From Bits To Atoms And Back-3D Printing

Still far from the Star Trek replicator materializing objects and edibles at voice command 3-D printing is becoming more and more accessible to the individual.  There are 3-D shops materializing around the country giving access to self doers and professionals that can make anywhere from cups to machines.  “This online ‘universe of things’ consists in a repository of mostly open and free digital designs for physical objects, i.e, models that can be downloaded and then materialized using fabrication tools such as 3D printers…As of mid 2011, ‘Thingiverse’ contained over 8000 models ( contributed both by highly skilled designers and beginners, some of which are children and adolescents) and included a bit of everything from kitchenware, toys, and jewelry to machine parts, electronics, architectural models and eye glass frames.”  The technology has been mature  for quite some time but this democratization of manufacturing started around 2007 with a cultural trend towards Do-It-Yourself (DIY) movement with high tech manufacturing capability.

You might find interesting these articles for further information:  The New York Times article 3D Printers May Eclipse Tradition for Designers by Alice Tawsthorn June 9, 2013 and The Rise of Personal Fabrication  by Catarina Mota

Wind turbines withstand tornado and power down energy prices

  1. Wind turbines withstand tornado with nearly 300-mph winds, June 6, 2013


    Wind Energy Industry: Turbines Power Down Energy Prices

    September 26, 2012

    DES MOINES, Iowa – Home and business energy costs have been falling in the Midwest – and the wind industry is claiming partial credit. While it’s a win for consumers, says Bob Fagen, a senior associate at Synapse Energy Economics, other energy sectors aren’t pleased, and that’s why they’ve begun a campaign to try to derail renewal of the wind-production tax credit, which is pending in Congress. “When the wind is built and is available, it runs. When it runs, that generally means that natural gas-fired or coal-fired plants do not run. So, it puts downward pressure on prices.” Iowa’s wind-power production is at more than 4,500 megawatts – enough for about 1.1 million homes. The production tax credit has been in place for about 20 years, and has seen bipartisan support, although this year it’s being debated on the campaign trail. Fagen says the wind-production tax credit isn’t a loan or a “freebie” because there is no benefit until after production happens – and that means manufacturing jobs. “The real issue is that wind is a clean, inexpensive energy resource – homegrown – and it makes a ton of sense to continue to promote the wind industry.” Exelon Corp. is urging that the credit be discontinued, saying government funding should go to research and not production of components.

    Richard Alan, Public News Service – IA  From the IWEA News/Updates

Engineering Jobs how to

The 1937 resume yearbooks were so successful the entire College of Engineering adopted the scheme the following year. Simply titled Senior Class of 1938, College of Engineering, the small book—it could almost fit into a shirt pocket—began with a brief “Dear Sir” letter from Ralph M. Barnes, Director of Personnel. The purpose of the “plan,” Barnes said, was to “better acquaint employers with our senior students.” The College provided copies to faculty members and graduating seniors, and then forwarded the rest to “those industries and organizations, which we think will be interested.”