Transcript: Lamp stack of manufacturing - Make:HIW
+Intro:"Hi everyone, Im Nick Pinkston. I was the founder of a 3D printing andinjection molding startup called CloudFab that was actually just acquired,and previously I co-founded a community-workshop called HackPittsburgh.They asked me to come out today to take off where the previous speakersleft off - to show a vision of what the future of manufacturing mightactually look like.""So to start off, I want to talk about an industry that, even after theindustrial revolution ran its course, worked at a painfully slow pace. Itused 100% manual labor with just simple hand tools, but in just the past 50years the industry went from nearly 100% manual to nearly 100% automatedwith engineers directly designing and maintaining the means of production.So what is this industry? Well, Im being a little coy because itsactually the computation industry.We went from slide rules to laptops in 50 years, because computerscientists discovered certain techniques that put the engineers in thedriver seat when the machines started taking care of themselves. Im heretoday to show you that this isnt limited to the production of processeddata like many imagine, but that nearly all these techniques can be broughtinto the realm of manufacturing to fully empower hardware companies fromstartups to multinationals.+Intro Alt"So this is the Jacquard loom, and "+Mind the Gap:"We have a gap in production today - on the one end youve got massproducers like Toyota that use very advanced automation to make one partmillions of times super cheap, and on the other youve got job shops thatcan work on a much smaller scale but the parts are too expensive for mostmarkets.So this is problem that Ive been trying to solve for a while. There arethe techno-utopians who think that 3D printers in a few years will be ableto replace the mass production processes, but in reality these processesare going to be with us for a while - so we need to find ways to lower thebarriers of accessing this equipment affordably.In the world of software, weve got the same problem with servers. You usedto have to buy physical machines and maintain them yourself. Fast forwardto today, and weve got cloud computing which allows you to scale your
company within minutes. Today theres billions of dollars of serverssitting in data centers worldwide for the production of data. In the nearfuture, there will be production centers doing exactly the same forphysical production.+Interfaces Matter:"The problem manufacturing has right now is that our interfaces suck -youre playing telephone between the designer to the guys on the factoryfloor. Heres a continuum of different manufacturing interfaces:- Weve got Google on the full-manual route of search for companies.- MFG.com - puts you in touch with factories, check out reviews - but notmuch more.- PCH gives you access to a ton of experience and connections by usingexperience people and systems.- ProtoMold - can do low-volume production of simple parts using designfiles and minimal human interaction.- Ponoko & CloudFab - are as close as you get to full-auto production whereyou input CAD and get parts back.As you go down this list - youll see that designers and engineers getcloser and closer to the production process. The trend is that over timemore and more of production will be fully accessible through interfacesthat give the designers and engineers the most direct interface andtransparency to production.+Making a Manufacturing "Stack":Most websites today run on some version of whats called a "LAMP Stack" -which are layers of software between the server hardware and the internetapps that we all use. The idea is the each layer takes care of a certainset of tasks - the operating system is the foundation, theres a database,the application code, and the interface with the internet.This concept of building task-specific layers on top of hardware can workjust the same for manufacturing hardware too - just like servers today. Solets get into the meat of this talk by looking at the overall vision ofwhat this looks like.- Abstract: Make the machines easy to interface with.- Automate: Remove the repetitive tasks.- Network: Link the machines together to build an flexible assembly line.- Compile: Automate the conversion of the design into machine commands.- Debug: Catch errors quickly.
+Abstract:What I mean by abstract here is to build an interface that the computer canwork with - making the physical reality in data. Its like when a personbecomes a line in a database somewhere. Theyve been abstracted, but nowyou run algorithms on them. We can talk about the big data of manufacturingif we have time at the end.In practical terms, we need to take things like a milling machine and makean interface that lets it be controlled fully by a computer. So we canchange tools, load parts, send it designs, etc. - all without needing to benext to the machine.+Automate:The Golden Rule of Software: Dont Repeat Yourself!In software, you write a piece of code and then turn it into a simplecommand to be used later. In manufacturing, were repeating ourselves everytime we make something like a mold - using very similar steps with slightmodifications.Now that weve got machines abstracted - were able to write programs thatremove this repetition so engineers and operators can focus on higher leveltasks without worrying about specifics unless they want to.+Network:So weve got one machine that mostly runs itself - imagine if we did thisfor each production tool? For instance, having a mill, EDM, pick-n-place,board fab, and robotics would allow you to mostly automate the process ofbasic electronics products. Such a system - due to the baked-in automation- would be a rapidly reconfigurable production line.+Compile:So Im sure the more experienced amongst you are asking - well maybe themachines run themselves - this largely happens already (like Toyota), butwhos going to program and configure them?This was a problem for early programmers as well. They were handwritingcode at a level just above binary, and it was something a mathematicianneeded to do to get any efficiency. What happened though is we inventedwhats called a Compiler - it turns a human-readable code into binary codespecific to type of computer you specify.
In manufacturing we have whats called CAM. Its like a compiler. It takesCAD and turns it into G-Code - the language of milling machines. We need tomake SuperCAM that improves over time to able to be this better than humansever could. This is exactly how compilers were built for computers - slowlythey evolved super-human strength. This allowed engineers to spend moretime solving the problem and less dealing with the computer hardware.+Debug:The beautiful thing about software is that you type a bit of code - and yourun it in seconds to get feedback on whats wrong. In hardware, this isloop measured in weeks or months. This has to get faster in order for thesesystems to be as accessible as we need them to be.Now that we see that our production line is fully abstracted, automated andnetworked - were actually able to do our setup in minutes to hours, and assimulation tools get better - well be able to simulate production asquickly as we debug software today.+RecapSo to recap:- manufacturing methods today are actually pretty good - the bottleneck isthat our process was designed for producing a million of something.- However, we now have the technology to build a system that makesproduction far more automated and empower our designers and engineers topush the limits of whats possible. This lowers the barriers to buildingproduct, speeds time to market, lowers setup & inventory costs.