short amount of time. The parts of the extruder currently assembled will have to be removed to continue from this part.
Notice how the M4 bars in the picture on the right extrude out very far and are not threaded. Consequently, it will slide and nylock nuts can't be attached. Also take note of how there are no M3 bolts and springs to hold up the idler.
I see no reason to think that 3D printing of houses is unlikely. It may not happen any time soon, but I don't see why it wouldn't in the distant future. I think this is an incredible area of 3D printing with great potential. I am not entirely optimistic about this helping third world countries, though. First of all, it will inevitably need money, even if it needs a lot less than current housing. This money will need to be donated or come from investors. Also, when the cost of a house is multiplied among multiple families in such a country, the cost will be enormous. Despite this, the application of 3D printing for housing would be excellent for people who have the money to pay for it. And of course, the building of structures in space is also an excellent application that will aid in inhabiting the moon and perhaps even planets for longer periods of time.
Personally, I would not live in a 3D printed house until the quality becomes as good (or close to being as good) as traditionally built houses. I think the greatest application for this technology would be for lower-class families. They're willing to sacrifice quality of the house, but also still have the money to pay for it themselves.
I think open source self-replicating 3D printing technology definitely relates to sustainability, but I'm not entirely sure how. There's multiple areas of 3D printing that will have good or bad affects on sustainability, but there's so many variables that I can't quite give a straight answer about whether or not it increases sustainability. On one hand, 3D printing encourages frequent manufacturing of useless and sometimes just plain stupid accessories (not criticising useless but awesome prints). This energy usage, which most likely comes from coal, is not sustainable. On the other hand, the use of biodegradable PLA for prints is more beneficial for the environment than ABS which is used for a lot of industry-produced plastics like Legos. There are also multiple systems set up for efficient recycling (see Blog 14). This is a popular topic of discussion, and many people are greatly concerned with RepRaps and sustainability.
RepRaps certainly relate to the DIY ethos in that basically anyone can do anything with a 3D printer. Instead of buying something, you can make it. Of course, this liberty is not limitless, but RepRaps are responsible for generating a widespread and incredibly useful hobby across the world. As 3D printing improves and evolves, there will be less dependence on industry and more freedom to construct "things" for oneself.
I don't think the chemical engineering department would support 3D printing (although it's not impossible), but I see potential in the chemistry department. Not just because the chemistry department is bigger and with more money, but they could have a strong interest in reactionware. With reactionware's ability to improve efficiency and customization in a research lab, the department might think it is worth the investment. The presentation we are giving to the Sen Group in January might be a great way to get the idea of reactionware out there. Additionally, by that time, there might be more information and promise from the work of the Cronin Group. The school of chemistry at the University of Glasgow sees reactionware as a potentially fruitful endeavour; why not Penn State?
I can't think of a fool-proof way to keep 3D printing a sustainable project at Penn State. Of course, the I'm sure the MakeSpace will still be home to 3D printers, though. And hopefully, the 3D printers will be allowed to still stay in Hammond.
I think the only way that 3D printing with Repraps will be allowed to have a long-term part of Penn State is if it can provide something for the university. I thought that the print service would have been sufficient, but apparantly not. Maybe if 3D printing was advertised more over campus, there could be more services for it. Also, the reactionware presentation for the Sen group might help as well.
The problem with all of these scenarios seems to boil down to money. We're caught in the catch 22 of not having enough money to prove that 3D printing deserves more funding. Ideally, as 3D printing becomes more widespread and its uses grow, the university will want to get in on it as well.
This class was a great, unique experience. My education lately has been composed of class after class requiring me to sit and listen to technical information (much of which I'll never need in the future). It was nice to have a class where I can focus more on "doing" things. I came into this class very ignorant of 3D printing, electronics, code, and even CAD like Solidworks. Throughout my time here, I've learned how to retrieve infromation about much of these things; when doing so is impractical, I got experience getting in contact with people who can help me. This is the essence of an engineering atmosphere. No engineer can be expected to know all technical information needed for a project. However, it is expected that an engineer have excellent communication, the ability to think "outside the box" independently and in groups, and experience in getting information he does not intially know. This class provided these things and more, in addition to providing me with a great hobby. It's also worth noting that I landed an incredible internship I never thought I'd get with no technical experience, largely because I was able discuss my experience in this class at the interview. The company was surprisingly interested and impressed in what I've done in this class.
I greatly enjoy how much of this class is open lab time. I do, however, think that some extra lecture time might have been helpful, especially regarding repair and troubleshooting of printers. Sometimes I would have trouble with a printer and have no idea what to do to fix it. I think a longer lecture about troubleshooting supplemented with handouts we could keep with us would be helpful and decrease time the printers are down.
For the most part, I like how the class is mostly open lab because it gives a good engineering atmosphere. Everyone has something their working on that relates to their specialty, but sometimes it's necessary to get the help of another engineering student who knows more about something than you do. If more lecture time is added, I hope it is not a lot.
To me, this class was a "real" class. I learned a lot of information and much of it was very useful to a career atmosphere. In fact, during my internship this summmer, I'm going to bring up what I learned about reactionware because I will be in a chemistry research atmosphere. The university seems to stress awareness of the world around us and knowledge of where society is going (especially when talking about general education credits). Not only did we learn technical knowledge related to 3D printing, but we learned about the possible societal implications of a technology that could potentially change our way of life in the future.
This relates to Reprap because if electronics can actually, be printed, then a Reprap could possibly print its own electronics. In Blog 13 I talked about how 3D printing metal is actually happening today. This means that it may be possible to print screws, bars, and other metal parts that are part of Reprap. If the metal parts can be printed as well as the electronics, there can finally be a Reprap that entirely prints all of its parts. Given the necessary plastic, metal, and base electronic materials, a single Reprap can mother countless other Repraps in their entirety. The next step would be to automate the construction process so that there would be little to no human involvement in the construction of a Reprap given another Reprap. Unfortunatey, at this stage, none of the printed electronics actually work. However, Dr. Leigh has stated that they are working on it.
I think one interesting application of this technology would be in reactionware. I envision in situ monitoring of microfluidic processes. For example, a pipe carrying a fluid could have sensors that detect the actual flow rate of the liquid. Also, a reaction vessel could show what the volume of the liquid inside of it is. All of these things could be monitored in real time as a part of a unit operation's 3D printed architecture. These are some simple examples, but I'm sure there are numerous other applications of this very promising technology.
Professor Richard Doyle discusses the problems with intellectual property. He uses an example from biology. Someone decides that they want intellectual property of a gene because that gene appears to be responsible for a phenotype that the owner things needs altered. Upon further inspection it appears that the situation is more complicated (as it normally is in molecular biology). The phenotype results from the behavior of seven genes, all of which are the intellectual property of different people. Research is retarded (or even permanently halted) as a result of the work that needs to be done negotiating and talking with attorneys. Intellectual property has now gotten in the way of a possible treatment or even a cure. Worst case scenario, lives are lost because of this intellectual property. I completely agree with Doyle that intellectual property can be extremely arbitrary and harmful to the progression of society. On the other hand, open-sourcing technology like RepRap allows for abandonment of these unnecessary bureaucracies in favor of speedy, efficient science and technology.
The Mother of All Demos shows the early workings of a word processor. It must have been unbelievable to see this in 1968. They probably couldn't even dream of the stuff we have now like a two pound ultrabook. Drawing parallels between 1968 with word processors and modern day with 3D printers, there's a lot to dream about. In the near term, I think a great thought is automated printing and assembly of 3D printers. We can print plastic and it's possible to print metal, so every part of a 3D printer can be printed. However, in the very near term, electronics cannot be printed. I see no reason why it's not possible to automate the assembly of the printer as well. In the long term, I dream of a "chemputer" that can print any organic molecule from a few simple reactants by utilization incredibly complex microfluidic architecture. Everyone could have their own pharmacy in their living room if they wish. At the very least, one could print their own single system of unit operations for a particular product.
I know very little about computers, so much so that I had to look up what the word "firmware" means (with very little understanding of details). So, at the risk of sounding clueless, I'm going to discuss Cory Doctorow's speech as best as I can.
The possibility of self-driving driving vehicles is not something I haven't thought about before. I'm quite interested in it and have read a decent amount about this and other hypothetical future transportation. Here's one example. Automobile accidents are one of the leading causes of death in the United States; if they can be reduced, even with the risk of having susceptibility to code tampering, I think it's worth it (not that anyone's opinion on the topic matters; the acceleration of technology makes this scenario virtually inevitable). However, I'm willing to admit that I'm undecided as to whether I'd prefer the firmware to be locked or unlocked. If I had to pick a side, I think I'd lean toward having it locked. I don't think threats of alteration by under-qualified would-be mechanics would be entirely common, but I fear for the complexity of technology if it were to happen. Judging from firmware today, any minor modification can cause bugs and ripples that affect other parts of it. For the sake of safety, I might prefer the firmware to be locked. Despite this, a side of me prefers that the code be open-sourced, so that a RepRap-like community can create massive growth within the technology.
If the U.N. asked me to sketch a regulatory framework for 3D printing, I would go about it in minimalist fashion. As Doctorow explained in his speech, regulations on these sorts of things tend to multiply the number of problems. Every time an issue is "solved," there is another layer of the problem that needs to be addressed. The futile effort of extensive regulating would be waste of time and money. The only regulating I would employ would be indirect and similar to current enforcement (if not the same). For example, 3D printing guns must stay illegal and be stopped whenever possible. 3D printing isn't the problem; rather, unlicensed guns are the problem.
I think Doctorow's predictions for the future are likely. I don't see current politics changing significantly. The elected will probably always be people illiterate in science and technology. In that sense, there will always be a "war" until one side wins. It seems inevitable that politics will lose because they can't actually control technology with any kind of power, even if they always think they can.
When Doctorow says, "Freedom in the future will require us to have the capacity to monitor our devices and set meaningful policy on them..." I'm not sure whom he means by "us." If he's implying that everyone will have the time and literacy in technology to constantly examine the inner workings of their devices, then I have to disagree. I see most of the population always being entirely ignorant of the countless electronic devices they own. People won't take responsibility for monitoring their devices. However, I suppose it might be possible for a portion of the population do this as a service.
I think the copyright war can be won simply by going the direction we're naturally going. If SOPA was shot down this early in the copyright war, I don't see how the anti-copyright side won't win. Information is becoming more and more accessible and getting harder and harder to control. In a digital age, file sharing is unavoidable. Copyright laws might not go away, but they may end up affecting nothing. It reminds me of a quote from the movie, Inception:
"An idea is like a virus, resilient, highly contagious. The smallest seed of an idea can grow."
Recycling filament material is extremely important for 3D printing. Filament can be fairly expensive, so rationing as much as possible can allow for more prints with the same money. Alternatively, instead of increasing the number of prints, the quality of the print can be improved.
In the case of RecycleBot, the design seems functional, but it is not yet complete. I like the design, but it needs improvements, including good instructions. It was hard for me to follow the description and instructions provided. They need a more concise way of presenting the information.
The Lyman Filament Extruder seems simpler and has a full manual that includes instructions, BOM, and photos. There is also a video that shows how well it functions, including an extruder that uses the filament. I think that this is my favorite recycling design.
This design looks promising, but it doesn't appear to be complete and there are little to no instructions. I like how they categorized melt temperature by filament material.
I think recycling systems can have a profound effect on the DIY Reprap community. With almost every print, it is inevitable to have plastic waste. Rather than disposing this waste, using a recycling system will save people filament; thus, it will save them money.
Personally, I think putting together a filament recycler doesn't sound very difficult. Most of the parts are printable, and the other parts would be easy to buy. I think the difficult part would be the electronics. It might be hard to program for the heat and motor in this context. However, I am very ignorant of electronics and it may be easier than I think.
Blog 13 (Bonus Blog)
While I am interested in 3D printing with plastics, I am especially interested with 3D with other materials. One material currently used with 3D printing is metal, including stainless steel, titanium, and aluminum. The metal 3D printing used byShapeways involves laying down layers of stainless steel powder. Using a binding material, each layer develops the shape of the desired object. The powder is then blown off, leaving only the object of bounded stainless steel powder. The model is then heated, cured, and infused with bronze.
This is an exciting area of 3D printing. Naturally, as with virtually all other areas of 3D printing, there are incredible possibilities and implications of it. One application is the printing of unique body parts and supports, such as customized knee implants. NASA has printed a nickel alloy rocket engine with the utilization of selective laser melting.
An application of this metal printing that comes to my mind is printing the metal parts for 3D printers. If this is possible, the only part of a 3D printer that couldn't be printed would be the electronics. Some problems might arise when it comes to required precision (e.g. threading on bolts), but simply the fact that they can be printed is a huge step. I imagine the future of 3D printers to have printers connected in parallel: a plastic printer, then a metal printer, and so forth, so that objects containing multiple materials can be automatically printed.
My first impression of this 3D printing is that it's creepy. But the more I think about it, the cooler it seems to be. I think it would be interesting to print myself. It would be even more interesting to print oneself once every year of life and see the spectrum of oneself with time. I'm not sure I would buy a model of myself, but I'm sure there would be many people who would. One application of this would be wedding cakes. Instead of getting models of a generic bride and groom, why not get 3D printed models of the actual bride and groom? Despite the fact that there are understandable uses for it, I feel like there will always be an element of creepiness with them. I fear that, at somepoint, the family photo will become the family set of models.
I think that Staples experimenting with 3D printing is a good idea. They are investing in a technology that is gaining speed and will be popular in the future. I think it will help to grow the company more. However, one problem with this might be when 3D printers start becoming a reasonably common household item. I imagine the same thing that happened to printing companies will happen in this situation. People will see no need for paying to use a printer when they have one. This will inevitably drive down the price of this service. Although, after that happens, the service may become completely useless unless the quality of the Staples printing remains significantly better than a household printer. For the time being, while prices are high, Staples should make a profit with this business model. At the very least, they will get the company good exposure in terms of public relations.
I think 3D printing would be an excellent tool for education, even before college. A lot of students coming into college (including me at the time) are ignorant of much (or all) of engineering, despite a decent knowledge of the sciences. Introduction of a 3D printer into the classroom setting may stimulate an interest in engineering for students that otherwise would not have any interest in science and engineering. A basic knowledge of engineering may also follow such as what engineering is, computer application, structural support, etc. K-3 age may be slightly less useful; the students may care about the products made as toys but the process itself would probably go ignored. Grades 4-8 might show more interest in the printing itself, but I think high school age would be a great opportunity, especially considering that many high schools actually have very specific classes as electives; an engineering class would be an excellent home for a 3D printer. So, while I think high schools would be great for 3D printing, I'm not sure about the possibility of any younger age, especially K-3. Of course, using a 3D printing for such an age would be useful and in no way a waste of time, but I can't really envision a class ever getting funding for it. Many schools seem to be having financial problems as it is, so I don't share the optimism many other people do about incorporating 3D printers into these classrooms. The only thing that would change my mind is if someone developed a good argument about how having a 3D printer may save a school money in the long run.
It's inevitable that 3D printing is going be a widespread technology used by many people in the future. Accordingly, education about them is very important. Exposing students to the opportunities of 3D printing is vital for society. I agree with Paul Glister of Centauri Dreams when he says personal fabrication will be major endeavour in the future. We need to bring as many people along with us in this industrial revolution as possible for it to have a great effect. If I was exposed to 3D printing at a high school age, I know I would be very intrigued and want to learn more. I possibly would be interested at a younger age; however, at least for me, I was not interested in education as much as I was with recess and my social status with other kids. With this in mind, I think funding for a sub-high school age will be extremely difficult to acquire. This doesn't mean it's not worth trying.
3D printing provides many benefits that traditional manufacturing has difficulty with, if it can do it at all. One major benefit of 3D printing is customation. It is not cost efficient for a company to produce a lot of many different shapes and sizes of a product. They would much rather attempt a "one size fits all" type of approach. The implications of 3D printing ameliorating the problem of customations is far-reaching. For example, imagine being able to print the shell of appliances for ears (earbuds, hearing aids, etc.) that fit perfectly for your ear. Also, the plastic of glasses can be printed to fit perfectly on the bridge of one's nose and around their ears. On a larger, more significant scale, the medical field will be able to print unique products for patients. Artificial organs, prosthetic limbs, and other body parts will be able to fit much better to the needs of the patient. Additionally, medical tools used for invasive procedures may also be altered to better adapt to the shape of a patient's body.
Another major implication of 3D printing that will result in widespread use is the manufacturing of small (and not entirely functional/useful) plastic products. This may not sound like a big deal, but it will have major effects on the economy. The United States relies heavily on China and other countries for cheap construction of many produts. Virtually every small plastic item in the U.S. has "Made in China" on it. 3D printing could help the U.S. completely divorce itself from any international reliance on such products. Instead of paying the cheapest people possible to make the products, we can utilize the free labor of 3D printing. Other than the printer and energy needed for the print, the only expense will be the filament. This mechanization will very likely cause a new industrial revolution in the country and world. However, what makes this revolution unique is the DIY aspect of it. This industrial revolution is not restricted to the corporations themselves; every individual citizen can take part if they wish.
Libraries are excellent hosts for 3D printing technology. I think Tod Colegrove brings up an interesting point about the purpose of libraries. Rather than being a quiet, independent work area with no food or drink (of course, certain areas of the library should be reserved for this environment), it should be a center of conversation and activity. This a perfect environment for 3D printing. Students and faculty alike can discuss molecular models, engineering apparatuses, or pieces of art with the object in hand. Illustrations in books can only go so far in facilitating comprehension. However, a model of the object itself can ameliorate understanding in ways pictures cannot. As a student who has taken two classes of organic chemistry, I cannot stress enough the importance of having models rather than pictures. We live in a world of three dimensions; sometimes a two-dimensional representation is just not enough for proper learning. However, I think that if a library is to provide 3D printing services, the printer must be a high-end model. An original Mendel REPRAP would probably not be able to handle the massive amounts of printing it would have to endure. A lot of troubleshooting would be needed, which would probably frustrate the users and require a librarian to be frequently working on it. Additionally, it also may not provide the quality people would want from it in the time that they would want it. Overall, I think libraries are great hosts for 3D printing. Maybe 3D printers may even save many public libraries from total abandonment. However, not everyone agrees with this. An editorial post in PublicLibrariesNews.com says that preassembled 3D printers used to be $1000 and are now about $500; this means, according to the author, that they will get even cheaper and libraries will have wasted their money because people who want to use a 3D printer will have bought their own. I disagree with this. As I said previously, libraries should invest in high-end printers, rather than cheaper ones. Yes, many people may have a REPRAP for a few hundred dollars, but libraries should invest in high-end printers like the Stratasys uPrint SE Plus. Quality, speed, and reliability will be greatly improved, and most people would much rather use a printer like this than a REPRAP they got for a few hundred dollars.
The only libraries I am familiar with are Pattee, Paterno, and the Hammond Engineering Library. I think Pattee and Paterno would be good hosts for 3D printing for a number of reasons. First of all, there are a wide variety of disciplines being studied in the libraries. Therefore, the printer can be used for any science, engineering, art, or anything else that would find use in it. It would also surely be used, considering that these libraries are very crowded. However, I'm not sure where the printer should be placed specifically. Perhaps it should be in a common area between all of the different individual libraries within Pattee and Paterno. I think the Engineering Library would be good for a 3D printer as well. I picture engineers using it if they need to describe an apparatus to others, perhaps even in a presentation. There is probably opportunities for the printed parts to have functional use as well. One of the first libraries to do this was the DeLaMare Science and Engineering Library, in which their first job involved a rotor for an impeller pump being prototyped by a team of senior engineering students. I don't see why applying 3D printing technology in Hammond would be any different.
Once again, I think that this digital rights management system by Myhrvold will fail. As the article says, the same thing was tried with Apple iTunes tracks. Apple tried to make them impossible to copy, but to no avail. Clever people found a way around it, as usual. Even though this DRM system is being implemented, I don't think it will last very long before it's seen as a hopeless waste of time and money. Cory Doctorow has stated quite eloquently, "Like other DRM systems, this won't work (it will either have to be so broad in its parameters for recognizing prohibited items that it will balk at printing innumerable harmless objects, or it will be trivial to defeat by disguising the objects beyond the system's ability to recognize them)." I really don't think there's any real use for this technology - at least not in the application of DRM. The progress of 3D printing is evolving exponentially at a rate where I can't begin to imagine what it will look like in just five years. Right now, DRM will just hinder this progress; it should not and most likely will not succeed.
I think we will begin to see REPRAPs being used for less passive activities. I think there will be a bright future for cheap, yet very functional toys like the ones shown in the video. There will be many minor applications like this, but there may also be larger applications like utilization of light piping to manipulate the direction of the sun's rays. Maybe such a thing could be used to give natural sunlight to the side of a building that isn't at an angle to receive good sunlight at a certain time of day.
We may have trouble implementing light piping into our printers because there needs to be unusually excellent precision to make effective light pipes. Also, we do not have the necessary feed stock, but this can probably be obtained without too much difficulty.
There's a few categories of things I have in mind for the light sensors. The first of which is signs. Small signs could be made that can be switched to a different message. A simple example would be an "open" and "closed" sign. Additionally, perhaps some very simple game could be made like a checkers game with lights.
I think bioprinting is an incredible and very promising area of research. However, I think it has a long way to go before it has any major benefits. This isn't as simple as just printing plastics; this is real living cells. Not only is chemistry and physics involved, but now biology is as well. The body parts that are printed will have to function and be the right specifications, just as any 3D printed device. But now, possible rejection by a body, viruses, and diseases may be involved. Additionally, there may be legal and politial problems. Simply the mention of the word "life" in the political ring seems to stir up emotion. As a result, there may be debates over the morality of toying with life and harvesting organs (even if they didn't come from anyone).
I don't see anything that would stop bioprinting from being a DIY project. The bio-ink will have to be available to buy, though. As long as something of scientific interest can be done with a REPRAP, people will find ways to do it at some point.
If I was a dedicated member of the DIY Gun Project, I would now find a different printer that has previously agreed to allow the production of the weapons. Alternatively, I could also print the parts for a new printer from a REPRAP. The print quality may suffer, but at least the project can continue. Other than that, it seems like a hiring a lawyer and fighting for the legality of what the project wants to do is the only option.
I do not think that 3D printers and what they create should be regulated. Perhaps my best reason for thinking this is the simple fact that they can't be. I think a comparison to the "war on drugs" is very relevant. Both are federal (I'm tempted to say tyrannical) approaches to solving a social issue. Ultimately, both will be a massive waste of money and will show little to no results. It's difficult for me to even think of how government could enforce 3D printing regulations. Perhaps every printed material must be recorded? This begs the question, wouldn't there be an easy way to get around this? You could also enforce printed gun regulation by arresting someone when they use it, but at that point it seems like the fact that the gun was fired would be more important than the fact that it's a 3D printed gun.
If the government began to prohibit 3D printing certain objects, I'm not sure where the line would be drawn. How much freedom would people actually have to print things? I think similar prohibitions might be seen for drugs and drug-related objects. As 3D printing begins to dabble in the realm of chemistry, drug synthesis might be very realistic with the proper reactants and catalysts, not to mention all the necessary lab materials could be printed. Additionally, patented inventions could be printed if proper access to them was given. Additionally, for some reason I feel like it's inevitable that someone will eventually create a representation of the prophet Muhammad. While the first amendment protects this, it will nonetheless garner attention.
Makerbot Industries has made a significant move in its decision to make Replicator 2 closed source. It's worth noting that it is only rumored that this is the case, but every day it seems to be more clear that it's the truth. In addition to this, Makerbot now owns everything on Thingiverse, prompting many people to take down everything they've posted. I agree with Prusa that this is a sad day for reprap. Makerbot Industries are essentially taking all of the great things that have come from reprap being open source (printer designs, thingiverse things, etc) and making it closed source. Yet, as sad as all of this is, I can't say I'm surprised. I think it's to be expected that the concept of closed source is too appealing for everyone to abandon. This is what makes it so incredible that reprap is as open sourced as it is. I think that, for the most part, reprap will remain to be open sourced, but there will be people attempting closed source endeavours along the way.
I think an intesting occurence, if true, is what has recently happened to Dave Hinz . He claims on Prusa's Occupy Thingiverse page that Makerbot has given him $100 to commercially produce a thing he designed despite the fact that he stated, "commercial use is OK with attribution." It seems that even though Makerbot Industries is legally taking what people have posted on thingiverse, they are somewhat sympathetic to the people they are taking it from and perhaps less greedy that a lot of people think. Of course, this is only a case study that may not mean much. Nonetheless, it is intriguing.
While I respect Prusa's hostility towards Makerbot, Makerbot is not reprap. Additionally, Thingiverse is not the only possible place to share things. At the risk of downplaying the significance of these events, I think these occurences can be minimized into a minor setback in the history of reprap. Prusa's idea of creating an Ocuppy Thingiverse Movement is interesting, but I fear it will be all too similar to the Occupy Wall Street movement in that it may increase awareness but cause no real change.
I think it's time to look for a new Thingiverse. If we do, there is one crucial point to keep in mind: We must have a consensus of what this new Thingiverse will be. Competing new Thingiverses will be counterproductive and ineffective. If we want the new Thingiverse to be as impressive and widespread as the current, there needs to be only one (others may exist, but there needs to be one main site). These are my current opinions, but they are extremely subject to change as the situation continues to develop.
1 If there are ever restrictions placed on the distribution of reprap and the things it creates, it will be short-lived and ineffective. I can't conceive of a single way that there could be an attempt to stop this distribution that would be fruitful. People will always be able to print whatever they want in the privacy of their own homes.
2 There are a great number of things I am passionate about and love to tell people about, but one that stands out is my interest and support of a resource-based economy. It may not be relevant to public discourse for a few hundred or thousands of years, but it is still something that I think is important to know about. This passion is clearly not a good way of making money and I don't think is a good way to attract mates. This is not a good way to attract mates because, as Bowyer states, this is not a flashy show of cleverness like acting and music.
3 I think Bowyer is correct about intellectual property coming to an end. For the most part, this is a good thing. Claiming something as IP drastically decreases the progress of that item. Something that is IP can only be improved by a select group of people with limited direction to take it. If something is open-source rather than claimed by someone, anyone can help in its development. Amelioration of the item with increase exponentially and the benefits can be reaped much earlier. IP decreases progress.
1. I see no reason to think that a self-replicating universal constructor will not be feasible in the future. As of now, 3D printers are unable to print vital parts such as screws, electronics, motors, etc. Despite this, what would stop this from happening in the future? Or rather, what would stop a separate machine to be able to do this particular part of it? And what's stopping these machines from being combined into one? One possible (and perhaps paranoid) situation that would prevent the construction of such a machine is government. This constructor could drastically damage industry when everyone can make almost anything they want for practically free. Government might get involved in an attempt to prevent an economic downturn.
2. To me, "wealth without money" refers to how a self-replicating universal constructor would provide seemingly endless possessions for little to no money. This "wealth" could also be thought of as the affordable value of 3D printing technology towards the progress and evolution of mankind. The former interpretation poses, as stated earlier, economic difficulties. It goes without saying that such a powerful machine would decrease the value of the dollar. Drastic government and banking intervention would be required or, at the risk of sounding utopian, a revolution where people no longer see any value in money and care about technology and progress for its own sake.
3. As long as the REPRAP project remains open source, I think it has a very bright future. Unbelievable progress has been witnessed just in the past few years. As more of them are made, and as more people find out about REPRAP, the faster it will grow. I imagine that at some point, REPRAP will move beyond plastics and other similar materials into various others. Perhaps a massive, metallic REPRAP will be the future of industry. At that point, anyone can have their own industry of anything and give it to others. I imagine something similar to illegal music downloading might happen. People can share what they construct (and a duplicate of the constructor) and give it to others for cheap. This will hurt not just one industry, but all industries that REPRAP gets involved in. This sounds disasterous, but if humanity can find a way to overcome these hardships, it could be a significant step towards ameliorating our situation on earth.
Useful: The High Velocity Beverage Delivery Harness  is a triumph of human ingenuity. The design allows for a can to be shot out of a pneumatic cannon toward a thirsty individual, with a parachute attachment for safe landing. The only weakness I can see is having to wait a while after shooting carbonated beverages to avoid fizzy explosions. Maybe there's a way to use some sort of valve to avoid this?
Artistic: Nothing says disco quite like a rhombicuboctahedron with controlled RGB LED's. The LED rhombicuboctahedron disco ball  has an elegant geometric design with multicolor LED lights.
Useless: The United States Capitol Building is useless. This model is, too . While impressive, I don't know why anyone would want this.
Funny: Not only does Admiral Ackbar  look funny, but this print is a constant reminder that he has one of the most enjoyable lines to quote in cinematic history.
Weird: It should go without saying that this Bart Simpson walking toy is strange. Perhaps a second version can be created that will look a little less inaccurate and unnatural (even by cartoon standards). It's an interesting project, though.