Tag Archives: Manufacturing

Bunnie’s Factory Tour Part 1: How To Make A BOM

Bunnie Huang posted an extensive explanation of how you’re doing your Bill Of Materials (BOM) all wrong. Here’s a taste. For the whole 5-course meal head over to his blog.

Most Makers trying to scale up quickly realize the only practical path forward is to outsource production.

Every single assumption, down to the color of the soldermask, has to be spelled out unambiguously for a third party to faithfully reproduce a design. Missing or incomplete documentation is the lead cause of production delays, defects, and cost overruns.

Here’s some of the things missing from the [typical] BOM:

  • Approved manufacturer for each component
  • Tolerance, material composition, and voltage spec for passive components
  • Package type information for all parts
  • Extended part numbers specific to each manufacturer

A complete BOM for an LED flasher also needs to include the PCB, battery, plastic case pieces, lens, screws, any labeling (for example, a serial number), a manual, and packaging (plastic bag plus cardboard box, for example). There may also need to be a master carton as a single boxed LED flasher is too small to ship on its own.

 

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Defense Distributed Had Their Stratasys 3D Printer Taken Away

Defense Distributed, headed by Cody Wilson, is championing the Wiki Weapon project, the aim of which is to produce files for a 3D printable gun.

Unfortunately for them, when Stratasys found out what they were doing the 3D printer they had leased got repossessed.  Stratasys said that a plastic gun runs afoul of the 1988 Undetectable Firearms Act which bans guns that can pass through a metal detector without setting it off (according to Wired Danger Room). WikiWep posted the letter from Stratasys on their blog…along with a weak attempt to spin the situation. This is also following the attempt to raise money on indiegogo, which was ended by indiegogo after they found out what Wilson was doing.

According to Wired…

Wilson visited the ATF field office in Austin…he added that the ATF believes he’s not broken any laws, and that the agency believes 3-D printed guns fall into a regulatory gray area…

Wilson says he’s consulted with a lawyer, and is considering acquiring a federal firearms manufacturing license, a process that could take at least two months at the earliest. He’s also thought it may be necessary to incorporate Defense Distributed, turning it into a company instead of a decentralized internet collective.

Wilson says. “It’s just disgusting. I hate that that’s the way it is, but that’s apparently the regulatory landscape.”

Wilson says his group is looking at building an electricity-fired 3D-printed test chamber that can be used to test pressure and the interaction between heat given off by bullets with thermoplastic, which could cause the gun to melt. The chamber wouldn’t have a trigger, Wilson says, who also plans to send the schematics to the ATF for approval while waiting for a manufacturing license.

Wired Danger Room also produced an interesting follow up to this story in which they dive into Stratasys’ relationship with existing weapons manufacturers. It turns out the company’s 3D printers are very popular with companies like Remington because, surprise surprise, they use them to rapidly prototype new guns. There is an exception in the Undetectable Firearms Act for plastic guns as long as they are prototypes made by licensed manufacturers.

I’ll wrap this up with the words of 3D Systems Corporations, CEO, Abe Reichental

Keeping 3D printing positive, allowing it to continue to make good requires decisive action – industry wide action.

With that in mind, I call on our capable and responsible industry leaders to join me in making 3D printing good and the community safe. Without taking a position on gun control laws, our responsibility is to be lawful.

We should join together so parents don’t have to worry their child might print something illegally and communities don’t have to worry that someone irresponsible will open fire with a printed weapon and companies don’t have to worry about counterfeiting and piracy.

References and additional links

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Brian Proffitt and Tim Worstall on Open Source 3D Printing

3D printing (can we all agree on whether or not to hyphenate and/or capitalize the “d”) is a hot topic for speculation in certain circles. Lets look at some now…

Read the original article by Brian Proffitt over at ReadWriteWeb.com or just the highlights here.

The potential of 3D printing to transform the way we get things – the market is predicted to hit $3.1 billion in the next four years - gets a lot of press. But not much of that attention has focused on the unique role of open source hardware in enabling 3D printing to realize its promise.

Open source hardware is a component or device that has been licensed to allow anyone to examine, duplicate and modify the hardware as they wish…Open source hardware doesn’t get much attention outside of geek circles, but it is starting to have a real-world impact.

Arduino’s hardware is completely open sourced (under Creative Commons), with design files and specs available, as well as control software (under the GPL) and documentation (also under Creative Commons). The only thing non-free about Arduino is the trademarked name – and that’s just to keep standards in place.

Making it easier, faster and cheaper to produce physical objects could fundamentally shift the manufacturing paradigm. As 3D printing, powered by Arduino and other open source technologies, becomes more prevalent, economies of scale become much less of a problem.

One little blue-and-white microcontroller may not be the fulcrum to move the world, but open source hardware is definitely making the lever longer and easier to push.

Read the original article by Tim Worstall over at Forbes. Or not. Here are some excerpts for your brain.

Is 3-D printing going to change our world in the decades to come? Sure it is, it’s going to, in fact it already is, entirely change the economics of low volume manufacturing. That, in turn, changes the economics of high volume manufacturing and so we’ll end up with an entirely different product mix, what gets made where and how.

… it’s easy enough to see a time in which one has such a [3D] printer just as much as one has a paper printer. Need something, call up the part design over the web, pay a buck or two perhaps (and no doubt there will be open sourcers as well) and print out whatever it is that you wanted.

However, I’m continually seeing the old Luddite point beng made. If we don’t need factories full of workers to do things then won’t everyone be poor as they’ve got no jobs?…I continually pound my head onto the desk when I see this argument.

If we’re getting as many physical goods from our 3-D printers as we desire then there’s no shortage of non-physical goods, services if you like, that that same displaced labour can now go and provide…But the second, and clinching, argument is about cost. We will obviously only use our 3-D printers to create everything if they are cheaper than the more traditional manufacturing methods…let us go to the extreme and assume that they are cheaper: so much so that manufacturing really does disappear. What does that do to wages? Yup, a fall in the costs of things is equal to, is by definition the equivalent of, a rise in real wages. So if 3-D printers do take off it can only be because, by definition, they make us all richer.

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US Gov Jumps on 3D Printing Bandwagon with National Network for Manufacturing Innovation

Well 3D printing has officially sold out. The Pentagon is going to fund a new program called the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). It will be 15 institutes which will each serve as a hub for “manufacturing excellence.” It will be managed by the Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Commerce’s NIST, the National Science Foundation, and friends.

Wanna read President Obama’s speech on the subject? Of course you don’t, so here are the important bits:

I’m laying out my plans for a new National Network of Manufacturing Innovation –- and these are going to be institutes of manufacturing excellence where some of our most advanced engineering schools and our most innovative manufacturers collaborate on new ideas, new technology, new methods, new processes…To do that, we need Congress to act.  Hmm.  (Laughter and applause.)  It’s true.  (Laughter.)  But that doesn’t mean we have to hold our breath.  We’re not going to wait — we’re going to go ahead on our own.  Later this year, we’re going to choose the winner of a competition for a pilot institute for manufacturing innovation — help them get started…And sparking this network of innovation across the country – it will create jobs and it will keep America in the manufacturing game.  Of course, there’s more we can do to seize this moment of opportunity to create new jobs and manufacturing here in America.

An interesting note from the Request for Information is that, “Each Institute will have a clear focus area that does not overlap with those of the other Institutes. The focus area could be an advanced material, a manufacturing process, an enabling technology, or an industry sector. The federal government does not intend to create or provide a complete list of focus areas for the NNMI. The NNMI solicitation will invite applicants to propose such areas.” The RFI offers additive manufacturing as the first example of a potential focus area.

This whole thing will be overseen by the brand new Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office which will be hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  The FY13 budget (pdf) “makes available” $1 billion to help the NNMI establish an “ecosystem” of manufacturing activity.

Hopefully this endeavor will manufacture more than just acronyms.

Related Links:

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Selected Quotes From RepRap Inventor Dr Adrian Bowyer

Read this stuff. Then get your RepRap supplies from the man himself.

3D manufacturing, or printing, is the most versatile production method humanity has yet come up with.

The role of the core team is to design the mechanics, electronics and software for the ‘standard’ RepRap….My role is to scratch my head and to wonder where it’s all going…

We estimate (though this is probably not a very accurate figure) that there are about 2,500 RepRaps and RepRap derivatives in the world. That’s from a total of four at the start of 2008. So there are almost certainly thousands of hobbyists doing exactly that. Things will get interesting when it becomes hundreds of millions, and to get there is my vision for the project.

The interesting thing about a widespread takeup of this technology is the way it would bypass conventional finance. The machines would be creating great wealth, but would be almost valueless themselves…A manufacturing machine that can copy itself can create goods like no other technology we have – it is the only way to do so with exponential growth, for example. But by that very fact, both the machine and those goods have a value that, as the technology spreads, asymptotically approaches the value of the raw materials used.

Conventional manufacturing produces goods in an arithmetic progression. But a self-copying 3D printer produces goods – and itself – in a geometric progression. And, no matter how slow it is, any geometric progression overtakes every arithmetic progression, no matter how fast, eventually.

I think that OS is in general a good thing anyway. The alternative is various forms of intellectual monopoly, and I can see no real justification for any of them.

When one has a machine that self-copies, logic compels one to make it open-source. The alternative is that one will spend the rest of one’s life in court trying to stop people doing with the machine the one thing it was most designed to do.

If this technology becomes very wide-spread, and if a large number of personal users have them in their homes, what’s going to happen to the whole idea of patents and copyrights? Of course, the answer is found in what has happened over the last ten years in recorded music. Nearly every country on Earth has laws protecting copyright and nearly every 17-year-old has 30 gigabytes of illegally-downloading MP3s on their hard drives. You can’t sue the entire human race.

The interesting thing about 3D printing is that it doesn’t replace one manufacturing industry, it could replace them all.

I expect RepRap will be resisted by many industries, but I’m far too old and uninterested in that aspect of the world to take on any fights. If the idea works the resistance is bound to fail, if not the resistance will have been pointless.

Related Links

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Interview With Joe Justice of Wikispeed

Simone Cicero has posted an extensive interview with the team lead of Wikispeed.

Joe Justice of Team Wikispeed

Joe Justice started Team Wikispeed and got 10th place in one of the divisions of the Automotive X-prize. He is continuing to lead his international team of volunteers towards the 100mpg future.

Here are some highlights from Simone’s interview:

Continue reading

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Help Wikispeed Raise Funds for the 100 mpg C3

Wikispeed is doing awesome.

The thing about open source hardware, like the Wikispeed car, is that it costs a lot more than software. For example, crash testing a prototype car costs $10,000! That means Wikispeed needs money and volunteers to join the existing international, 150 member team. With more resources, Wikispeed can produce the next generation. The Comfy, Commuter Car (C3) will be a direct replacement for your existing car.

However, it will be able to get 100 miles per gallon and you will be able to upgrade the car’s modular components so that it can grow with your needs or new technology.

Campaign Page on Indigogo

They just started their Indigogo campaign. They have 65 days to raise the $52,500 they need to get the first practical 100mpg car on the road. Major auto manufacturers can’t even mass produce a 50mpg car for $50k.

Reward Tiers:

  • $25 – your name on the car that will be displayed at the Future of Flight Innovation Center at Boeing’s Paine Field.
  • $100 – Above + thanked in a personalized video posted on Wikispeed’s website.
  • $500 – Above + get to vote on the styling of the C3 interior and exterior.
  • $5,000 – Above + training as a Certified Agile Project Manager for you and nine others, customized to your goals. This is the same Extreme Manufacturing (XM) process Wikispeed uses.
  • $10,000 – Above + vote with the Wikispeed Board of Advisors and have your name on the next 100 cars Wikispeed produces.

Related Links:

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