From RepRap
Jump to: navigation, search


I am Quinn Carpenter a senior at Penn State studying Mechanical Engineering. I plan on graduating Fall 2014. I am an owner of a 3D printer(more info here) and plan on contributing everything I have learned over that past year. Last spring semester I started a blog of my journey to a perfect print(which I have come to realize will never happen). Once my classes started to consume most of my time, my dedication to the blog died off. Now that I am in EDSGN 497J I plan on starting to work on it again. If you would like to read up on some 3D printing experiences I've had feel free to check it out!


Below will contain the blogs that we are assigned in class.

Blog Number One

Assigned Blog - "Go to thingiverse and look for printable objects, which other people have actually printed(there are photos of them if they've made them), finding designs which satisfy these descriptions in your mind:

A) Something amazing/beautiful B) Something funny or strange C) Something useless D) Something useful E) The 'best' printable Raspberry Pi case you can find.

Do any of these things surprise you?"

Snap-Together Hand

Something amazing/beautiful

I believe one major area that 3D printing will revolutionize is prosthetic limbs. According to Statistics on Hand and Arm Loss, 41,000 US citizens have registered loss of hand or arm. This amazing snap-together prosthetic hand shows the potential problem solving of 3D printing. The STL can be found here.

My Little Pony Figurine

Something funny or strange

Two years ago, I became a redditor. I was exposed to what a brony is. If you don't know what a brony is I advise that you don't try to find out. To each their own but in my opinion I would classify this "My Little Pony" model as strange. The STL file can be found here.

Yoda Head

Something useless

This is a head model of Yoda. While it may be cool, it's useless. I printed one of these off myself when I first acquired my printer. It is quite a good test for the resolution of your printer. The STL file can be found here.

Essential Calibration Pack

Something useful

This essential calibration STL pack is one of the most useful tools for setting up a printer. It comes with a .5mm thin wall, 20mm box, 20mm hollow box, 50mm tower, perimeter width/t tester, precision block, overhang test, oozebane test, and a bridge test. All of these can help calibrate different issues with a printer. The STL files can be found here.

Raspberry Pi Case

The 'best' printable Raspberry Pi case you can find.

This is the cleanest Raspberry Pi case I could find. I haven't had exposure to RasPi's but I am looking forward to the experience. As of now I can't input much on the best case and will go with popular opinion. The STL file can be found here.

Do any of these things surprise you?

When I first was exposed to thingiverse I would have compared myself to a kid in a candy shop. However after being exposed for a year to the creativity and innovation of 3D printers and modelers I have become somewhat numb to the "surprise factor". I still get giddy when I see something cool or something that gives me an idea!

Blog Number Two

Assigned Blog - "Write about a topic (or two, or three) which interests you which we've discussed so far - or not discussed in detail yet. It could be your project, or a particular type of 3D printer, or something you think would be cool for us to explore in the future."

I am extremely interested in the building and modification of 3D printers. After finishing construction of the "rainbow printer" I would like to continue to modify it. I think implementation of an enclosure, cooling fan, and a heated glass bed would be plausible additions to the printer in the time frame of this semester. I have completed all of these upgrades on my personal printer except the cooling fan due to not having a fan controller on my arduino. Eventually I would like to convert it to a RAMPS like the printers we work on in class in order to have full fan control.

Also I would like to standardize the process of calibration the printers. Things like stepper measurements, belt tightness, and extrusion multiplier are all things I have calibrated on my printer in the past. Getting the printers down to a .1mm resolution would be a great accomplishment for the fall.

Blog Number Three

Best Blogs...

Blog Number Four

The video discusses the open-source business model of reprap and arduino. This means they give away all of the information to make their products and only make money on the side. This is opposed to the product selling business model of most companies. Some other examples of open source companies are Linux and somewhat Android/Google. I have mixed feelings about the open source business model. I agree that it gives more people access to the product. However, I think that open source leads to a products prone to bugs/errors because they become unstandardized. A good example of this is Android operating system. Google can cover a larger market of phone manufacturers however this does lead to different phones running into different bugs due to small to large differences in hardware. Even with this con, the major benefit of open source is rapid evolution of a product.

Blog Number Five

Assigned Blog - "A) Re-examine the objects you found on thingiverse in your first blog. Assess each one for copyrightable or patentable elements.

B) Look over the things which your fellow students found. Are any of them particularly obvious cases of copyrighted or patented material which have been found by your classmates?

C) Discuss both reasons why you might be interested in the “licensing of non-copyrightable files”. "

Snap-Together Hand

Snap-Together Hand

Certain parts of this object is could be considered patentable. For example the mechanism of how moving the wrist will retract the fingers seems like a novel innovation.

My Little Pony Figurine

My Little Pony Figure

This object is definitely already protected by a copyright because it is a figurine from a television series(I think?). However the company probably isn't concerned with going through the hassle of fighting the user from thingiverse. The user however probably modeled it from scratch so it might be difficult to prove in court.

Yoda Head

Yoda Head

Again, this object is definitely already protected by a copyright because it is a figurine from the Star Wars franchise. However Disney probably isn't concerned with going through the hassle of fighting the user from thingiverse. The user however probably modeled it from scratch so it might be difficult to prove in court.

Essential Calibration Pack

Calibration Pack

I don't believe this set of files is either copyrightable or patentable. It is not a novel invention nor a work of art.

Raspberry Pi Case

Raspberry Pi Case

I think this object could be eligible for a patent and a copyright. The function of enclosing a raspberry pi is quite new and because the technology is opensource I doubt any company has specifically patented cases. Also the design of this specific case could be considered aesthetically pleasing and may be copyrightable.

Looking at my classmate, Austin's, blog, I immediately know that the statue of liberty is copyrighted material. Everything else seems to be non-innovative or artworks.


Licensing sounds both good and bad to me. I would be interested in licensing if it allowed me to freely modify objects and improve them. I also would be supportive of licensing if it restricted my competition from modifying my creations. However, if licensing would intrude on my ability to modify designs or allow competitors to improve my work and run me out of business I would not support licensing. I'm sure this is the feeling of most other people. Most people want to see others succeed but never as much as themselves.

Blog Number Six

Most Important Points

After reading through some of my classmates blogs, it seems everybody has a similar view on 3d printing copyrighted/patented objects. 3d printing is a new form of technology that presents a major problem to intellectual property. An analogy that I think of when determining what to do about 3d printing laws is similar to paraphrasing an article. Sure you may need to cite where you got the information from but as soon as you write it in your own words, it becomes your IP. How does this relate to 3d printing? I think that any object file that is not directly downloaded, or traced in CAD software should not be a violation of IP. I also think the solution of licenses could fix any IP violation of directly downloading someone's STL. But just like the piracy of music, this will never be able to prevent sharing of STL's with out a license.

Blog Number Seven

3D Printing Solar Solutions (

This article discusses the potential of Rob’s Dual Axis Solar Tracker. The author talks about "hope" of the creation being able to make solar collection more efficient and more accessible to a wider range of people. The "hype" of this article makes statements that the common reader would infer as ground breaking. How the author writes about the subject, it seems like this open source 3d solar tracker will revolutionize solar collection. This invention still requires a decent($100) amount of money to create with some serious know how. Not only would you need money, access to a 3d printer for most of the parts and access to a computer to program the arduino would be required. This would not work in most 3rd world countries.

Blog Number Eight

a) AMRI's Projects

Andreas Bastian - "3D Printing via laser-sintering of thermoplastic powders"

Andreas made a prototype laser sintering 3d printer using thermoplastic powders. His blog gives updates on how the project has advanced.

Steve Kelly - "Ink-jet printing of genetically modified living bacteria"

I could not access Steve Kelly's blog but I assume that he has a similar set up to Ravi's cellstruder.

Anderson Ta - "Digital light projection (DLP) photolithography of plastics and hydrogels"

Anderson is doing research on DLP printing. He is using complete open source hardware and software for his DLP printer prototype. In his blog he discusses updates on the printers and talks about how research like this is the objective of AMRI.

Ravi Sheth - "Bacterial cellstruder for synthetic biology studies"

Ravi's Bacterial cellstruder uses a syringe on a 3d printer to print cells, enabling research in synthetic biology, biological pattern formation and engineering of cellular logic.

I believe the 3D DLP printer stands out as important. I believe that it is a much cleaner, more accurate, and faster method of 3D printing. I have seen printers that use a similar technology and would be interested to see how this type of printing effects Reprap.

I think similar projects that we could propose would be using 3d printers to do other things(similar to the cellstruder). We could place a laser cutter on the extruder head to create a prototype of a cheap laser cutter or possible fashion a system of attaching a dremel to the extruder carriage and creating a cheap prototype of a CNC router.

b) Adjectives that I think describe our class/outside projects...

  Innovative, Imaginative, Inventive, Technological, Modifiable, Inspirational, Accessible... etc

c) We should call the group Open Source Creative Academic Research aka OSCAR

Blog Number Nine

This article is about Jesse, an Amsterdam-based designer, who is focusing on researching different ways of production. He is using 3D printing in combination of reusing parts from old or broken apliances to create traditionally mass produced objects one at a time. The benefit of this production method is that almost anyone with access to a 3D printer and a hardware store could create a new apliance by salvaging parts from old ones. Doing this would eliminate some of the waste produced by the world. Instead of throwing broken apliances away as a whole, users could atleast salvage the working parts. A method of producing items like this has some major disadvantages though. One problem is the large amount of time it could potentially take to create an item like this. Another problem is that user's might not have access to some of the specialized parts that they need. The third, and probably biggest, problem is that creating an apliance like the coffee grinder by yourself would be more expensive than buying one that is mass produced.

This problem can be seen in the second link that shows a WaterBoiler. As the amount of production increases, parts are made by larger producers. The order being reuse->selfmade->local production->local retail->regional wholesale->international supply. As more parts are bought by larger producers the overall price to produce each product is lower.

Blog Number Ten

Jeffrey R. Immelt is GE's CEO and very supportive of 3D printing. He says that GE has been interested in 3D printing for the last 20 years and have recently introduced the technology to their jet engine branch. Jeffery is a probably pro 3D printing because it is allowing GE to prototype faster and produce their 1st prototype right the first time.

Terry Guo is president of Foxconn. He says the 3D printing is a gimmick. This is probably because he is afraid that once 3D printers become capable of printing electronics, it could potentially ruined the mass production system that Foxconn uses.

Blog Number Eleven

Now that you've had some experience working with the printers, what are the things which have frustrated you the most or occupied the majority of your attention? Mechanical problems? Software? Wiring? Construction? Describe some issues you have encountered and what you did to solve them.

Mechanical problems are by far the most frustrating to me. Software and other problems are usually just a quick google search to solve. However mechanical parts can cause all sorts of problems and a problems can be caused by all sorts of different mechanical parts. To fix mechanical problems it is mostly trial and error. My most recent mechanical problem was a jammed hot end. Luckily it is an easily diagnosed problem. I started by trying to push the filament out with a guitar string. After this didn't work out, I tried an acetone bathing process. Still no luck. Finally I gave up and ordered a new hot end which involved every problem mentioned in the blog prompt. I have finally got it working though.

On that note, also describe any problems which you failed to solve or gave up on, or are still working on. What's wrong, and how else might we try to fix it?

A new mechanical problem that I am working on is that my x/y carriages run the the x/y bars with no bearings. Someone has come up with new printable carriages that use LM8UU bearings on the existing rods to decrease frictional losses. Some have reported an abilty to increase print speed up to 300% with this new set up. I have the bearings ordered and am excited to embark on this new modification!

Bonus Blog 1

E3D Kraken -

I have recently installed the E3D v5 hotend. This hotend is completely metal and has an extremely small melting zone, which prevents clogging and allows melting temperatures of up to 400 degrees celcius. The creator of the E3D has recently released a preview of his newest creation, the E3D Kraken. The Kraken is a a genius hotend design allowing up to 4 materials to be used at once and can be extruded at different temperatures and rates. With the advancing amounts of materials, colors, and use of support materials, this innovation will no doubt be a giant hit in the 3d printing community. As of now, the design is bowden only, reducing weight on the carriage, and built for watercooling in the heatblock. I truly think that I will be purchasing one of these once I build a reprap that has a larger print volume than my current 6"x6"x6" on my Solidoodle.

Blog 12

"What are the strengths of a platform like OpenScad? What are the weaknesses and limitations? Would you ever be tempted to use it, or the process of turning images into models shown above? If so, for what?"

OpenScad is awesome for users not accustomed to software such as solidworks,inventor,blender,etc... The way users code the shapes and use the union function to join shapes is very straight forward and from what I've seen allows users to create a lot more complex shapes without having to learn advanced functions like other software. The weaknesses of OpenScad are plentiful though. If a user needed to change one shape in a union of many shapes, the code would need to be searched through to find the correct parameter that needs changed. Also, declaring vector values for rotations and placement of centers would get very annoying over time. I would actually like to try OpenScad now though. Seeing how it could use the bitmap of that example to create a 3d model was pretty impressive. It seems like I could use OpenScad to make a lot of organic models much easier than solidworks.

Blog 13

"Why would we want to incorporate this into our printing? What capabilities would this give us. If we could print conductive pathways into objects, what would you try to make with it? How might we try to make it work with the printers we use?"

Printing in conduction materials would be amazing. This would give us the ability to incorporate circuits within our prints, allowing much more organics shapes when dealing with objects that need to have circuitry in them. The first thing I would try printing would be a simple bread board. I've always wanted a bread board to mess with and have never gotten around to buying one. Also a bread board would be a very simple test of making sure the conductive pathways were complete within the print. To accomplish printing a conductive material we would need a few specs of the material, such as extrusion temp, flow rate, and cooling rate. With these and a dual extruder, one hotend with conductive material and the other with PLA or ABS. Depending on the properties of the material I don't think it would be that much of a challenge.

Blog 14

"You all have some degree of experience operating and tuning our printers. This is basically a printable version of the printrbot, one of which you may have noticed sitting in class. What sorts of strengths and weaknesses do you predict/project, as compared to the systems we currently build? "

This printer would be an awesome starting printer for students to build. With only 8 printed parts I feel the class would be able to churn out a lot of these printers over a semester. I think that the use of bowden extrusion to keep weight of the the y axis and linear bearing for smooth and fast printing is a great design. I was surprised upon further research that the print volume for the first prototype is 200x200x150mm. I do think that the printers may have problems with using fishing line instead of belts. While this concept works extremely well when done right, it takes a steady hand and appropriate application in order to avoid slipping.

Blog 15

"There are a number of somewhat crappy '15 things..." lists related to 3D printing like this one:

Is there anything in there which you've not been exposed to during this course. Point out anything which seems new to you.

From my perspective, this sort of list misses the more practical solutions which people can create when they have their own 3D printer. For example:

Mounting brackets for game consoles seems like a small thing, but think about all of the other plastic components and custom parts you encounter in furnishing a home. Are there opportunities here for entrepreneurship? How so?"

Over the past year I have read an article or post pertaining to everything on that list except the surfboards. One thing recently I have read that isn't on that list is 3d printing MRI's. It is similar to the printing of fetuses but I believe could help doctors or patients visualize what was detected by the MRI better. As for using 3d printers for practical solutions, I completely agree. I originally wanted a 3D printer for things of that nature but I became trapped in the obsession of improving it instead of using it. I do however still find occasional things around my apartment that need fixed and I just take a few measurements, model whatever I need, and print it out. As for entrepreneurship, I can see using a 3d printer for prototyping, improving, testing, etc. But once a final design of what you want to sell is complete, sadly getting the object mass produced is still cheaper and more time effective than a printer. This is untrue however if you are constantly changing what objects you are selling or are doing custom jobs for people.

Blog 16

"Tom Lauterman in the art department is trying to make one of these:

Can you find any components which can be made with a 3D printer? What value does having a laser cutter add which a 3D printer does not? Why might we want an open source laser cutter ourselves?"

I would assume all of the brackets would be printable depending on size. Also some parts would obviously be printable such as the "Plastic Handles". Also I don't know if it would be cost effective by polycarbonate plates would be printable as well. A laser cut allows us to do subtractive manufacturing as opposed to 3D printer's additive manufacturing. The laser cutter would allow us to create a lot of reprap parts, such as frames, much quicker and cheaper than using printed joints combined with threaded rods. Also the laser cutter, at least the lasersaur, provides a much larger area to work with and could allow us to make parts in materials such as wood and metal.

Blog 17

"Pick the two comments you think are best, and link to them. Discuss why you think their points are important (and summarize what you take away from them)"

Comment 1

I thought this comment was one of the best due to his explanation of vascularization and why current techniques, including 3d printers, can't accomplish this. Right now the accuracy needed to create vascular structures is too great for current technology. The article's title is a bit misleading without the information this comment gave.

Comment 2

This guy comments about how this feat of printing a liver, once mastered, could save lots of people that have liver disease including himself. He then goes on to say how people the binge drink are robbing themselves as well as anyone that would need a liver donor. This made me think about what happens once we can print working organs and there are no waiting lists for donations. Won't people just completely abuse their body knowing that they can immediately get a brand new organ? Scary idea to think about.

Blog 18

"Does this printer look familiar?

Read that article and comment on being a part of the process. If it weren't for the participation of you and your classmates, such a transfer would not be possible. Do you get any satisfaction from knowing that your work will go on to be used by other students? Any dissatisfaction?"

That printer does look familiar, it is our Orange & Green printer if I'm not mistaken. I was not directly involved with working on that printer but from working on others I can understand how those students would feel. It would be very satisfying to expose more people to the wonderful technology of 3D printing and the community of reprap. However at the same time I could understand being a little bit jealous. I know that after spending an entire semester printing,building,wiring, and calibrating a printer and then handing it off to a group of people that did no work for it could be quite dissatisfying!