Tag Archives: Thingiverse
More than just a tool, 3D printing is an emerging ecosystem.
– Paul Brody, IBM on the exponential growth of the 3D printing industry
At the Siemens Global Innovation Summit in Phoenix, IBM’s Paul Brody gave a look at how manufacturing transformation is changing the traditional rules of product design and development.
Brody highlighted 3 technologies: 3D printing, intelligent robotics, and open-source engineering.
On 3D printing, he discussed key trends:
- 3D printing is rapidly achieving levels of performance required to be production-ready
- 3D printing is already used in production for medical devices and aerospace
- Performance is improving year on year
- At lower volumes, unit costs are competitive with machining and plastic injection molding
He also dove into trends on open-source and crowdsourcing, asserting that 80% of consumers told IBM they are willing to help enterprises develop their products. Brody claimed, “Accept their help or see them build your competition on Kickstarter.”
IBM had partnered with The Economist to analyze the growth rate of open-source design repositories, namely Thingiverse, and found that the number of 3D printable items is on an exponential upwards path while complexity as measured by number of parts is on a steady increase.
Paul Brody’s full talk is embedded below and more research from IBM is available here.
Look who now has a license to manufacture firearms! The work begins!
– Cody Wilson, Defense Distributed
Controversial 3D printed guns maker Defense Distributed has attained a license to manufacture guns. An image of the Type 7 license was published on Defense Distributed’s Facebook page along with a note that said “The work begins!” This license allows the company to sell the parts they have been manufacturing, such as components for automatic weapons as well as its potential “Wiki Weapon.”
There has been much debate on the topic:
- MakerBot pulled plans for gun parts from Thingiverse following the Newton school shootings
- Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) is looking to introduce legislation to prohibit 3D printing of gun parts
- Chris Anderson weighs in saying “3D printing is a terrible technology for the working components of a gun.”
Here’s the original launch video for Defense Distributed, now with over 1 million views.
The hottest attraction at the Westport Library is not a book or collection of DVDs, but rather two manufacturing units.
At the heart of the spacious library, an area called MakerSpace has been carved out to encourage creativity and the spirit of invention. Inside the space are two MakerBot Replicator machines — 3D printers, as they are more commonly known.
Librarians have observed an increase in vistors interested in 3D printing.
It was after a hugely successful Maker Faire last April that librarians started thinking about getting the 3D printer and creating a space just for makers, hence MakerSpace.
Reference librarian Margie Freilich-Den said the library helps its patrons with job searches, and the Maker Faire was just one step to encourage residents to “get back to our manufacturing roots” and encourage people with ideas to try them out. Maker Faire is sponsored by Maker magazine and is its own brand promoting innovation, invention and doing things yourself.
“It’s another way to use the library,” said Marcia Logan, the library’s communications coordinator.
Since the first 3D printer started operating in July, dozens of visitors have come in to see it, use it and learn.
One man brought in his patented design for a device that plugs into a car cell phone charger and locks the phone so it cannot be used to text or talk while driving. Another man brought his own patented design for a medical device, a type of catheter.
But most either try to see what it can do by choosing an item from a computer program of 3D designs called Thingiverse, or print something they need, like cases for iPhones, staff members said.
The Westport Library will be sponsoring a mini MakerFaire in April.
Michael Weinberg has published an extensive whitepaper about the potential impact of Copyright Law on the emerging 3D printing industry.
3D printing provides an opportunity to change the way we think about the world around us. It merges the physical and the digital. People on opposite sides of the globe can collaborate on designing an object and print out identical prototypes every step of the way. Instead of purchasing one of a million identical objects built in a faraway factory, users can customize pre-designed objects and print them out at home. Just as computers have allowed us to become makers of movies, writers of articles, and creators of music, 3D printers allow everyone to become creators of things.
3D printing also provides an opportunity to reexamine the way we think about intellectual property. The direct connection that many people make between “digital” and “copyright” is largely the result of a historical accident. The kinds of things that were easiest to create and distribute with computers – movies, music, articles, photos – also happened to be the types of things that were protected by copyright. Furthermore, it happened to be that the way computers distribute things – by copying – was exactly the behavior that copyright regulated. As a result, copyright became an easy way to (at least attempt to) control what people were doing with computers.
In the whitepaper, Weinberg explains how copyright law and the DMCA will apply to 3D printing. He also describes the first case of copyright infringement: the Penrose triangle.
The story of the first 3D printing-related copyright takedown request is a case in point. A designer named Ulrich Schwanitz created a 3D model for an optical illusion called a “Penrose triangle.” He uploaded his design to a website, Shapeways, that allows designers to sell 3D printed objects and invited the public to purchase a copy in the material of their choice. He also, for better or worse, both claimed that creating this design was a massive design achievement and refused to tell anyone else how he made the object.
As is often the case on the internet, shortly thereafter another designer, Thingiverse user artur83, uploaded a Penrose triangle with the comment:
Unlike Shapeways, the website Thingiverse is built around sharing design files. As a result, because it was now up on Thingiverse anyone could download the design, understand how it worked, and print out their own version at home.
Schwanitz did not appreciate artur83′s behavior and sent a request to Thingiverse that the model be removed.  Thingiverse complied, but eventually public outcry convinced Schwanitz to dedicate his design to the public domain and retract the takedown request.
Weinberg continues in his whitepaper to describe the difference between useful and creative objects, licensable and non-licensable designs. He concludes that online communities will have a great amount of influence on how copyright policy is enacted.
Until there is better legal clarity, cultural clarity is the best way to protect the development of 3D printing.
Read the full whitepaper called What’s the Deal with Copyright and 3D Printing?.
Found something fun tonight! Over at MakerBot Thingiverse is a 3D printed bust of Stephen Colbert’s head. And below is a video of the bust being 3D printed.