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BONUS Blog: Orange Country Choppers 3D printing

I was not aware that Orange County Choppers was back on TV. But what a way to find out through none other than 3D printing news. If you've never seen the show, they build theme bikes that incorporate some of the best fabrication in the world. When I was very young, I recall seeing their 3D CAD models that they would make before starting a build. It was amazing then and now here I am using the same programs. Now they are employing the use of a 3D printer.

OCC Dragon Bike.png

The Dragon's head, spikes, and tail were 3D printed. The head print took 82 hours alone. I was very impressed with the results considering the overhanging teeth at the mouth. Judging by the flat base, the head was probably printed with the mouth pointed straight up the Z-axis. This means support material would have to be used for each tooth. To complicate this, each tooth is longer and overhangs farther as you move up. To complicate it even further, the throat extends pretty deep so support material would be very tall. But, given the price of the printer, I would hope you could throw virtually any .stl in there and have it come out near perfect.

In the video, the 3D printed head of the dragon appears to be very high quality. The printer used is a Stratasys Fortus 400mc, which I saw quoted at $185,000 on the internet (no one lies there).

One reason why this is a big thing is because of the show's audience. This is pure speculation, but I believe many viewers are rural, diy'ers and predominantly male. This is the perfect audience to get interested in 3D printing. It is also a different audience than the usual 3D printing crowd. This audience could potentially get the first 3D printer on a shelf in Home Depot. Honestly, Home Depot or Lowe's seems like a great retailer for 3D printers. They already sell many large appliances. It also wouldn't be out of the ordinary for them to stock shelves with filament or even motors and bearings to make your own printer (they already carry some items like rods and some types of bearings). Best Buy has 3D printers but I couldn't see them stocking the same plethora of parts.


Blog 15: Review - Show and Tell blog

Kevin: His favorite show and tell was the one given by Sam and Brian on bio-printing. I don’t have as much interest in this area due to the biological aspect, but I can respect the amount of work that has to go into it. Kevin mentioned that they are looking into printing E.Coli onto a petri dish wish sounds very interesting and would be a huge step for the 3D printing class.

Oliver: Oliver enjoyed the show and tell about 3D printing houses. My interest in this area was really piqued when I learned about the possibility of integrating plumbing and wire routing inside the walls. That would cut down on some costs and save a ton of time in construction. I question the issues of heat transfer with the plumbing though. During the winter, the wall will be very cold, and you will be sending hot water through it. You will lose so much heat by the time it reaches the water appliance. Maybe that house was intended for certain climates.

Vinny: He enjoyed the 3D printed house as well. A very cool point Vinny brought up was the fact that there would be no restricting factors on wall geometry. You could have curved walls, zig-zags, anything you could think up. This would really revolutionize the architectural world and I would be very interested in seeing how the outside appearances of homes could change.

Carson: The Repetier show and tell was a winner in Carson’s book. I did not get to see that show and tell but did see someone using the program in class. It is very appealing to the eye and definitely something I want to check out if I build a printer of my own. Carson suggested having students teach on an area of their interest, but I don’t think that would be successful. Students vary greatly in speaking skills and having them all teach would not always be productive. Additionally, show and tell allowed great freedom in selecting something to talk about, so students were enthusiastic about their subject. Having to teach something would limit you to a smaller set of topics, and the presentations would become very forced.

Mitch: The remote printing show and tell was Mitch’s favorite. I think the coolest aspect of this is the ability to have a “public” printer. Essentially, a printer connected to the internet that people can do whatever they want with. They would probably have to pay for filament to make it worthwhile. Even if it wouldn’t be productive, it would be great to see what the trolls decide to send in.

Nate: Again, the remote printing presentation was a favorite for Nate. He also mentioned the online 3D printing services that will print things and send them to you. Nate says that he wished he would have bought his printer parts through that service as opposed to Ebay. I would have assumed Ebay would be much cheaper, as it was probably a bundle of many parts. Additionally, I would expect a high markup on the print service parts because you can send in anything you want, and it is targeted towards the general public (who don’t necessarily know about the low costs of 3D printing material).

Zach: The bio-printing show and tell by Sam was a gold star in Zach’s eyes. He brings up a good point about what this could really mean for mankind; the opportunity to renew any part of the body that needs replacing. I knew we would get their eventually but it now appears to be right around the corner. It will certainly be something made possible by the time I am an old man. I should probably start saving my money now.

Todd: The show and tell on 3D printing chocolate was right up Todd’s avenue. He likes the fact that a company would jump on such an early technology, with a high possibility of failure. I think this highlights one of the benefits of massive commercial entities. They have so much capital to throw around that they can help the world innovate. Everyone likes to view the corporate world as evil, but there are ways in which they do help us as a whole.

Sam: The presentation on hot tip machining by Carson really tickled Sam’s fancy. He liked hearing about the trials and tribulations of making a Bowden extruder work properly. I also think it is great that Carson shared this information because not everyone is knowledgeable about manufacturing. I know Carson has a strong background in that area, so he was able to give some insight into what goes into bringing something from the computer screen to real life.

Blog 14: Review - Intellectual Property and 3D Printing blog

Kevin: My condolences go out to Kevin for his dilemma in his microprocessors class. It just goes to show that it is a dog-eat-dog world out there. This kind of thing happens in every industry, and it is very telling how a company deals with it. They can either go into defensive mode and try to sue everyone that infringes on their rights, or, they can try to be so good that the competition can’t even copy them fast enough to keep up. A company that I can think of that does the latter is Nintendo. Motion tracking was cool in 2006, Sony and Microsoft.

Oliver: Some men just want to watch the world burn. That’s Oliver for you. He feels that this whole IP issue is going to sort itself out; we just need to give it time. I agree, and I plan on being as active as Oliver in the matter. But, the truth is, someone will be putting in the effort. There will be friendships broken, countless legal battles around the world, and possibly an argument or two among EDSGN497J classmates in the years to come. All of this will happen before we can come to a solution that works. Save me a seat Oliver.

Vinny: The pay-what-you-want system is indeed interesting and I know it has been successful in the past. But, I feel like there were specific reasons for that. First off, it is still a relatively new thing to do and has some novelty to it. Therefore, people didn’t want to be their true barbaric selves. Secondly, I would say that a great deal of the purchasers were enthusiasts (thinking of the Humble Bundle type deals). This makes them more willing to support their hobby. If the next Call of Duty went to a pay-what-you-want system, I bet we would see some interesting results. I would personally pay its true worth, but I don’t know that everyone else would be willing to part with their five bucks.

Carson: Our friend Carson imagines a utopian future where everything is open source. I think they call that communism. I don’t think it’s going to happen (in my opinion). The world would crumble. We need some motivation to compete with others. When that is lost, we get lazy.

Sam V: A small community with next to no money would be taking a huge risk on investing in a 3D printer. I really like this scenario though; villagers pooling their money together to buy a MakerBot. Think of utility of all the prints they would make. Like Sam said, there would definitely be some organizations giving grants to fund these printers. I think people would be very excited to contribute to this. It’s one thing to donate medical devices or trade tools, but to give a machine that can make all that and more is amazing.

Kyle: He points out that some of the things on the disruptive checklist could be far off in the future. I think the first (“speed to rival that of mass production methods”) is the most difficult to obtain. Injection molding takes seconds to make a part. Even if we could print an entire layer of a part in 1 second (which is extremely fast), we still wouldn’t even come close to the same amount of time.

Eric: He shows the right amount of cynicism in saying there will be no way of protecting IP of 3D printed parts. He basically says to hide that .stl and pray. I share a similar feeling, but know there will have to be a solution. There will be an incredible demand for protection. Demand fuels innovation. This may be the big problem of this century, so it is understandable that a college student will not be able to come up with the answer while writing a blog for his 3D printing class.

Nam: A good point is made about the style of approach for this IP dilemma. In different words, Nam says that they will have to focus on protecting the businesses, as opposed to fighting the people. Going after individuals didn’t work in the media industry, and it won’t work with 3D printing IP. I guess protecting the businesses will be attempted with very advanced DRM. At the end of the day, you can try to slow IP theft down, but you aren’t stopping 3D scanners.

Ben: Had a tangential thought while reading this blog. The companies behind programs like Solidworks and Photoshop would make a good case study for this situation. They have products that normally sell for hundreds to thousands of dollars, yet can easily be pirated. As far as I know, they don’t really care too much about the individuals pirating their product. They rely on the business of commercial users to make their money. This unfortunately isn’t as applicable because the manufacturers of goods more often rely on the business of the individuals.

Blog 13: Review - 3D Printed Medical Devices blog

Kevin: I agree with the concern that big businesses would jump at the chance to shut down 3D printed medical device efforts. They have the resources to stomp out anything that threatens their profit margins. Although it would be impossible for them to sue everybody who makes a similar product, we can look at the media industry to see how they could still be successful. Big companies can scare consumers by having highly publicized court days with single individuals. Whether this will keep the man down, we don’t know. It worked for a bit with P2P music sharing, but I think is pretty irrelevant today.

Oliver: Safety issues concern Oliver but I don’t think that is a huge concern. He says that printing errors could lead to failing medical tools and injured patients. The reason I’m not too worried is because you would only print things according to your printer’s ability (resolution, etc.) I would assume that most people getting on board with this technology overseas have reasonable intelligence and common sense. Just as you wouldn’t use a rusty scalpel (I’m aware most scalpels probably won’t rust), you wouldn’t use a 3D printed syringe body that has filament layers barely touching each other.

Vinny: I agree with the point that some medical tools have a precision that 3D printing cannot come close to matching at the present time. What tools these are I do not know. They probably have names like spheriotigometer or bariometronomer. Anyhow, it would require a medical professional to really gauge how plausible it is to be printing most medical instruments. We can obviously consider things like petri dishes and graduated cylinders printable, but don’t have the knowledge to make a judgement call on more complex devices.

Carson: A good point was brought up on the potential effects these cheap medical devices could have on a developing country. I was thinking they would simply save the lives of those in medical distress but it is much more than that. These devices could lead to more jobs and create an entire medical industry that doesn’t exist. Then, the workers could start a school and train to become legitimate doctors. Then, these doctors could go through years of schooling and gain the knowledge to create medical devices of world class precision. Then, they could charge $100,000 for these devices.

Lee: I share the same enthusiasm for the prospect of medical devices at a fraction of their original cost. (Tiny, tiny fraction that is.) Lee also shared my idea that these cheap devices could benefit our educational system greatly. Students from elementary school to college could have access to devices that were always too expensive to have on hand.

Jessica: This is something that I didn’t really consider: undercutting the big medical companies could eventually put them out of business. When they’re not around, we won’t have anybody to do the research and testing for us. It is easy to say that these companies are greedy and charge way more than they need to, but there are real costs involved and there is a point at which they need to charge to break even. This is probably well above the cost at which a copy could be printed. I have seen this phenomenon in the aftermarket car part industry. The big companies spend a year developing a part and charge an arm-and-a-leg for it. Then, a Chinese company replicates it and sells their version for about 1/5 of the price. Most people buy the cheap Chinese copy, and the real company does not sell enough to recoup their costs. It has put companies out of business in the past and continues to happen today.

Jarred: I agree that it would be good to assess which devices should or should not be printed. I don’t think there would be one single entity in charge of this, but rather, the community would govern itself. Just like Thingiverse, people would say how it worked, and offer suggestions to improve a print. It would then be good to have a medical professional comment on the risk of using such a device, but I don’t know where all these professionals will come from. There are definitely many involved in the 3D printing world that would probably lend some advice. Additionally, if you ask for advice on forums, countless people will be willing to pretend they are medical professionals. Nearly as good.

Dongao: I had a tangential thought while reading his blog. It was about 3D printing Lego bricks. I assumed there must be a place on the internet where they have an .stl file for every brick out there. Probably on some forum. I assumed it would not be allowed on Thingiverse. Lo and behold, it was on there. I’m sure there are many more, this is simply the first I found. I wonder how long it will be before Lego attempts to silence the masses. Good luck.

Hao: Yet again, Hao hits us with another dose of reality. He says that most pieces of high level medical equipment are made with such precision that 3D printing isn’t a viable option. This makes me wonder when we will be able to hit that level of precision. There may be researchers somewhere that are closing in on it currently, but I’m talking about at-home printers hitting the mark. Based off the ever-quoted history of cell phones, I’m going to say 15 years max.

Blog 12: Review - Media Timeline Blog

Kevin: I wasn’t as impressed with the fact that Charles Hull had invented a 3D printing-esque technology such a long time ago. The reason being that the idea of stacking material layer by layer is not all that profound. I am much more impressed with his application of photosensitive polymers and give him much credit in that regard. I have much of an issue with the CNN article overhyping the 3D printing world, as it simply generates more interest. Sometimes people have to be lured in with grandeur visions before they can really accept the reality and shortcomings of a new technology.

Oliver: I also felt that Thingiverse’s launch was one of the most important events in the history of 3D printing. Oliver was completely right in questioning why the article about Christmas gifts you could make is on the media timeline. It’s actually quite funny that it’s there. Perhaps a former student just wanted to throw something on the timeline for credit? We may never know

Vinny: I haven’t looked into bio-printing a whole lot because I am less interested in the biological workings of the world. However, the important article that Vinny chose is very interesting indeed. It details the possible future of 3D printed medicine. It would be possible to send the data to print medicine via email. This could change the way pharmacies work and even have ramifications for the drug dealing industry (the illegal one).

Carson: I disagree that 3D printing a lathe is counterintuitive. Yes, 3D printing is additive manufacturing and using a lathe is subtractive. However, there are some applications where subtractive manufacturing is the best way to go about a situation. Something that can be made on a lathe is a good example. If you have a piece with a large diameter, and you just need grooves cut into it, 3D printing is not the best way to go.

Drew: When it comes to 3D printing chocolate, I am really on the fence of its importance to the 3D printing history. I could see it being one of the best ways to get 3D printers into homes. You could make a simple printer and target it towards children, like an easy bake oven of 2014. On the other hand, buying a machine that can only print chocolate might seem stupid to many people. That is not a very strong negative argument; I think I just convinced myself that 3D printing chocolate is an important milestone.

Wenxin: I completely agree that the 3D printed models of James Bond’s Aston Martin used in filming is a notable event. Being able to generate virtually anything with a 3D printer, and then use it as a prop in a film is an incredible application that I had never considered. The cost difference between wrecking a real car and a simple plastic print will ensure that this happens much more in the future.

Anthony: The addition that Anthony made to the timeline was very eye opening. Kodjo Afate Gnikou made a 3D printer in Africa using old electronics. This goes to show that 3D printing can be very accessible for those that are dedicated. The fact that he was able to make a printer with such resources, shows that millions in the United States should be able to make their own using an online guide and a plethora of parts websites.

Yuan: I agree that 3D scanning is a recurring theme in 3D printing news. I think that it is one of the most interesting aspects of this technological leap because it will bring us that much closer to a duplication machine. You simply find something you want more of, scan it, and print more. We will always see 3D scanning in the news as it gets thrown into phone apps and free web programs.

Sam: Laser sintering metal is definitely vital to the history and development of 3D printing. It opens up a whole new set of applications where strength is a high priority. Mike’s presentation about Koenigsegg showed that a car company can really benefit from 3D printing. Now that metals can essentially be printed, I don’t think it is far off when Ford and GM will produce some complex parts with this method.

Blog 11: Show and Tell

There is one show and tell that will always stick out in my mind: Drew Golterman’s presentation on 123D Catch. This is software that allows a 3D model to be generated from a set of pictures taken of an object from different angles. When you think of the process from start to finish it is just absolutely awesome. You see something in real life, and end up with a small scale model of it made out of PLA.

This is possibly one of my favorite things to describe to someone that is new to 3D printing. These people are often put off by the 3D modeling aspect. They think they would have to be a computer genius to be able to create anything of value (they’ve just never heard of Google Sketchup). When I tell them about 123D catch and the success a classmate had with the nittany lion statue, they are blown away. Also, the fact that it circumvents the modeling stage gets them more interested in 3D printers.

The main thing that complicates this process for newcomers is the post processing. I have yet to look into it in depth, but I see that Drew used Meshmixer. He makes it sound like it is straightforward, and I plan on seeing for myself in the near future. I would like to make a 3D model of my Miata, and then hopefully print it out before the semester is over.

One thing I can't really understand is why AutoDesk would allow free use of this software. I don't see how they can really benefit from its use. The paid premium version seems to be targeted to commercial users, but not so much towards the at-home user. As I understand, they possess the rights to your generated models. But, I don't know what use these would be to the company. The only explanation I can think of is that maybe they are perfecting the software, so that they can charge for a polished version of it in the future.

Blog 10: Hot Ends

Arcol V4.1.1 $93 unassembled/$133 assembled – Nozzles 0.35/0.5 - high temp materials possible (PC)

J-Head Mk V-BV $56.99 – Nozzles 0.5/0.4/0.35 – 3mm/1.75mm filament – ABS/PLA – cooling vents on nozzle holder for fan

Budaschnozzle $95 – 3mm/1.75mm filament – pre-crimped wiring – nozzles 0.25 thru 0.75mm

MakerGear $65 – Nozzles 0.5/0.35/0.25 – 3mm/1.75mm filament – ABS/PLA

B3 Innovations Pico Pre-release – 3mm/1.75mm filament – Nozzles 0.35/0.4/0.5/0.6 – Simple 1 piece stainless steel design

E3D-v5 $73 – Bowden also available – Fan cooling – Nozzles 0.25/0.3/0.35/0.4/0.6/0.8

I started at the RepRap wiki’s Hot End page to get some ideas of what hot ends to look into. After looking through a couple threads on the RepRap forums, it appears that all of these well-know hot ends are pretty equally recommended. I don’t think that you could go wrong by choosing any of those that I have listed. Some offer different features than others.

If you are trying to be cheap, there is a whole market of primarily Chinese-manufactured hot ends on eBay. Here is an example. The consensus seems to be that these hot ends can sometimes function as well as their more expensive counterparts. However, they can also be very touchy and inconsistent.

If you want reliability, go for a tried and true brand name. If you want something cheap that can get PLA/ABS on the printer bed, go eBay.

Blog 9: Printer filament

I will start this blog off by stating which filament I would have bought before doing any research. I would have went on Amazon and tried to filter 3D printing filament items by popularity and rating. This technique rarely fails me as I rely on the power of numbers and have others do the dirty work.

Assuming I’m looking for PLA, I would have bought:


And if I was looking for ABS:


Research: It appears difficult to find much in the way of filament reviews. The RepRap page certainly does not have much to offer. From the reviews that were present and gave an opinion I gathered:

GoodBarsoom/SainSmart, MatterHackers, New Image Plastics, WTUYMQVE

Bad- Esun, KBell, Qingdao

For support materials, it would appear that HIPS is an appropriate choice. The main selling point is that it can be dissolved with limonene, which is a chemical found in citrus fruits and often used in household cleaners. Limonene will also not dissolve the main print material. It is not a very dangerous chemical like certain types of acid would be.

HIPS prices per kg:

3D Ink Spot - $33

Lulzbot - $39.95

Cubic-Print - $36.99+intl. shipping

Thingibox - $30+intl. shipping

Toy Builder Labs - $36

Subassembly - $31.74+intl. shipping

If I were shopping for filament on my own, I would probably go with the “SainSmart” filament from Amazon. It looked promising from the ratings, and it received a good review by a RepRap user.

Side note: An interesting thing I came across was a note on proper filament storage. According to Boots Industries, filament will absorb water over time which will cause the unsteady extrusion. They recommend storing filament in a box with something to absorb moisture. I then found this same info on the RepRap wiki. It stated that a symptom of moisture being present is that the filament will continue to come out of the extruder, even when the extruder motor isn’t running. This is something we have seen often with our printer.

Blog 8: Intellectual Property and 3D Printing

Copyright – grants the author the rights to a work, whether it is literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, or otherwise. This includes the right to reproduce the work or perform it, while barring others from doing so without permission.

Trademark – word, name, or symbol that is used to designate a product from a specific source. Possessing trademark rights prevents others from trying to pass off their products as someone else’s.

A trademark differs from copyright in that it protects a very specific word, phrase, or logo. On the other hand, a copyright can protect a form of expression i.e. artwork, songs, commercials.

Patent – a property right to the creator of an invention. This prevents others from recreating the same invention and selling it to the public.

Trade secret – information not generally known to the public that provides economic benefit to its holder. This info is generally protected by requiring employees to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

The fives I’s are: Infringement Identification Impractical Impossible Irrelevant

The five I’s represent the reasoning behind the possible demise of intellectual property rights. In essence, everyone will have an all-encompassing manufacturing hub in the safety of their own home. This makes infringement nearly impossible to prevent and unless IP changes drastically, it will become obsolete.

I absolutely agree that IP will become irrelevant with the rise of 3D printing in households. In my opinion, it will be a revolution like we have never seen before. 3D printers are as close as it gets to having a machine straight out of Sci-Fi movies; you press some buttons and it makes a product of your choosing. How we could ever regulate something of this nature is beyond my comprehension. Some suggest DRM, but when you throw 3D scanners into the mix, that argument goes out the window. I believe this revolution will lead to a new way of approaching the subject of IP, since it can no longer be protected. We can see a glimpse of the strange future possible by looking at the digital media industry. As a result of pirating, companies have had to devise new marketing strategies to retain consumer support. At the end of the day, they still have to rely on the moral decision by consumers to pay for the product, as opposed to stealing it. From recent studies into this dilemma, it appears that consumers, as a whole, will continue to pay even when given the option.

I think Creative Commons is a step in solving the problems we will see in the near future. But, that is because it again relies on the goodwill of consumers. We channel our money into an entity that provides benefits in the form of shared works. It works in this case because the entire public benefits from its output, so there is nothing for anyone to steal. This certainly cannot work for everything because it will kill capitalism. Creative Commons gives some insight to the kind of solutions that we might see in the IP world. It is impossible for me to imagine what the actual solution will be in say 20 years, but it will surely be interesting.

Blog 7: 3D Printed Research Tools

The future of research in developing countries looks promising due to the rise of 3D printing. This is yet another one of the many areas that will be revolutionized by the technology. I can’t see any downside to this and I feel that this is a viable solution that will actually be utilized. (Contrary to the Open Source Ecology project which I don’t feel is the end all be all solution to its respective problem.)

Replicating research equipment makes use of 3D printing greatest advantages. This equipment is often complex and requires shapes that are difficult (read: expensive) to mass produce. The ability to print anything that can be modeled is perfect for this situation.

Drew Golterman had come across this list of scientific tools by Joshua Pearce. As expected, most tools that you could think of are available to print: basic things like hose barbs up to entire microscopes.

I think the low-cost atomic force microscope is especially great because of its absolutely massive financial savings. $100,000 for a production model cut down to $500 is unheard of. I don’t see why it could not be printed as we can already print Lego bricks. Therefore, anything made of Lego’s should be printable. I was not able to find any detailed pictures of the microscopes aside from what was in the article so I cannot comment further on printability.

This article on the AFM brought up a point that I hadn’t really considered. These research tools will be just as useful in classrooms as in developing countries. High school students will be able to use high end devices in the future that they possibly made themselves. I think this will be a big achievement because my high school classrooms were limited to about 4 or 5 microscopes, making it hard to learn much from such brief use of the instrument. It is so important that these things remain open source so that these new audiences (students, researchers in developing countries, and at-home tinkerers) can work out the kinks and refine these tools. The increased accessibility to research technology will surely accelerate innovation throughout the world.

Blog 6: The Future of EDSGN497J

I think that we should focus on building more refined machines before jumping into new technologies. It is good to see that the club is investigating new styles of printers. I personally think that we should try to reach higher print resolutions and more consistent prints. Some improvements could be made to the current printers but I think this is more something to focus on when lining up future printer builds. I am a perfectionist when I build things and I wouldn’t stop until there was zero play in all axes and the bed is deadly stable. I find the acrylic printer on the back table to very interesting because it makes this precision appear possible. It also appears robust enough that you could be fairly rough with it. Printer designs like these are plausible and have merit. Richard vas As, a familiar name, has been working on an ultra-durable 3D printer called the RoboBeast. It will be used in third world countries for humanitarian efforts, where it will be knocked around and subjected to little maintenance.

I imagine the reason we don’t have ultra-precise machines has a lot to do with cost and complexity. The printers we have now can produce prints at a level of quality sufficient for our needs. However, there are monetary gains to be had from increasing precision. If we build one flagship machine, its high quality prints will provide precise parts for the next printers to be built. This will have a lasting impacting on precision for all future printers. Furthermore, these printers would also be of higher value to our “customers” because of their durability (as well as reliability). We could see an increase in customers which would result in more funding.

I think a composite printer would be a heavy task for someone to take on. It sounds intriguing, but I know with senior design requirements, it would be hard for a senior to dedicate enough time. Dual extruders, on the other hand, are a good avenue to pursue. While not simple by any means, the level of skill and knowledge needed to implement these is reasonable. I don’t think we need them everywhere; I think one printer is enough to experiment with them.

Blog 5: Media Timeline

I think the establishment of Thingiverse in November 2008 was a very important moment in 3D printing history. The site embodies the open source spirit of the 3D printing community. It was one of the things I saw early on that got me interested in this technology. I think it is a great tool to get newcomers interested as well. This is mainly due to the fact that it acts as a gallery of the things possible with 3D printers. It opens your mind to the possibilities, and gets you chomping at the bit to print something yourself. It is still very important to the progression of 3D printing today. As advancements in printing occur, users can see these triumphs in new “things” that are posted. For example, this shoe tipped me off on the availability of elastic filament, which seems to be a very cool material.

I feel that the whole 3D printed food movement is overhyped. If it reaches the point where macromolecules could be printed, I would be impressed. But as it stands, food printers appear to be no more than overly complex ingredient dispensers. For example, the BurritoB0t(July 2012) has some syringes that might release some beans or corn. This is not all that impressive and I don’t think it is appropriate to call this 3D printing. There are many instances of this type of machine. I know fully-fledged food printers lurk in the future; however, the current “printers” don’t deserve the media attention they are getting.

Something that piqued my interest was the founding of Authentis in 2012. It is a streaming service that allows you to send a print to someone without them ever gaining access to the model. It is a smart service because it will address a need that arises when companies begin selling products distributed through 3D printing. I see some issues with this though. First, as was briefly mentioned in the video, the object could be 3D scanned after printing. The founder addressed this concern by saying that a watermark of sorts could be ingrained into the print. I’m not sure how that could actually be done in a way that would not be picked up by a 3D scanner. Secondly, I don’t understand how the commands could be sent to the printer without the possibility of them being intercepted. This is like streaming movies on the internet. Although I haven’t looked into it, I’m sure there are easily obtainable programs that will allow you to capture the streamed video. This will be a larger issue in 3D printing because the objects will be of much higher value than a movie or TV show.

Blog 4: OSE Classmate Responses

I really liked the point Kevin made about selfish individuals ruining the idea behind an open source project. Although I have limited knowledge on it, the 3D printing world seems to be the perfect example. It seemed too good to be true, with so many people working together and freely sharing new ideas. However, people are deciding to cash in on this generosity, and as a result, are damaging the community.

Yuchao made a good point about safety issues involved in this project. There are people engineering machines outside of their areas of expertise. Although I’m sure that calculations are made, the modeling that goes into the design is probably nowhere near the extent to which commercial manufacturers go. You might say, “Well what does it matter if it’s wrong. The machine will break and it can be improved.” However, a malfunction could take someone’s life when you are talking about heavy farm equipment. There would probably be some liability issues that arise in the future, whether they are reasonable or not.

Vinny was very open minded about the project and seems to have some genuine excitement about the idea. I liked how he said that Marcin was wrongfully chastised for being so punctual or strict. Although I am not as optimistic about the project, I agree with this point. If a project of this scale is to be successful, Marcin has to run a tight ship. Some people are volunteering their time, but this does not mean that it should be a vacation for them. They get involved with this project knowing the degree of work that will be involved.

Carson's involvement in Agricultural Engineering allowed him to make an educated observation on the project. He said that the tractor may function, but it is not necessarily a “good” tractor. I shared this view, however, Carson had the knowledge of agricultural equipment to back it up. He pointed out many other functions of the machine that may have not been addressed by Marcin’s design, some of which I could not begin to define. Things like drawbar pull and a PTO for implement attachment points.

Zac mentioned that distributing the “Civilization Startup kit” to nations with poor PC and internet infrastructure would be a challenge. This supports my opinion that this instruction manual would be less helpful to small villages in third world countries, and only beneficial to places that already have fully functioning civilizations. To obtain and execute the plans provided by OSE, full civilization must already be in place nearby.

Jarred made an interesting comparison between the OSE project and the “invisible hand” in economics. This metaphor describes the self-regulating nature of a marketplace, but can be extended to explain why most things turned out the way they did. The OSE project has many supporters. They promote the great ideas behind it, but what they lack is the skills to carry it forward. The inherent flaw can already be seen; good machines will be created by builders, not dreamers. The OSE project is primitive in comparison to the many skilled craftsmen that create the same sort of machines and post online. There isn’t anyone making 50 different machines like OSE is; however, maybe that is for a good reason.

Drew stated that fabrication processes for certain machines may be too involved for the average person. Although the instructions may be comprehensive, they require a level of skill that many do not possess. I consider myself to be mechanically inclined so this was not immediately apparent. Likewise, I had visions of skilled craftsmen that wanted to start up their own civilization and simply followed the manual. But, the reality is that this project is intended to guide anyone that has a need for machinery. I think there would be a large skill barrier that holds many back from getting involved.

Jessica stated that if everyone started building their own machines, it would be detrimental to the economy. This triggered some further thinking in my mind. The OSE project is kind of like reinventing the wheel. People would start building all these inferior machines and cause commercial manufacturers to close their doors. Then, the only way to obtain a piece of machinery would be to build your own or buy off someone else. Certain people would be really good at building and improving machines, and maybe they would sell some to other people with money. Then, they would grown until they become commercial manufacturers themselves. I think the idea of “corporate=bad” shouldn’t be so blindly supported by OSE enthusiasts.

Sam pointed out that the author of the New Yorker article may not be the most appropriate person to be critiquing the OSE project. I hadn’t thought of this but he may be on to something. Emily Eakin might not exactly be the kind of tinkerer that would want to build any kind of machinery. Therefore, she was more prone to focus on the superficial issues of Marcin’s initiative. The article could have done a better job talking about more technical matters; however, it was written to be interesting and I found it to be such.

Blog 3: Robohand

The design of the Robohand was a collaboration between Richard Van As and Ivan Owen. It began in May 2011 and is an ongoing project that is constantly being refined. Richard had previously worked as a woodworker in Johannesburg, South Africa. Ivan is a special effects artist based in Bellingham, Washington. They originally sent designs back and forth and had only briefly met in person during development. Today, the two have split up and Richard utilizes the help of new partners in refining the Robohand.

If I wanted to print the Robohand, I would visit Thingiverse.

A google search yields many results for 3D printed prosthetics. Many of the articles are about applications of the Robohand, while some others are about other prosthetic body parts. I think 3D printing is very well suited for this application because of the need for customization. Prosthetic body parts must be individualized via size, shape, appearance, and articulation; therefore, they cannot be mass manufactured. I have included links to some of the articles:

Man prints 3D hand for son using Owen's design

Printing prosthetics including the Robohand for war amputees in Sudan

Teen building a relatively inexpensive prosthetic arm

3D printing allows rapid prosthetic eye manufacturing

Duck gets 3D printed prosthetic leg

Blog 2: Open Source Ecology

The Open Source Ecology project is an interesting endeavor. I am always critical of these types of “save the world” projects. This is because I know how common it is for someone to solicit donations and support with false promises and some fancy talking.

Two personal thoughts: You could find out how to make these types of projects by doing some internet searching. Additionally, these designs would be superior as they have probably been tested and refined by multiple people. Obviously, the catch is that there would not exist a step-by-step guide and videos of construction. That is the nice thing about the OSE project and exactly why it stands out as something so innovative. The cynic in me still wants to believe that if I were building one of these machines, the best way to go about it would be to find great designs by someone on the internet, and slowly pick apart how they were constructed. I guess the intention of this project is not to provide instructions for the best machines that can possibly be made, but rather to provide complete instructions for pretty good machines.

I think it’s a step in the right direction, and it’s ultimately a good goal to have something like the OSE project around. However, I feel that a more realistic goal would be for a person to take on a machine where they can offer the utmost level of expertise. Having a small group of people force out numerous machines is not the way to yield the best results. Though, I suppose the only way to initiate a large scale OSE movement is to focus on quantity over quality, and gain widespread exposure in the short term. With time and further development, the machines can be refined or entirely redesigned by others.

My second thought is that the OSE project will not benefit as large of an audience as many people would like to believe. It seems that you would need access to fairly advanced materials (compared to say, raw lumber) and tools. Therefore, those that would benefit most from a “civilization start-up guide” would not have the resources necessary to carry out the process. I’m sure there are plenty of people that live in industrialized nations and could use cheap ways to build machinery, but portraying OSE as a sort of instruction manual for creating a civilized way of life is a bit misleading, in my opinion.

After looking at , I don’t really understand where the fully detailed instructions are for any of these builds. Maybe I am just not finding them, or this website is still in development, but I cannot find much more than an infographic for each project. The money seems to be pouring in for Marcin via donations so he must be doing something right.

I am also a bit skeptical after seeing one of Marcin’s latest videos here. He describes the new business model – sorry, “enterprise” model – that they will be using this year. From my understanding, people will pay to help build the projects as a learning experience. To me, this seems as though the project is straying from its original goal and indeed becoming more of a business.

This article seems to support my views about OSE. It is a good idea but Marcin’s execution seems to be all smoke and mirrors.

The fact that there are many accounts of negative experiences on the farm is not reassuring. By their accounts, volunteers are worked long hours in miserable conditions. Past participants are eager to tell of the injustices served against them while at the farm. This can be found through some online searching. One example I found was an archived blog post that had since been deleted. Two workers on the farm were accused of tampering with the water supply to sabotage the operation. There were previous incidents that culminated to this event, but in the end, the two people were wrongly accused and forced out as a result. You can read about that here.

I was able to access the New Yorker article by retrieving a pdf from here. After reading “The Civilization Kit”, I am even more dismayed by the OSE project. Marcin’s response can be found here. Essentially, the New Yorker article gave a brief look into the goals of OSE, and then documented the turmoil of the workers that have volunteered or have been employed there. It gave off the idea that the project is not as grand as it sounds on paper. Marcin’s response was very predictable; he said that the writer of the article is not looking at the big picture. They smell sewage and a lack of clean water or food, but Marcin sees efficiency. He felt that the goal of OSE is the top priority and everything else comes second. I think this was predictable because I expected him to respond to these negative accusations by jumping back to all the wonderful ways he is going to save the world.

I think it would be a challenge to start up some sort of OSE student club. There would be a lot of legwork involved. The reason I say this is because I am involved with the EcoCAR team for my senior design project. The team is currently finishing up the conversion of a 2013 Chevy Malibu to a hybrid powertrain. The similarity I can see is the highly technical nature of the project. We have a dedicated garage and supply of tools, which makes it possible to carry out such a project. This is only available to us because of the work done by countless people over the many years the program has been around. There is a ton of logistics to be sorted in terms of safety and liability when working on a serious hands-on project, which an OSE club would probably lend itself to. I can’t think of any professors who would be specifically interested in this sort of club. However, I think that our EcoCAR advisor, Gary Neal, would be a good contact if a serious effort for an OSE club was made. He could probably provide valuable insight on the hurdles that would have to be overcome to establish something of this nature.

Blog 1: Thingiverse

  • My account is not 4 days old so, as far as I know, I cannot directly upload pictures yet

A. Something amazing/beautiful

For some reason, I enjoy miniature cities and landscapes. That's why I found this piece to be so amazing. I think it would be cool to throw together a simple model of my house or neighborhood and print it at some point. (Link).


B. Something funny or strange

It's not so much this single object that I found funny/strange, but the collection of "beefy" objects on thingiverse. This must be some sort of cult following that I am not aware of. There are beefy sharks, beefy minions, and what appeared to be a beefy Kim Il Sung. This beefy turtle is a rather tame example. (Link).

Beefy Turtle

C. Something useless

I found this spring object which appears to be quite useless. Although, if I had my own printer I would probably print it just to play with it. Therefore, maybe it isn't as useless as I thought. (Link).

Spring Dodekaeder

D. Something useful

Upon seeing this object, I had many memories from the summer come to mind. I spent many hours researching and trying to construct my own steadicam. I had come up with so many designs that were small and simple, but couldn't easily be made by hand. I don't know how many times I wished I had a 3D printer. I think this is one of the moments where I decided I wanted to build my own some day. I chose this for my useful object because it is a prime example of an application where 3D printing can make a very difficult task much, much easier. (Link).

MaxGlide - Glidecam cheap and efficient!

E. Something which surprised you

This is the only time I have found myself looking at dresses. I swear. I thought it was surprising that someone would print something that covers nearly the whole body. I imagine it must need sufficient flexibility to not fracture during normal movement. Or maybe it's just for show. It actually looks a bit grotesque to be honest. I can respect the work that went into it though. (Link).

Verlan Dress from New Skins with Francis Bitonti Studio