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Keith Grauer | EDSGN 479J | RepRap Wiki Blogs | Fall Semester 2014

Here's the link to my page where you can learn more about Desktop 3D Printers: Keith Grauer's Page

Blog #1: 3D-Printed Clothes & Sensor for US Soldiers

The few advances mentioned in this article already seem extremely positive, and I’m sure there is more work going on behind the curtins withtin the army. This research and development work interests me extremely, especially with the 3D Printing technology. The article hinted that materials are being mixed extremely efficiently during the 3D Printing process to maximize the performance of the end-use composition. This makes me believe that soon simple cloth-like materials will be infused to with the proper materials to make it strong enough to withstand a bullet – yes, microfibers of carbon (or something) that will make it bullet-proof. It’s clear this advancing technology has a huge influence in the army world and these few achievements are only the spark to the fire.

Blog #2: NASA is building the World's First 3D-Printed Satellite Camera

This article opens with “NASA is already using 3D printing to make rocket engine parts, a space pizza maker and even physical photos from the Hubble Space Telescope.” This immediately sparked my attention and made me search the articles about these accomplishments (covered in Blog #3). But, the next step to the future of 3D-Printing is being taken now that NASA is producing a satellite almost entirely with this technology. Sadly, the article mentions that the satellite won’t be “deep-space ready,” but I’m sure they will be in the near future. The development of this technology and specifically this use-case has an incredible amount of potential. The space exploration world could be changed forever within the next few years because of this, which is exciting to imagine.

Blog #3: NASA Tests Limits of 3D-Printing with Powerful Rocket Engine Check

Not only did NASA 3D-Print a critical component of a rocket engine, but it also produced a record-breaking 20,000 pounds of thrust during testing. The component is the injector, and it produced ten times more thrust than any previous inject, according to the article. This is incredible and instantly makes me think of how they achieved this. Assuming that the injectors used to be machined, the geometries were most likely limited in terms of complexity. But, with additive manufacturing, complexity is free. Or, in other words, the internal passages could be extremely complex and curved. Thus, I think NASA achieved this accomplishment by utilizing a much more efficient flow system within the injector. The other benefit from this component is the cheap cost associated with its production, which is mentioned in the article. This component was 3D-printed with metal, which seems to be the sector of additive manufacturing that truly has the most potential. NASA has once again taken a step into the future of 3D-Printing, pushing the boundaries of this evolutionary-like technology. A 20-second clip of the test can be found at the link below:

Blog #4: Discov3ry Paste Extruder: Afforable Add-on for 3 Printers

The video ( found at the end of the article is the Part 2 to the introductory video and it goes into much more depth on this technology. It is an incredible technology that, in my opinion, is being under-utilized. It has changed the Fused Deposition Modeling world immensely by introducing pastes rather than filaments. It’s currently being used for things like custom orthotics, cake icing, flexible phone cases, and other small objects. But, on a production/professional scale, this technology could potentially open a new world. What first comes to mind are the types of molds used during green sand mold casting. These molds are made essentially with a paste, which could now be 3D-Printed in paste form with this technology. Therefore, the lead-time and cost to produce these molds would be greatly decreased, and the geometries could be much more complex with the use of water-soluble supports. Ultimately, I definitely feel that there is a future with technology, but it needs more professional research and development.

Blog #5: Food is the Next Frontier of 3D Printing

Food has emerged as one of the most explored fields within the 3D-Printing world; I seem to see different use-cases every day. But, this doesn’t mean it has already covered most of its potential, because I feel this specific use of 3D-Printing still has a lot of room to grow. Additive Manufacturing, as it is mentioned in a past article from NASA, is being used to produce perfectly proportioned compositions of meals, all within one single solid. This is being utilized even further to match the nutritional diets of astronauts, which is incredible in terms of efficiency. This article speaks on the versatility in the food world, specifically how everyone wants something different on their foods, or in other words, everyone has their own specific preferences. With 3D-Printing, these specific preferences could be satisfied more and more easily as the technology advances. Hopefully, it will continue with an open source fashion, and possible have “recipes” on a website similar to Thus, everyone could easily create millions of different styles of foods, which could essentially change the world of restaurants and delivery entirely.

Blog #6: Nursing Homes in Germany serve 3D-Printed Food

This new technology mitigates a serious problem nursing homes everywhere are experiencing, and I’m not surprised it’s happening in Germany because Germany is one of the leaders in Additive Manufacturing advancements. Elderly patients living in nursing homes have trouble swallowing their foods and enjoying their blandly repeated meals. 3D Printing healthy, pureed, and completely customized foods for the patients has proven succeed and conquering this challenge. I’m impressed with the visuals of the 3D-Printed foods as they look extremely accurate and even pretty delicious. Although I think the options of foods seem a little limited right now, I’m sure they’ve developed more types of printable foods by now and will continue to in the future. It’s a little scary how diverse the use cases of 3D Printing really is, and this use case certainly is not just a huge advancement, but it is also an amazing cause. I feel that the nutrients required by each patient can now be satisfied on an easier scale than NASA’s operations previously mentioned in earlier blogs. But I’m interested to see how customizable the texture of the foods will become, because I can see the texture getting annoying. Although, this texture is specifically designed to avoid choking, maybe there are other textures that accomplish the same goals.

Blog #7: NASA Funding 3D Food Printer Research,news-17053.html

As my several previous blog posts have mention, NASA is “hoping the next step for 3D Printing will be food.” It’s true that there is a lot of interest in this specific field, and it certainly has the potential to grow. It’s truly incredible how because 3D Printing has become more popular and widely expressed that there is a new development in the technology every day. 3D Printing has certainly expanded in everyway possible, and I think its due to this popularity boom. At this point, thousands upon Thousands of people are brainstorming new ideas with this technology every day. Even just in the field of 3D-Printed food, there are hundreds of use-cases that all utilize this technology in a different way. NASA is working to remove the moisture from the food so that its shelf life could be as long as 30 years, which once again opens the potential for more space exploration. This once again proves my opinion that Additive Manufacturing is a wildly expanding and opening the world to new possibilities every day. It’s certainly comforting to see NASA’s continued support of this technology.

Blog #8: 3D Printing: Employment Boom or Employment Swoon

It’s clear that 3D Printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a booming technology. It’s growth has been explosive in recent years and has brought out major increases in production efficiency, which has increased the design cycle times overall. This, obviously, has a direct correlation with the number of laborers needed to perform the tasks. Thus, there is a projected decrease in traditional manufacturing-related employment because these processes are being decreased. I see this as a very potentially large problem that will cause heated debates in the future, especially with union-employed operations and areas. Now, I’m sure traditional manufacturing will never completely dissipate, but it certainly seems like it will be decreasing. But, on the flip side, because of the efficient potential associated with additive manufacturing, processes cost much less for big industries to perform. Therefore, jobs will now become more available in the USA, rather than overseas, because big businesses will now be able to afford it. Thus, I foresee not a decrease in employment, but instead a change in skill sets. Those people who’s traditional manufacturing jobs are replaced by this booming technology will just need to train in the operations and maintenance of 3D Printers. Hopefully, with this middle ground, there won’t be heavy conflicts in the future regarding these employment rates.

Blog #9: Want to try out 3D Printing? Check your local Library.

This article caught my attention immediately because of a rumor that my local library at home now has a Desktop 3D Printer. With my history of involvement within the additive manufacturing world and my constant observations of things being fixed around my house, I’ve considered very heavily purchasing my own Desktop 3D Printer. As of right now, I feel there are still a lot of small problems with most Desktop 3D Printers, as we have been able to easily see during class. Of course, the REPRAPs aren’t quite as high-tech and reliable as professionally produced machines (ie: MakerBots), I still don’t see too many differences. This is what makes me appreciate the open-source world even more; these people are conquering these challenges just out of interest. This certainly seems like a hobby to some, and I would even classify it as one of my own hobbies, but the potential within these technologies are hidden beneath. After reading this article, I am convinced I will check my local library over break to see what capabilities are really there. This read also put my mind back on the idea of my own Desktop 3D Printer, but we’ll see. I think that waiting another year or two may be an appropriate amount of time for the open-source/professional world to overcome some of the small problems that Desktop 3D Printers are still dealing with.

Blog #10: Medical First: 3D Printed Skull Successfully Implanted in Woman

I remember hearing about this over the summer and thought to look it up. This accomplishment is not only slightly terrifying (see video below), but it is extremely progressive. This step forward in the medical world is a serious step – this isn’t a kneecap or an arm replacement, it’s a skull replacement. The material capabilities associated with additive manufacturing are incredibly diverse and astonishingly include several materials specifically designated for the medical field. I think that 3D Printing has a huge future within the medical field as researchers and doctors continue to push its limits. This thought instinctively thrives from the fact that medical operations often times induce very custom and specific pieces, which Additive Manufacturing is perfect for. The complex geometries capable with 3D Printing (as opposed to being impossible with traditional manufacturing) may even open a new world of more efficient and lightweight supports/braces/etc for recovering patients. The video explaining the operation can be found below, but I WARN you, it is graphic. Also, the video is in Dutch, but English subtitles can be displayed by clicking the box with “CC” in it. I’m excited to hear more about how the medical field will utilize this booming technology.

Blog #11: Seven Life-Changing Surgeries made possible by 3D Printing

My last blog (Blog #10: Medical First: 3D Printed Skull Successfully Implanted in Woman) sparked my interest in the development of additive manufacturing within the medical field. Luckily, I found this article almost instantly. This article explains several incredible feats that doctors from all over the world have been able to achieve through 3D Printing. One of the examples that speaks volumes upon volumes of positivity towards this technology is a case in which doctors successfully replaced a cancerous vertebra with a 3D-printed vertebra. This procedure did not only achieve what existing methods could, but it surpassed it. With 3D Printing, the doctors were able to completely replicate the shape of the original vertebra perfectly. This is an example of a use-case that is just simply perfect for 3D Printing – complete customization and specificity. The last life-changing surgery mentioned within this article combines 3D scanning with 3D Printing, which I see as a very strong partnership. As within this case, a 3D model of a child’s heart was perfectly recreated and 3D-printed. This provided the doctors with a plethora of information regarding specifics of the operation that would soon take place, and thus, led to a very successful surgery and a quickly healing child. Every time I read one of these articles, my belief on the versatility and potential of this life-changing technology expands. I have several friends studying medicine, and I hope to communicate with them about the development of Medical 3D Printing in the future.

Blog #12: Navy Brings 3D Printing to the Sea

Another great article title to see, yet not a surprising one. The navy seems like a near perfect match for use-cases of Additive Manufacturing, especially the more rapid 3D Printing technologies. Being out at sea, it makes sense that there is a constant need for parts for the ship, equipment for the sailors, and even tools for complex-specific jobs. 3D Printing allows them to quickly and cheaply produce these models in order to diffuse the demand. The article notes that they are in the beginning stages, so I’m sure once the Navy really understands the potential of this technology, they will invest in further research. I’m glad to hear that the Navy is getting involved with this robust technology, and I hope to hear more from them pertaining to this field. With time, this technology may be the core to the Navy operations. Another application that it seems could similarly benefit is having 3D Printers on-board spacecraft to print parts needed for repairs.

Blog #13: The Aerospace Industry is Betting Big on 3D Printing Technology

During my presentation, I spoke on the limitations of Additive Manufacturing with big industries, and the video embedded in this article explained this phenomenon. He emphasized the final microstructure of 3D-Printed parts, which, obviously is something extremely important to the aerospace industry. Nothing seems more risky than sending a huge metal machine flying through the air transporting hundreds of passengers, and thus material specs must be spot on to achieve honest guarantees of passenger safety. But, it’s good to see that big aerospace companies understand the potential this technology provides. A quote within the article states this very straightforwardly: “We get five times the durability. We have a lighter-weight [part].” It’s also good to see that they aren’t jumping the gun and skipping any important steps when qualifying these 3D-printed materials. Currently additive manufacturing represents $3 billion of overall manufacturing output, and this article predicts that to increase to $10 billion in the coming years. I see a lot of talk about this booming technology and I understand the potential just as many others do, I just hope to see big industries (like aerospace) truly commit to the research and development behind it.