[rp-ml] Open source whatchamacallits

From: Marshall Burns (MB-ListMail2@Ennex.com)
Date: Tue Aug 09 2005 - 19:28:19 EEST

Wow, did you know "whatchamacallit" is in the dictionary? At dictionary.com
anyway. I was gonna call this "Open source fabbers," but anyway, ...

This is my reply to the second part of Ed's message.

But, oops, this is interesting. Looks like I misread your message, Ed.
Somehow I thought on first reading that you were suggesting taking Offset
Fabbing open source. I see now that you were just talking about making a kit
for it. Well, that's interesting too, but let me follow through on what I
thought you were talking about in the first place.

Because I'd really like to know if anyone on this list has insights to share
on this subject.

I've pondered going open source before. When James Howison and I gave our
"Napster Fabbing" talk a few years ago at a P2P (peer to peer) conference, I
tried to get into a few conversations with some open source sw gurus about
how the idea could apply to hardware. I didn't come to see how it would, but
then again, I still don't really understand how it works for software. As a
struggling entrepreneur, I would look at people like Linus Torvalds (creator
of Linux) and I'd say to myself, "Well, he's got a job, he doesn't have to
worry about making a living from this." I haven't held a paycheck job for
more than a few cumulative years in my half-century life, so I have to think
about ways to turn what I do into revenue.

But I'm very intrigued with the open source idea and how it's been at the
core of some very interesting software projects, Linux just being the
best-known example. And I'm wondering, is there is some productive way to
turn the Offset Fabbing technology into an open source resource?

Anyone have any ideas on this?

And Ed, I will also think some more about your el-cheapo 3dP kit idea. Maybe
it could be a project for the graduate-level class I'm teaching this coming

Best regards,
Marshall Burns


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-rp-ml@rapid.lpt.fi [mailto:owner-rp-ml@rapid.lpt.fi] On Behalf
Of EdGrenda@aol.com
Sent: Monday, August 08, 2005 10:18
To: MB-ListMail2@Ennex.com; rp-ml@rapid.lpt.fi
Subject: Re: [rp-ml] Back from oblivion

Hi Marshall:

... [snip -- preceding portion appears in my previous response]

Consonant with the goal of popularizing 3D printing, your university
position and patent portfolio might put you in a unique position to be able
to pull this together. Instead of a $25,000 3D printer for students paid
for by the guvvamint, how about a set of plans or kit for a 3D printer that
sells for, oh - $300 paid for by petty cash? Getting a bunch of grad
students together and designing it, providing licenses for your patents,
providing materials - could be lucrative and in itself lead to industry
growth. And much of this you've already been through as a process with the

Here's interesting technology that could help put an el cheapo LOM machine
on every student's desk:


The article describes inexpensive laser diode cutting of paper that can
easily be combined with any inkjet printer. LOM is not perfect technology
and maybe there would be manual assembly, and decubing - but for $300 - or
less - and color ?

In ending, I have to just say that I don't feel nanotech is a complete
boondoggle, but I suspect it is going to be similar in development path to
biotechnology. That is, many years before a payoff, if any. Considering
how much money and hype is being piled into the field, however, I believe it
is a particular benefit to me that among the first products of the field
have been stain-resistant trousers.

Ed Grenda
Castle Island Co.
781-646-6280 (voice or fax)
EdGrenda@aol.com (email)

The Worldwide Guide to Rapid Prototyping

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