My name is Nithin Thomas and I am currently in the Mechanical Engineering program here at Penn State.
Sixteenth Blog Entry:
Todays topic is about getting funding from our department.
I feel this course is a very good course for "hands on" engineers who want to learn about new technologies. I think as being part of the mechanical engineering department, they would definitely want to fund this course because many students can design products or solutions. Now these products and solutions may theoretically work but when it comes down to it your designs will have flaws. These flaws wont be discovered till its actually produced and you might see that your solution is very hard to produce and may cost a lot of money. As for other departments that could be interested in our course could be the architecture department. 3-D printers could help them design their houses, or architectural structures that they need to go for competition. I also feel like working with Edesign courses was a good decision because now students can see their actual designs and be able to make changes to their prototype when they want to go for a finalized design. Research departments may also be a possible department to look at because they are always looking for ways to test their theories and designs in a cheap and affordable manner. The only thing they would have to pay would be the material cost of the PLA which is much cheaper than the 3D printer in the learning factory which needs much more expensive material per cubic inch. I think the cost is 8 dollars per cubic inch and this could potentially cost a lot for research. Now the only think that might constrain our printers is the print size and the print envelope of the part.
Fiveteenth Blog Entry:
Todays topic is about general computation and wether it should be closed or open code.
If we were to have a self driven car, I would prefer it to be open firmware. As described in the problem statement, open firmware gives the user the ability to customize the options to suit their own needs. This can mean any user can create unique ideas that would express themselves. But when comparing the security of the open firmware to closed firmware I actually believe closed firmware is more vulnerable as a security risk. I believe that if something is closed firmware it will take longer for hackers to be able to find ways to break the code when compared to open source. Now where it becomes dangerous is the fact that after hackers are able to break the closed code, they will be able to hack into any closed firmware. Where as in the open source case they may be able to hack individual codes at a faster rate, but the hackers will not be able to access everyone's code because each code will be unique to the user. This brings the debate that many people have in the electronics world, on where electronics should come as closed or open firmware. Many people's attraction to android over iphones is the ability for them to have open source firmware. The users can customize their phone to whatever extent they want and not be tied down by the companies software. In apple markets, its possible to make your closed firmware become slightly open firmware through the use of jail breaking but then users run the risk of voiding their warranty and ability to upgrade firmware. If the U.N. were to ask for a regulatory sketch of a 3D printer framework, I would be tremendously confused, haha. The reason being because most printers that we make have sketches and step by step instructions online on how to make our printer, what parts to use, and what electronics they recommend. This is the advantage of open source designs.
Doctorow mainly is making good points about copyright laws and I agree with him that its very tough to stop. People will keep finding ways to getting around the solution that the copyright laws protect. For example when DVD's started putting on different encryptions on disks so that when people tried to make dvd copies of it, the disk will prompt error messages saying that the disk was under copyright and you cant copy it. However this encryption has rarely stopped the copyright infringement movement. There are many softwares online available for free that can trick the disk's encryption code and eventually make the disk's copyright null until its been copied and burned to another disk. His solution he brought up about making a software that will only read the disk and its encryption seems very tough to implement and their will be free downloadable software on the market to be able to do the same function and cheat the system.
Fourteenth Blog Entry:
Today's topic is about DIY recycling systems.
Given a choice between these three DIY recycling systems,() my preference would be for the filabot personal filament maker. The reason I choose this was it seemed the design was more developed and tested already thoroughly in the market, while the other two devices seemed to be conceptual products without much statistics or reviews given for how they work. Another reason I liked the filabot was that it had the ability to wind up the newly created filament onto a spool where as the other machines didn't have a feature like this. The Lyman filament extruder only specifies that it can create filament from plastic pellets.
I think a DIY recycling system would be great for the reprap community. The number of failed prints or changing of designs can dramatically reduce the amount of wasted filament. My only concern with these DIY recycling systems is the filament color output. For example, in our classroom we have a box full of failed prints, extruded filament from spool switches, and even small filament parts from the beginning of prints. Now if we were to use a DIY recycling system for that box, a box that has multiple colors of extruded filament, how will the color output turn out. I feel like it will just be an ugly mess of different colors put together. I think in order for this system to be fully useful some planning needs to be done ahead of time. This means separating all the colors into different boxes so that when it goes through the creation of the new filament, it will all be the same color.
But a positive is that soda bottles, milk jugs, and other types of reusable plastic that go to recycling centers could be remelted and molded into filament for use in the printers. This can save on filament cost because your creating your own filament for use.
I think the hardest part of building the filament extruder would be the electrical wiring of the system. If one person had a great amount on knowledge in mechanical systems but little knowledge in electrical work then they will not succeed in having a functional system. This would be a neat project for a build team to try next semester instead of building a printer.
Thirteenth Blog Entry:
Today's topic is actually a bonus blog and it has to do with things that I am interested in that haven't been covered in this class.
One topic that I would like to learn more about is the 3D scanner and how it creates prints. The 3D scanning of parts seems to be interesting to me because I have no idea how multiple pictures can be put together by the software to replicate the objects. For example, how does the scanner know the scale and if it has to scale it down. Can it distinguish between colors, and if so if it had a dual extruder would it be able to print out the various colors? How does the scanner know about the depth of the object from just the pictures being taken at different angles?
These are all valid questions that most people would be interested in to see how the 3D scanner and printer work hand in hand. Typically when I think of a scanner I think of the paper scanner which in essence can only scan in a 1 dimensional plane. However, imagining the possibility of a scanner that can scan 3 dimensional objects and be able to successfully 3D print models of these scanned objects is just fascinating. I would highly recommend for next semester maybe a brief lecture on how this technology works for interested students.
Twelfth Blog Entry:
Today's topic is about 3D photo booths.
I remember reading this article when searching for wikiedits for the timeline. All I can say is wow this technology is taking off so fast it has the ability to attract a new market. I remember when photo booths were popular at weddings, but who needs pictures when you can create 3D models of yourself at these weddings. Imagine posing with all your friends and family in the Photo Booth having a blast, and out pops a 3D model of everyone to keep as a lasting memory. Im sure as this technology advances we could end up getting models that are very high resolution and pin point distinguishing features down to a T.
If the price is affordable I would definitely buy a model for myself. I think it would be cool and most people will not have an opportunity to get models made of themselves especially if going to companies who create custom models. These companies will be producing very small quantities at high prices due to material and labor costs. This is compared to a printer who can scan anyone and print out a model of them. I don't see my parents buying one but I think if someone bought it for them (their children) they would absolutely love having a model of themselves. They may even request the whole family to get prints of themselves to create a small model family of themselves. It might even be able to replace family portraits.
I believe the competition will try to undercut the price but will eventually fail due to the added costs that they may face. First this is an onsite printer that can create models on demand. Some competition will not even be able to compete because they require photos to be sent in, and then they can custom make one and ship it back. All these things add cost and would bring the price of the model up. Photo booths that print 3D models can be a popular item at big functions like wedding, birthday parties, etc. where the guests would love to be remember the special events.
Eleventh Blog Entry:
Today's topic will be about 3D printers and classroom possibilities.
The first question that was brought up was will could I see this being used in other educational environments from k-12. The answer to this is yes!! One article  brought up the fact that a pre-engineering class in eight grade was able to design and manufacture their solution to their design problem all to the use of 3D printing. This will give kids the idea of how to relate designing to manufacturing and actually produce products that they have designed. Personally in high school, I have been taking engineering class sponsored by RIT all four years. Our high school had the privilege of having its own engineering department resulting in the use of some technology that some other high schools could not even afford. These technologies go anywhere from 3D printers, laser machine cutters, to even a fully loaded machine shop. For various project statements and solutions we came up with would not have been possible to produce in a machine shop at our knowledge of machining. The use of the 3D printer was useful to print out the parts we had modeled in our 3D software. This provided an added visualized solution that helped refine our design or show our fellow classmates our answer to the design statement.
Now that was referring to high school students but even middle school and elementary school students could use 3D printers. Elementary students have wild imaginations. Why limit those imaginations?? It could be a great experience to open the box and see how elementary students differ from high school students for various design ideas. Who know we could even be surprised and the elementry students could come up with creative ideas to solving simple problems.
The second question deals with asking if I agree with the authors perspective in these three articles . All these authors pretty much brought up the same opinion that we should be promoting 3D printing in younger students. I can agree to all their perspectives from my previous experience in high school with 3D printers (reference the story in first paragraph). The second article brought up something that was mentioned in a previous blog about printing replacement parts on demand. The remote back was lost and tape holding the batteries in place was not cutting it. Their solution involved printing out replacement parts from the companies website to make a cover for their remote. I feel like that most of the 3D printers will be used by high school, college students, and older generations because they have more experience in designing products and would be more beneficial for them to use it.
Tenth Blog Entry:
Today's topic will be about 3D printers future and its possibility of being widespread.
This first article I have read  talked about various objects that were being printed that typical manufactures would not be able to accomplish without being expensive or even possible to produce. In order for this technology to be more widespread, it needs to be affordable and publicized to the community. I think one cool application I saw from this article was the 3D scanning possibility by just talking a few photographs. I feel like that could be an easily publicized attraction to draw people to the future of 3D printing. Also this could bring out the creativity of artists who felt that the designs they wanted to produce were just too complicated to make.
The second article I read has more relevance to the future of 3D printing. I think the ability to instantaneously print out replacement parts, limbs, or products are the peak of 3D printing technology. This would be the most useful to customers and it could take off fast as being a popular option for people who like to get products without much wait time.
I think the only way it wont take off will be due to some peoples stubbornness. If people are not going to be open to adaptation, I don't know if they would be willing to accept the idea that 3D printing parts can be a financially efficient way to purchase things. Also not promoting 3D printing could hinder the creative artists who have not been able to reach their potential due to manufacturing liabilities.
I posted this on the media timeline, but this article about 3D printing from the mind could be a possible future of 3D printing .
Ninth Blog Entry:
Today's topic will be about 3D printers in libraries and if its a good idea.
I think this idea is a fantastic idea if it could be financially possible. As it was mentioned in all the articles () libraries have the potential to house these 3D printers to have people more knowledgeable about this technology. In my opinion libraries are on the decline when it comes to the middle school- college level generation. With the advances of technology, students will not need to go to the library to do research or use a computer because the internet can be used to find any book for research online and computers have become very affordable to purchase.
Now 3D printers have the ability to attract more students back to the library because most people cannot afford to own their own printer. Librarians would have the ability to explain to curious students how this technology works and also help in the printing process. Currently some public libraries are buying into the concept and have started to have their own printing labs. From reports I have read, these labs have become very popular and the knowledge gained from using these printers must be unmeasurable.
Of the libraries I have been to on campus, I am most familiar with the Hammond Engineering library. I have briefly been in the energy engineering library to get a book and only have been in the Paterno and Pattie library to use a computer in between class. However, I do feel that a lot of majors in college would greatly benefit from the use of 3D printing. This article that we had to read , mentions many majors that could potentially use 3D printing as another source of gaining knowledge. Some of these majors include various engineering departments, architecture, geography, biology, and art. Speaking on some of my experiences, 3D printing has helped me learn a lot about design. I was able to generate prototypes for various projects before I went to create my final product. I have been able to create parts faster of odd shapes at a cheaper rates compared to machining metals. But the most important advantage I see is that as a visual learner, I would be able to hold my part and visualize how to fix any problems I face or any improvements I could make for future designs. My roommate is a biology major and he had to be able to distinguish various bones of the skull. He was complaining to me how the biology library only had two skulls and that he wished he had a skull to visualize where the bones were at his disposal. With the implementation of a 3D printer in the biology library he would have the ability to print a skull he could use to study. In turn he would be able to keep the skull for reference or even sell the skull to another student. Biology majors also will need to learn about DNA molecules and there would be no better way to understand DNA chains, then by designing and printing it out for your own good. Another biological use can be found here , where they talk about printing vaccines and various medicines for heath benefits just by the use of printing a digital file. Architectural majors would be able to print out their own house designs for competitions or visualization purposes when going after a bid for a proposal.
Eight Blog Entry:
Today's topic will be about how the digital rights for 3D printing will soon be restricted by patent infringements.
1) This topic was actually discussed about the DRM of manufacturers parts that were mentioned in week 3. The Gizmodo article reinforces the arguments I was making about how manufactures will not allow people so simply print out 3D replacement parts without being paid for use of their designs. This new law if passed would restrict the printers from printing out parts if the parts have serial codes that do not allow them to be printed. They mention also about how they were going to restrict the printing of handguns which was also mentioned in a previous blog entry. This is a good idea especially for gun control and restrictions on who is making them.
To tell you the truth, not sure how well this technology will do because there will always be ways around patent copyrights. For example, you could download a printer part online on another computer then transfer it to the computer that's offline (not connected to the internet). The printer will not be able to access the internet to confirm if the printer code is satisfied or not. Eventually like the crackdown of illegal music, they will not want to go after the small fish but the big fish who are ripping of ridiculous amounts of profit of copyright devices.
Seventh Blog Entry:
Today I will be talking about 3D printing light piping into printed objects.
1) This is a cool idea that I think could work well for traffic safety. For example, lets say that a car driving a night would be approaching a sharp turn in the road. It would be a neat idea to put optics in the sign that when the head light hits the sign the light piping can light up pointing in the direction that the curve of the road is going. Sometimes those signs can be hard to see especially in poor lighting conditions even with the reflective tape around signs. The arrows can give the driver a heads up when it sees a different color on the road that there is a dangerous turning in the road and to slow down.
This can also bring speed detectors up-to another level. If a constant light source is being used from the middle of the road to a location on the end. Whenever a car tire breaks the plane of light, the light sensor can start a timer that will keep track of the time needed till the light comes back. Keeping two sets of the light at a certain distance will be able to calculate the speed the car is traveling and could active a camera to take a picture to be sent to the police department.
2) I think the biggest challenge of implementing light piping in the printers is the time rate at which the material cools. These industrial companies use printers that seem to print at enormously fast rates. This can help the light piping to be put into the material before it cools down. Also, probably two extruders will need to be working where one lays down the piping and the other prints the 3D printing material.
3) Light sensors would be a cool contact switch. Just have a small light moving with the extruder and the beds. The light tubes will be able to capture the light and send it to a light detector that will see that a light has been activated and tell the control board to stop the machine because its hit a limit.
Sixth Blog Entry:
Today I will be talking about 3D printing and its effects on the medical world
1) I like this idea of printing 3D organs, cells, etc for medical purposes. I found it interesting how some of the Armed forces are using 3D printing to help heal wounds quicker by printing cells onto it. When I think about 3D printing for medical purposes, I think of printing out bones or structural members. However, when reading the article it blew me away at the possibilities 3D printing could do for living organs. If organs can be 3D printed and are fully functional, people could replace non functioning organs like a car gets its tires changed at a service department. The cost of transplants will dramatically decrease making it more affordable for people who are in dire need for help. Also if pharmaceutical companies can save money on their drugs by getting more accurate results on their tests using a 3D model vs a 2D model then it could make medicine more affordable to buy. The whole production of meat also seemed to be an interesting idea. Someone would be able to come home from work and say "I'm feeling steak or a hamburger and then be able to print it out to cook." Does this technically mean its now organic because of the way its being made? If so that would bring in a whole new market to 3D printing.
Some legal problems I could see is if people can start printing out organs, then trying to sell them to hospitals or other places in need of organs, the hospitals will need a way to regulate the quality, size, and build of organs. Some technical problems I see could be the fact of production of these cells. From what I know organs they need to be in cooled ice during transportation or storage. Now we use a heated bed for some of our parts, does that mean they would needed to be printed on cooled bed?
2) I think for it to be passed of for DIY Reprap productions, research institutes will need to restrict the production conditions so that the cells they are getting can be uniform when being tested against other DIY cell productions. If people are producing cells in different conditions that could possibly give different results depending on samples and batch which could result in a lot of investments being wasted in bad research. But there is some potential if the cells being produced can be standardized among Reprap printers that the research companies can rely on and bring down its own production costs.
Fifth Blog Entry:
Today I will be talking about 3D printing guns
1) If i was a dedicated member I would be furious. What right does this company have taking stuff that I printed out during my free time. I thought the whole purpose of open source was to be able to print what ever we wanted to do. If I were an dedicated member I would try and lease a printer so that with that leased printer be able to make a new printer. Return the leased printer and use my printer to make anything I want without a company claiming I broke policy.
2)I think yes it should be restricted to a certain degree where the weapons being made should not be able to fired and should be able to visibly denoted that this weapon is not real and inactive. If weapons are being made there would be no way to regulate who buys/sells weapons whether it be for personal protection or violence like gang wars, robbery, or putting the public safety in danger. If guns were being made by 3D printing then it should be a government regulation. I feel the government could have a tighter leash on the public and if things got out of control they would be able to legally enforce punishment to a reasonable degree without being unconstitutional.
This brings up a another danger and challenge to the legal system. Lets assume someone committed a crime with the use of a 3D gun like shoot up a store. The only physical evidence connecting the crime to the criminal would be the gun. Now the one problem that law officials would face would be the fact that the material can be easily melted and disposed of without much heat. A normal metal needs to reach extremely high temperatures till it even reaches its critical temperature and starts to melt. Plastic is on orders of magnitude less then the temperature needed to melt metal.
In reference to 3.1 and 3.3 in discussion:
3.1: Well I feel like this is like illegally downloading vs itunes/amazon music/ spotify. If someone creates a good design theres a high percentage they would copyright it so that they could profit of their design. People however don't like to get stuff illegally and download content like movies, music and maybe even 3D print designs. Its up to people to be morally obligated to do the right thing and get stuff legally if there was a pay service.
3.3: From a hardware standpoint the faster the printer can run and extrude (multiple extruders), it will reduce time of production increasing connivence. If convenience increases, people maybe more inclined to print out their own parts for repairing objects without the hassle of waiting a few hours for a part to print. However, this may increase the convenience in printing but if they were to be printing out a vacuum cleaner, they would also need to know wiring for electric boards.
3)Anything weapon related or anything that would be against public safety would be my guess of things that would be banned. My concern again with 3D guns is again how will law enforcement see it. I could see a lot of law suits for people claiming wrongful death because the 3D printed gun they made is not capable of shooting bullets. But the officers who respond will not be able to tell the difference and will be forced to shoot if they fear that the weapon is loaded and can cause harm to the public. There is a reason why air-soft guns in public have orange tips on them so that an air-soft M14 rifle is not mistaken for a military grade M14.
Fourth Blog Entry:
Today I will be talking about Makerbot and its decision to not have there printer as open source.
1) From Makerbot bots perspective, its trying to reach a different market. The market I see they are reaching is people who are interested in technology like 3D printing but have no time or not enough knowledge to build the printer. I can see Makerbot and Apple being two similar companies. Like Apple, Makerbot would be able to come out with an affordable 3D printer and in turn have an iTunes like software where they could print anything located in Makerbot's catalogs. Now if the print stl's are free are not is going to be up Makerbot.
2)I believe when Prusa first put his things on Thingiverse he fully believed in Makerbot's vision of open source 3D printing. Now that Makerbot is claiming to go closed source and that their website Thingiverse will have all its designs belonging to Makerbot, he now realizes that Makerbot is now trying to make a profit of a product instead of keeping it open source. For users who want a true open source market, they should follow Prusa to Github.
3) Makerbot owns everything put on Thingiverse because they own it? I believe people interested in open source printing and not having a big brother watch over every design put on the website will move to another site or even create a new site similar to Thingiverse that makes it pure open-source. If people come up with cool designs and want to have people critique it to make it better; they might be hesitant to share their design on Thingiverse because Makerbot might claim ownership of it.
Yes I do believe we should start to look for a "new" Thingiverse to expand our creativity without the fear of our designs being taken away from us.
Third Blog Entry:
Today I will be talking about End of Intellectual Property by Adrian Bowyer
1)I do have to agree that placing restrictions on our media has had had limited success, but I feel new services can have a benefit for both consumers and manufactures. The main problem that music industries have encountered was that they had no way of getting a profit from illegally downloaded music. iTunes and amazon has attracted customers by offering 99 cent downloads. A newer service, Spotify, gives you access to all types of music and instantly access the music anywhere you are. This service cost 10 dollars a month but you can download music(listen on 3G/4G network, WiFi, or even off-line), listen to the radio, or even link to social networks. Music producers are getting a majority of the 10 dollar fee making them happy while music listeners now have the largest legal music selection at the tip of their fingertips by only paying a flat fee per month.
I feel a similar approach to 3D printing and manufacturers can make both parties happy. Maybe charge a flat fee of 4 dollars per month with the ability to download any replacement parts that manufactures put on the site for download. Of course you wont be able to stop the open source 3D printing sites like thingiverse, but as long as the products don't violate copyright or patent agreements then I see no problem at it.
2)Well my passion is sports but I don't see it as a future way to get my future mate or make money. I know over the summer I was one of my coworkers bother (a junior at Carnegie Mellon) who had a really great idea that resulted from one of his courses he took there. He can freely tell people of his idea because he know he has it locked down with the patents that he has on it. Basically his invention is a have a shoe that generates electricity through the static deflection in the sole. He had already got a 50,000 dollar loan to get the business off the ground and will receive and additional 100,000 when ready for production. He has already had many people approach him to buy his technology, including the military. If it all goes alright he can retire a multimillionaire at 26. I believe this individual one that Bowyer is describing.
3)I think intellectual property will not be killed and that its effect is an in-between good and bad. Its good because manufactures will have to drop costs to compete, it brings out the creativity of individuals, and be able to save money in the long run. The bad thing I see is convenience. By convenience I mean instead of going to the store and just buying a vacuum cleaner, you need to print each individual part (assuming it fits on your 3D printing bed), assemble all the parts, wire all the electronics, and even after you do all this there is no guarantee that it will work.
Second Blog Entry:
Well I'm back at it again. Today I will be discussing "Wealth Without Money" by Adrian Bowyer.
1) I personally don't see the whole ‘self-replicating universal constructor’ too be feasible right now. I do think that it is an interesting idea that needs to be expanded upon and promoted to future generations. This could very well be the future but the only draw back to it currently is the wide spread knowledge of this technology. Also another major obstacle are the manufactures that build products. I feel that as a manufacturer they would lose an important part of their income in spare parts which will result in them charging more for products to make up the difference. Unless, they charge for downloads and having a way for the downloaded file to be printed only once, I don't see manufacturers agreeing.
2) Bowyer describes "Wealth Without Money" as a way for people who cant afford to create their own things to have the opportunity to do it through 3D printing. He states that rapid prototyping is the first technology that can simultaneously make people wealthy while reducing the need for industrial production. I can only agree with half of this statement. I do think that rapid prototyping will lower the dependency on industrial production but I'm not sure it will be making people wealthy. In order for people to be wealthy they need to be making it in mass production and selling it at a competitive price. But when your comparing your product to a larger corporation that can create the same part you are making at a cheaper rate, the customer will always go for a price break and go with the cheaper one. This method of rapid prototyping can help make you wealthy in one sense by not buying replacement parts that are overpriced. But that's just having the corporations lose pennies at a time. That is not an effective fighting method.
3) I personally thing that the reprap project can take off quite well with the right advertising. I like his idea about printing replacement spare parts if manufacturers can agree with it. I like how its DIY projects where one can take a look back at it and say "I made that." If it got real high tech I would have loved to see a big enough 3D printer be able to print a house or even furniture. It could provide an affordable solution to low income families and even homeless people on the street.
First Blog Entry:
One object that I found useful is an LED rhombicuboctahedron disco ball. Lets be honest, the name is self sold me on this design. I personally like the idea of combining some 3-D printing with some electric wiring to create this disco ball. It would be a nice addition to house party. The person who designed this even went to the extent to create a part that would help align sides together in order to make sure the zip ties work properly. http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:28201
One object that I found artistic/ beautiful is Twisterous Vase for the Rostock 3D Printer. This design looks really neat but I feel like this will be really hard to print due to support layers needed for the spiral body and also the size of the vase might be taller than the size we can print. http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:28613
One object that I found pointless/ useless is the Piano Neck-Tie. I feel like this is a nice concept but where would one wear this. It's not like I could were a piano tie to a job interview and be taken seriously for a job. I personally don't see any gain from making this other than for printing XP. http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:29126
One object that I found funny is the Despicable Me Minion. Every time I see this I start cracking up into laughter because these minons were hilarious in Despicable Me. The design doesn't seem too complicated to print and it could easily be a good stress reliever for me. http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:28894
One object that I found weird is the Larz Chicken Shack- Chickenmobile. This car looks weird in general and wouldn't want to print it out because it just looks unattractive. Obviously this based on an original car design but I still don't see a need for this. http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:27966