Mit Innovation Lab March 2010


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A talk at the Sloan School of Management, MIT on RepRap and the democratization of Fabrication Technology and emergence of open hardware communities.
Innovation Lab meeting organized by Professor von Hippel.

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  • I will jump back and forth between talking about general effects and what I see happening in the RepRap community. I will argue that resources, such as flexible fabrication devices will become fairly common and much more capable. Therefore some important dynamics visible in the RepRap community can be generalized.
  • I will only go over the technology in short, as much as I like to talk about this. The focus for this talk is on the community, its emergence, dynamics and performance and the peculiar hardware aspect that is thrown in with open source.
  • I will talk about incentives to innovate and diffusion of the innovations in relation to hardware.
  • It usually is a blend of art, science or contains things that are just useful to print instead of going to the store.
  • Modular or integrated?
  • White: from a Dimension, 1200 SST. Beige: from my RepRap Darwin with home-made microstepping XY-motion and microstepper based extrusion. The Statasys part is more constant across it's surfaces. The Stratasys machine has heavier axes and you can see an dampening oscillation across surfaces where one axis decelerates (just after taking a corner). The corners of the RepRapped object are slightly sharper.
  • When it's dependent on financial resources, how do we get this money together?
  • In a nutshell: permaculture is sustainable farming
  • In a nutshell: permaculture is sustainable farming
  • If you could make a wish, what would you wish for? I would wish to forever get what I wished. Everyone would agree that having a machine that can make almost anything you can think of... this would be the ultimate gadget. Or perhaps, it will become an indispensable resource just as computers are now! Apple thought so too...
  • NO, I'm just kidding.
  • Helping out in very special ways...
  • User to user assistance Improve documentation Do experimental stuff AND They know what it's like to be on the waiting list.
  • Mit Innovation Lab March 2010

    1. 2. Outline <ul><li>Introducing RepRap (short) </li></ul><ul><li>Incentives for participation in open communities </li></ul><ul><li>Is open hardware fundamentally different? </li></ul><ul><li>Constraints to open hardware </li></ul><ul><li>The distributed production edge </li></ul><ul><li>What does the community look like? How does it compare to institutional production? </li></ul><ul><li>How is it an enabler to more open hardware </li></ul>,
    2. 3. Short introduction: RepRap <ul><li>Technology / machine </li></ul><ul><li>Replicating </li></ul><ul><li>Rapid Prototyper (flexible production) </li></ul><ul><li>Community / project </li></ul>,
    3. 4. Incentives “ It's NOT all about the money!” ,
    4. 5. RepRap Technology
    5. 7. Reprap Darwin - version 1.0
    6. 8. Reprap Mendel - version 2.0
    7. 9. RepRap version 3.0? <ul><li>Video </li></ul>
    8. 10. Self Assembly Parts for self assembling systems that can be 3D printed
    9. 11. Evolving mechanics Print yourself: 50 cents vs. 88 euros commercially
    10. 12. Evolutie: electronica Modular Useful for experimentation and custom setups Integrated Turn-key solution
    11. 13. Evolving software Parametric design (OpenSCAD)
    12. 14. Evolving software Parametric design (OpenSCAD)
    13. 15. Evolving output quality <ul><li>  </li></ul>
    14. 16. RepRap Community Who is doing it? Why are they doing it? How do they collaborate? Distributed problem solving process
    15. 17. In numbers <ul><ul><li>Growth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>2008, ca. 100+ (20% very active) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>2009, ca. 1000+ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>2010, ca. 3000+  </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Diverse group </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Diverse knowledge </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Diverse motives </li></ul></ul></ul>
    16. 18. Community growth <ul><ul><li>Adoption shows an exponential curve </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why is this so important? </li></ul></ul>Bron: von Hippel E. Innovation Communities. In: Democratizing Innovation. Cambridge: MIT Press; 2007:93.
    17. 19. User innovation
    18. 20. Artists Printing in ceramics:
    19. 21. Artists <ul><li>Printing XXL (e.g. a chair, a kayak?) </li></ul>F
    20. 22. Linus' Law in hardware <ul><li>Problem: Leaking extruder </li></ul><ul><li>Incentive: Problem was worse for me. (varying constraints) </li></ul><ul><li>Fix: Obvious to some. Probably was suggested before. </li></ul><ul><li>Implemented: </li></ul><ul><li>Bonus points: fixed weak spots in material (thin walls, weakest link determines the stength of the chain). Perhaps even more important as this cannot be fixed afterwards, causes mechanical failure. </li></ul>
    21. 23. Linus' Law in hardware
    22. 24. Distributed Mfg. and supply chains <ul><li>Producer to user, or more? </li></ul><ul><li>Reverse supply chain example </li></ul><ul><li>Outsource an engineering problem: mouse </li></ul>
    23. 25. Outsourced: Mouse problem challenge <ul><li> </li></ul>
    24. 26. Ecosystem entities <ul><li>Fabrication innovation communities </li></ul><ul><li>Commercial 3D printer vendors </li></ul><ul><li>Maker networks </li></ul><ul><li>FabLabs & Hackerspaces </li></ul><ul><li>Universities (RepRap as PhD) </li></ul>
    25. 27. Ecosystem entities <ul><li> - - </li></ul><ul><li>← research  </li></ul><ul><li>← modular </li></ul><ul><li>← open </li></ul><ul><li>← good for collaboration     </li></ul> - Stratasys Inc.     productized ->        integrated ->       closed -> good for commercialization ->
    26. 28. Open Hardware Funding <ul><li>SW = time </li></ul><ul><li>HW = time + money </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>How is it funded? </li></ul>
    27. 29. Funding <ul><li>“ It's all about the money”? </li></ul><ul><li>Hardware costs money. Do we need organizations for Open Source R&D into hardware? </li></ul>
    28. 30. Open Source Fusion powered by  3D printed parts
    29. 31. <ul><ul><li>Online proposal for an open source standard construction kit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Extruded aluminium beam </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Suitable for mass production: high up-front costs </li></ul></ul>
    30. 32. <ul><ul><li>Suitable for mass production: high up-front costs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Crowdfunded by 132 people </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>> 17k in pledges received in months </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Manufactured and distributed! </li></ul></ul>
    31. 33. Open Source Ecology Crowdfunded experiment Torch table - $1500 (average donation $ 100-150) Workshop building - $4000 Individual donations - such as $5000 commitment to induction furnace. $ 700 monthly from 'true fan' subscriptions. ,
    32. 34. Open Source Ecology Committed to developing and sharing designs and techniques. Energy systems -> generators, solar concentrators, DIY biodiesel Housing -> brick press Flexible fabrication -> open source backhoe, RepRap, CNC plasma cutter Permaculture (sustainable farming) -> open source tractor ,
    33. 35. Makerbot  
    34. 36. Apple Acquires Makerbot <ul><li>  </li></ul>Introducing the:   i Make
    35. 37. User innovation in open source, commercial products <ul><li>Their 'customers' are modifying and improving 'their' product, </li></ul><ul><li>adding extensions, </li></ul><ul><li>making software tools, </li></ul><ul><li>generating printable content, </li></ul><ul><li>testing materials, </li></ul><ul><li>trying out innovative applications </li></ul>
    36. 38. Fabrication networks Skills to prototype complex products CloudFab
    37. 39. Commercialization or other diffusion <ul><li>When the scaling characteristics of domestic fabrication are favourable, diffusion other than commercial diffusion becomes possible. </li></ul><ul><li>Raison d'etre </li></ul><ul><li>commercial vendor benefits: </li></ul><ul><li>scaling characteristics of mfg. and distribution </li></ul><ul><li>brand (solving the issues, support, someone who's responsible) </li></ul><ul><li>Not: innovative capability </li></ul><ul><li>If the distribution characteristic change informal distribution proliferates. </li></ul>time # of users perceiving need
    38. 40. Crowd manufacturing <ul><li>Customers can earn back their machines. </li></ul><ul><li>Customers benefit from more Makerbot users who generally improve the product, make content or other- </li></ul><ul><li>wise generate value. </li></ul>
    39. 41. User innovation pathways time # of users perceiving need Users starting to innovate here Manufacturers can produce more cheaply here Free sharing or user manufacturing Users in communities can innovate more cheaply here Users and user communities bridge periods of technical and market risk in which manufacturers would not start investing!
    40. 42. <ul><ul><li>Sustainable source of innovative, user generated products </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Challenge... </li></ul></ul>
    41. 43.
    42. 44. <ul><li>Thingiverse </li></ul>Evolving infrastructure
    43. 45. Thingiverse A PRODUCT, IN ONE DAY? DESIGN + MARKET + MANUFACTURE + DISTRUBUTE to at least 3 continents
    44. 46. New distribution models
    45. 47. Discussion ,
    46. 48. More info Main project: Companies: Other projects: , Videos: Twitter: My Company:
    47. 49. Thank you! [email_address]