Opinions on 3D Printing, aka Additive Manufacturing

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RocketScientistAustralia

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Everything we use in rocketry has some degree of someone elses labour in it. From the granules of sugar you pick up on a spoon for your coffee to a fully 3d printed fin can.
The acceptability of a self designed and printed component for certification purposes has already been established by the BOD of the various organisations, CAR,NAR and TRA to name a few. We all have our various "things". If your thing is planting sugar cane, harvesting it, extract the sugar, crystallise it and put it in your coffee while the printer is warming up or your designing your next component, that can be your form of scratch built. Today with the printing, cnc machining, laser cutting technology that's available to Joe Rocketeer at compelling prices, we'd be luddites not to take advantage of that. And the access to that technology allows us all to (scratch) build projects that could only have been dreamed of by government funded departments previously.
Where that line in the sand is for what anyone today considers to be scratch built is really for any individual to decide. As long as it complies with the legal and club and governing body and state and local laws who am I or anyone else to say that's on the wrong side of scratch built.
 

Mike Haberer

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Regarding JUST the 3D printed part, if you design the 3D part, calibrate the printer, press the button to start the print, iterate until the part fits correctly, then it's scratch built. If you just 3D printed someone else's would design, and did no modifications, then it's is no different than buying a component from a supplier.

A scratch designed rocket is one you design yourself, i.e., no one has provided a drawing or parts list for.

A scratch built rocket is one you make with parts you buy ala carte, or make from materials you have on hand. It can be a scratch design or from a plan drawing and parts list someone else created.

A rocket kit is provided by a manufacturer that has designed, built and tested the design, then assembled the parts and build instructions into a turnkey product. There is nothing "scratch" about it.

A kit-bash is taking a rocket kit and modifying it per you own design, so it is a combo - some of the design and parts are scratch, some are provided.

The discussion regarding "labor" and "programming" miss the target. To me it's about the intellectual property associated with the rocket design and build. If it is your design and your build from ala carte parts sourced from whoever and where-ever, it's a scratch built. If it's a kit, it's not. If it's a modified kit per your own design, it's a hybrid. It can contain any type of parts, 3D printed or manufactured. If you designed and made the parts, those parts are scratch built, if you purchased them or just 3D printed someone else's design by pressing a button on a printer, those components are not scratch built.

The devil is in the details and it's about YOUR intellectual property in the final product. Regardless, in the end, rocketry is a scratch we all need to itch in whatever way we decide to itch it.
 

Funkworks

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Can you build a complete rocket, nose cone to fins, on a laser cutter? Then insert a motor, a parachute and launch it? Nope.
😮 <---- My reaction to an idea I just had while reading this. Thank you! More to come I hope! 😁
 

JohnCoker

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Awesome project. A whole lot more going on there than just a 3d printed rocket.
But all the parts are either:
  • purchased: tubes, electronics, parachute
  • CNC cut: slotting, fins, CRs, bulkplates
  • 3D printed: nose cones
I think trying to define "scratchbuilt" based on the tools used to produce the parts is unlikely to result in a consensus.
 

BigMacDaddy

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😮 <---- My reaction to an idea I just had while reading this. Thank you! More to come I hope! 😁
Can you build a complete rocket, nose cone to fins, on a laser cutter? Then insert a motor, a parachute and launch it? Nope.
Actually you kind of can CNC / Laser cut an entire rocket (not sure this model needs the cardboard tube inside and/or if this is much different than the 3D printed models that also often have a [at least an engine] tube stuck inside). Obviously this is a kit but its design suggests that a number of models could be designed and fully produced on CNC/Laser cutter --


1632666106549.png
 

BigMacDaddy

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I do agree with the folks who suggest that downloading a complete 3D printed design and assembling it is similar to building a kit (and that it is really about the IP or design work that you put into it that makes it a scratch build). However, even this seems to be a continuum (I can only measured by what I have done and how I perceive that)...

I would not consider my V-2 a scratch build since I simply designed 3D printed parts to modify a Space Monkey model to make it launch with D or E-engines (also uses a BT55 body tube).

1632666828175.jpeg


I am not sure what I would consider my mini-engine F-117 Nighthawk where I found a 3D design for the body online, modified it to remove wings and tail fins (and notch for wood fins), added engine mount / ejection tube, and split off a "nosecone" w/ shoulder so it could launch with parachute / streamer recovery. regardless of other categorizations, it is definitely a work in progress since 1st version did not fly and I have not tested 2nd version yet.

1632666900414.jpeg


I would consider my Thunderbird, P-270 Moskit, Coleopter, Bomarc, Pogo, R1, and Luna all to be scratch builds since I designed 3D printed parts, fin templates, etc... as well as plans to make everything work with stock body tubes and basswood fins. Everything was measured from either photos, drawings, or plans of originals.

1632667132390.jpeg


Also consider a couple of other fictional models -- like my space station and mortar as scratch built since I came up with the concept and designed / 3D printed the parts to work with other stock / existing parts (using ping-pong balls and body tubes in my space station does not violate scratch-building rules in my book). Still have not flown that space station since I am afraid the chutes will get stuck in that skinny BT50 body tube.

1632667655668.jpeg


1632667693603.jpeg
 

neil_w

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Geez that is beautiful. There are a number of reasons I would be reluctant to fly that. Might pucker myself right out of existence.

(your other photos are very impressive as well... why are we seeing those for the first time???)

I think trying to define "scratchbuilt" based on the tools used to produce the parts is unlikely to result in a consensus folly.
Fixed.
 

Bill Hanson

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Seems more like a trolling question than anything else. What’s the point?

If you want to say that “rocket x” isn’t scratch built because “3D printing” that’s fine.

This reminds me of the “it isn’t photography unless you use film” folks when digital cameras came out.
 

Grant_Edwards

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This reminds me of the “it isn’t photography unless you use film” folks when digital cameras came out.
And most of the people who said that were just poser wanna-bes who didn't even do their own developing and printing. And don't get me started on that silly, new-fangled "color" film and paper — the damn prints start to fade in less than 100 years!
 

lakeroadster

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Actually you kind of can CNC / Laser cut an entire rocket (not sure this model needs the cardboard tube inside and/or if this is much different than the 3D printed models that also often have a [at least an engine] tube stuck inside). Obviously this is a kit but its design suggests that a number of models could be designed and fully produced on CNC/Laser cutter --


View attachment 483359
Again... the point is missed.

Those are Hand Built rockets. All those pieces have to be assembled, and the assembly is extensive. In the last photo alone there are 14 pieces.

Machine Built; You can print a rocket with a 3D printer. Just two 3D printed pieces. Install the chute and the motor... it's done.
____________________________________________________________________________________

I'm done. I'll bow out. Seemed like a legit question to me.

When folks like @neil_w states he has "mixed feelings" to calling the mere question "folly", this is typical social media bullshit that is beneath the folks that are posting it.
 
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BigMacDaddy

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All those pieces have to be assembled, and the assembly is extensive. In the last photo alone there are 14 pieces.
Likely just a differing of perspective and what people find satisfying in the hobby (i.e., unresolvable) but I like to debate...

I don't think that the number of pieces / components is essential to the distinction of scratch-built vs. not. I am sure that there are many (or at least some) Estes kits that have more parts than those laser-cut kits, you could almost certainly laser-cut a flight-worthy rocket from just 2 pieces, and there are many 3D printed rockets that are made from dozens or even hundreds of parts.

I also do not think that ultimately sanding and other hand-labor is relevant to whether something is "scratch-built". That would mean that if I 3D print a really poor design that needs lots of sanding and finishing (or other hand-labor) that would be considered scratch-built but if I can design it so it prints perfectly and requires no finishing that it is no longer scratch-built.

I agree with others that scratch-built is about the intellectual contribution to the design and creation of that design. I also agree that if someone just downloads and 3D prints a rocket design they find online that would not be a scratch-build (no design / intellectual contribution added).
 

Pappy

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semantics aside, and just talking art here, there are those that would make the same argument regarding the use of lathes, et al. it takes time for artists to fully embrace new technologies. every level of technological advance and how it's applied to an artform is viewed, i believe, as something insidious, potentially devaluing the artform itself. what did painters do when packaged pigment became available? just guessin here, but i'm thinkin a good number of them thumbed their noses at it. when comic books went digital there was some level of disdain for the medium (are you a penciller when you use a wacom pen?). 3d printing is newer stuff, it'll take time for this artform, model rocketry, to find it's most potent 'artistic' application. agree with the comment that, if you designed it, and printed it, and made it, then that's scratch built (original art).
 

JohnCoker

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Again... the point is missed.
I think you got an answer: the consensus seems to be that "scratchbuilt" refers to the amount of design of the model and work involved in creation of the parts, but whether the design is in your head or in CAD and tools are used to produce the parts isn't relevant.

Ultimately these distinctions will be blurry, like nearly everything.
 

jqavins

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Interesting. Sure, you're doing the "scratch design" but the "built" portion is being done by your printer, not you.
After a while, I confess, I skipped to the end and started typing. I've read enough that I think I understand the crux of the matter.

A few times, Lake, you've acknowledged that a 3D printed rocket, or 3D printed parts of a rocket, take skills to produce, and you're differentiating those skills from hand work skills. And you're asking if it is only the extensive use of handwork skills that makes a rocket (or anything else, I suppose?) "scratch build". The "hand made" and "machine machine" differentiation was made, and you're asking if only hand made is scratch built.

To that, I have three reactions. First, it's a false dichotomy due to the large number of builds that are done by hand using machine made parts. (Others have stated that before I.) Second, there is zero chance of reaching consensus. Third, in my opinion, resoundingly no, it is not only hand made that can be considered scratch built.

[ B]ut absolute statements are often wrong.
No, John, absolute statements are always wrong. ;)

This is connected only tangentially, but I'm reminded of difficulties in defining "natural" food.
  • Take a specific type of grass and gather the seeds. Grind up the seeds, discarding the hard outer skin as you go.
  • To the resulting very fine powder, add water and some form of sugar, perhaps honey gathered from a bee hive in a tree, perhaps the crystalized extract of another grass.
  • Introduce a microbial culture.
  • Process the resulting mass mechanically, altering its form such that protein molecules of two kinds intertwine to give the mass limited elasticity.
  • Allow the microbes you introduced earlier to thrive for a time, altering the mass chemically by consuming sugar and introducing gas, making the mass spongy (while still somewhat elastic).
  • Heat treat the altered mass, killing the microbes and further altering the protein structure to make the whole solid.
And this is "all natural" bread.
 
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RobertH3

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So I used to be interested in questions of philosophy away long time ago - about 25 years. Take this as a fair warning
: ) cover your eyes or look at something that makes you feel good and hum real loud if you don't like this stuff!

:clapping:o_O:clapping:o_O:rolleyes:

I just realized that the issue being discussed is only marginally related to 3d printing. It is instead about quality.

Have any of you read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance?" An important side issue in this book is "quality." What is quality and can it be defined? (yes, I know that's logical positivism and it can use the meanings of words as reality). The author uses mechanical repairs done well or poorly and the mental state required.He also uses a part of his previous life as a professor of rhetoric. He tasks a college class with writing an essay defining quality, and no one can do it. But every single student can pick it out from a pile of essays. They immediately know the bad from the good. So?
Another issue is the division in the world between those who easily deal with technology and see it as a good, and those who don't and wonder about the effects. (Both are right)
He also discusses modern art and how technically oriented people (probably a lot of us) don't see it as art. I think this also is part of the above thread.

I'm not going to spoil the book (still very relevant), but here's an anecdote. I went to one of the E-Rockets group builds and had a Boyce BT80 3D printed Pershing 1A kit - great kit, was happy enough with it that it doesn't fly, it is display only. King of cabinet row in the shop.
Next to me was an older gentleman making a Pershing 1A from paper and cardstock. The fin platforms were laboriously cut out, measured, and glued to the tube in exactly the right spots. The fin cross-section was created by folding cardstock and again, measured for exactness. The nose was part balsa and part paper transition and built up.
Even though the kit I was building is great and I am happy with it, I suddenly knew part of the definition of quality: skill + time correctly applied. : ) I also knew that what I was building would look as good with less work, but wasn't the same. I got to see Buddha in a retail store and I don't normally associate that with building stuff. It is amazing to watch someone do things by hand. It's also amazing to watch a laser cutting table or a 3D printer run in a different way.

You can see the same idea in furniture. Why do people pay more for handmade, hardwood furniture than for Ikea? Because it has quality - they know someone sweated and cared about it and that it is stronger than the particle board and veneer. Handmade, hardwood furniture has quality. Both types work the same but one lasts longer. One is handmade and each one is a little different. The other is an industrial process with each one as identical as Six Sigma can get. I know a team of engineers and designers worked on the Ikea furniture in software, and I am certain there was much effort involved. But not on each piece.

This is for discussion, not argument. I use 3D parts, laser cut parts, and handmade parts when I build things. I also think John C's Ariane is awesome stuff and not mass produced in any way.
Just thought it deserved a gentlemanly refloat as a larger issue affecting people.

Crap, this issue can go back to Victorian times and the rise of factories. "Detached and subdivided in the mass production zone lol"

I will say quality requires an observer and something observed : )

Cheers / Robert
 

manixFan

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Can you build a complete rocket, nose cone to fins, on a laser cutter? Then insert a motor, a parachute and launch it? Nope.

Take a deep breath... and ponder... if you 3d print a complete rocket (except for parachute and motor) again, I ask.
Seems more like a trolling question than anything else. What’s the point?

If you want to say that “rocket x” isn’t scratch built because “3D printing” that’s fine.

This reminds me of the “it isn’t photography unless you use film” folks when digital cameras came out.
“Gatekeeping”: the World’s second oldest hobby.
I think the above quotes pretty much sum it up. Basically gatekeeping. I can't believe so many spent considerable time on this, including myself reading the entire thread. What on earth is the point other than the OP doesn't like it when folks with 3D printers say they 'scratch built' a rocket and the OP resents that and wanted the rest of us to confirm that feeling. Got mad and left when we all didn't.

Build a rocket and call it whatever you want. Unless you are entering a contest that has actual rules regarding construction, it's just silly semantics anyway.


Tony
 

lakeroadster

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I think the above quotes pretty much sum it up. Basically gatekeeping. I can't believe so many spent considerable time on this, including myself reading the entire thread. What on earth is the point other than the OP doesn't like it when folks with 3D printers say they 'scratch built' a rocket and the OP resents that and wanted the rest of us to confirm that feeling. Got mad and left when we all didn't.

Build a rocket and call it whatever you want. Unless you are entering a contest that has actual rules regarding construction, it's just silly semantics anyway.

Tony
I was clear about why I bowed out.

When folks like @neil_w states he has "mixed feelings" to calling the mere question "folly", this is typical social media bullshit that is beneath the folks that are posting it.
 

jqavins

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Regarding the Ikea furniture analogy, and this is just conversational, I'd prefer neither that nor hand made hardwood furniture. I'd like machine made or partially machine made hardwood furniture. Furniture where the functionality is the same the day I get it and fifty years later, and all the pieces are identical. And money is saved with precision increased by automating things like cutting and drilling where possible.

I find it easy to define quality, if not easy to measure. Quality encompasses the suitability of a product as designed or defined for the task for which it is intended, the adherence to that definition in construction, and the durability of the item's ability to continue fulfilling that purpose. Simple. It has nothing to do with the hours put into making the thing or the skill of the maker. If a machine and a craftsman can produce identical items then those items are of identical quality.

Does the machine made vs. hand made question pertain to the definition of a scratch build? Maybe. Probably, to some extent at least. But it does not pertain to quality. I, therefore, reject the notion that this thread's underlying question has to do with quality.
 

BigMacDaddy

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I just realized that the issue being discussed is only marginally related to 3d printing. It is instead about quality.
I, therefore, reject the notion that this thread's underlying question has to do with quality.
It is a great story but I agree with Joe and also do not think this is about quality. I think what you are describing is craftsmanship which may be a bit closer to scratch-building but is not fundamentally the same thing (at least as I think about the two concepts). Also what is so appealing about your story is likely something like nostalgia and probably related to the conscious or unconscious perception that the level of craftsmanship you observed is [maybe] dying out (quite literally).

Without relying on the analogy, someone could most assuredly manufacture a higher quality rocket -- more and finer details, more precision, lighter weight, etc... than anyone could make by hand (maybe not with consumer grade 3D printers and I am certainly not that person, but the technology exists to do things that no one can do by hand - which I think is also what Joe is saying).

Anyway, I do think this is an interesting philosophical discussion and people should not get so offended by other's opinions.
 

manixFan

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Again... the point is missed.

Those are Hand Built rockets. All those pieces have to be assembled, and the assembly is extensive. In the last photo alone there are 14 pieces.

Machine Built; You can print a rocket with a 3D printer. Just two 3D printed pieces. Install the chute and the motor... it's done.
____________________________________________________________________________________

I'm done. I'll bow out. Seemed like a legit question to me.

When folks like @neil_w states he has "mixed feelings" to calling the mere question "folly", this is typical social media bullshit that is beneath the folks that are posting it.
I was clear about why I bowed out.
Might as well quote your entire post, it seems you bowed out due to the portions of your reply the you formatted with bold, trying to get us to understand that they are Machine Built, not Hand Built. You call BS on a response you don't like and hand wave it away as 'social media bs' and take your ball and go home.

No wonder your avatar line is "Lonewolf.... No Club".


Tony
 

RobertH3

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I think that quality is in the eye of the beholder, it has to be since it's not group defineable. That means we probably agree Mac and JQ on the concept if not the specifics. I'd prefer all handmade furniture myself. When I look at my 1A I am very happy with it. Bet the other guy remembers every handmade piece when he looks at his and is happy too. Since it's an internal thing, I can't say for certain but I'd guess the every handmade part makes the recollection better. Waffling, I'm rather certain of that.
And yes I am concerned a bit about dying skill sets but more concerned about hobbies in general. They are all failing and they taught things at a non-google level. Fine motor skills, reading, following instructions, logical thinking with physical feedback, etc. Not just read it and forget it since it's out there anyway.

Deserves a re-quote: craftsmanship you observed is [maybe] dying out (quite literally).

If you didn't follow the instructions on that Monogram P-38 or Estes Mars Lander, well, it was good feedback and a lesson anyway! But I am not concerned enough to boycott 3d printed stuff and it makes some things you usually can't at home, like threaded breakdown couplers :) for larger builds.

Cheers / Robert
 

dr wogz

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What gets me / what I don't quite fathom, is how someone can balk at the 12 hrs it takes to put together & teh material contained in a "kit": paper tube, ply fins, epoxy, styrene NC, etc.. and think a 12hr print PLA 3D printed rocket is equal or superior..

even if that kit contains parts you've made yourself / cut from stock..

People who think the $300 3D printer is equal to modern injection molding of advanced plastics..

Compare a Markforged printer output to a house-brand printer output..
 

neil_w

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What gets me / what I don't quite fathom, is how someone can balk at the 12 hrs it takes to put together & teh material contained in a "kit": paper tube, ply fins, epoxy, styrene NC, etc.. and think a 12hr print PLA 3D printed rocket is equal or superior..
Who said anything about it being “superior”?
 

Pappy

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there is beauty in imperfection. flaws, perceived or real, make a thing unique. that singularity, even subtle, is powerful mojo, lost or dulled significantly by exacting reproduction. 3d printing is amazing, obviously, but the real mojo, the art, is in the design, not the product. personally, when i see a 3d printed rocket, i am more impressed by the person who designed it than by the roc itself. in a nutshell, the pre-made stuff does nothing for me emotionally.
 

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