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Blog 15: 12/12/12

1. I think Doyle is right when it comes to the importance of RepRap related work, or more precisely of open source science. He explains how the lack of sharing knowledge restricts the spread of technological advances and how doing open source and sharing of scientific work helps promote rapid growth of technological advances. I agree that a lot of the work gets hampered by the conflicts of intellectual property. This is especially evident in global health care and sustainability as Doyle said. I think these are areas where it would be more important to advance the technology than to hold back because of the lack of monetary profit.

2. The "Mother of All Demos" is definitely a demonstration on the beginnings of a word processing program. When you look at the endless number of the things that computers have evolved into and been integrated with, and the endless ways in which computers have developed into tools beyond basic word processing it is nearly impossible to think how 3D printing can evolve in such a way. While the evolution of 3D printing will surely not be as dramatic as the development of the personal computer, it still provides an interesting insight into the possibilities of 3D printing. If 3D printing is indeed still in the phase that word processing was to computers, it has a long way to go to realize its full potential.

3. As for work we could do in the near term, I really like the ideas of printing in metal and in optical materials like we discussed earlier in the class. I think these could open up a lot of potential for students to realize their ideas in a form that is high enough quality to be useful. Particularly I like the ideas of being able to create sensors and controllers using 3D printers. In the long term I can imagine that 3D printers could be used to print materials on a molecular or even an atomic scale. With that kind of control it would be possible to create any material desired in an exact physical structure to achieve exceptional material properties. For instance the printers could be used to make large quantities of carbon nano tubes or some other material that hasn't even been thought of yet.

Blog 14: 12/12/12

1. I think if I had a self driving car, I would like to be able to modify some of the firmware myself. Even if some 'bad guys' were to try to modify the firmware, I would be most likely to tweak it myself as soon as I got it anyways. The problem for me would be whether or not having people be able to modify the firmware on a self driving car would be safe. I would be concerned that modifications that people make could cause potentially deadly accidents if they introduce a flaw into the firmware that they are unaware of.

2. Personally, I see no reason to put regulatory framework on 3D printing. As Doctorow said, it is really just a minor issue compared to all of the other big problems going on at any given time. There would be no point in me trying to develop a regulatory framework, since ultimately I think it would fail anyways. I can see how Doctorow's predictions might come to be true. He states that the war on copyright is just the beginning and ultimately regulators will continue to moderate computers and networks. I feel that even were they to succeed at any kind of controls, people would continue to find work-arounds to avoid the problem as they always have.

3. I'm not sure that the copyright war can be 'won' exactly. At the best the regulators will simply give up on trying to restrict information. I feel like it will most likely be an endless back and forth between people trying to control the information for their own personal benefits or for profit, and people continuing to find ways around that control.

Blog 13: 12/7/12

1. It would be good to have a DIY filament recycling system for the DIY reprap project. The reprap printers inevitably end up producing a significant amount of wasted filament from failed prints. Having a system to reuse this plastic would be very useful. There is always the question as to whether the recycled filament is of as high quality after being melted down already, and how this would affect the end results of using said plastic. However this does open up the opportunity to use waste from other sources as well, such as empty milk jugs or other plastic bottles. If the system could be perfected far enough to make using these sources an efficient option, there would be no need to buy filament in the first place, which would cut down the operational costs of the printers.

2. I don't think it would be too difficult to build a recycling system for the reprap machines. At least not any more difficult than building the repraps themselves. I think trying to design one from scratch would be far more difficult, but with step by step instructions I think it could be a do-able project worth adding to the list.

Blog 12: 11/30/12

1. Using 3D printing to make novelty items and miniature figurines of yourself is certainly interesting if at least from a novelty perspective. I definitely think it will become more popular of a concept, especially when people realize they can make pretty much anything they want and just go pick it up at a store like staples. However I don't think I would want a 3D printout of myself. I think that would just be plain weird. I really don't think my parents would want a miniature me either. However, for toys, trinkets, unique gifts, etc. it would be a really neat idea.

2. It seems like a fairly good business model if you can manage the demand given the long lead time needed to print out objects. It sounds basically the same as the print service that we run here. People submit designs of any kind and they can come by in a day or so and pick them up. For it to be a profitable venture there would need to be compensation for the time required for each print. Either a large number of printers all running at the same time, or printers that run very fast (the former seems more likely).

3. I think the biggest thing that is going to be competing with these are homemade printers. There is no need to wait for the prices to come down at stores like staples if you can just go and print out your own parts for free. The competition between other companies and DIY printers will of course bring down the price though, just like it does with everything in a society built on capitalism. Eventually I suspect they will be as cheap as any other novelty item on the market.

Blog 11: 11/17/12

1. There is definitely a place for this kind of technology in other educational environments. After coming to college I met a few people who had had some similar technology at their high schools and I cannot express how jealous I was that we had nothing even close to that at my high school. I agree that technology like 3D printers could be a great learning tool for younger students particularly in a high school level where the students are smart enough to garner a deeper understanding of the usefulness of the technology beyond that it is fun to use. People are fascinated by these printers, even people who aren't in engineering. I think exposing kids to these things at a younger age would help to get more of them interested and involved in the STEM fields.

This blog happens to come at a coincidentally ironic time. I just recently began to get in touch with my engineering drafting teacher from high school to see if they might be interested in getting technology like the repraps used in class. My high school had very little in the way of engineering or science electives, and many of the students who took them weren't really interested and just wanted an easy A. I think by providing something more interesting and more fun, students would be more inclined to take part in these kinds of fields. I can say from personal experience that this is definitely something I wish I would have been exposed to much sooner.

Blog 10: 11/10/12

1. I think many of the changes we can expect from 3D printing becoming more widespread will be related to smaller, non-structural objects, and low volume or custom production. Large and structural objects like steel will still probably be made the same way because of the enhanced material properties over a layered part. However, on a small scale, 3D printing may well come into its own. The RepRap printers that we use may not be good for much more than trinkets and simple objects at the moment, but this will all change as the printers get higher and higher resolution, especially if they can maintain fast printing speeds. As was mentioned in one of the articles, printers with super high resolution, on the order of a human hair, could produce extremely detailed objects. With so little restriction on the possibilities of things to create, this technology could well spread into many other useful fields.

Currently many of the things printed are artistic, or sculptures of some kind that could not be created otherwise. Eventually this will change as printers are used to create more useful things for people in their own homes. Even electronics could be emailed to you as code which could be sent straight to the printer, allowing people to create their own circuit boards from blank stock. Also, once printing is in full force in materials other than plastic, like bio-printing, the technology could easily expand by printing in metal or glass, allowing more useful items to be created. Plastic is only so durable, and once 3D printing consumes the world of stronger materials, it will be a much more practical alternative to standard manufacturing.

Blog 9: 11/2/12

1. I think public libraries would make an excellent host for 3D printers. As I have stated before, I think that most of the biggest benefits from 3D printers come from using a large community of enthusiasts contributing to the project. Placing the printers in libraries would allow the general public much easier access to the technology. Furthermore, it would allow for easy collaboration between people, giving them an environment to work with other people on the same kind of projects. Normally most of this technology would not even be accessible to the public, limiting the number of people who can become interested in it, and severely limiting who can work on it. Providing a very public method of exposing the populace to this technology would definitely make more people aware of it, as well as increase the interest in advancing the 3D printing community.

In addition to this I have noticed that, at least around my home, the public libraries can often struggle now that the internet has replaced much of the original use for libraries. Diversifying the libraries to include Fab Labs is a brilliant idea to bring back the free communal learning as well as provide people with the means to enhance both their creativity and their interest in science and technology. As Colegrove said in the future of higher education article "The biggest mistake we made is when we let books crowd out the users and libraries became a quiet place." I couldn't agree more with this statement. Sure there is a place for quiet to read and study in the library, but I also think it should be a place to learn and expand your mind and creativity.

2. I am familiar with several libraries on campus, primarily the main library and a few of the engineering libraries. I think any of these libraries would be a good choice to add 3D printers to. From an engineering point of view, any of the engineering libraries would be an obvious choice since many of the users are engineers working on projects and needing prototypes etc. From my experience in the Hammond library I have noticed that it already isn't exactly a quiet place with so many engineers collaborating on projects. Again as Colegrove said, "Engineers are known for a lot of things but they're not really known to be quiet people." These libraries are already bustling with collaboration, why not give them more capabilities.

I don't however think that it is a good idea to restrict the 3D printers solely to the engineering departments. Any of the main libraries would also be good candidates, but for slightly different reasons. I think allowing non-engineers the chance to be exposed to this kind of technology that even they can use would help expand the capabilities of the printers. Many of the uses of a certain invention or discovery aren't always what it was originally intended for. The medical field for instance has clearly found much use for these devices in the form of bio printing. Allowing the different fields of study to come together could open up new possibilities for these printers that haven't even been thought of yet.

Blog 8: 10/27/12

1. Personally I think this new patent is laughable. It does however just go to prove what I had previously suspected about restrictions on 3D printers. It didn't work for music and it definitely isn't going to work for 3D printers, but by Muradin's beard they are going to try anyways. I think this technology will only continue to become more useful as time goes by, even more so without restrictions to slow it down. I see no future for restricting 3D printers in this manner, it simply will not work.

Blog 7: 10/19/12

1. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities for 3D printers. I see this as being especially useful on a small scale, and for complex internal optic networks that would otherwise be impossible to create without a 3D printer. However the possibilities are endless for replacing all kinds of electrically and optical networks.

2. I think the printers we have currently would be unable to create these optic-quality prints for several reasons. Primarily I don't the the resolution on the printers is fine enough. To get proper light transmission you would need to have a very smooth surface for the light not to scatter, which is very difficult to do layer by layer with our current setup. If the printers could be improved to print higher quality prints with the clear optic plastic I think they would definitely be able to print light-piping capable objects.

3. Any place regular sensors are used could theoretically be replaced by 3D printed optical sensors. Which pretty much means anywhere and everywhere. For one, every sensor on the printers themselves could be replaced by these. They would also work well in a robotics setting, as feedback sensors. One of the benefits about using optical based sensors instead of contact based sensors is that they won't wear out as easily, making them ideal candidates for many settings.

Blog 6: 10/12/12

1. Personally I think the idea of bio-printing is fascinating. It is one of the many reasons I became interested in 3D printing. As for legal issues, I can't imagine why anyone would want to hinder a scientific advancement like this. Coupling this with something like adult stem cells could lead to significantly higher success rate for organ transplants which are always in high demand. I am sure there are always those people who just have to battle it however.

2. I see no reason why it wouldn't be extended to RepRap or DIY research. In fact, I would be glad to see it do so. Extending research to include more people can only help improve the rate at which we make scientific advances. By letting more people work on solving a problem, someone is bound to find a solution sooner.

Blog 5: 10/5/12

1. I would probably continue on anyways. They are working with a highly distributed open source community; they could even move the entire project underground and remain anonymous if they really wanted to. It would not be difficult to proceed even by making their own 3D printer first, especially if nothing in the project is actually breaking any laws.

2. I think it would be impossible to truly regulate the creation of weapons from a 3D printer. As I have said before, this is a massively distributed, open sourced community. Anyone could easily bypass any regulations by making these things in their basement without being caught.

3. Things that are otherwise protected by some form of copyright law or patent law would of course be a cause for regulation. Companies would not want you to be able to reproduce their patented works without them benefiting from it. However, as with the previous two questions, I don't think it matters how controversial the item is, people can still print them in their homes without any real fear of anyone finding out that they have done so. And this is exactly what people will do.

Blog 4: 9/28/12

1. It would seem that Makerbot is moving more towards a closed sourced company, not releasing their designs and trying to own everything they can from Thingiverse. If this were the case I would certainly understand Prusa's concerns. I am never pleased when a movement that started out as open to the public becomes closed off for greedy business reasons. However after reading this article it is a little unclear if all the rumors are what they actually appear on the surface. It would seem as though Makerbot 'owning' everything is really just a legal clearance to redistribute the designs, and not actually for profit. Of course I never trust anything a lawyer says up front anyways. Personally, I am skeptical, I would wait to see what becomes of Thingiverse and this whole ownership of design problem. If it turns out to be what Prusa thinks it is, then yes I would leave. I have no desire to hand over anything of mine to support a company who leaves their roots for profit.

Blog 3: 9/21/12

1. As 3D printing takes off and comes more into the spotlight I definitely believe that the government will attempt to restrict the spread of digital designs and ideas just as they have with music via DRM. I think ultimately they will fail at this just as miserably, if not worse than they have with digital media. It is already becoming increasingly difficult for them to apply this to digital media, and attempting to add similar restrictions on something that is already in full force will be useless. Considering the amount of progress made in the area of 3D printing thanks to the benefit of leaving everything open source, I really don't see any reason to try and restrict it.

2. Aside from technology, my other passion would have to be nature. Perhaps because it is so drastically the opposite of technology that it provides some kind of escape. I certainly would not see this as a way to get money however. As for attracting a mate, I'm not sure how many people would be interested in a lengthy discussion on something like identifying bird calls so it's probably good that that's not my only interest. Also ,it is always fun to see when your interests overlap, like how the organic aspects of nature often permeate into engineering, like in robotics or RepRap.

3. I think in terms of electronic media, intellectual property already has one foot in the grave. 3D printing will be just another blow leading to its demise. Personally I think this is a good thing. When you look at all the open source projects going on (RepRap, Firefox, Linux, etc.) all of them make leaps and bounds in improvements compared to anything closed source. Our technology would all progress much faster if the information was readily available to the public for review. For example, just look at how rapidly everything has progressed already thanks to the internet allowing knowledge to be easily disseminated.

Blog 2: 9/8/12

1. I think the goal a 'self-replicating universal constructor' is feasible, but only to a certain extent. While this should be theoretically possible, I think the goal will ultimately be hindered by parts of the machine that are simply to difficult to produce at a high quality without more complex means of production. To be able to produce parts like motors and microprocessors at a reasonable quality, the self-replicating machine would have to grow in size, complexity, and cost exponentially.

2. The phrase 'wealth without money' refers to the idea that people without money could still produce wealth. In the context of a replicating universal constructor, this implies that people who would otherwise have to sell their labor would instead be given their own means of production to generate wealth. People would have their own means of producing wealth through the production of goods, without the need for extensive capital first.

3. I think the RepRap project will continue to grow, but that its use as a household production factory will still be limited. While it may be useful for creating small simple objects, and certainly for prototyping, as a means of producing more complex or higher quality objects, I think it will plateau in its evolution. Since everything in economics is ultimately driven by money, in the end it will probably still be more cost effective to mass produce goods as opposed to mass producing machines to produce goods. This is not to say that these machines will not have a place in the future. I just think their use will not be able to extend far enough to completely eliminate the need for industrial production. However, I can certainly envision a world where people simply download the design for a product they want and print it out right there on the spot.

Blog 1: 9/3/12

1. Useful Peristaltic Pump I think this pump could be especially useful for small volume water circulation, and could possibly be used on a water cooled hot end. ref

2. Artistic/Beautiful Gear Heart The fact that this is a functional piece of kinetic art I think makes this keychain item particularly artistic and nifty.

3. Pointless/Useless Shutter Shades I find these to be useless in real life, so I don't find a 3D printed version to be any less useless.

4. Funny LOL Coin I'm a fan of rage comics, so I got a chuckle out of finding this one.

5. Weird Colberthulhu Stephen Colbert's head on an octopus is just disturbing in my opinion.