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Vinny Iachini


H3110 w0r1d. My name is Vinny Iachini. I am currently a sophomore at Penn State University (Spring 2014). I am involved with RepRap through EDSGN 497J which is an open source 3D-printing class. I am also a member of the Penn State 3D-Printing club from August 2013 to present. My page is pretty bland for the moment but be sure to check back in the future to see some good content! Enjoy.


In EDSGN 497J, part of the assignment consists of writing blogs about assorted topics throughout the semester. In this section, I will be posting the prompt followed by my response.

Blog 1

Prompt: 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
For my amazing and or beautiful, I was having a hard time trying to chose just one thing on Thingiverse. I eventually settled on a very neat Monster Shaped Toothpaste Pusher. I think they look cute and they serve a purpose.

B) Something funny or strange
For my funny or strange, I found Minions with Expressions. I guess I find the expressions funny because I like the movie that they come from.

C) Something useless
This category could be almost anything because even though there are a great amount of people on Thingiverse that post new and clever ideas, there are so many items that make you just sigh. The biggest sigh I let out while browsing Thingiverse today is Jetpack Bunnies. These are useless because they are just little figures of bunnies that have jetpacks on…

D) Something useful
For this category (like almost every other category), it was too difficult to just pick one thing, so I have my two top choices. The first is a Customizable Luggage Tag. I find this extremely useful because I know that while traveling, it can sometimes be difficult to determine which bag is yours, especially when getting it back at an airport or on a coach bus, and having a 3D-printed luggage tag will make any bag stand out. The other thing that I chose for the title of "most useful" is a PlaysStation 4 Vertical Stand. This is particularly useful for me because I do not have enough space to set my PS4 horizontally, but just setting the PS4 vertically with no stand blocks a cooling fan. Sony sells stands (which still block the cooling fan) for $20, but I can make a better one for a fraction of the cost.

E) Something which surprised you
Thingiverse (like much of the internet) always seems to push the limit and never seizes to surprise me. Instead of going the route of “why would any sane person make this?,” I decided to try to find something completely different from anything I’ve seen. What I found was a company that posted very detailed and beautiful miniature homes to be used as a Bungalow Birdhouse.

Blog 2

Prompt: Watch the TED Talk. Marcin was just here at PSU talking about his Open Source Ecology project. You may notice or suspect that 3D printers are on his list of systems which should be included in the toolkit. Respond to the following:

A) I want your general impressions of the OSE project; positive, negative, utopian, etc. Please do a bit more research than just viewing the video, as it is now several years old and they have made some progress since then. Links to more recent videos and media will earn you a better blog.

The OSE project seems awesome to me. It may be a bit farfetched, but it really excites me. The part that seems farfetched is because all of these designs are supposed to be DIY. This may be difficult for a lot of people because some of the things to build on here require very skilled labor (like welding for example) for not only initial labor, but also for maintenance. I found the wiki that they have created OSE Wiki and I have already spent at least a few hours just browsing and being amazed. I love how many things are included in the Global Village Construction Set. Many of the things on here I would love to try to build someday (after all of the validation and testing).

B) The New Yorker magazine recently had a fairly critical article regarding Marcin's OSE project. Find/link that article and summarize its critique. Marcin had a response to that: I'd like your response to both of these pieces.

The New Yorker article can be found HERE. The author, Emily Eakin, has many problems with the OSE project. The first thing she points out that several people that show up to help do not have the skilled labor required for building these things. Another major topic that the author criticizes Jakubowski about is food production since the farm does not produce enough food for the people working there yet. Another thing that Eakin jabs at is that he is punctual. I do not understand why the writer is complaining about Jakubowski wanting to maintain a schedule and have a plan. After this, the tone of the author is hard for me to determine because I do not see how this project could be interpreted as a bad thing.

Marcin’s response to this was very well crafted and addressed many misconceptions brought up in the initial article. Basically, he addresses that the spin Eakin put on the project is misleading. I feel that Eakin, as a reporter, needs to make articles interesting and poking fun at somebody with different ideas, like Marcin, is an easy thing to do. Marcin also points out that this project is an experiment and nobody knows how it will end, but he has a much more optimistic view on the potential outcome than Eakin.

C) Imagine we want to create capabilities similar to what Marcin has made at PSU (something like an OSE student club, or another effort). I don't think the administration or trustees would support such a thing, but there might be professors who are interested in supporting such a thing. Do you know any of them? What do they do, and why do you think they would be interested in such a project? Imagine you are looking for allies to do such a thing. Whom is on your list and why?

As a disclaimer, I am only a sophomore so I have not had many specialized classes where I could get to know professors well. That aside, I know of two professors that I believe may have interest in this project. The first professor is Leland Engel. I had him for ME 496 during Spring 2013. I worked with him on the Shell Ecomarathon vehicle. He has a very optimistic personality and he has a good deal of knowledge with many different mechanical systems. Another professor that I believe would be a good fit for a PSU branch of the OSE project is Dr. Dave Brown. I had "Dr. Dave" my first semester for Econ 102. I know this may be a different type of professor than other students may be saying but I think it would be valuable to have an economics professor analyzing the economics of the OSE project.

Blog 3

Prompt: Read and respond to this: RoboHand Article
Who created this design and when/where was it done?
If you wanted to make one, where would you go to get it?
How many news articles can you find which reference this technology?

Thingiverse Image of RoboHand

The design was originally created by Ivan Owen and Richard Van As in South Africa. The original design was for Van As when he lost fingers in a workshop accident. The design in this article and video were modified by Mason Wilde in Johnson County, Kansas. This specific Robohand was for a 9 year old boy named Matthew.

If you wanted to make one, you would go to the Robohand Thingiverse Page. This page actually has a few different designs with this being the one that was adapted in the article.

Just by doing a simple news search on Google, I found several news articles talking about this design. This design has only been on Thingiverse for a little over a year, so I expect it to become more popular with stories like this one coming out. One story that I found is about a RoboHand Made for a Preschool Girl. This is the site for the company that designed the Robohand.

Blog 4

Prompt: I thought that many of your responses to blog 2 were thoughtful, and I'd like you to reflect on the thoughts of your classmates. Read your teammates blogs, as well as the blogs of at least 5 other students in class this semester. I would like you to find any thoughtful points made by others which you did not note yourself in Blog 2. (What did your classmates notice which you think worth adding to your own discussion?)

At least two of your classmates found links to the entire new yorker article, for those of you who haven't read the whole thing due to it's paywalled host, I encourage you to dig that up and check it out.

Kevin seems to have a fairly similar view as mine. We both think that it is a great idea, but not so sure about how practical it will be to implement. We both point out that very skilled labor is required where there might not be any. Kevin also makes a good point about larger corporations wanting to suppress this type of movement to protect themselves financially.

Yuchao makes a few very good points that I overlooked. The main one being that safety is not addressed with the OSE project. Yuchao points out that with such large, and complicated machines that require a great deal of work, if something goes wrong, it could very seriously harm somebody. Overall, I think Yuchao seems to share a similar opinion with myself about it being a great idea on paper, but may not work in practice.

Carson looked at the OSE project with a bit more skeptical view than me. Carson is studying agricultural engineering, and knows much more about agriculture than I do, and he points out that these machines that Marcin has built and plans on building might not be good enough to accomplish the task that they are put up against. One thing that I noticed while watching the video is that the tractor is very basic and does not have all of the bells and whistles that I am used to seeing with a commercial tractor. Carson was able to articulate this point well and name specific parts that this tractor was lacking.

Tom has a skeptical view, like Carson, and points out even more things that are wrong with the project. I absolutely agree with Tom’s statement about in order to create a better quality project, there should be smaller groups that focus on individual things as opposed to everybody working a little bit on everything and trying to crank out 50 designs. This is now common knowledge that specialization has increased productivity dramatically over the years in whatever field you are talking about, so one group of people with little experience in any one design is less than ideal when they are trying to build everything at once instead of focusing in on one topic. Tom also gave links to different stories of people that worked on the farm having awful conditions and hating it there. I was not aware that the situation was that bad when I was doing my research, so this changes my views slightly.

After looking at several blogs from classmates that aren’t in my team, most of the things that I found were further reinforcing what my teammates have already said. I’m glad that I went through and read all of these blogs because my classmates made some really strong points that have made me reconsider my initial opinion. I feel much more skeptical about the project, but I still hold on to hope that the project will take the correct trajectory and make a difference in the developing world. The OSE is young considering how much it hopes to accomplish. I now feel that the OSE should shed some of the other projects (like Tom suggests) and focus on implementing features that would allow these to be comparable to commercial machines (like Carson suggests).

Blog 5

Prompt: Look through the RepRap Media timeline page (accessible from our SCRUG main page) and attempt to identify the most significant events from the last few years. If you think there's something missing from the timeline, add it and claim it for XP - but include a summary! What projects continue to recieve coverage/press over time? What projects seem to have slowed or stopped?

Make sure you pick and point out at least one entry which you find:
1) An event very important in the progression of 3D printing technology (open source or not)

There are many things that I found on the Media Timeline that I saw that seem very important to me for the progression of 3D printing. The first one is from October 22, 2012 which is about 3D Bio-Printing that may allow medicines to be “sent via email.” This is awesome because it could allow people to get medicine customized for them and get it almost immediately. The downside of this is that you must have a special 3D Bio-Printer in order for this to work.
Another important 3D printing event is from April 26, 2013 which is about printing graphene. Graphene is graphite (carbon) sheets that are only one atom thick. Because of this bizarre characteristic, it has some very unique properties including conductivity and being harder than diamonds!
The final event that I believe will be very important is from December 1, 2013 and is about a 4 nozzle hotend that will be able to mount on RepRap printers (and other printers). This is awesome because each nozzle will be able to print something different, which would make it very useful to print support materials or multiple colors.

2) A not so important event in the progression of this technology (something overhyped perhaps?)
I did not find very many events on the timeline that I thought were overhyped, but the one that I thought was the most overhyped was from February 19, 2013 which was about the 3Doodler which is a 3D Printing pen. This is essentially a high tech hot glue gun with really expensive filament. $10 of filament will get about 20 feet of 3mm filament, as opposed to 1 kg for about $30 (using some internet math shows this is a bit over 400 feet). It seems like a great idea, but you would have to have a super steady hand and be able to control speed perfectly in order to make anything. It seems like a cool idea, but it seems impractical to me.

3) Something which you found interesting which you would like to think or speak more about. This might overlap with #1 a bit, depending.
All of the things I talked about for number 1 I obviously find very interesting, but I also have some other topics that I find very interesting that may not be as influential to the progression of 3D printing. The first event is from November 12, 2013 which is about the Mini Metal Maker which is a desktop metal 3D printer for significantly less than other metal 3D printers. Unfortunately, the print bed is very small (6 x 6 x 6 cm) and the print has to be baked after being extruded.
Another interesting event was from January 30, 2014 which is about a West African inventor who is using E-Waste to produce 3D printers for less than $100. This is interesting, but the E-Waste ends up there because it is considered waste to us. Even though there may be some good life left in the electronics used, I would be very hesitant to use one of these printers.

Blog 6

Prompt: After watching you all for the past few weeks and reading up on your blogs, I feel confident in saying that this is one of the most collectively impressive groups I've had the opportunity to teach. While we each have our strengths and weaknesses, the collective capability demonstrated is strong.

I hope that in the last blog you came to appreciate the merits of our collective impressions of a project. Not everyone agrees with each other, but I think we made sure to touch upon the key points there to find.

I'd like to capitalize on these collective capabilities, and here's how:

You've seen the various projects which Alexandre was working on, you've seen the prosthetic hand, the OSE project, and hopefully a variety of other similar DIY projects which are not beyond our reach.

What projects do you think would be a logical next step for us to pursue? These may be things you see others doing elsewhere, or ideas of your own to push the boundaries of what we are using.

We have been putting in significant effort to upkeep the printers we have, but as we get good at that, where might we go next?

What would enhance our capabilities or put a new twist on what we are doing?

Can we make a composite printer? Do we need more dual extruders everywhere? I know some of you have had ideas on this subject already, so please document them in this blog for everyone.

There are so many possible directions to go next and luckily we have enough students to pursue several options. I think having more than one dual extruder printer could be nice. Dual extruders would be nice for simple things like printing in two colors at once, as well as helping to build more complicated things that may require support material.

I would be interested in looking into making a different type of RepRap. I’ve only ever seen the OHM printers, and I know there are many different models out there. To be honest, I feel that the OHM has too many small parts, especially on the x carriage. I know some of these other models have combined parts, and the prints take longer, but I feel that the longer prints would be worth it. There may be other models that are easier, more sturdy, or cheaper that I feel we should look into.

As for other projects, a composite printer would be pretty cool to have, but I do not know how the quality of the composite prints compares to regular composite pieces. If the quality is significantly worse, I do not see the point in building one just to have one. I’m not suggesting that the quality is much worse, but I am just concerned about it being such a new technology, so it may have some major bugs to work out.

One project that I think could be really helpful would be to make a troubleshooting guide. I know there have been several times where I have no idea how to solve a problem, but it is a problem that I’m sure others have fixed in the past. Also, if there is some kind of troubleshooting guide, problems could get fixed faster since students will immediately start to fix problems instead of waiting for David to come and tell them what to do to fix it. There is only one (and a half) instructors and twenty some students.

Overall, my feelings towards the current printers are that they break down so often (because they are used by so many different people and used often) that it would not be wise to start too many people on new projects because there will always be printers to fix. Some projects would be awesome (and necessary) to start because we don’t need everybody working on just repairing printers. It’s about finding the balance between repairing and starting new projects, in my opinion.

Blog 7

Prompt: Read this -

What do you think about this idea? Can you think of any examples of cheap research equipment we have made?

Read this -

What do you think of this? Does it seem printable to you? Why or why not? Relate it back to the first article. Discuss the importance (or lack thereof) of open source in this.

I think the idea of printing scientific tools could be awesome, but there could be some major flaws. If it is the case that the tools are too expensive because you can only buy from a company that has a monopoly, then it could be awesome to print an open source version for significantly cheaper. This could get a great deal of equipment to people who could really do well with it like the article mentioned. On the other hand, if the parts are very expensive because they have to be manufactured to very specific specs in order to be accurate, then this idea may not work. The article talks about these tools being printed on RepRap printers. RepRap printers are great for demonstration pieces and making parts for other RepRaps, however, many of them are not precise enough to get the specs that may be required for something to take accurate scientific data. Off the top of my head, I cannot think of any research equipment that we have made (other than the piece that is being designed right now for the micro force transducer).

As for the LEGO AFM, I’m not too sure. I have no idea what goes into an AFM (this is the first time I’ve heard of one). My concerns with this are very similar to my concerns with the last article: precision. This seems printable, but why print it if it will not work the majority of the time? These stepper motors move in small increments, and when you are looking at something the size of a nanometer, any adjustment by even a single step will be so much that whatever you are looking at will not be within the field of view. I think this is a great step, but making one at the quality that our RepRaps are made, at around $500, does not seem reasonable in my opinion. If better motors are used, more demand could be created for these better motors, and ultimately driving price down (because of mass production), then not only could this be possible, but RepRaps as a whole may become more accurate if these better motors are possible for use.

Blog 8

Prompt: Intellectual property is something which many companies base their operations upon. Research and describe (and contrast) Copyright, Trademark, Patent, and Trade Secrets. Then read this:]
What are the five I's and what do you conclude from them?
From the perspective described in the article (or your own if you disagree), what are the futures of copyright, trademark, patent, and trade secrets?
How does Creative Commons fit into your perspective?

All of these terms are used often but there is sometimes confusion about the differences in these words. A copyright is a legal right that gives ownership of some kind of art to somebody (or group). This would be useful for artists, musicians, photographers, and other professions. A trademark is a legal right giving ownership of a symbol or words to somebody or group. This is useful to companies to register and own the rights of a logo or slogan. A patent is the legal right given to a person or group to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention. This is useful to inventors, companies, and a wide range of others. A trade secret is not registered to any entity. It is a secret that a company does not release anywhere. This is beneficial over a patent because patents expire eventually, and require specifics of a product to be submitted. If anything small is changed, it would not violate the patent and the specifics are available to anybody to read.

The “Five I’s” of IP are Infringement, Identification, Impractical, Impossible, and Irrelevant. I can conclude that the future 3D printing will either make IP laws much more robust, or they will become laws that will be enforced less.

The feel that I got from the article is that the author believes that IP law enforcement will start to dwindle and become irrelevant as 3D printing grows in popularity. I like the example that the author gave comparing the future of 3D printing to digital music. Music is widely illegally available on the internet and that is how 3D files may be for IP protected things in the future. There is a large body of people who pirate music, but there is also a very large portion of people that feel that artists deserve their pay, so they buy music legally (some people may also pay for music because of fear of punishment if caught). I know of a growing trend with musicians and video game makers that is a “pay what you want” kind of system for their work. I think that the future of IP law will become more centered on this type of system. I love this type of system because the artist will appeal to a wider range of people and still make a decent amount because some people will pay more than anticipated, some will pay less, and the average will fall right around what the artist would have charged in the first place. Another benefit of this system is that each buyer is happy with the price, as opposed to the standard system.

I actually did not know about Creative Commons until this blog post. I think that Creative Commons would work extremely well with the future of 3D printing. It is awesome because you can reserve rights so you can prevent companies from coming in and making a small change and patenting or copyrighting your work, while still allowing end users to have your work for free.

Blog 9

Prompt: Now that you are gaining experience 3D printing, you'll notice that there's a lot of little details that someone can get swamped with. Even something like "What filament do I use and where should I buy it from?" becomes a tedious question.

Given the subject of filament materials and suppliers, I want you to do some searching to find links which are useful. They may be aggregated suppliers, filament reviews, or other sorts of content on the subject. I want you to apply your brain to the following problems. Find links. Post them in your blog. Explain why you think they contain useful content. There are several areas of interest here:

1) We want to know the good, bad, and ugly with regard to suppliers. Who makes quality filament at a good cost? Who should we avoid?

2) Materials. We want to start doing dual extrusion on a more regular basis. There are a variety of ways we might start using support materials. Which materials do you think we should use? (Here's a starting place: Filament Guide) Why do you think we should use them? Once you've chosen a material you think we might use, find suppliers and estimate costs in $/kg or $/lb.

3) Pretend you are shopping for material for your own needs. Who do you choose?

1) I’ve looked through several suppliers, and I tried to get a decent range of what is on the market. I looked at the Filament Suppliers page on the RepRap wiki to get started. To try to keep things consistent, I only looked at US based companies. I also only looked at reviews for black PLA because filament can be tricky depending on color additives.
The first supplier I looked at was Ultimachine. I’ve heard from friends in the 3D printing club that Ultimachine makes good filament, but the prices are a bit high. From the reviews that I have read, I agree with this conclusion. For 1 kg of 3mm PLA, the average cost is $44 with an additional $11 for shipping. Another company that I’ve heard similar things about is Lulzbot. For 1 kg of 3mm PLA, the average cost is $43 with an additional $15 for shipping. Both of these companies have great reviews for their filament, but the prices are high.
Then I searched for the cheapest suppliers I could find. One supplier I found is Amazon RepRapper filament. This filament is only $25 and has free shipping. The reviews on this filament are mixed. Surprisingly, there were a lot of good reviews saying that once you find the correct temperature, the PLA prints very nicely. Some other reviews said that the material was not sticking, but these reviewers seemed to have not tried anything other than the default settings that the printer had from before. The next supplier that I found was Makerfarm. This is a brand that I trust because the club bought 2 Prusa i3 kits from Makerfarm last semester for a good price. For 1 kg of 3mm PLA, the average price is $30 with $13 additional for shipping. This is a pretty good price and I’ve used a bit of this filament with the kits that we got and I’ve never had problems with it. The final supplier that I wanted to review is Monoprice. This not a company that I’ve heard of but this was the first result when I did a google search for “3mm PLA filament” so I decided to give them a shot. For 1 kg of 3mm PLA, the price is $27 with an additional $10 for shipping. This price is very reasonable, and the reviews on the site say that it is pretty good filament. Some people have had small issues, but no two people claim to have the same issue, so it may just be different standards for different people.

2) Choosing the right material can be a difficult task, especially when you have not worked with any of them. From the chart that was provided, I believe that the best support material for our needs would be PVA. The main reason is because it is dissolvable, but unlike HIPS, this type of material does not require a heated bed. We use mostly PLA on our printers with no heated bed, so it would be beneficial for us to use PVA which would not need a heated bed. Finding suppliers for these support materials is significantly more difficult than standard filaments (ABS and PLA). The first site that I found was Ultimachine again. For 1 kg of 3mm PVA, the price is $88 with an additional $11 for shipping. This price seems high compared to PLA and ABS prices, but this is a reasonable price compared to other suppliers of PVA. The site that I started my research with, also had several suppliers listed on this page. Several of the suppliers on here only sell 1.75mm diameter filament, but a few sell 3mm filament that will work with our printers.

3) If I were to buy filament for myself, the top companies that I would try are the Amazon RepRapper filament because it is the cheapest, has free shipping, and Amazon is a site that I trust and use frequently. The other supplier that I would try is Makerfarm because I have used this filament before, it is relatively inexpensive, and I’ve had no problems.

Blog 10

Prompt: Apply the same analysis you did in blog 9 to the subject of hot tips. (what designs are currently available, how do they compare, who should be avoided, etc) I have tried to give you some basis for knowing what is available the other day in class, but more options are always appearing. I want you to tell me what designs you think are most reliable based on your own research (pros/cons are nice). include links or lose XP.

I’d like to start this blog by saying that I’m glad that we had these prompts. I have been on the fence about making my own printer, and after looking at parts, doing research, and spending 10 hours printing service prints today, I am heavily leaning towards building a printer now. There are many types of hot ends available today. I tried to make this more compact and talk about 3 different designs that are very common and my opinions on them. The first type I researched was a J-Head hot end. This is a very common hot end consisting of a plastic body lined with PTFE liner, and a hot tip heated with a resistor. The one I linked to is from MakerFarm, and it is $54 before shipping. This is such a popular tip design that there are knock-offs being made that may not perform as well, so beware of what you are actually buying. The second hot end I found was new to me: a Hexagon Hot End. This is an all metal hot end (not even a PTFE liner), so it can heat up to more than 400° C. This is hot enough to print Nylon, Polycarbonate, ABS, PLA, Flexible Filament, LayWood, PVA, and HDPE. The hot end that I linked costs $90 (at the time of this blog, this kit is on sale for $70) before shipping, and includes the hot end, mounting plate, ceramic heater, fan, thermistor, and hardware. The final hot end that I wanted to discuss is the E3D all metal hot end. This is like the last one, but it has a circular body and a printed fan shroud that wraps around the body to help with cooling. This is the hot end that the 3D printing club bought for Ruby and it looks great (as of the time that I am writing this, Ruby is still under construction so I can’t discuss its functionality). This hot end is made in the UK, so shipping costs are still a little high, but there are some US distributors (or so they claim (the websites do not look very professional)). The average price is $80 before shipping, and comes with the hot end, fan, and electronics.

If I were to buy one of these hot ends, I would choose the Hexagon Hot End because it has the capability to print more materials, it comes with a mounting plate, and it is a kit so I do not have to individually source parts.

Blog 11

Prompt: Some of you have satisfied the Show & Tell requirement already. Please talk about something you learned or thought was really interesting in a presentation which one of your peers has done. If you have not done your S&T yet, you might want to try to get it in before this blog is due, so that we have more to discuss!. There will be a limit on the number we will do per day - Don't wait until the end of the semester!

The biggest Show & Tell that stuck with me was the 3D Printed House. I unfortunately cannot remember which student gave this S&T but it was about a 3D printer that would be able to print a 2,500 ft^2 home in less than a day. This would be useful in disaster situations where people need shelter quickly or to build homes on Mars (as the article claims). The printer/robot that would make these concrete houses could also install tile floors, plumbing, and electric while constructing the house. Another neat thing about 3D printing a house is that since you do not have to work with pre-made materials (like 2x4 wood), you can make incredibly complicated walls, instead of being constrained by having only linear walls. This is an awesome technology in my opinion that I hope will become more developed and consistent in the future. My concerns include difficulty in setting up the printer and calibrating it, ensuring a level build platform, and economy to build a house with said printer. This machine would save on labor costs, and build times, so I believe it is something that companies would even consider looking into to maximize profit.

Blog 12

Prompt: Read Blog #5 for your initial teammates as well as 5 other classmates. Note the points you agree with, disagree with, as well as things which you missed which others noticed. (as with Blog #4)

I agree with Kevin about how amazing the initial technology was and how we still use a decent amount of the old technology. I disagree with Kevin’s statement about talking about 3D printers being sent to impoverished countries because the money that would be spent on just food is now being divided between a printer, and more expensive food to print. Economically, this just would not make sense to me.

I am glad that I read Carson’s blog, because I did not know about printing from an android device (I was actually going to try to make this happen with my brother, who is a computer programmer). I agree that 3d printing will blow up, not only like cell phones, but many other technologies (look at laptops from 2004 compared to “ultrabooks” of today).

Tom pointed out that the founding of Thingiverse is huge to the 3d printing community, and I agree whole-heartedly. Tom also talked about a 3d printing streaming service, and raised several good points all relating to IP.

Oliver mentioned a type of printer that can print curved surfaces very well. I think that this could be great depending on what is being printed. Some things, like extruder bodies (which have many straight sides) may be better on a “standard” printer, as opposed to extruder gears, which may be better suited on this different style of printing.

Drew talked about many very important events in the community including the inception of 3d printing, the start of the RepRap project, and the founding of Thingiverse. All of these were extremely important things, as well as the Robohand that was discussed later.

Wenxin mentioned guitar manufacturing as the important event for this blog. Although I do not believe that guitar manufacturing is all that important, this event proves that 3d printing can revolutionize industries that we had not really thought of before. She also talked about using 3d printing in film-making, and Wenxin did a great show and tell about this as well.

Anthony, like many of our classmates, found the foundation of Thingiverse as something very important that has occurred since the beginning of 3d printing, and I agree. The interesting thing that Anthony talked about is the same thing that I talked about: an African entrepreneur used E-waste to make a 3d printer for around $100, which is just amazing.

Yuan also mentions Thingiverse, the beginning of OHM, and 3d scanning. I am surprised that this is the first blog that I found that mentioned 3d scanning as something important. I feel that 3d scanning will be a big thing in the future. The scan that students in the class did of the Lion Shrine has already been printed out several times, and it is amazing!

Sam talks about creation of direct laser sintering for metal (DLSM), and I agree that this is an amazing thing. I actually plan to do some research at CIMP3D about metal 3d printing, and I know that one of the machines at CIMP3D is a DLSM printer. Sam also mentioned 3d printing in commercials, which will help this industry to save money, and time by using 3d printers instead of other ways to make many different models.

Blog 13

Prompt: Read Blog #7 for your initial teammates as well as 5 other classmates. Note the points you agree with, disagree with, as well as things which you missed which others noticed. (as with Blog #4) Choose some different classmates blogs from the last time.

For Kevin’s blog, I had not considered using the lab equipment in a university setting. I had only considered the developing areas, but universities could absolutely save some money with this kind of thing, and potentially put the saved money back into other projects.

Carson’s had an interesting idea about making the atomic microscope into a DIY kit. I do not believe it would have a very big market, but it would still be nice for universities, and other researchers who cannot afford a six figure model.

Tom mentioned a list of tools that are available to print that included some pretty interesting things. The ability to bring high end devices to younger students would be very neat because instead of just seeing images from atomic microscopes in a textbook, they may be able to see real images from a microscope that they made!

Oliver seems very optimistic about the plausibility of printing making our own atomic microscope, and I’m right there with him. I do not believe that the article talked about the quality of the microscope that these students made, but I believe that we would be able to make one with similar quality to the one that they made (how this compares to a commercial unit seems to be unknown).

Lee mentioned the tensile tests that Alexandre was doing (does anybody have a link to his results?). The AFM article still just blows my mind, and Lee brought up the point that this is what 5 PhD students were able to create in a week; imagine what could be done if all of the open source community got their hands on what was already done so that we could build upon this research further.

Jessica seems to be much more pessimistic with 3d printing lab equipment than I am. (Side note: $50 as compared to $2000 is 2.5% of the cost, not 25%) She shows concern that if we mass produce this kind of technology that there would not be enough people to know how to use it. Although this may be the case at first, I feel that this is very incorrect. People adapt very well; for example, the first time I saw a 3d printer, I had no idea how to use it, but now I have taught several people how to print and I’ve also gotten much better at diagnosing issues and understanding this technology much more deeply than I thought I ever would.

Jarred raises the point that 3d printed parts may not be precise enough to use for lab equipment, which is a fair point. Jarred also suggests that making lab equipment for a lower price could lower the barriers to entry for small companies to get into the market, which is something that I hadn’t considered, but I suppose is very true.

Dongao had plans to actually print a part for a research project that he was working on. I have not had the chance to do any research projects yet, but I hope to be able to use 3d printers when I actually get to that point in my academic career. Dongao brings attention to the fact that since LEGOs are already being mass manufactured at a low price, with a super high accuracy, there is no good reason to print parts that may have a lower precision.

Hao shares the same concerns as all of the other students that the printed parts may not be precise enough for high level research. I feel that everybody is looking at this wrong. If something for research needs to be super precise, make it another way, but there are bound to be other pieces involved in research that a printer would be perfect for. A 3d printer is not intended to replace all previous manufacturing techniques; it is a supplement to our existing repertoire.

Blog 14

Prompt: Read Blog #8 for your initial teammates as well as 5 other classmates. Note the points you agree with, disagree with, as well as things which you missed which others noticed. (as with Blog #4).Choose some different classmates blogs from the last time.

I somewhat disagree with Kevin about IP, saying that IP stifles innovation. I understand where he is coming from, and he also acknowledges the other side of the debate. I do not think either side is correct in every situation, but saying that IP stifles innovation is a huge generalization in my opinion.

Carson seems to have opinions more in line with mine (I like the part about hot tips, since he has been working on developing new hot tips.

Again, Tom seemed to have very similar opinions to mine. He brought up the fact that even with regulations, if you are good with a 3d printer, you can still manage to print many things, and it will be up to the consumer whether or not to pay.

Oliver mentioned that 3d printing is just in its infancy, and things like IP have not really been established because we aren’t sure what direction 3d printing will go in. Oliver’s suggestion: just let it go how it wants to go, and we will assess the situation later. This is a beautifully simple idea, and I think it may be all we can do, or else we run the risk of creating laws now in order to protect something, but this same law could come back years later and prevent something else from happening as an unintended consequence.

Sam pointed out that the five I’s of IP seem to build upon each other, which looking back, I absolutely agree with. Sam believes that IP as a whole will become weaker as 3d printing grows stronger. I fear that if this is the case, big companies and lawmakers will try to ramp up IP enforcement which could be detrimental to the 3d printing community if these laws overcompensate and restrict more than the current situation.

Kyle brings up the point that 3d printing could become a bit of a black market in the future as IP laws become less relevant with the growth of 3d printing. This makes me sad that 3d printing could be viewed as anything other than good. Sure, some people will take this technology and do some things with it that I do not agree with (like printing a gun, or printing IP protected things), but the community as a whole in my opinion is good, so violating IP laws will not be the main goal of having a 3d printer in the future.

Eric suggests that if you look at the nature of 3d printing at the core, there is nothing to copyright or trademark as it is just a geometric arrangement. Although this is an interesting argument, I have to disagree because this argument fails when suggesting that poetry is just an arrangement of words, or music is just an arrangement of notes; these things are copyrightable and people make a large amount of money on these copyrighted things.

Brian did not seem to expand on this blog post. He defined copyright, trademark, patent, trade secrets, and “Five I’s” from the article, but did not give his own opinions on the topic.

Mitch also feels that IP will become irrelevant as the 3d printing movement becomes bigger. An example that I just thought of now is convenience. For example, there are people who buy a $4 Starbucks coffee every day, even though there are coffee makers (which would be similar to 3d printers in this case), and coffee grounds (similar to filament) so they could make their own coffee for significantly cheaper. I know that coffee isn’t trademarked, but I am trying to illustrate that these people pay significantly more for the brand that makes it because of convenience, and because this brand may do it better (similar to print accuracy vs injection molded accuracy).

Blog 15

Prompt: Read Blog #11 for your initial teammates as well as 5 other classmates. Note the points you agree with, disagree with, as well as things which you missed which others noticed. (as with Blog #4). Choose some different classmates blogs from the last time.

Kevin’s blog about the Bio-printing is pretty interesting. In my opinion, bio-printing is extremely important, and more effort should be directed toward the bio-printing effort. The community is still growing very rapidly, and as more people make reliable 3d printers, the same “hackers” that were able to make a 3d printer will tinker with things in order to improve upon more specific applications, such as bio.

Carson talked about the presentation on how to use Repetier. I agree that it is an awesome program, and I look forward to playing around with it in the future, but the 3D printing club uses Repetier, and it consistently crashes and ruins the print very late in the print (it may be an issue with the computer’s processing power, but since it is my only experience with Repetier, it has soured my taste of it).

I enjoyed Tom’s blog 11, where he talked about the 123D Catch presentation (a 3d scanning program). He raised the point that 3d modeling may get more people in the door with 3d printing since 3d modeling seems to intimidate many people.

Oliver also talked about the 3d printed house as well, and even expanded upon the original show and tell to talk about a company in Shanghai that actually printed these houses out, which is amazing!

Nam also talked about the 3d scanning system (123D Catch) that I mentioned earlier. I wish this process was not closed source, and there may even be open source community members right now that are working on an open source 3d scanning technology.

Ben talked about the presentation that Kevin gave about 3d printing chocolate. This was an awesome presentation where Kevin talked about Hershey 3d printing chocolate for promotional events since it is completely customizable. I do disagree though that 3d printing food would make it easier for astronauts, or travel in general, especially considering the challenges that we would have to overcome in order to 3d print in zero gravity.

Nate talked about some awesome show and tell presentations that I forgot about, so I’m glad I read this blog. He mentioned a service where you can remotely print to your printer that Jarred gave, as well as a presentation that Zach gave about an air hockey playing robot using 3d printing components. He also mentioned the extremely important presentation Sam gave about bio 3d printing.

Zach also showed a huge interest in the bio 3d printing world. He points out that industrialization has already increased human life spans great amounts, and now with this potential technology along with all the other medical technology being developed, our lifespans seem to just continue to grow.

Graham seems to agree with everybody else (myself included) that two of the really cool presentations had to be the 3d scanning presentation, and bio 3d printing. Both of these things are extremely important (in different ways) and both could lead to huge advancements in the 3d printing community.