3D Printing and the Future of Making

Our group of Makers is quickly diving into the world of 3D Printing.  In our second class together, we formed our project groups and began learning our strengths and interests.  I am excited to see what ideas Carter, Charlene, and I will pursue this semester.  For the three of us, this is our first experience with 3D Printing.

For me, learning about the entire process from concept development to design to final print is what motivated me to take this course.  With no prior knowledge or experience, I felt naive walking into the Maker Lab for the first time.   It is fascinating to think how the same technologies are being used right now to revolutionize manufacturing, medicine and healthcare, and so much more.  However, what I soon learned is that Making can, and should be, a collaborative, continuous learning process.  I was truly surprised by the extent to which the Maker community collaborates and shares.  Certainly this can have legal implications for intellectual property as 3D Printing becomes more ubiquitous, a topic that we discussed in class.

In “How to Make Almost Anything,” Neil Gershenfeld discusses moral and legal concerns regarding 3D Printing and fabrication.  With Fab Labs appearing around the world and 3D Printing becoming more assessable, intellectual property is at risk of being stolen.  Besides that, some are even concerned that these machines may soon be able to self reproduce, resulting in “gray goo.”  Gershenfeld calls this “doomsday scenario” where these machines could multiply out of control and consume all available resources.  However, many dismiss these claims as unlikely.  In my opinion, I believe we are far away from that becoming a reality, but I understand why some have called for increased regulation on 3D printing as it can be used for illegal activities.  Regardless, everyone could benefit from viewing 3D Printing and all of Making from multiple angles.

In The Maker Mindset”, Dale Dougherty says that “the biggest challenge and the biggest opportunity for the Maker Movement is to transform education.”  Listening to Jeff Ginger, Director of the CU Community Fab Lab made me realize that the transformation has already begun.  Making gives people of all ages the opportunity to think creatively, problem solve, and develop new skills every day.  Listening to Jeff also helped me get a better understanding of how I should approach the course.  It is an opportunity to learn, experiment, succeed, and yes, even fail.  I am really excited to have so many machines and technologies at my disposal and by the end of the semester I hope to be more confident in my making abilities.

With websites like Thingiverse and YouMagine, the community of Makers can create, modify, and share designs instantly.  At the end of class, within 10 minutes of time, I was able to find a design, download it, and begin printing on the Ultimaker 2+.  After about a half hour of printing, I had my first 3D Print, a replica of the Lion from the Art Institute of Chicago.

After looking through the sites, I have found a number of practical items that I could print and use in my own apartment.  The first object I chose was a spice rack.  Sharing a small kitchen with three other roommates can mean cabinet space is at a premium.  To improve this design, I would add brackets to hang the rack from the cabinet door instead of having to attach it to the door with screws.  The second object I found was this cable saver.  My chargers often fail because the cords become frayed,  Hopefully, this would prevent the cord from fraying.  I would add length to the saver and make it bigger so that I could aslo use it for my laptop charger.  The third object I would use is this earbud holder.  Every time I walk to or from class I have to untangle my headphones before I could use them.  I like this design, but I would take away the movable covers because I personally don’t find them necessary.  A fourth object I would use is this iPhone charging station.  Printing my own would be much cheaper than buying a “real” one, and I wouldn’t have to leave my phone on the floor to charge anymore.  I would make the base bigger so that the cord does not bend too closely to the end causing it to fray.  With these ideas in mind, I am starting to see how I can come up with my own ideas and prototype my own in the Maker Lab.  I am excited as we continue on towards design!

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About Brian Kobiernicki

Brian is a junior studying Information Systems & Information Technology and Business Process Management. On campus, Brian is President of the Association for Information Systems. Last summer, he interned with W.W. Grainger, Inc. as a Business Systems Analyst and will be returning again for Summer 2017.

3 thoughts on “3D Printing and the Future of Making

  1. Hey Brian, you did a great job with this post. I agree with your references to the readings. I too did not realize how connected the Maker community was or that there was an “organized/official” maker community at all. I have been building my invovement in the entrepreneurial community and hope to do so in the maker community and I believe this class is a good way to go. Since you are very interested in learning these technologies, there couple RSO’s especially the engineering societies on campus that offer workshops in these ways to make things if you are interested. I also liked the items you found on the sites, I would definitely be able to use them daily as well.

  2. I really enjoyed your post! I enjoyed how you went into the long-term effects and possible consequences of the 3D printing revolution. I agree that the Maker movement is a huge educational tool that can help anyone think creatively and solve problems, no matter who they are. I would also definitely print earbud holders, as one of my pet peeves is having to constantly untangle my headphones.

  3. Hey Brian!

    I found your post very fascinating and extremely well written! I honestly think we can all agree that this first week in the Maker Lab has simply been unreal and such a positive experience. I think the iPhone charging station is an excellent choice of one of your 4 things. As I’m always running out of juice on my iPhone I would definitely invest in one of those as well. I wonder if there is any way these charging stations can be made with more flexibility to accommodate for Android and other smartphone consumers as well.

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