Sunday, October 27, 2013

3D Printing Book Report

I was asked by TechPoint to present a brief 'book report' on 3D printing 10/17 at their Tech Thursday event for October.  It was a lot of fun and the audience was really engaged.  I gave a similar presentation to the Indianapolis Public Library 10/24.  The goal for both is to tell the big story about how 3D printing is changing manufacturing and represents an opportunity for 'clever kids' to stake out a career with new skills that will span generations.  I call it: ST3M: Science, Technology, 3D Printing and Math!

From the TechPoint blog (which makes me sound really smart :)
  • You can turn your dreams into parts now, which is really cool. It comes with some caveats; these new tools have new rules.

  • What used to be an assembly of many different parts is now a single 3D part. The quality control and inventory implications alone are enough to justify this technology. You don't have to make as many different parts, you don't have to measure them, you don't have to keep them in stock, you don't have to assemble them and measure them again, and you don't have QC guys floating around. So there are a lot of positive impacts aside from the geometry of 3D printing.

  • 3D printing is not just for rapid prototyping anymore, we're making parts that are being used in actual products.

  • Autocad is so 90s. That way of thinking doesn't work anymore and we have to be able to represent objects that have depth in order to stay competitive and innovative.

  • 3D printing is a "scratch your own itch" medium. You can now make just one of something instead of needing all of the infrastructure that it used to take just to make one.

  • Subtractive manufacturing vs. additive manufacturing: In the old way, we used to whittle away material. Today, we can give you any shape you want and you are only paying for the actual molecules of the part and no waste.

  • Everybody should stop what they are doing and go download free software like Sketchup or 123D or similar tools.  They are easy ways to learn and draw in 3D. 

Saturday, October 05, 2013

An open letter to Indiana's 6th District Representative Luke Messer...

I learned today that Federal employees furloughed by the shutdown will now be paid retroactively.  That seems to take all the pressure off of Congress to act quickly to bring this mess to a close.  

I believe the Republicans have acted irresponsibly and un-patriotically.  Not only has your behavior jeopardized the standing of the United States in the world and caused significant harm to millions of citizens, but it is insulting to Federal workers and damaging to their morale and retention.

Despite the Republican talking points, you can't deny this debate is about a law passed by Congress, endorsed by the electorate (given the President's re-election on the issue) and upheld by the Supreme Court.  Why can't you just amend the law if you think it's broken?  Why can't you simply run for re-election yourself on the basis of your disagreement?  I believe the Republican charge that the ACA will irreversibly damage our country is speculative - but the damage done to our country by the shutdown and partisan politics practiced mainly by Republicans is certain.

The words of your colleague Marlin Stutzman are embarrassingly revealing.  The Republicans don't know what they want besides the destruction of the Obama administration.

This is a clear result of too much money in politics - Congressmen must pander to increasingly polarized constituencies continuously to retain their offices.  And gerrymandering has created districts that can be dominated by one party - and pushed farther and farther to extremes.

At least this debacle may present teachable moments in Government classes.  Hopefully a generation of young people will take their patriotism more seriously than most of the members in Congress and place the good of the country ahead of their selfish ambitions for more power.


Kim Brand