PSU sophomore in Section 001 of the fall semester RepRap class.
Bonus Blogs Galore
12/12 Bonus Blog One:
I think the topic that's really come to interest me through all of this is whether 3D printing and 3D models count as art. On one hand, working a 3D printer and generating a high quality print is (usually) not as involved as chipping and refining away at a marble statue. However, the process of creating the .STL file that in turn creates the print certainly takes skill and creativity --- especially given that they can take days or weeks to create and months to refine. I mean, if some guy can nail a unicycle wheel to the top of a stool and have it placed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, then there's no reason 3D models can't be art as well.
12/12 Bonus Blog Two:
If this material is safe for RepRap machines, I can actually see a future where a RepRap can print its own electronics, leaving even fewer parts that have to be purchased. I also think this opens up- things for open source mp3 players, especially in concert with the 3D printable optical material. With all the recent material science related developments, I wouldn't be surprised to see the RepRap movement developing more and more into a highly complex alterna-manufacturing movement for high tech devices. One the upside, power to the people. On the downside, oh hell's bells, here comes the lawsuits and patent issues.
Semi-Massive Blog Post Conglomeration
In terms of marketing and building interest in 3D printing, I think this is a really smart use of the technology. It makes it concrete for people who might otherwise not relate it to a concrete purpose that has any relation to them. Sure, it's not for research or serious innovation, but I don't think that lessens its validity. I also think that it could allow for the development of cottage industry manufacturers, like for people who want super realistic customized wedding cake toppers.
While I'm not entirely sure how any of these systems work, I think the Filabot seems to be the most practical. Its enclosure seems to offer the best safety features and, as such, the best viability. I'd imagine that once a design hits the market, there will be a big push within the DIY community to quickly adopt the technology and, if it's open source, modify it. The idea of building such a system certainly seems feasible, though personally, I'm not sure I would attempt it.
On the pure technological front, I'm going to suggest that more prevalent printers will lead to more prevalent high-res printing at a lower cost, as more people will work on it. Beyond that, I don't think I'm knowledgable enough to really offer commentary on the technology will evolve.
However, I think that as hi-res 3D printing becomes more and more commonplace, I think we're going to start seeing a lot more discussion on a couple of 3D printing-related philosophical fronts: not only things like copyright and IP, but where the line must be drawn between manufacturing and art. Looking at the link, I was taken aback by how beautiful the printed necklace pendant was and how eerily spot on the statue re-creation look. In the case of the necklace, that was a long time spent drawing, then CADing the design; the design is clearly art. But the necklace itself is mass manufactured (theoretically). Does it retain its artistic value? Alternatively, the original statue exists only in one place, but a copy that can be painted to look virtually identical can be printed anywhere with an adequate printer. Does this make the ability to create a print make certain kinds of art irrelevant?
This is ... an interesting topic to say the least. On one hand, I think that 3D printers in libraries is an awesome way to make the technology available to everyone and should certainly be applauded. Printers are becoming cheaper, making it easier for libraries to afford them. To boot, if a small fee was charged for use of the printer (ie $5 for a one month pass), the printers could be self-sustaining and could even turn in revenue, helpful if libraries are struggling. The idea of on-campus libraries with 3D printing is certainly cool; students would be able to self-generate projects and prototypes, rather than waiting for a print service to get them done.
However, as this article points out, the idea isn't without its issues. 3D printers are continuing to drop in price and, yes, they will soon likely become mainstream commercially available objects that cost less than a laser printer. Additionally, library staff would require a fair amount of training on all aspects of the printing process, from design to Skeinforge and ReplicatorG to Pronterface and troubleshooting. Passing that knowledge on to casual users, especially about print limitations, would take time and the constant monitoring that would be required might actually end up costing libraries more than they can recoup.
In terms of our local libraries, I think that either the Earth and Mineral Sciences library, the Math and Physics library, or the Engineering library would all be capable of supporting a 3D printer, if the staffs were properly trained. I think, however, the longevity of a printer in any of these locations would be questionable, particularly as students unfamiliar with the technology began to use them more and more.
1. Welp, there goes my hope that the world of 3D printing would remain largely DRM free on a simple lack of the technology to do it. Frankly, I think this is more than a little ridiculous, especially since it doesn't even seem to be an issue. With Zelda and N64 logos both prominent on Thingiverse, it's not like Nintendo has tried to sue anyone. If Disney or some other large entertainment conglomerate wanted to go after infringement of their rights, there are much larger avenues to go down than 3D printable objects. Since the technology flies in the face of the overall maker movement, I can't seriously see it taking hold within the community.
Blogs Six and Seven:
1. I actually think bioprinting is pretty cool. Anything that could be theoretically used to reduce the number of patients dying on transplant waiting lists is pretty much okay with me (except for the illegal organ market, because that's terrifying). The most immediate issues I see are (a) a lack of sanitary conditions in labs leading to diseased organs being sent out to people who are already sick (ie like what happened with the lab in Boston that started the meningitis outbreak via tainted steroids) and (b)unscrupulous companies sending out organs that are designed to fail in x number of years. Beyond that, if we go to thge super dystopian, corporate control, Repo: the Genetic Opera extreme, people buying enhanced organs would be creepy.
2.I don't think bio reprap printing unfeasible, but I don't know how good of an idea it is. Medical printing has some pretty strict sanitary requirements and those not being followed could end very badly. But a medical team using a modified reprap machine in a sterile lab? Sure, why not?
1.Well, combined with printing circuit boards and plastic parts, obviously the next logical step is to start printing giant robots to do our bidding. Okay, okay, I jest. But, I can seriously see this being used to take 3D printing to a more complex and intricate level. So, maybe giant robots soon.
2.The two main issues I see are cost and inadequate printer resolution. Plus, what is optically clear material made of? If it's anything like ABS, we'd need better ventilation. Beyond that, I'm not sure that I really see a problem. But I could just be wooed by the magic of Disney engineering. I mean, the people are building a working Wall-E. How can I not like them?
3.With people designing their own low cost, open source game consoles, I can definitely see this technology being used to create accompanying low cost open source controllers or being used to create open source replacement consoles for pre-existing systems, like the Xbox 360 or PS3. I also actually really liked the lightbulbs in the video; they seem like a safer alternative to glass, but how well would they hold up against a more problematic gas, like in a fluorescent or halogen bulb?
1. This is a pretty hard question for me to answer without being snarky --- and this is coming from someone who can see the utility in owning a firearm. Look, there are some things that you're just begging for trouble with, and an unregulated printable 3D gun (no matter how unfeasible it seems now) is just one of them. For one, to quote 'A Chirstmas Story,' "you'll shoot you eye out, kid.' Except it's not just going to be eyes: it'll be fingers/arms/bits of your chest. Oh, and burns. There's the fact that, you know, testing these guns is going to involve a lot more risk than is necessarily intelligent to put up, or that someone's going to come along and alter the .STL files to be incredibly hazardous a la The Anarchist's Cookbook, or (my personal favorite) that we already have too many unregulated, unregistered guns in this country and we don't need to add to that statistic.
If I were seriously committed to this project? I'd have a good look at my priorities. And hire a damn good lawyer for when ATF shows up (no one wants another Operation: Fast and Furious type fiasco).
2. If people are going to use their printers to print weaponry, then yes, yes I do think there should be regulation --- but not of who owns a printer. I think there should be stricter regs on what merits a weaponry manufacturer's license, what the criteria are to attain such a permit, and /very/ careful checking by either ATF to make sure that plans aren't ending up somewhere they really shouldn't -- ie Thingiverse. It's not that I don't think people can handle themselves --- by and large, I think they can. But are there crazy people in the world who would use this theoretical gun to do serious harm? Yes. Could someone maliciously alter a file to cause serious harm to others? Yes.
Regulating it, of course, is tricky. Currently, neither ATF nor the FBI really have people who would be necessarily qualified or have the time for it. Besides, then they'd be stupid and start hunting down people printing out, like, Mickey Mouse figurines.
3. I'm not sure that anything else beyond weaponry deserves prohibition. I think medical device part printing (ie the casing for part of an artifical heart) should be monitored just to make sure no malicious edits come to the parts that could hurt others.
If Thingiverse's legal terms mean what they currently appear to, then yes, it might be time to consider an alternative. While I would have no problem with someone adapting a design I had published for a non-commercial purpose and with a quick attribution, I would have major problems with a company whose site I used to share that design taking it and making money off of it without attribution or profit sharing. HitRECORD, for example, lets users know that their work (music/video/writing) is liable to be used and 'remixed' by other HitRECORD users, but that attribution will always be given and that the actual original credit remains the original creators. Additionally, the site mentions that while it is possible the work may be published/distributed for profit, all involved with the creation of the materials therein are included in profits made. To me, that's a cool system that, in fact, has the opportunity to benefit everyone, and (to an extent) makes the craziness over intellectual property obsolete. Given that the site's founder is Joseph Gordon-Levitt, it also allows artists looking to find some exposure a better in, via their famous 'friend'.
Overall, if the TOS adjustments really mean what they appear to, then it's kind of a slap in the face to the broader RepRap movement, especially to Adrian Bowyer's original idea. This is the opposite of the share-and-share-alike mentality of the broader maker community and is, in fact, the sleazy kind of corporate. Still, I'll hold final judgement until I have time to read the full story and watch as it unfolds.
1. I sincerely hope that DRM isn't applied to 3D printing, with a few caveats. While by and large I think DRM is stupid and inhibits creativity and innovation far more than it fosters it, for certain printable items, I think some form of IP protection may not be a bad idea, especially for items like weaponry or medical device parts. These are objects that can be dangerous, either on their own or (in the case of medical device parts) if not manufactured correctly. If nothing else, DRM on these sorts of objects prevents malicious alteration of the .STL files which could have the potential to be deadly. However, I don't actually think DRM-ing pat of the community will work. If it comes down to an all out DRM or DRM free debate, I suspect DRM free will win. The community doesn't seem like they'd support anything else.
2. My passions tend to be pretty geeky: I'm a writer first and foremost, with a strong interest in media and video games. I'm not really using either to either attract money or mates, but they do serve as a helpful guide in what I'm looking to do with the rest of my life. Knowing my own passions (and being able to talk about them) makes it a lot easier to communicate them to others as well. It's about attracting long-term happiness, really.
3. I think Professor Bowyer's a bit ambitious about all of this. While I'd love to see and end to IP, I'm not sure that RepRap will do it. Look at the illegal downloading of music, for instance. Napster and Limewire didn't kill IP; instead, IP killed Napster and Limewire later. Years later, MegaUpload didn't kill IP; IP killed MegaUpload. We're still seeing videos banned on YouTube for featuring copyrighted songs or movie clips -- even when credit is given to the original creator. While I think RepRap and the maker community has a definite opportunity to start valid challenges to and serious questioning of IP as we know it, I don't think RepRap alone can end it.
1. At this point, with the current RepRap technology, I'm not sure the idea of a self-replicating universal constructor is entirely feasible. With the challenges of having to print long rods as well as electronic pieces, it seems more research, development, and tweaking is needed.
2. To Bowyer, wealth without money is about being able to print and produce your own goods without relying on mass industrial production, an idea I'm fully in support of, and putting the means of production in the hands of the working class without bloodshed another idea I support. However, I don't think the wealth of RepRap is limited to what one physically produces with it. I think there's some satisfaction in and of itself of designing something to be used and then actually creating it and being able to propagate that idea. Wealth, then, isn't just about what you physically produce, but the satisfaction you derive from it and the ideas you're able to share with the world.
3. While I hate to go down a dark path with this after reading such an optimistic earnest article, after reading a link a friend sent me about some of the more dangerous uses of 3D printing, it's all I can think of. While I definitely hope RepRap and its cousins become more common (and less expensive), I can't help but feel that the Maker community at large may become subject to some monitoring and scrutiny. Given that there is now a group dedicated to printing their own weapons (however unfeasible that may currently be), I can't imagine things will always go unregulated --- a fact that's pretty sad, as it will likely mean a change in the shared IP mentality of the community as it stands now.
If you're not a fan of drinking straight from a public fountain, being able to carry a folding cup around's always a nice option. It's also far more eco-friendly than paper cups, and a good deal easier to carry around.
I thought the dragon's detailing here was really cool; I can't imagine how long it took to do. I also really like that it's not just built as a stationary piece of awesome statuary, but as a moving toy. It seems like you could so some really cool Rube Goldberg-ian things with the automata concept. Or, alternatively, awesome mini Rube Goldberg models.
It's a constant 'critical miss!' While it obviously wouldn't fool anyone as a real weighted die, it would still be a funny gag gift to a serious D&D player, assuming that person has a sense of humor, of course.
I'm just really amused by the idea of someone sitting on a plane with something like this. The image is just funny to me. I can't imagine trying to hold up my phone with my jaw for 90-120 minutes. Ouch!
Unless it's Halloween or you're a super gung ho chiropractor, there is no reason this candle holder should ever be one your table.