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The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #66896] Fri, 26 April 2013 08:57 UTC Go to next message
avatar jethro  is currently offline jethro
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Hi everyone!

I would just like to introduce the Metalbot Project, the first open initiative of it's kind, to design and create a 3D Printer capable of making metal parts (in titanium, tool steel etc)...

http://www.metalbot.org/

Ok, so it's well known that two limiting factors with 3D printing have always been a - strength of the printed parts and b - part resolution. We are hoping to solve both of these problems by designing printer that works through a process called 'laser sintering' (although a few other avenues are being pursued).

Ideally we want to make this available to a wide range of people.

As an open source project the information is given free and taken free.

We are at the very early stages and need people who are interested in this subject to come forward and add their thoughts on the subject. Already we have had very clever suggestions that have improved the design greatly but there is a mountain of work still. Any knowledge could save a lot of time!

So specifically we are looking for experts in machining (some precision machining), physics (Laser physics and powder physics), programming and software, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering etc...

I would be more than happy to answer any questions!

Best regards,

Jethro.
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #67527 is a reply to message #66896 ] Mon, 06 May 2013 12:55 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar lensman  is currently offline lensman
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Okay, admittedly, I didn't click on your link to the website, but what is the point of this, quickly? There are already printers that exist that print in metal - including titanium, brass, bronze and gold...


Glenn ------ My Website Third Dimension Jewellery
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #67544 is a reply to message #67527 ] Mon, 06 May 2013 17:06 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Bathsheba  is currently offline Bathsheba
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That it's open source.


-Bathsheba
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Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #67554 is a reply to message #66896 ] Mon, 06 May 2013 18:46 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar lensman  is currently offline lensman
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Okay... an open source project for people to contribute their free time to create an object that already exists that no-one else can use unless they buy one... Unlike Blender, for example, that is an open source project that I or anyone else can use for free by downloading the software.


Glenn ------ My Website Third Dimension Jewellery
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #67558 is a reply to message #67554 ] Mon, 06 May 2013 19:04 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar BillBedford  is currently offline BillBedford
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Well, a metal printing machine is never going to be the sort of kit you could run in your bedroom.........


Bill Bedford
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #67561 is a reply to message #67558 ] Mon, 06 May 2013 19:29 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Bathsheba  is currently offline Bathsheba
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...but I'd still like there to be more of them!

[Updated on: Mon, 06 May 2013 19:29 UTC]


-Bathsheba
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Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #67563 is a reply to message #66896 ] Mon, 06 May 2013 19:47 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar lensman  is currently offline lensman
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Agreed... perhaps they are attempting to greatly advance the present technology.


Glenn ------ My Website Third Dimension Jewellery
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #67565 is a reply to message #67563 ] Mon, 06 May 2013 19:57 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar jethro  is currently offline jethro
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Hi guys!

Nice to see some discussion on this!

By making this technology open source we are making it more accessible. Perhaps not everyone will own one, but everyone will have access to one. These machines will be able to fabricate parts that are fully dense to an accuracy of <50um. That is some powerful technology!

If you have any questions I would be glad to help Smile .
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #67646 is a reply to message #67565 ] Wed, 08 May 2013 16:28 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Maethius  is currently offline Maethius
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Its about seeking a broad think-tank to invent, improve, and make common a form of manufacture. This isn't about any of us personally owning a machine to print screws and gaskets for a Ford Taurus, its about developing the technology so that we all benefit from it someday in the future. I'm all for that. For my purposes, I would love to be able to print durable, fine quality miniatures for my game, plastic or metal.
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #67811 is a reply to message #67558 ] Sat, 11 May 2013 05:48 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar PeregrineStudios  is currently offline PeregrineStudios
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BillBedford wrote on Mon, 06 May 2013 19:04

Well, a metal printing machine is never going to be the sort of kit you could run in your bedroom.........

Never say never - a few decades ago, the computer itself was something that would never fit in a home office - or even an entire home for that matter.


EDIT: Also, I have yet to fully examine the site, but if he's suggesting a metal printer that can be practically owned and operated by an individual rather than a company, then I'm all for it. Yes, metal printers exist, but I've yet to see one commercially available. It's commissioned use, like here on Shapeways or on i.materialise.

[Updated on: Sat, 11 May 2013 05:51 UTC]

Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #67816 is a reply to message #67811 ] Sat, 11 May 2013 09:29 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar jethro  is currently offline jethro
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It is about making it more accessible. If we can pull it off (quietly confident Very Happy ) it will become a common tool you will se in most machine shops and perhaps hobbyists garages. The technology is there in the form of laser diodes and cheap computing, we just have to put it into use, be a bit clever about it.

You can try building one in your bedroom, just be careful of argon gas and wear laser goggles Rolling Eyes .

Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #67817 is a reply to message #67816 ] Sat, 11 May 2013 10:24 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Mhagan  is currently offline Mhagan
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jethro wrote on Sat, 11 May 2013 09:29


The technology is there in the form of laser diodes and cheap computing,





Granted I have not had a chance to tear into a DMLS machine in great detail (yet), but I believe they use a laser around 1000W. I have not heard of a laser diode that can do this. To get that sort of power you need a gas laser.

Cheap Computing;we have. Cheap high power laser diodes; not yet.


3D Printing Engineer | Shapeways
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #67819 is a reply to message #67817 ] Sat, 11 May 2013 10:40 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar jethro  is currently offline jethro
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The key is in the focus, that means the energy density of the laser beam. Current commercial systems use 200W lasers with a focus of 500um, we want to use, for example, a 50W laser diode with a focus of 100um.

Drawback is slower printing time, but the benefit is that the laser is affordable and the parts can be made to much higher resolution specs.
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #67843 is a reply to message #67819 ] Sun, 12 May 2013 03:09 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar PeregrineStudios  is currently offline PeregrineStudios
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I'm skeptical, but not because you don't seem like an untrustworthy guy - I've just been conditioned to be that way for anything new Smile Nevertheless, I'll be keeping my eye on it, and perhaps contributing if possible. Initial forays and experiments like this are crucial for technologies and industries to advance and not be dominated by large corporations.
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #67854 is a reply to message #66896 ] Sun, 12 May 2013 19:15 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar UniverseBecoming  is currently offline UniverseBecoming
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It's a worthwhile endeavor. I gave you a plug on a forum that I am a part of who's members work on developing DIY 3D printing methods.

I too am working on a low cost 3D metal printing method, but I'm trying to avoid the laser aspect altogether. Laser power is great and is perfectly doable cost wise for the DIY crowd, but I like to explore untrodden territory. I prefer working on my designs alone though since there is quite a bit of profit potential for a low cost 3D metal printer. On the other hand, for others working on developing open source methods I am supportive and do participate. Whomever can get there first! Very Happy Society needs this, we need low cost 3D metal printing so that we can further evolve. The days of these mega corporations having a strangle hold on society with their long expired patents is over! Surprised It's the price they'll pay for not sufficiently investing in innovation. Wink




I prefer to know nothing about everything rather than everything about nothing.  

James
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #67873 is a reply to message #66896 ] Mon, 13 May 2013 03:30 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar aeron203  is currently offline aeron203
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Giving more people access to a beneficial technology is a laudable goal. I believe this venture is well-intentioned and will be educational for many of the participants.

but...

We need to be aware that the results we intend are often very different from what actually occurs. I would like you all to take a moment to read the latest thoughts of Jaron Lanier, in this Salon interview. Mr. Lanier is a very wise man who contributed greatly to what has become the internet that we know today. Now, years later, he has seen many of the philosophies that he and his contemporaries espoused being boiled down into a sort of dogma that can be used toward ends that do not benefit us in the way that was intended. Much like the short-sighted reward of low priced imported goods, we may be digging our own graves if we do not stop to consider the long term effects of our actions.

This is a subject that I have given a lot of thought to, since I witness on an almost daily basis people being asked to de-value themselves, professionally and otherwise, for a nebulous claim of greater good. After years of seeing who actually benefits from such arrangements, I can see clearly that virtually any philosophy taken to extremes can become exploitative. My conclusion is that the way I prefer to experience the joy of giving and sharing is to be the initiator. If the recipient has asked, then one is paying-in to a larger system. To whom that system will pay-out will be completely out of your control, and you had better be prepared to see it all go into one pocket.

Am I over-thinking a simple open-source project? Perhaps. I would enjoy further discussion of the subject with anyone who has a thought to share, here or in private.


Aaron - 40westdesigns.com/blog
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #67892 is a reply to message #67873 ] Mon, 13 May 2013 14:47 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar jethro  is currently offline jethro
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Thanks a lot guys!

I read your thread UniverseBecoming, a great discussion Smile

As you mentioned lasers are our biggest challenge... alternatives are electron beams, induction heating and using an arc to melt the metal powder...

@ aeron203, watch this very informed video if you have not already: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0HOgcbtmws

One of my major reasons for starting the community is to gather all of the relevant information into one easy to use place. Once that is done we can build on it and design a working prototype. So we are essentially in the education and documentation phase of the project.

Regards,

Jethro.
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #67901 is a reply to message #67892 ] Mon, 13 May 2013 16:57 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar UniverseBecoming  is currently offline UniverseBecoming
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Induction I had not thought of, strangely. It's actually a very good idea if a way can be found to focus the energy!

The other methods you've listed I've thought of and I am investigating into these areas along with two things that haven't been thought of yet.

Open source is wonderful! I have contributed in various ways to numerous open source projects over the years. When it comes to hardware though the first person that has enough resources to release the first batch or initiate a successful crowd sourced campaign is the person that makes the main profit. If the community would adopted a clause into open source hardware development where no profit could be made then I think that would be more in the spirit of open source.

What about Shapeways? What will happen to Shapeways when everyone has robust 3D printing available to them at little or no cost? I think Shapeways would be forced to actually operate in the way the founders envisioned with the Shapeways shops rather than making a profit on 3D printing itself like it is currently doing and the shops are more of an barely functional side business. Shapeways, in order to survive, will need to cut lead times down to a few days and profits for 3D printing will need to be cut way down as well. The reason for this is the non tangible nature of the machine operation instructions. Designers will be selling their 3D files for next to nothing to the masses that now have cheap 3D printing available to them.




I prefer to know nothing about everything rather than everything about nothing.  

James
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #67913 is a reply to message #67901 ] Mon, 13 May 2013 18:54 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar BillBedford  is currently offline BillBedford
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UniverseBecoming wrote on Mon, 13 May 2013 16:57


What about Shapeways? What will happen to Shapeways when everyone has robust 3D printing available to them at little or no cost?



The same thing that happened to clothing sweatshops when everybody had a sewing machine....


Bill Bedford
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #67981 is a reply to message #67913 ] Tue, 14 May 2013 17:38 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar UniverseBecoming  is currently offline UniverseBecoming
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Hi Bill,

What do you mean by that in your last reply? I can think of some interpretations, but nothing that stands out to me as being obvious.




I prefer to know nothing about everything rather than everything about nothing.  

James
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #67982 is a reply to message #67981 ] Tue, 14 May 2013 17:46 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar AmLachDesigns  is currently offline AmLachDesigns
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Perhaps he means nothing much will change.

Many households have sewing machines, of those households how many no longer buy clothes but use those machines to make them?
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #67989 is a reply to message #67982 ] Tue, 14 May 2013 18:41 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar UniverseBecoming  is currently offline UniverseBecoming
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True. True. However, how many of those people with their own sewing machines can buy and download a file that is the machine instructions for fabricating a clothing design they like and all they basically need do is upload it to their machine and push a button to get the design in their hands?

The same issue with firearms comes to mind. There has always been the availability of instructions in various forms for making homemade firearms. They're called zip guns. However, these have always required an amount of skill and effort to implement, yet with 3D printing ANYONE will be able to do it with no skill and no expenditure of effort.

I think in the future the masses will buy 3D printers so that they can buy and print 3D products, not create their own designs as in the case with typical sewing machine owners.

I happen to know all about this since I've been selling machine instructions for CNC machining for years now as can be seen at my website Patterns For CNC. CNC machining is a little different in comparison though because one still needs a good amount of skill to operate these machines and figure out things like tool path generation and work holding and whatnot, but still, once the machine is set up all that is needed is to lock the material in and press a button. 3D printing, most forms, is far more simple, as simple as operating an ordinary 2D printer.

Myself and other designers have already began selling our designs for 3D printing and it's just a mater of time before everyone gets a 3D printer and this becomes a normal way for consumer items to be distributed.




I prefer to know nothing about everything rather than everything about nothing.  

James
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #68005 is a reply to message #67989 ] Tue, 14 May 2013 20:08 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar mkroeker  is currently offline mkroeker
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UniverseBecoming wrote on Tue, 14 May 2013 18:41

True. True. However, how many of those people with their own sewing machines can buy and download a file that is the machine instructions for fabricating a clothing design they like and all they basically need do is upload it to their machine and push a button to get the design in their hands?

Not exactly "upload and push a button", but sewing patterns have been around for decades, so I think BillBedfords argument still stands.


(EDIT: s/thing/think/)

[Updated on: Tue, 14 May 2013 20:09 UTC]

Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #68009 is a reply to message #68005 ] Tue, 14 May 2013 20:58 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar PeregrineStudios  is currently offline PeregrineStudios
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I do want to address the point about firearms: it's very true that putting together 'home-made' weapons requires a level of knowledge and skill that 3D printing wouldn't. In the end, it will come down to the law and the websites to police the trade of weapon files. If you really think about, what is stopping any old website from putting up a bunch of assault rifles for sale in countries where it's illegal? Nothing, except for the knowledge that it is illegal and the government keeping tabs. The same will happen with 3D printing. Some bad eggs will find a way to print weapons - those bad eggs that turn ANYTHING sour - and it will be up to the government to police and regulate their distribution just as with real firearms (or, to use a 'digital' example, say.... child pornography). Illegal firearm printing rings will exist and be found and broken up using the same methods they use to catch sexual predators online today. But, just like child porn didn't 'break' the concept of the camera, firearm printing will not 'break' the concept of the 3D printer. Almost anything can be misused illegally or dangerously.

In regards to the question of what will happen to Shapeways when everyone has a metal 3D printer... well, everyone won't. To use the sewing machine example, not everyone has one, not everyone knows how to use it, and DEFINITELY not everyone knows how to use it WELL. If you want any kind of decent result from a 3D printer, especially a metal one, you can't just 'click and print'. You need to know how it works, why this is good and that isn't, how to maintain and care for the machine, what can go wrong and how to fix it, etc. And that's just printing. Postwork such as polishing, painting, and plating all requires experience to do properly and with decent results. And that doesn't even take into account the cost of the printer itself. While I certainly hope that one day metal printers are in an affordable price range for a hobbyist - say, $2,000 to $8,000 depending on the quality - I simply can't imagine a metal printer falling in price lower than that. And that's just a little steep for 'every household' to have when there are cheaper, more efficient, more reliable methods of both obtaining goods through means other than 3D printing, and of 3D printing itself (using a service such as Shapeways). In the end, printers will, I think, remain the domain of businesses and hobbyists.
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #68022 is a reply to message #68009 ] Wed, 15 May 2013 02:18 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar UniverseBecoming  is currently offline UniverseBecoming
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Take a look at this thread and then watch this video of a 3D printed gun created just 3 months after this discussion. When it comes to the technology of 3D printing it is advancing at such an extreme rate it's hard for some to envision what is possible and not possible. Smile

Here's some predictions I'll make for the future of 3D printing.

A commercial non-open source or open source 3D metal printer will be available for under $500 US within one year.

Within 2 years a high resolution non powder based full color 3D printer will come forth for below $600 US.

A major 2D printer manufacturer will offer a full color 3D printer for under $500 US in under 3 years.

3D systems will lose their lawsuit against Formlabs.

Within 2 years a 3D printer of some type will come forth that requires no post processing whatsoever. I always giggle to myself whenever I see someone carefully digging parts out of the powder cake of a SLS machine. So primitive! Laughing

Within 3 years we will begin to see ordinary people purchasing 3D printers with no intentions of printing their own designs. They will be buying them to print designs from designers that are selling exclusively to 3D printer owners.

Within 4 years a multimaterial 3D printer will come forth that also includes metals and will be able to print most products, including semiconductor based products.

Most of the current 3D printing service bureaus will continue to stick around, but they will offer larger and larger 3D print volumes and more and more sophisticated material combinations at increased resolution.

In 15 years you will order your largest consumer items like planes trains and automobiles from companies like Shapeways.

In 25 years all forms of labor preformed by humans will be handed over to artificial intelligence controlled robotics equipment.

I'm not even trying here, this is just what I have come up with off the top of my head in the last 20 minutes or so. I could make more predictions, but that's all I feel like thinking about it at the moment. Very Happy

I can't wait to see what actually comes into being! Surprised




I prefer to know nothing about everything rather than everything about nothing.  

James
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #68035 is a reply to message #68022 ] Wed, 15 May 2013 06:30 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar aeron203  is currently offline aeron203
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...

...

No.
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #68037 is a reply to message #68022 ] Wed, 15 May 2013 06:48 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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@PeregrineStudios: Guns and CP but no Hitler reference ? Shocked
@UniverseBecoming: Not talking solar years (of a small planet classified as "mostly harmless") here, are you ?
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #68041 is a reply to message #68037 ] Wed, 15 May 2013 08:40 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Very Happy




I prefer to know nothing about everything rather than everything about nothing.  

James
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #68043 is a reply to message #68041 ] Wed, 15 May 2013 12:01 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Not to sound terse... I actually gave that a lot of thought!
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #68049 is a reply to message #68043 ] Wed, 15 May 2013 13:03 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar UniverseBecoming  is currently offline UniverseBecoming
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If you're talking about my predictions then lets hear about the details of your thinking on that. Pick one and elaborate. What prevents any of those things from actually happening. Lets hear your own predictions as well. Smile

How about any of you? What are your predictions for the future concerning 3D printing? If you'd rather keep it germane to the thread topic then how about lets hear about your predictions for open source 3D metal printing.




I prefer to know nothing about everything rather than everything about nothing.  

James
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #68057 is a reply to message #68049 ] Wed, 15 May 2013 13:49 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar BillBedford  is currently offline BillBedford
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UniverseBecoming wrote on Wed, 15 May 2013 13:03

How about any of you? What are your predictions for the future concerning 3D printing? If you'd rather keep it germane to the thread topic then how about lets hear about your predictions for open source 3D metal printing.



Orthopaedic surgeons are going to have their work loads increased in order to deal with the world-wide spate of people damaging their hands by firing guns produced on cheap 3D printers.


Bill Bedford
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #68073 is a reply to message #68057 ] Wed, 15 May 2013 15:31 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Good one Bill, I agree, I'll bet something like this does come forth. Gun enthusiasts should get together and demonstrate the dangers involved. There is even the potential for being killed by exploding gun barrels if say a carotid artery were to be pierced.




I prefer to know nothing about everything rather than everything about nothing.  

James
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #68078 is a reply to message #68049 ] Wed, 15 May 2013 16:08 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar aeron203  is currently offline aeron203
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Sure. Your predictions are interesting. Before I address them, I'd like to point out a fun little paradox that references my earlier point, and that is, if I were to systematically address these issues in detail and lay out a very specific road map about which steps to take, and in what order, to advance the capabilities of 3D-printing technology, that information would then be accessible for free on the internet. As you continually remind us, the prevailing view asserts that all information is free. While it might provide temporary advantage to someone with the resources to capitalize on it (by building a new printer or business), the the value would quickly drop to zero. Because I do not have access to, and control of, sufficient capital (multiple millions), I have to monetize the information on a piecemeal basis or the fruits of my intellectual labor will have no value. For that reason, you should be aware that I am carefully picking and choosing the scope of things I will address.

I may get to the metal printer if I have time to continue the discussion, but first I want to take issue with your impression of the speed of innovation in 3D-printing. I spent way too long on this bit, so I also made it a post on my blog Smile

------------------------------------------------------------ --------------------------------------------------
I think that many of the predictions I hear, while they might have a hint of truth in what will be accomplished, are fairly far off in terms of the timeline.

Before I address the level of innovation, we also have to define what constitutes innovation, and there are some slightly varying interpretations floating around. One recent view makes a very sharp distinction between innovation and invention. Invention being the original seed of the idea, and innovation being defined by the impact it has on us. The big example would be the iPhone, which was clearly innovative in many ways. There was not a lot of invention though, since nearly all of the components (touch-screen, mobile internet, etc.) were already available, and it was just very well designed, built and marketed, leading to incredible impact that most people agree was a great example of innovation. The definition in some peoples eyes then becomes purely defined by impact, which I don't entirely agree with. I think the innovation was in the integration of the technologies in a conscious and harmonious way, which to me is just an example of Design that simply goes outside of the scope of what most people think of design - "how stuff looks". The iPhone was innovative because the technologies were mature enough to perform predictably, which made it possible to create a design without glaring flaws, which is what was needed for adoption and impact. So by the 'impact' definition, if one of the technologies you choose is not mature enough, or some aspect of culture made it hard for people to accept your creation, or even if some random thing happened like an earthquake that prevented your product from being successful, then that means you did not contribute to innovation. It also would mean, for example, that if a factory that you contracted to produce your device simply stole it, they would get credit for the innovation. I don't think that definition holds water. In that case both the inventor and the integrator worked together, consciously or not, to produce the innovation.

My definition of innovation is a combination of Invention and what I'm calling Integration, where the invention is gracefully married to the whole ecosystem that allows it to exist and flourish. This is essentially turning something rare and delicate into a robust commodity so that people can conceive of it, access it, and modify it, and so business people can model it, predict changes in it's use, and so will be willing to help it succeed. I have put more than enough into this aspect of what I wanted to say, so for further information I suggest reading the works of Simon Wardley. Those ideas spin off into fairly dense economic theory which is not my bag, but you can get a nice intro to his ideas about cycles of innovation in this appropriately themed blog post: Spoiler alert for 3D Printing.

Is 3D-printing innovating at light speed? It may seem that way, but I think it's been exaggerated. Let's look at extrusion printers and quickly review their development which I'm sure you're aware of. Scott Crump invented the whole thing in 1989. CNC machines were already a thing obviously. His company, Stratasys, came up with the extruder bit, and then a whole wave of other things that flowed from that, like the sparse fill, support, heated build chamber, etc. that were needed to make the output accurate and repeatable. His patent expired and along came Rep-Rap, which beget MakerBot and everyone else. Making printers a commodity is a part of "3D-printing innovation", but in my mind we should not separate it from the invention stage because it is entirely dependent on it. Without invention there will be no innovation. How many really strong examples of invention are there in open-source extrusion printers? Ones on the level of in-fill, support, and others like Statasys added? There were a few things with tool paths (mostly from Joris at Ultimaker), and the Thing-o-matic conveyor belt was a seriously awesome idea, but that's about it. There are thousands of people working on them day and night, and all I see is people making them bigger or smaller or cheaper, or sticking weird materials in them, but mostly just printing out junk models that they didn't design. That fulfills the "adoption and diffusion" portion of innovation, but adding another extruder or changing layer thickness or whatever is not going to bring us to 3D-printed cell phones as people are predicting. There has been virtually nothing done in 20 years! Why, because people outside of industry suddenly care, will the actual technology suddenly leap forward? I'm not saying it won't accelerate rapidly, but I want to see some examples.

I think it is more likely that new innovations will come as a result of inventions which are not 3D-printers, but when integrated, create an ecosystem where the printer becomes more useful. Obvious technologies to integrate would be 3D scanning and digital object transmission. Both of those things are already here, but it is the integration of them that is innovative and has value. Both of those things need robust software (let's call it an "information ecosystem to live in") to reach the level of maturity needed for integration. 3D scanning software must align, clean-up, analyze and transform the data to make use of it. A digital object distribution system needs to take all kinds of situations into account (ahem, wall thickness etc.) and allow for economic activity to spring from it's use. People in industry know these things, which is why we have Geomagic and Shapeways. Is it possible that one might come up with a fantastically brilliant way of doing things better while they're tinkering with their printer? Sure! Kids who are now using one at 10 years old are going to have the perfect mindset to do exactly that when they're 20. But it will be because they connect the existing ideas with something else, where no one saw the connection before and didn't see how the new relationship would be beneficial. When it comes to the invention portion though, a lot of that requires some hard-core science and observation of things that haven't already been observed for hundreds of thousands of man-hours by really smart people who were working night and day to come up with a solution because their livelihood depended on it.

If it is true that we will see the massive innovation that has been predicted within the next few years, we first need to see the inventions that completely up-end the way we think of 3D-printing. A completely new deposition method. A new way of supporting the build material that doesn't have to be cleaned off and doesn't harm the surface finish. We could see nearly microscopic building blocks (voxels) that link together and have different properties produced in mass quantities as proposed by Hod Lipson at Cornell. Build material might be supported by electromagnetic fields, a stream of particles, tiny robotic arms that either directly support or place temporary fixtures, or any other exotic method that will seem like science fiction right up to the moment when it becomes science fact. Since we have not seen these advancement move past the "what if?" stage, we are going to have to be patient, but more importantly, work extremely hard, to make it happen.

I understand why the change seems to be happening at a frenetic pace. There has been an explosion of media coverage, and those who have been quietly working on their own advances have suddenly been given a good reason to make a lot of noise about what they are doing and the potential it has. By the time their message filters through media, their perhaps optimistic claims can be blown wildly out of proportion. If you just heard about 3D-printing last week, and this week you read a story about printing of living cells, it is easy to get the impression that the progress had been made in one week, when in actuality the printer had been around for 20 years and the doctor had been working on that application for 10 years. Boiled down into newspaper article, then hastily reviewed in a short blog post, then summarized in a tweet, there really isn't much reference point to give the reader. It's just disembodied "Wow" that drifts completely out of context, and certainly does not contribute to actual advancement except where, by sheer chance, excited investors throw so much money at something they know nothing about, that some of it lands it the right spot.
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BTW, my prediction is that no more than a handful of even minor injuries will occur as a result of the distribution of the Liberator 3D-printed gun files, from either end of the device, unless someone does it purely for publicity. The drama is kind of entertaining, though. I describe the thing as a placebo for the paranoid, and it may even have the benefit of undermining hegemony by making it even more difficult to intimidate people who appear to be at a material disadvantage. That can happen purely through meme distribution, no actual guns or even model files are needed to make it work.



Aaron - 40westdesigns.com/blog
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #68135 is a reply to message #68078 ] Thu, 16 May 2013 09:48 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar UniverseBecoming  is currently offline UniverseBecoming
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Hi Aeron,

Nice left brain optimized reply! Thanks! I'll have to carefully read what you've written to see what it is you're saying exactly since I don't have good reading comprehension, especially for highly left brain skewed writing style such as yours. I've been avoiding it all day! hehe Very Happy

I'll look again and try to give a response when I've had time to charge back up.




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James
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #68191 is a reply to message #68135 ] Fri, 17 May 2013 03:07 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Ok. I read through your reply! Surprised

True, there have not been any major developments in 3D printing as of late, other than two photon 3D lithography, but I think where the explosion is happening mainly is the implementation of 3D printing by society. Take a look into open source projects related to 3D printing that have come into being within the last 2 years, excluding FDM related. It's expanding at such an amazing rate that its becoming a risk to invest money into the development of commercial 3D printers. Take Formlabs' Form 1 for example, there has just recently sprung up a fully functional open source version that has the same functionality and will be offered in kit form for a little more than 1/3 the price of the Form 1. There is even something similar to the space race happening right now related to 3D printing where countries are currently spending hundreds of millions of dollars US to be the leader in 3D printing based manufacturing.

What I love about speculating about the future of additive manufacturing is we don't have to wait long to actually see what's going to come forth! Very Happy




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James
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #69131 is a reply to message #68191 ] Mon, 03 June 2013 18:12 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Just a quick update for the interested... there are some top notch ideas going around!

We have decided, for now at least, to put a "laser scanner" on the back burner and go with a Gantry. So some form of CNC software in combination with a slicer will be used.

Check out some preliminary designs for the Metalbot printer here... http://www.metalbot.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=111

If you have google sketchup you can download the model here... http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehou...74&prevstart=0

Best!

Jethro.
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #77287 is a reply to message #69131 ] Tue, 22 October 2013 12:48 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar jethro  is currently offline jethro
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Hi everyone!

It has been a few months and the Metalbot project is slowly coming together!

Check out what is going on: http://www.metalbot.org/

We have had loads of great ideas and there are quite a few very interesting projects unfolding at the moment (take a look at the projects section).

We are slowly working towards a preliminary design and there are a lot of options now so if you guys have any ideas, please send them our way!

All the best,

Jethro.
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #77297 is a reply to message #67558 ] Tue, 22 October 2013 14:56 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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BillBedford wrote on Mon, 06 May 2013 19:04

Well, a metal printing machine is never going to be the sort of kit you could run in your bedroom.........


Why do you say this? Because of the heating aspects?


Admin of 3DPrintBoard.com - 3D Printing Forum - http://3DPrintBoard.com
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #77314 is a reply to message #77287 ] Tue, 22 October 2013 18:09 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Hey Jethro!

Looks great so far by looking at the pictures! Very Happy Can you make a video? I'd like to see you give a description of the new developments on video. Or did I miss the video section or something. If you create a Youtube account and make a video you'll get a lot of exposure.

Have you created any solid metal parts yet? If not, what's holding things up?

Have you considered putting together a Kickstarter campaign?




I prefer to know nothing about everything rather than everything about nothing.  

James
Re: The Metalbot Project: an open source initiative... [message #77317 is a reply to message #68005 ] Tue, 22 October 2013 18:38 UTC Go to previous messageGo to previous message
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mkroeker wrote on Tue, 14 May 2013 20:08

UniverseBecoming wrote on Tue, 14 May 2013 18:41

True. True. However, how many of those people with their own sewing machines can buy and download a file that is the machine instructions for fabricating a clothing design they like and all they basically need do is upload it to their machine and push a button to get the design in their hands?

Not exactly "upload and push a button", but sewing patterns have been around for decades, so I think BillBedfords argument still stands.



I just read the thread again and I see that I missed replying to this, sorry.

My reply is. Have you every tried to construct a garment from a pattern using a sewing machine? I have! And failed! HAHAHA!! Very Happy And I'm a master machinist too! It is drastically different, than upload and push a button. You need a whole lot of experience when it comes to successfully creating garments from patterns using a sewing machine.




I prefer to know nothing about everything rather than everything about nothing.  

James

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