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Expertise on Fabbers and Digital Manufacturing
Making the Magic of
Digital Fabrication Pay Off
Sections on this page:
        Consulting
        Speaking
        Writing
        Client list

Copyright © 1998—2004, Ennex Corporation. All rights reserved.
Marshall Burns, Ph.D.
Marshall Burns, Ph.D.
     Ennex Corporation has built one of the world’s greatest storehouses of knowledge and understanding of digital manufacturing, including fabbers, CAD, scanners, and related technologies and applications. We know all about what’s currently available on the market, what is currently under development in laboratories around the world, and also the lessons learned from what has come onto and disappeared from the market. Our files include hundreds of case studies of both successful and problematic implementations of digital manufacturing in industrial and non-industrial settings. We know the top personnel at all of the major fabber vendors, as well as most of the biggest users and academic researchers. We share this knowledge and experience in consulting projects, speaking engagements, and a variety of publications.
     The principal consultant in Ennex Corporation’s projects is Dr. Marshall Burns, one of the world’s foremost experts on fabbers and digital manufacturing. Burns is the author of the leading book on the subject, Automated Fabrication, and has been an invited speaker at conferences in the USA, Europe, Japan, and Africa.

Consulting

     There are five basic types of projects that Ennex Corporation can perform on a consulting basis:
  • Technology selection and implementation, to help both new and experienced users choose the right equipment and introduce it successfully in their organizations.
  • Application development, helping both vendors and users develop new uses for their fabbers and related technologies, satisfying specialized needs or solving unique problems.
  • Market development, to help vendors and developers successfully introduce new digital manufacturing products and services or expand the market for existing offerings.
  • Technology analysis and development, helping vendors and developers identify and solve critical technical problems and turn creative ideas into marketable technologies and products.
  • Investor intelligence, in which we assist investors with due diligence, advising on the quality and risks of a proposed opportunity related to digital manufacturing.
     Here are some examples of projects we have performed in the past:
  • We helped a major chemicals company evaluate options for making an entry into the market for fabber materials.
  • A manufacturer asked us to develop techniques for digital production of custom tooling for their operations.
  • An inventor of a new process had us evaluate the patent and opportunities for commercial development.
  • We polled the engineers in a large manufacturing company and conferred with management on which type of fabber it should purchase to best satisfy its digital manufacturing needs.
     Why did these clients choose Ennex Corporation? We understand both the technology and market aspects of digital manufacturing like no one else in the world. We’ve been in this industry since 1991, so we know what’s going on, and who’s going where. And we communicate our results in language that is clear and concise, yet complete.
     Contact us at Contact e-address with your current challenge. We’ll discuss your needs and objectives with you, and send you a brief letter outlining a proposed approach, all at no obligation to you. If you want to proceed, you can choose either a fixed fee or daily rates, as you prefer.
     Then we’ll get it done. On time. And to your satisfaction, guaranteed. We’ll make you look good!

Speaking

     Dr. Marshall Burns, the founder of Ennex Corporation, is a popular speaker on fabbers, digital manufacturing, and the future impact of this magic on economics and society. Click below for information on presentations by Dr. Burns, including on-line transcripts or summaries of key speeches.
     Thought-provoking and entertaining keynote speeches on the magic of fabbers, the future of manufacturing, and what it all means for the lives and livelihoods of people around the world.
      Instructional seminars. Ennex Corporation offers the exciting seminar, How to Cut Your Time-to-Market by 35% while Improving Quality and Slashing Costs, as either a half-day or full-day program. Be sure to reserve a date for your engineering or manufacturing management team, or ask us to tailor a program specifically to meet your company’s needs.
     Classes. Burns has taught classes on digital manufacturing at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the University of Southern California (USC). He can design a class to meet the needs of your personnel, including guest lecturers specializing in those topics of prime importance to your company.
     Interviews. Several radio and television programs have featured Marshall Burns introducing fabbers to their nontechnical audiences and explaining the excitement about the revolution of digital manufacturing.

Writing

Automated Fabrication — The book
     Ennex has produced or contributed to numerous books, articles, and technical papers on fabbers and digital manufacturing.
     The most popular book on digital manufacturing: Automated Fabrication: Improving Productivity in Manufacturing, 369 pages, illustrated. Prentice Hall, 1993.
     The following key papers are available free of charge by clicking on their titles:
     The Freedom to Create, in Technology Management, v 1, # 4, 1995
     The Origins and Direction of the Fabricator Revolution, in Rapid News, North American edition, September 1997
     Automated Fabrication: The Future of Manufacturing, in Rapid Prototyping Journal, Volume 1, Number 1, 1995
     Growing Autofab into the 21st Century, in Rapid Prototyping Report, April 1994
     Using Fabricators to Reduce Space Transportation Costs, with David S. McKay and Hubert P. Davis, in Proceedings of the Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium, Austin, Texas, 1996
     Click here for a complete bibliography of Marshall Burns’ publications on fabbers and digital manufacturing.

Client list

     The following is a partial list of companies and other organizations that have used Ennex Corporation’s Expertise Services.
Major industrial companies
  • 3M Company
  • AlliedSignal
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Clorox
  • Dow Chemical
  • GenCorp
  • Hüls AG (Germany)
  • IBM
  • Mattel
  • Microsoft
  • Rockwell International
  • Walt Disney Art Classics
Consultancies
  • Arthur Andersen & Co.
  • McKinsey and Co.
  • Teltech Resource Network
Small and mid-sized companies
  • Carleton Technologies
  • Cubital
  • EMA-Japan
  • Materials and Electrochemical Research Corporation (MER)
  • Rosemont Aerospace
  • SBA Ltd.
  • Sensus Technologies
  • Stratasys
Industry associations
  • Association of Professional Model Makers (APMM)
  • Japan Association of the Rapid Prototyping Industry (JARI)
Individuals
     Names not listed for client privacy.
     Mainly for evaluation of patents and business plans.
Universities
  • California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
  • Rutgers University
  • UCLA Crump Institute for Biological Imaging
  • University of Southern California (USC)
Publishers
Governmental agencies
  • United Nations
  • U.S. Navy
Marshall Burns
Meet Your Instructor

Copyright © 2005, Marshall Burns. All rights reserved.
     The following is taken from the preface to your textbook.

My Journey in Fabbers

Marshall Burns
     In October, 1990, I was struggling to finish my Ph.D. in physics at the University of Texas at Austin. My research was on quantum chaos. I went to a workshop presented by the Austin Technology Incubator that featured some of the new companies starting up there. One of them was DTM Corporation, whose name stood for “desktop manufacturing.” They showed a video of a machine making a little turbine blade out of plastic powder and a digital description on a computer. In that two-minute movie clip, I saw my future, and the future of humankind, flash before my eyes. Was this really possible? Had technology finally arrived at a point where it could make arbitrary products of human description from amorphous material?
     I spent the next three weeks in the library reading everything I could find on this subject. I discovered that there was a tiny industry just being born that various people called “rapid prototyping,” “desktop manufacturing,” or “solid freeform fabrication.” A handful of companies were launching products using a brilliant variety of techniques to bring about the magic of manifesting real, physical products from raw materials and digital data. Some of those companies are around today, still struggling to catch the attention of the world. Others have died or been acquired by the survivors. New companies have appeared, and research projects have sprung up at hundreds of universities, industrial companies, and government laboratories around the world to study new ideas in this field.
     I emerged from the library with a new inspiration for my career. I quickly finished my dissertation and moved on to find a role for myself in this new industry. One of the first conferences in the field was about to take place and I got myself an assignment to edit the proceedings and turn them into an industry report.1 I followed that conference with a four-month long road trip, on which I visited most of the inventors and start-up companies working on this type of technology in the United States and Canada, and many users of the early machines available at that time as well.
Automated Fabrication — The Book
     That exploration of the technology and the industry eventually led to the publication of the first major book on the subject, Automated Fabrication, published by Prentice Hall in 1993. In that book, and in other writing and talks, I rejected the name, “rapid prototyping,” which was becoming popular in other circles, because it seemed short-sighted and limiting. In a speech I gave in 1994, I complained that calling the machines in this industry prototypers “is like calling an automobile a ‘grocery cart’ because one of its first important uses was in rounding up supplies for the family.” I prefered to call these machines “fabricators” because that is what they do — they make things. After a few years, I got tired of saying all the syllables in “fabricator,” and began to use the shorted form, “fabber.” Reaction in the industry has been mixed. Some people think it’s a cool term, others think I’m out of my mind.
Model of Chevy Camaro made on Offset (TM) Fabber prototype by Ennex Corporation
     The exploration also led me to think about new ways of accomplishing the magic of fabbers. The same year that the book came out I filed for my first patent on a new concept, which eventually became known as Offset Fabbing. I found a couple of enthusiastic college students to help build a proof-of-concept prototype, which actually worked, and we built several small plastic models. The patent finally issued in 1996 and I started to devote my energies to commercializing the technology and bringing a product to market. Around this same time, another radical technology was taking the world by storm, and the Internet wave washed right over me and most of my fellow fabricator entrepreneurs, nearly drowning us.
     By 2000, I had written and rewritten my business plan dozens of times, had meetings with billionaires, Fortune 500 executives, venture capitalists, and Washington insiders, had assembled a team of five professional engineers who worked with me on nights and weekends and made a lot of progress on building a new production prototype. We got an advance order, with a cash deposit, from Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico. But we fell short. We were not able to solve all the engineering problems in order to complete a final, working product. The project fell apart, and I came to sense that I knew the meaning of a broken heart.
     In the preface to my 1993 book, I wrote about seeing that DTM video in Austin, and I said, “Suddenly, the Ph.D. I had been pursuing for eight years acquired new meaning. I quickly finished my dissertation and moved on to find a role for myself in this new industry. The nature of that role is, as this book goes to press, still seeking definition. I anticipate that millions of other people will also redefine their lives’ works as autofab rises in prominence through the coming decades.” The ten years since I wrote that have been an adventure and a roller-coaster ride. Had the Offset Fabber made it to market, I would probably not have the time to be writing this new book now. Instead, my role in the fabber industry is again, or still, seeking definition. I still anticipate that fabbers will rise in prominence in the coming decades and millions of people will work in this industry.
     Maybe you will be one of them.
     Welcome to the fabber revolution.
Your instructor,
Marshall Burns
P.S. I’ve introduced myself here with some background on my involvement with fabbers, the technology at the core of digital manufacturing. If you’d like to know more about other aspects of my life and career, let me invite you to my personal Web site, Mburns.com.

Footnotes

1. Rapid Prototyping: System Selection and Implementation Guide, edited by Marshall Burns, Management Roundtable, 1991
POOFF! There it is!
Digital Manufacturing
at University of Southern California
Instructor: Marshall Burns, Ph.D.

     It is an age-old dream of humankind to be able to manifest what we need and want quickly and easily. The industrial revolution has created previously unimaginable prosperity for those who participate in it, as long as we select our riches from a menu of products that serves millions of others. The modern technologies of digital manufacturing bring us closer to the magic of the genie — to want something and then, POOFF, there it is!
Bar
Take the right turn for your future
Syllabus.    Basic information on location, rules, and content of the course.

Writing the future.
The Book.    Your textbook is online and under development. You buy it, read it, and participate in it here.

Is this course for you?
Is This for You?    Some guidance on what this course is going to be like.

Who’s teaching?
Your Instructor.    Who is that guy at the front of the room? Background information on Marshall Burns, Ph.D.

Making it in the world
Guide to Great Grades.    Some suggestions on how to do well, not just in this course, but throughout college and the rest of your career.

Digital Manufacturing
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California
E-mail: Contact e-address
Web site: www.POOFF.com

This site sponsored by:   Ennex   Sponsor logo
 

Marshall Burns, PhD

Marshall Burns, PhD
Marshall Burns is a noted author, speaker, and consultant on advanced technology concepts.
     Marshall Burns is the founder and president of the Ennex companies, having conceived the “Ennex” name in 1975. He is a seasoned technology manager, a tenacious problem solver with a unique combination of analytic and communication skills. He has twenty years of experience in the development of emerging industries from personal computers to nanotechnology. In that time, he has spearheaded the development of a new hardware product (digital “fabber”), formulated business and financial plans with new business models, and done hands-on software development (including Web and database design, electromechanical control, numerical analysis, and retail productivity). He has three patents and degrees in physics from MIT (BS) and the University of Texas (PhD).
     For more background on Marshall, visit his personal Web site at www.MBurns.com
===========================
 

Digital Manufacturing

     This course is about digital manufacturing, a new paradigm in which a digital description guides the direct formation of products from raw materials. We start with a broad review of processes for making things, from nature to industrial manufacturing. Then we study in detail the basic underlying concepts of digital manufacturing: computer-aided design (CAD), digital fabrication (fabbers), shape digitization (scanners), and materials. We learn about currently available fabricators and how they are being used now, in these early days of the technology. We also study concepts for proposed future technologies in this field and we look at the potential impacts of the technology on society.
     This course is offered in two versions, one for undergraduates (ISE 232L) and one for graduate students (ISE 511L). The graduate-level version presents the same subject at a higher level of technical sophistication. The course schedule indicates the number of lectures allocated to each topic. You may compare the two versions of the course by opening two browser windows side-by-side and displaying the schedule for one version in each window. This is the syllabus for the undergrad version. Click here to switch to the grad version.

Basic Information

Official description:Manufacturing Processes. Basic manufacturing processes including casting, machining, forming and welding; current trends in manufacturing processes including polymer, ceramic and composite material processing, and electronic device fabrication; introduction to numerical control and computer integrated manufacturing.”
Divergence: We will cover all the subject mentioned there, but current industrial processes are treated only briefly. Our emphasis and our focus are on the more modern digital technologies, as described in the paragraph at the top of this page.
Objectives: You will become familiar with the most cutting-edge concepts in modern manufacturing. This can prepare you for advanced research in digital manufacturing or related fields, such as CAD software or materials science. It can also lay the groundwork for investigating entrepreneurial opportunities in fabbers or related technologies.
USC class number, name: ISE 232L, Manufacturing Processes
Units: 3
Prerequisite: None. Recommended preparation is an introductory course on materials science (e.g., MASC 110L) or chemistry (CHEM 105aL or 115aL).
Section numbers, class times and locations:
     Current and upcoming sections of this course are:
Digital Manufacturing
School Catalog ID Term Days Time Room
No course sections to show!
Textbook: d-fab — A New Course on Fabricator Science by Marshall Burns. This book is under development and is accessed online.
Instructor: Marshall Burns, Ph.D.
Contact: Contact e-address
Office hours: 11:00 am until 1:30 pm on Tuesdays or Thursdays (the time in between the two versions of the course). Meeting by prior appointment or just come and see me at the end of the morning class to see if I’m available.
Teaching assistant: Jing Zhang
     When this course Web site refers to “the instructors” or “the course instructors,” in plural, that means the instructor and the teaching assistant working together. When this syllabus uses the first person (such as “I” or “me”), that means the instructor, Marshall Burns.

Class Rules and Grades

     I consider you, my student, as my intellectual partner in exploring the field of digital manufacturing. As such, I leave the majority of the responsiblity for your learning up to you. I don’t take attendance in class unless required to do so by the university. If you miss class, I expect you are learning the material on your own. However, please note that this may be difficult because the textbook is under development and significant material may be covered in class that may not yet be in the book.
     E-mails to me of the form, “I was not able to attend class today because I was in the hospital and nearly died. What did I miss?” will not be answered. If you miss class inadvertently, please work with your fellow students to catch up on what you missed. I recommend and encourage you to get to know other students in the class and to collaborate with each other in learning the material and completing assignments.
     Please turn cell phones and pagers off or put them in vibrate mode before coming to class.
     Homework. Homework will be assigned on an occassional basis. Stay tuned for details.
     Design and fab project. We are making arrangements for students to have access to CAD and fabber systems for this course. Details will appear here soon. In the meantime, we expect the “Design and fab project” to work like this:
  • You will use the CAD system of your choice to input the design of something very simple: a pencil. It should have a hexagonal shaft with a tapered point at one end and an eraser wrapped in a band at the other. You will then go in groups of approximately six students to the Rapid Prototyping Lab, where one of your designs will be set up and run on the Stratasys FDM fabber.
  • Next, you will design something of your own choosing. It can be as simple or as complicated as you like, as long as it is capable of being fabbed within the parameters of the fabbers available in this course (to be described soon).
Your designs will be graded on the quality of your CAD work.
     Informal presentations. At the beginning of every class, one or two students will speak for five to ten minutes about the subject of the reading assigned for that day or about anything else that he or she has researched on the subject of digital manufacturing. These presentations are informal, meaning that they don’t require fancy PowerPoint slides or other props. The idea is for you to find some excitement in what you are learning and share it with your fellow students. These presentations will be graded on the basis of content, clarity and interest.
     Testing. There will be frequent “five-minute tests,” possibly at the beginning of every class, which will test your understanding of the material assigned for that day. In addition, there will be a mid-term test and a final exam. These tests will be a combination of (a) questions that test recollection of factual material, (b) problems requiring some calculation or logical deduction, and (c) brief essay questions seeking creative thinking and expression of ideas. Books and notes are not allowed during the tests, unless you are instructed otherwise, but calculators are. There are no make-up tests. If missing a major test due to a medical condition or emergency hurts your grade badly, we will follow whatever procedure the school provides for dropping the class or issuing a grade of “incomplete.” Please check the course schedule to ensure that you do not have a schedule conflict with the test times and do not take the class if you do.
     Intellectual honesty. I expect the utmost integrity in your work. Primarily, this means that work you turn in is your own and not someone else’s, whether on homework, a test, or a project. When you include material in your work that is from a particular source, you credit that source. If the material is taken verbatim, you credit that source and you either put it in quotation marks or typographically set it off to indicate it is quoted. Check out the helpful Trojan Integrity: A Guide to Avoiding Plagiarism (PDF, 120k) and other publications of the USC Office of Student Judicial Affairs. If you have questions about how to handle some kind of material, please talk to one of the course instructors about it. If you think you know, but you’re not sure, talk to us. Don’t take any chances with your integrity.
     The university has asked me, and I agree, to adhere to the USC policies and procedures governing academic integrity as described in SCampus. Basically, the policy for cheating or plagiary is to assign a failing grade for the entire course, not just for the test or project involved. You are expected to be aware of and to observe the academic integrity standards described in SCampus, and you can expect those standards to be enforced in this course.
     In Spring 2005, my first semester at USC, one of my students was caught looking at notes during a test. With great personal difficulty and against the student’s vigorous pleadings, I decided the only action that was fair to his fellow students was for him to fail the course, and a report was filed with the university administration. This is serious, folks. Do not cheat!
     Grades. The grading scheme for the undergrad version of the course is as follows:
  • Homework. 10%
  • Design and fab project. 10%
  • Informal presentation. 15%
  • Five-minute tests. 20%
  • Midterm test. 20%
  • Final exam. 25%. The exam will be comprehensive, covering material from the entire term.
  • Student’s participation and initiative. Bonus points are available for enthusiastic participation in class and initiative taken in providing substantive and helpful feedback on the textbook. This includes asking probing questions, finding typographical and technical errors, complaining about hard-to-understand explanations, and suggestions for improving the words, graphics, or layout of the online book. A student who is reasonably active in class may expect to receive one or two bonus percentage points. Very active and constructive contribution may earn as much as five or more points. USC policy limits participation points to a maximum of ten percent.
     Grading of homework and tests, as well as the design and fab project, will primarily be performed by the teaching assistant, in consultation with and under final approval by the course instructor. Grading of the informal presentations will be done by the course instructor.
     Students with disabilities. Any student requesting academic accommodations based on a disability is required to register with Disability Services and Programs (DSP) each semester. A letter of verification for approved accommodations can be obtained from DSP. Bring that to me no later than the second class of the semester (January 13). DSP is located in STU 301, (213) 740-0776, and is open 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.

Course Schedule

     The schedule of the course is shown in the following table. When you first pull up this page, it lists the chapters of the textbook along with the dates that we will begin discussing them in class and the number of lectures devoted to each one. To see the schedule in more detail, click where it says “Change to 2 levels” near the top of the table. This will expand the schedule to show all the section of the book along with the same information about dates and number of lectures.
Course Schedule — USC, Fall 2005
Undergrad version. Switch to grad version.
Currently showing 1 level of topic detail. Change to 2 levels.
Topic Start Lect
I Groundwork    
  1 Introduction to
Digital Manufacturing
Aug 23 2.0
  2 A Brief History of Manufacturing Aug 30 3.0
II Digital Manufacturing Today    
  3 Digital Design Sept 8 3.5
  4 Digital Materials Sept 20 3.5
  5 Digital Fabrication Oct 4 4.0
  6 Digital Products Oct 18 4.0
III Tomorrow    
  7 Fabber Science Nov 3 2.0
  8 Technology Development Nov 10 2.0
  9 Applications Development Nov 17 1.0
IV People and Business    
  10 The Digital Economy Nov 22 1.0
  11 Transition from Industrial Manufacturing Nov 29 2.0
Total lectures:   28.0
     The following are other important dates for this course.
Course Events
Undergrad version. Switch to grad version.
Class photo Thurs., Oct. 20 9:35
Midterm test in room MHP 101
Late arrivals get test ten minutes after arrival.
Thurs., Oct. 20 9:45 .. 10:45
Thanksgiving Nov. 24 .. 27
Final exam in room THH 212 Thurs., Dec. 8 11:00 .. 13:00

Class Pictures

     Group photos of the students and instructors in this course are available here.
 
Copyright © 2005, Marshall Burns. All rights reserved.
==============================
 
 
Marshall Burns

Marshall (“Roc”) Burns
Physicist, Entrepreneur, Philosopher, Explorer
     When my cousin David was a little boy, he used to pelt me with questions about life and the universe. One day, with a little prompting from an older family member, he asked me what I am. I thought about it for a few minutes, and then I said, “I’m a physicist, an entrepreneur, a philosopher, and an explorer.”
Quantum chaos article by Marshall Burns on cover of Computers in Physics, 1992
Physicist. Analysis is my passion — studying the details of something until the big picture comes into focus.

Marshall Burns Computer Sales ad for first PC clone, LA Times, 1982
Entrepreneur. It started with door-to-door catalog sales at ten years old. So far, it’s led to PC clones, digital fabrication, and nanotechnology.

Sunset at Eagles Nest, Santa Barbara
Philosopher. Thinking about the world around me — and often writing about it — has always been a hobby for me.

1991 road trip
Explorer. Four continents — and counting.

Marshall (“Roc”) Burns
Los Angeles
Phone: Mobile (805) 451-4507
E-mail: Contact e-address
Web site: www.Mburns.com
 

This site sponsored by:   Ennex   Sponsor logo
Copyright © 2003—2004, Marshall Burns. All rights reserved.
 ==================
Marshall (“Roc”) Burns
Physicist, Entrepreneur, Philosopher, Explorer
Home Physicist Entrepreneur
Philosopher Explorer

Publications and Appearances
by Marshall Burns, Ph.D.
Sections on this page:
   On Fabbers
           Patents
           Books and reports
           Articles and papers
           Speeches
           Radio and TV
           Classes
   On Physics
   On Space
   On Business

Copyright © 1998—2000, Marshall Burns. All rights reserved.
     The following is a complete list of the publications and public appearances by Marshall Burns on fabbers, physics, space, and business, updated through early 1999. Many of these items may be read online free of charge by clicking on their titles in this listing. For a succinct list of just the major articles and speeches, see Key Publications by Marshall Burns.

On Fabbers and Digital Manufacturing

     Items on fabbers and digital manufacturing are listed here in the following categories:

Fabber patents


Books and reports on fabbers and digital manufacturing

    Automated Fabrication — The book
  • Automated Fabrication: Improving Productivity in Manufacturing
         First published in 1993 by Prentice Hall, now available in paperback from Ennex Corporation. 369 + xxv pages, illustrated
    The first major book on fabbers: machines that generate 3-dimensional solid objects under computer control. Covers additive, subtractive (CNC), and hybrid processes. Ten chapters cover current machines, future processes, case studies, materials science, economic impact, and more.
         Italian translation:
         Dal Virtuale al Concreto: Medellazione automatica e prototipazione rapida
         Translated by Sergio Orefice and Yakov Horenstein
         Tecniche Nuove, Milan, Italy, 1995, 327 + xx pages
         Reviewed in:
         Midnight Engineering (William E. Gates), November-December 1995, p 30
         MicroTimes (Todd Kaloudis), November 14, 1994, p 152, 326
         Engineering Automation Report (David E. Weisberg), May 1994, p 15
         Scientific American (Philip Morrison), January 1995, p 101..2
         Industrial Laser Review (David A. Belforte), October 1993, p 22
         Rapid Prototyping Report (Geoffrey Smith-Moritz), August 1993, p 7..8
  • Fabricators in Japan
         Ennex Fabrication Technologies, Los Angeles, July 1996, 30 pages
  • Automated Fabrication Job Shops: Bringing Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing to the Little Guy
         Ennex Fabrication Technologies, Los Angeles, 1992, 13 pages (out of print)
    Description of the service subindustry that is growing up around fabbers. Includes suggestions on deciding whether to use a shop or buy a machine, evaluating a job shop, and getting the most for your money. Complete with directory of shops listing their equipment, CAD software, level of experience, and other data.
  • Pocket Guide to Automated Fabrication
         Ennex Fabrication Technologies, Los Angeles, 1991, 16 pages (out of print)
    A compact presentation of the automated fabrication industry. Brief description of the processes, machines, applications, and prospects for future development. Includes machine comparison chart.
  • Rapid Prototyping: System Selection and Implementation Guide
         Edited by Marshall Burns, Management Roundtable, Boston, 1991, 154 pages (out of print)
    Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Desktop Manufacturing, Minneapolis, May 1991. Includes papers by industry leaders, such as Allan Lightman, Michael McEvoy, and Al Cassista. Two chapters by Burns provide introduction to the subject and survey of commercial products.

Articles and papers on fabbers and digital manufacturing

  • Fabbers and the Internet: Product Fulfillment in the 21st Century
         Zone News, January 2000, p 93..5
  • The Next Millennium in Rapid Prototyping Report
    Series of articles on the future of fabbers.
    •      UPS Foretells the Fabber Revolution, December 1999, p 6..8
      A TV commercial for United Parcel Service provides a brilliant visual image of the fabber future with people ordering products online for delivery via fabber directly into their homes and offices.
    •      Professional Fabbing at Home, November 1999, p 5..6
      Fabbers will first begin to appear in homes for professional use by freelance engineers and designers, and this will lead to other household uses, including making toys for the kids.
    •      Fabbers in Space, October 1999, p 5..7
      How fabbers make space habitation feasible for the first time in history.
  • Growing Autofab into the 21st Century
         in Rapid Response Manufacturing, edited by Jian Dong, Chapman & Hall, London, 1998, p 228..33 (Reprinted from Rapid Prototyping Report, March 1994, p 3..6)
  • The Origins and Direction of the Fabricator Revolution
         Rapid News, North American edition, September 1997
  • Using Fabricators to Reduce Space Transportation Costs
         with David S. McKay and Hubert P. Davis
         Proceedings of the Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium, Austin, Texas, 1996, p 23..30
  • Creating Ultracustomized Products
         Midnight Engineering, April-May 1996, p 25..8
  • The Freedom to Create
         Midnight Engineering, November-December 1995, p 17..31 (Reprinted from Technology Management, v 1, # 4, 1995, p 157..63. Based on keynote speech at workshop on Rapid Prototyping of Functional Components, AlliedSignal, Inc., Orange, New Jersey, July 1994)
    Fabbers as an emancipating technology which, like books and automobiles, brings a new type of freedom to people. The impact on 21st-century manufacturing and society.
  • Research Notes in Rapid Prototyping Report
    Nontechnical column discussing developments in fabber process technologies.
    •      Creative Ideas Showcased at Summer’s Autofab Conferences, September 1995, p 3..5
    •      Growing Autofab into the 21st Century, March 1994, p 3..6
    •      Automating Microfabrication, January 1994, p 2..4
    •      The Light Sculpting Process, November 1993, p 6..8
    •      Summer’s Conferences Show Off New Technologies, September 1993, p 4..6
      The exciting news hidden in the technical papers presented in the Summer of ’93.
    •      Dual-Beam Laser Curing, July 1993, p 2..5
      Development work in the U.S., France, and Japan on one of the oldest ideas for automated fabrication.
    •      Nottingham Conference Shows Off European Technology, August 1992, p 6..7
    •      Welding Takes on a New Dimension, February 1992, p 1..3
      Development work in Germany, the U.S., and Britain on automated fabrication by 3-dimensional welding. Includes photographs of sheet metal stamping and automotive thermostat housing copied by the process.
    •      “Incremental Fabrication” Builds Directly in Metal, January 1992, p 2..4
      Development work by David Gore of Incre, Inc. Includes photograph of 3-inch hollow partial sphere fabricated in tin.
  • Requirements of Future Fabricator Data Formats
         Workshop on Design Methodologies for Solid Freeform Fabrication, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 5..6, 1995
  • Automated Fabrication: Creating Ultracustomized Products
         The Futurist, May-June 1995, p 38..41
  • Automated Fabrication: The Future of Manufacturing
         Rapid Prototyping Journal, v 1, #1, 1995, p 37..8
  • Automated Fabrication: The Freedom to Create
         Technology Management, v 1, # 4, 1995, p 157..63 (Based on keynote speech at workshop on Rapid Prototyping of Functional Components, AlliedSignal, Inc., Orange, New Jersey, July 1994. Reprinted in Midnight Engineering, November-December 1995, p 17..31)
    Fabbers as an emancipating technology which, like books and automobiles, brings a new type of freedom to people. The impact on 21st-century manufacturing and society.
  • A Revolution is Brewing in How the World’s Products are Designed and Made--Are You Up to Date?
         International Metalworking Update 1994/95, p 216..7
  • Automated Fabrication: The Future of Manufacturing
         Industrial Laser Review, November 1994, p 7..9
  • A Revolution is Brewing in How the World’s Products are Designed and Made--Are You Up to Date?
         CNC West, August-September 1994, p 38..40
  • Quick Primer on Rapid Fabrication
         Machine Design, March 7, 1994, p 150..2
  • Automated Fabrication Service Bureaus
         DesignNet, April 1992, p 52..8
    Description of the service subindustry that is growing up around fabbers. Includes suggestions on deciding whether to use a shop or buy a machine, evaluating a job shop, and getting the most for your money. Complete with directory of shops listing their equipment, CAD software, level of experience, and other data.
  • Automated Fabrication in Space
         SSI Update, Space Studies Institute, January-February 1992, p 5..6
    How fabbers will open up space settlement by allowing utilization of in situ materials.

Speeches on fabbers and digital manufacturing

2000

  • Fabbers in Space
         to American Institute of Aeronautics and Astonautics, Los Angeles, California, April 2000
  • Atoms From Bits
         Keynote at Society of Manufacturing Engineers, Los Angeles, California, April 2000
  • Beyond Mass Customization
         Panel comments at senior executive forum, The Future Factory
         Presented at NEPCon West 2000 by Technology Forecasters, Anaheim, California, February 2000

1999

1998

1997

  • The Origins and Direction of the Fabricator Revolution
         Session keynote at IEEE International Symposium on Industrial Electronics (ISIE ’97)
         University of Minho, Guimar&#atilde;es, Portugal, July 1997
  • The Future of Fabricators
         at National Design Engineering Show, Chicago, March 1997

1996

  • Using Fabricators to Reduce Space Transportation Costs
         with David S. McKay and Hubert P. Davis
         at Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium, Austin, Texas, August 1996
  • The History and Future of Fabricators
         Keynote at Rapid Prototyping Symposium
         Japan Association of Rapid Prototyping Industry, Kyoto, Japan, May 1996
  • The Magic and Practice of Fabricators
         Technical keynote at Advanced Industry Seminar on Manufacturing
         Andersen and Co., St. Charles, Illinois, May 1996
  • Fabbing 3-D Scientific Data in Solid Material
         Seminar Series on Mathematical Modeling and Applications
         University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, February 1996

1995

  • The Prototype is the Product: The Model Maker in 21st-Century Manufacturing
         Keynote at Association of Professional Model Makers Annual Meeting
         Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 1995
  • Requirements of Future Fabricator Data Formats
         at Solid Freeform Fabrication Workshop
         National Science Foundation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 1995
  • Managing Innovation for Productive Manufacturing
         Session keynote at International Conference on Rapid Product Development
         Stuttgart, Germany, May 1995
  • Customer Co-Construction and the Haircut Model of Manufacturing
         at Advanced Prototyping Workshop
         Cerritos College, Norwalk, California, April 1995
  • Managing Innovation for Productive Manufacturing
         at CAD Design for Composites Workshop
         Cerritos College, Norwalk, California, March 1995

1994

  • Automated Fabrication: The Future of Manufacturing
         Plenary keynote at 13th International Congress on Applications of Lasers and Electro-Optics (ICALEO ’94)
         Laser Institute of America, Orlando, Florida, October 1994
  • Rapid Prototyping and Automated Fabrication
         at Plastics Product Designers Forum, Boston, September 1994
  • Automated Fabrication: The Freedom to Create
         Keynote speech at workshop on Rapid Prototyping of Functional Components
         AlliedSignal, Inc., Orange, New Jersey, July 1994
         (Published in Technology Management, v 1, # 4, 1995, p 157..63 and Midnight Engineering, November-December 1995, p 17..31)
    Fabbers as an emancipating technology which, like books and automobiles, brings a new type of freedom to people. The impact on 21st-century manufacturing and society.
  • Research Directions in Automated Fabrication: Process, Materials, and Control
         University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, April 1994
  • Autofab in Space: A New Opportunity for Space Habitation
         The Planetary Society, Pasadena, CA, February 1994
  • Rapid Plastics Prototyping: Additive Autofab for Low-Volume Applications
         at Plastics Product Designers Forum, Los Angeles, January 1994
  • Digital Geometry: Automating the Mathematics of Manufacturing
         at Mathematical Sciences and Sustainable Development: The Current Challenges
         United Nations Development Programme, Ibadan, Nigeria, January 1994

1993

  • Automated Fabrication: It’s Not Just for Prototyping Anymore
         at Autofact ’93, Chicago, November 1993
  • The Household Fabricator
         at Fourth Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium, Austin, Texas, August 11, 1993
    A look at new home construction in the year 2008, with its fiber-optic network connections, pneumatic material supply tubes, and the family fabber room.

1992

  • Using Automated Fabrication for Prototyping
         at Plastics Product Designers Forum, Philadelphia, November 1992
  • Automated Fabrication in Europe: A U.S. Perspective
         Keynote at First European Conference on Rapid Prototyping, Nottingham, U.K., July 1992
         Ennex Fabrication Technologies, Los Angeles, 1992, 8 pages
    The exciting developments in Europe in the context of exciting developments worldwide. Data on important aspects of the industry in which Europe leads the world.
  • The Physical Basis of Automated Fabrication—
              A look under the hoods of the rapid prototyping machines

         at Successful Applications of Rapid Prototyping Technologies
         Society of Manufacturing Engineers, Dearborn, Michigan, April 1992
    The science underlying two major fabber processes: the chemistry of photopolymers and the physics of sintering.
  • Perspectives on StereoLithography: Automated Fabrication in the 19th, 20th, and 21st Centuries
         Keynote at StereoLithography Users’ Group Conference and Annual Meeting
         San Francisco, California, March 31, 1992
    The origins of and future prospects for this dynamic industry, with suggestions on handling challenges. Includes little-known information on the historical roots of autofab technology.
  • Improving Product Quality Through Automated Fabrication
         at Design Quality: Competitive Tool for Accelerated Product Development
         Product Development Management Association, Brea, California, February 1992

1991

  • Automated Fabrication: The Future of Manufacturing
         American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Los Angeles, December 1991

Radio and television interviews on fabbers and digital manufacturing

  • Broadcast-Quality Footage on Automated Fabrication
         Ennex Fabrication Technologies, 1995, 3/4-inch video, 62 minutes
    Collection of three interviews of Marshall Burns about automated fabrication, plus raw footage of fabbers in action.
  • Autofab on the Air
         Ennex Fabrication Technologies, 1995, VHS video, 18 minutes
    Collection of three interviews of Marshall Burns about automated fabrication.
  • The Fabber: Changing the Way America Does Business
         Interview by Kelli Wilson for Science Report
         Syndicated by American Institute of Physics, December 1994
  • Fabricators
         Interview by Bob Hershon, American Association for Advancement of Science
         Science Update, Mutual Radio Network, October 1994
  • Replicators by Automated Fabrication?
         Interview by Keith Morrison, Canada AM, CFTO, December 1993
  • Air Talk on Autofab
         Interview by Larry Mantle, Air Talk, KPCC, Pasadena, California, September 1993
         Ennex Fabrication Technologies, 1993, Audio cassette, 55 minutes
    National Public Radio’s Air Talk host Larry Mantle and his call-in listeners interview Marshall Burns about automated fabrication and where it is headed.
  • Automated Fabrication—Improving Productivity in Manufacturing
         Interview by Ron Adams, Business World, CBC, June 1993
         Ennex Fabrication Technologies, 1993, VHS video, 8 minutes
    The uses and benefits of fabbers in production as well as prototyping, with a discussion of exciting future applications. Includes footage showing the operation of 3D Systems’ SLA-250 fabber.

Classes on fabbers and digital manufacturing

  • Fabricators: A New Manufacturing Technology
         University of Southern California, January..April 1997
  • Agile Manufacturing and Rapid Prototyping
         with Allan G. Dunn
         California Institute of Technology, June 6..7, 1996

On Physics

  • Visualizing Nonlinear Resonance in Classical and Quantum Mechanics
         Computers in Physics (cover article), September-October 1992, p 483..93
    Explanation of graphical techniques used to explore resonance behavior of extreme-Stark hydrogen.
  • Nonlinear Resonance in the Hydrogen Atom
         with Linda E. Reichl, Physical Review A, January 1, 1992, p 333..41
    Theoretical and numerical analysis of behavior, in both classical and quantal models, of extreme Stark states of hydrogen perturbed by microwaves.
  • Nonlinear Resonance in the Hydrogen Atom
         Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Texas at Austin, 1991
    Theoretical and numerical analysis of behavior, in both classical and quantal models, of extreme Stark states of hydrogen perturbed by microwaves. First demonstration of existence of resonance zones in a quantum mechanical Hilbert space.
  • What is Gravity?
         Ad Astra, June 1991, p 14
    A brief explanation of general relativity in nontechnical language.
  • Physics Watch, Science Page in The Daily Texan, University of Texas at Austin
    A lay column on advanced topics in modern physics.
    •      New particles created from ashes of old ones, December 2, 1986
    •      Nobel laureates bring tiny objects into view, November 12, 1986
    •      Mathematics gives world subtle structure, October 15, 1986
    •      String theory portends new insights on matter, September 24, 1986
    •      Matter, energy ever present as waves in underlying ether, September 3, 1986
    •      Waves can be measured for length, position - not both, August 8, 1986
    •      Time longest distance between two places, July 9, 1986
    •      Early universe filled by bright, invisible light, June 5, 1986
  • The Physics of Photons and Slow Particles
         B.S. thesis at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1979
    Intuitive approach to relativity and quantum mechanics.

On Space

  • Fabbers in Space
         at Space Frontiers Conference 8, Space Frontiers Foundation, Los Angeles, September, 1999
  • Using Fabricators to Reduce Space Transportation Costs
         with David S. McKay and Hubert P. Davis
         at Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium, Austin, Texas, August 1996
  • Autofab in Space: A New Opportunity for Space Habitation
         The Planetary Society, Pasadena, CA, February 1994
  • Automated Fabrication in Space
         SSI Update, Space Studies Institute, January-February 1992, p 5..6
    How fabbers will open up space settlement by allowing utilization of in situ materials.
  • Marshall Burns at the International Space University: Reports to Sponsors
         Summer 1990
    A weekly report on the lectures, projects, debates, and other activities at the ISU 1990 summer program in Toronto, Canada. Mailed to the nineteen companies and individuals who had provided $15,000 in tuition and travel support.
  • Carrying on from Apollo 11
         KXAN-TV, Austin, Texas, July 20, 1989
    Interview by Jim Swift on 20th anniversary of Apollo 11 Moon landing, about impact that event had on a child watching it.
  • Issues impacting the feasibility of a factory in Earth orbit
         School of Management, University of Texas at Austin, 1988
    Discussion of the non-technical issues that need to be considered before erecting a manufacturing facility in space.

On Business

  • The Birth of the PC Clone
         Invited lecture to Management of New Enterprises
         School of Management, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, October 1988
    The story of Marshall Burns Computer Sales (later Ennex Technology Marketing, Inc.), the first manufacturer of PC clones in 1982. How an investment of $1500 led to sales of $298,000 in eight months, providing the funds needed by the owner to go to graduate school.
  • Consumer Comforts of Eden
         Technology Review, May 1979, p 85..6
    Commentary on the state of products liability law.


Marshall (“Roc”) Burns
Physicist, Entrepreneur, Philosopher, Explorer
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==================
Thinking About the World

Copyright © 2003—2004, Marshall Burns. All rights reserved.
     Thinking about the world around me — and often writing about it — has always been one of my favorite hobbies. Here is a selection of some of the results that are fit for public consumption.
  • Impact of Automated Fabrication on Society
    from Automated Fabrication, 1993
    Excerpt: One might summarize these questions by asking whether fabricators will elevate humankind to new heights of civilization, or render civilization, along with the assembly line, obsolete.
  • Carrying on from Apollo 11
    TV interview, July 20, 1989
    Excerpt: “Going into space” is not the isolated activity of any individual or group of individuals. It is one aspect of the combined activity of all people, and ultimately of all living things, maybe even of all material and energetic elements of the Earth itself. The cave men of ancient Africa were “going into space” when they started sharpening rocks for tools. It is only the extraterrestrial portion of the journey that has waited until this century; the journey has been in progress for millions of years.
  • Favorite Quotes from my Journals
    Excerpt: Quantum mechanics is difficult for the same reason that Shakespeare is difficult. But it’s more rewarding because instead of adjusting to the language of the past, you have to adjust to the language of the future.


Marshall (“Roc”) Burns
Physicist, Entrepreneur, Philosopher, Explorer
 Chapter 9 of Automated Fabrication was entitled Economic and Sociological Impact. The introduction to the chapter explained:
     Automated fabrication (“fabricators”) has the potential to have an even more fundamental impact on society and society’s economics than automated computation (“computers”). The introduction and growth of computers have been heralded by some to indicate the dawn of a new era of human history, the so-called “information age.” This idea supposes that the greatest value in our society is now placed on information and the tools and skills for storing and manipulating it. But it is possible that the information age will be short-lived, soon to be superseded by a new age in which man acquires untold powers to manipulate the properties of matter in much the same way that computers manipulate information.
     This chapter contains a philosophical section and two practical ones. Section 9.1 is philosophical because it asks more questions than it answers. It is an invitation to the readers of this book to contemplate the overall ramifications of automated fabrication, rather than just the financial advantages it can bring to a single organization. Through such contemplation, it is hoped that we can undertake a more responsible collective implementation of the technology, perhaps recognizing steps we can take along the way to mitigate some sociological drawbacks.
     …
     Reproduced below is Section 9.1 from the book.

9.1     Impact of Automated Fabrication on Society

The Growth and Importance of Awareness in Society

     A new technology can change the way people and nations interact with each other and with their environments, how they acquire goods and services for survival and betterment, and how they assign value to various sorts of available goods and services. Dramatic changes in these elements of life have occurred with the inventions of (in approximate chronological order)
Hand tools, fire, artificial shelter (clothing and roofing), agriculture, language, the wheel, metals processing (e.g., the “iron age”), numbers, the sail, the telescope, mechanical power (the “industrial revolution”), photography, antiseptics and antibiotics, electric power, automobiles, radio (telecommunications), flight (winged and rocket), nuclear power, plastics, and computers.
     The interesting difference in man’s circumstance in the 1990s from the eras of these earlier inventions is our level of awareness of who we are, where we have come from, and how much control we have over our individual and collective destinies. It is only in the twentieth century that we have discovered
The archeological history of life and human culture, the existence of galaxies, the expansion of the universe, the four-dimensional context of spacetime, the atomic basis of chemistry and biology, and the chemical coding which instructs our cells how to build us and determines the colors of our hair and skin.
     It is also only in this century that we have
Mapped our entire planet, gained virtually instantaneous knowledge of its goings-on, and become able to easily go almost anywhere on it in the space of one day.
     This level of awareness is by no means complete. It seems, rather, to be similar to the awareness of community attained by an adolescent who has finished high school and is ready to go off to college. That is to say, it is an awareness that is founded in the joy and pain of discovery and the attainment of new skills. There is yet much we do not know. For example, we have no knowledge of
The origin and context of the universe itself, the limits of atomism, the fundamental nature of intelligence and consciousness, and how to create political structures without violence and economic disparity while preserving personal freedom.
     The impact that a new technology has on the lives and fortunes of people and nations is generally a combination of benefits and drawbacks. The advantage that our substantial level of awareness gives us over previous generations is an ability to anticipate the effects of automated fabrication (and other radical technologies coming along, such as genetic manipulation) and plan for them. Like an adolescent learning to accept new responsibilities, humankind has reached a stage of development that calls for an adult kind of evaluation of our circumstances. We can have the ability to make wise choices if we prepare and equip ourselves with thoughtful consideration of the potential consequences of our actions.
     In his essay, Science and Technology: Who Gets a Say?, John M. Staudenmaier, S.J., Professor of History of Technology at the University of Detroit—Mercy, discusses some of the positive and negative effects of technological development. He uses three very different examples: automobile manufacturing, criminal rehabilitation, and television. Staudenmaier summarizes the benefits and drawbacks of these technologies as follows:1
     All these stories abound with instances of the same paradox: Ford’s Model T provides geographical mobility for an entire generation of people with modest means, giving them access to sophisticated transportation technology, both cheap and easy to repair. Meanwhile the much more sophisticated system that produces them encloses Ford workers in prison factories hedged about with enforcers and impermeable fences. Bentham’s Panopticon would free the criminal from torture and dungeon but offers re-instatement into society at the terrible cost of programmed conformity to a mythic, omnipresent, and invisible scrutinizer. Twentieth century citizens break free from the suffocation of minuscule village perspectives through the mediation of global and instantaneous electronic media. At the same time their capacity for active participation in public discourse and the political order erodes.
     Automated fabrication will have a similar mixture of benefits and drawbacks. It is too early at this time to know exactly how autofab will affect society, but it is not too early to begin to ask the question. It is hoped that this section will stimulate further thinking on the human dimensions of automated fabrication.
     Some activist rhetoric, especially popular in the 1970s, has blamed many of the drawbacks of some technologies on the large corporations that either produce or use them. The activists accuse business leaders of crass disregard for the well-being of their fellow people and the human environment. However, this is not always fair. A corporate leader of the 1970s or 1980s was trained in the 1950s or earlier, when a smokestack was a sign of modernity and the pride of every little community that had one. People, at first, just did not understand the perils attached to our technological development and did not understand the steps that were necessary to live in peace and health with them. To a large degree, we still do not understand these issues, but we are beginning to learn, and we have at least learned that we have something to learn.
     This is the major sense in which the human race is analogous to an adolescent. In causing the horrific pollution of our planet during the second half of the twentieth century, we have been like an infant defecating in its crib. We, or most of us, did not know any better. The activists did know better, and the population as a whole has the activists to thank for waking us up to the necessity to “toilet train” ourselves and our industries. Although a child usually learns to use the toilet well before adolescence, this is only as a conditioned response to training from an adult. It is not until adolescence that a person becomes aware of the issues behind that and other aspects of social training and becomes responsible for choosing which aspects of that training to accept and which to reject or modify.
     Prior to these closing years of the twentieth century, it was common to look to a Heavenly Father for the rules by which to run the world. But the Bibles of various religions offer no guidance on how to deal with acid rain, worker displacement by automation, or the influence of television advertising on teenage smoking and drinking. On these matters, which can determine the survival of a society worth living in, we have found that we are on our own. Like an adolescent returning home from college for a home-cooked meal, we may still return to a Heavenly Father or Mother for spiritual guidance and comfort, but we have moved out of Their House, and must now make our way by the strength of our own wits and conscience. (Interestingly, in this view one might see the Biblical story of the expulsion from Eden as a prophesy which is only now being fulfilled. There is therefore still room for the belief that our actions are being judged and may be messianically overridden at some point.)

How Automated Fabrication Can Affect Human Society

     Individual power. The most dramatic impact of the industrial revolution, starting perhaps with the inventions of the steam engine and the spinning machine in the 1760s, was the increased mechanical power that became available to an individual human being. This led to a new breadth of the distribution of wealth. Automated fabrication has the potential to extend this phenomenon. This will be the cause of the next two items listed below, new opportunities and reduced demand for labor.
     Entrepreneurial opportunities. The rise of automated fabrication brings opportunities for participation in the development, manufacturing, distribution, use, and repair of fabricators and related hardware and software technologies. These opportunities are discussed at greater length in Section 9.3.
     Reduced demand for skilled labor. Fabrication facilities are already realizing hundredfold and thousandfold productivity increases in terms of output per machine operator. While this influence has been resisted by large American manufacturers and their unions, there is underway a relentless decline in the amount of human effort needed to produce manufactured goods. The ultimate effect of this trend is yet to be determined. It may be one or a combination of (a) displacement of workers resulting in an expansion of poverty in industrial nations, (b) absorption of workers by successful new ventures arising from the opportunities mentioned above, or (c) a global agreement on reduced working hours, causing expanded leisure opportunities for working people and expanded markets for leisure products.
     Greater customization. The availability of fabricators and ancillary systems for assembling their output into useful mechanisms will allow manufacturers to tailor their products to suit unique, individual needs. In some types of products, this will replace the modern paradigm of mass production with a new style of customer coconstruction. This idea is explored in some detail in Section 9.2.
     Decline of manufacturing giants, return of the “village craftsman.” The reduced viability of mass production may undermine the growth and stability of centralized producers of goods. In a coconstruction environment, the customer may be served better by a local owner and operator of a manufacturing facility. For marketing purposes, these job shops may be united into chains or franchises, but the facilities and expertise will be distributed widely to meet local needs.
     Since a great deal of wealth is invested in, and a great many people are employed by, the major manufacturers and their direct suppliers, their decline would cause substantial anguish and suffering in the world. As mentioned above, whether this suffering would persist in an expanded poverty class or would be superseded by well-distributed wealth generated by the smaller local manufacturers is yet to be determined.
     Better product quality. The automation of fabrication processes, together with automated methods of inspection and assembly, are improving the quality and durability of manufacturing output. This effect is seen in many industries, as recent cars, televisions, and refrigerators, for example, are lasting much longer than earlier models. The unfortunate irony for manufacturers is the resulting declining need for replacement goods. The useful life of manufactured products, however, will continue to expand, as output quality increases yet more, and distributed capability for generating replacement parts proliferates.
     Reduced “desirability lifetime” of products. Offsetting the extended durability of goods is the continuous onslaught of product improvements. This makes older products, while still fully useful, less desirable than the latest models. Since the 1950s, this has been an artificial marketing strategy used most effectively by automobile and clothing manufacturers to induce current owners to buy again. Today, it is a technology-driven process, with rapid real product innovation constantly driving down the price/performance ratio in many product segments.
     More recycling. If an older model of a product continues to serve its purpose well, then trading up to a newer model will be harder to justify unless the cost of trading up is minimized. One way to reduce the cost of trading up is to consume the older model in the fabrication of the new one. This is an established practice in the automotive parts industry where the prices of rebuilt parts, including everything from brake shoes to engine blocks, are quoted to include a discount for turning in the old part for reuse. The modern additive fabrication processes, some of which build up objects from melted plastics and metals, may raise the practicality of recycling these materials to new heights. Other processes that require pure blends of specialty plastic resins may take advantage of new chemical degradation and separation techniques.
     The ancillary benefits to the community from increased recycling will be a reduction of the impact on natural environments caused by mining natural resources and discarding refuse.
     Process-based commerce. Instead of going into a store to buy goods, the customer of the future will probably select designs from a computer simulation. For simple items, such as a new picture frame or new dinner dishes, it may suffice to purchase an attractive design to be run on a simple home fabricator or “personal factory.” For more complex and larger jobs and those that require specialized assembly procedures, such as a new body style for the family car or a computer keyboard with customized size and placement of keys, a local fabricator shop or contractor may be called in. In either case, it is the process of generating the product that becomes the focus of the purchasing decision, rather than the product itself. In fact, any one product may go through several iterations, with each unsatisfactory one being recycled to generate the next until the final product is accepted.
     Today’s difficult legal problems of establishing fair practices for the use and protection of software designs and algorithms may become the basis of future practices with regard to design and fabrication algorithms for physical objects. Just as easily as software can be copied and illegitimately distributed now, it will one day be possible to copy and distribute the design of a Rolex watch, a Panasonic fax machine, or a Cadillac automobile. Even fabricators themselves will be able to be fabricated by other fabricators. Possibly, as software is sold today with a license for use on one machine at a time, fabrication designs may be sold with a license for one-time use. Fabrication process algorithms may be licensed for implementation on generic machines, with usage royalties automatically metered for payment to the inventor as ASCAP collects and distributes royalties from radio stations for playing music on the air.
     On the other hand, it is possible, though difficult to imagine, that the modern structure of commerce that underlies the concept of royalties may become obsolete. If the world of fabricators turns out to be a world of easily satisfied needs, there may be little incentive for the complex bookkeeping required to calculate royalties. It may be easier, and become popular, to simply share what one has created with the public, as is done today with software distributed freely on computer bulletin boards.
     New feasibility of space habitation. The ability to carry tools that fabricate other tools and structures out of locally available materials will increase the feasibility of inhabiting the Moon, the asteroids, and Mars. Some technical aspects of this subject are discussed in Section 10.2. The sociological and economic impact on human life could be as great as those caused by the European and African habitation of the Americas over the past 500 years. A new harsh environment would challenge the imaginations of young adventurers and profiteers to embark on risky voyages. While many of these ventures will fail, some will establish new centers of commerce and new nations.
     New medical treatments. The autofab technologies have already found important applications in the medical industry. The first purchaser of an SLA, the first commercial additive fabricator, was Baxter Healthcare, which continues to be a leading user and proponent of this and similar technologies. As the scale of automated fabrication recedes to the nanostructure level, such companies will be able to manufacture medical instruments that are no bigger than a common drug molecule. This will bring along new capabilities for noninvasive investigation and treatment of diseases, reversal of natural tissue decay, and even artificial restructuring of tissue contrary to the ingrained genetic design of an individual. The expansion of life span will continue and accelerate, the health of old people will improve, and people will gain the ability to painlessly redesign their bodies.
     How the increased useful longevity of the population will interact with declining demand for human labor, mentioned above, is yet to be determined.
     New weapons. There will also arise new opportunities for thieves, police, governments and citizens to express their wills in force. However, the style of combat may become unrecognizable to anyone from previous centuries. Bombs may become obsolete because of their inefficient distribution of destructive force. Likewise guns, which project passive bullets by an explosive impulse, may become outmoded. More useful will be intelligent mechanisms that incorporate capabilities for reconnaissance, locomotion, and infliction of damage or other influence. The most frightening prospects could raise the heinousness of germ warfare to new levels. It will become possible to create artificial, intelligent microorganisms and disperse them in the air to selectively attack the internal organs of identified enemies.
     Freedom from need. As automated fabrication improves, it will approach being the realization of the age-old dream of humankind for a magical incantation or genie that can grant one’s wishes for any object of desire without effort. The resulting freedom from need might have the potential to usher in a new golden age of art, music, and scientific discovery. But the open question is whether people want such freedom and will rejoice in it. In life, it is often found that the greatest satisfaction comes, not from getting what one wants but from working for it. Some wars have been fought, not so much for the chance to win a particular booty, but for the thrill of engaging in combat. This is one of the major reasons that new technologies can prove so frustrating for society. Even if displaced workers are put on comfortable pensions, many may be left with the dissatisfaction of not knowing what to do with their days. People need, more than anything else, to feel needed. The greatest challenge facing humankind as we proceed into the age of automated fabrication is to find a meaningful use for ourselves as we allow our machines to take over the satisfaction of our material needs and desires.

Twenty-first-Century Society

     The combined effect of these changes could be dramatic. It is conceivable that at some point in the twenty-first century a small mountaintop community will be self-sufficient with a collection of fabricators and a solar power generator. While economically independent, it will be linked by satellite, jet, and rocket to other such villages around the world and on the Moon, with which it will freely trade in specialized commodities, including information. Protecting its territory with sophisticated electronic weaponry, it will express limits on its willingness to support a centralized, tax-collecting federation.
     That description entails a fairly radical change from our modern society. If it seems farfetched, take a look back a mere one hundred years in time to the threshold of the twentieth century. At that time, a scant four generations ago, the most advanced populations on Earth traveled by horse-drawn carriage and steam-driven rail coach, read by the light of kerosene, and communicated overseas by cable in Morse code! Now consider not only how different our technology is today but also how much more rapid are its growth and development. It would be an incredible surprise if life at the dawn of the twenty-second century is not very much more different from life today than our lives are different from those of our great-great-grandparents.
     Several questions arise about the hypothesized mountaintop community:
  • How is it governed? How are goods and services allocated among its citizens?
  • What do its citizens do from day to day? Do they work at arts, science, and athletics to improve themselves and entertain each other? Do they engage in sporadic battle with each other and with neighboring communities, and if so, are these battles playful or vicious? Are the people satisfied or bored with life?
  • Do people travel and migrate freely among the various communities, or are they segregated and provincial?
  • Do all the people in the world live in such communities in which their needs are satisfied by fabricators, or is this the residence of a wealthy class of people? If the latter, do the fabricator owners take special steps to prevent the others from obtaining the technology? Do they do this in order to enslave them, and if so, for what purpose, or only to enjoy a feeling of superiority?
One might summarize these questions by asking whether fabricators will elevate humankind to new heights of civilization, or render civilization, along with the assembly line, obsolete.
     As mentioned in the introduction to this chapter, this section is primarily philosophical, in that its purpose is to ask questions. The reader is invited to ponder the issues raised by these questions and think about what steps might be taken to influence the answers for the better.

Footnotes

1. Science and technology: Who gets a say by John M. Staudenmaier, S.J., in Technological Development and Science in the Industrial Age: New Perspectives on the Science-Technology Relationship, edited by Peter Kroes and Martijn Bakker, Kluwer, Boston, Massachusetts, 1992, p 205..30

Marshall (“Roc”) Burns
Physicist, Entrepreneur, Philosopher, Explorer
 ===============
*** 현대자동차에서 관심 보일 분야
 

A New Dimension in Digital Fabrication

Offset (TM) Fabbing process diagram
The Offset Fabbing process in action. An individual pattern is formed of a thin film resting on a supporting carrier. This pattern is then brought into contact with the growing body of the object being made, and bonded in precise position. Finally, the carrier is removed to make way for attachment of the ongoing succession of patterns.
     Offset Fabbing turns the process of digital fabrication inside-out in order to simplify and speed it up. An Offset Fabber breaks up the 3-D fabrication process into two separate 2-D steps: the formation of a sequence of thin patterns representing cross sections of the desired object to be built, and the successive bonding of these patterns to one another to form the required shape and structure. Offset Fabbing takes advantage of 500 years of technology development in the mature 2-D printing industry to do its 3-D magic with precision, speed, and amazing economy.
     Offset Fabbing brings a whole set of operating advantages to digital fabrication that were previously unheard of:
  • The speed of working with preformed film materials and running parallel pattern formation and bonding stages.
  • Material versatility, allowing fabrication in plastics, metals, ceramics, and advanced composites, either one at a time or side-by-side.
  • A clean, dry operating environment, allowing the formation of hollow voids and the embedding or casting of specialty materials into the fabricated structure in process.
  • The ability to scale the process up to build very large objects. Large objects can be made in thicker materials with angled edges, allowing very high-speed and smooth-surfaced fabrication.
Camaro model made by Offset (TM) Fabbing
An automotive car-body model made in the Offset Fabber prototype in the laboratory of Ennex Corporation. [Design data courtesy Viewpoint Datalabs International.]
     The Offset Fabbing process has been implemented in a working prototype by Ennex Corporation, an innovative technology development company founded by Marshall Burns. Burns is a well-known authority on digital fabrication. He is the author of Automated Fabrication (Prentice Hall, 1993) and has spoken about fabbers at conferences throughout the U.S., Europe, and Japan.

Licensing Opportunity

     Ennex Corporation is currently seeking qualified parties to license the Offset Fabbing technology and bring digital fabricators based on it to market. For further information, please contact Ennex at Contact e-address or (805) 451-4507.

Why Offset Fabbing?

     With so many rapid prototyping technologies on the market today, you may be asking, “Who needs another one? Why should I think about getting involved in a new, unproven technology, when people can just go out and buy a good, working fabber from an established vendor?”
     There are many important reasons you should be interested in Ennex Corporation’s Offset Fabbing technology. And all of them stem from one central issue:

Simplicity!

     In a world of high-tech fabbers, using fancy lasers, toxic chemicals, and complicated parameter settings, an Offset Fabber is a breath of fresh air. It’s a simple two-step process of cut and paste. And instead of a big, expensive laser, the cutting is done by a tiny knife blade with a replacement cost of $15! The cutting and pasting are done by a combination of ordinary, off-the-shelf components adapted from the 500-year-old printing industry. The genius of the process is in combining these simple elements in a new, patented way to build 3-dimensional models, prototypes, and, with further materials development, actually usable products.
     How will this simplicity translate into real, economic advantages for users of Offset Fabbers? Again, there are many ways, but here is a sampling of some of the most important:
  • Fast. Imagine a high-speed label applicator, stamping successive labels out one on top of another. That’s an Offset Fabber. This is the best hope yet for blazing speed in digital fabrication.
  • Safe and Clean, using ordinary pressure sensitive materials like those found in Scotch Tape. There are no lasers, toxic chemicals, fumes, hot surfaces, or other dangers to worry about.
  • Dependable, unattended operation, because the simplicity of the process allows it to be fully automated at low cost.
  • Full Market Range, from inexpensive office units to huge, industrial fabbers stamping out full-size car-body and boat-hull models.
  • Broad Material Range. Development has been conducted on feed tapes made from metals, ceramics, and advanced aerospace composites. Ultimately, almost any material can be used, as long as it can be formed into a film and undergo some kind of bonding from layer to layer.
     Offset Fabbers could become a mainstream tool for fabricating models, prototypes, and, later, actual products. They are fast, inexpensive, versatile machines that open tremendous new opportunities in manufacturing, education, and medicine. In a world becoming crowded with complicated rapid prototyping technologies, Offset Fabbing is a refreshing step back to simplicity.

Model Photos

     The Offset Fabber prototype operated in the Ennex development laboratory has been used to build a number of models from CAD data. Here are some example objects made in the fabber prototype. (Photos by Neil Jackson, Madison Communications, Dexter Michigan.)

Chevy Camaro model made by Offset Fabbing
Car-Body Model
     This accurate rendition of the body exterior of the 1993 Chevrolet Camaro shows exquisite detail of the lighting hardware, wheels, and other embellishments, including the spoiler. This is an example of an application of fabbers to design models, allowing engineers and designers to test their concepts in physical models before committing them to expensive tooling for production. The horizontal pattern of lines in this model is due to registration inconsistencies in the operation of the Fabber prototype, a problem which will be corrected with further development. [Design data courtesy Viewpoint Datalabs.]

Computer sculpture "Star Seed" made by Offset Fabbing
“Star Seed”
     This artistic “computer sculpture” was designed in AutoCAD AME, a popular three-dimensional computer design program, for output on the fabber. Fabbers allow artists and designers to represent complex shapes quickly and easily. Note the manifold symmetry in this sculpture which would be difficult to produce accurately by carving or other manual techniques. The colors are integral to the fabrication materials used, and so did not require any painting or other surface treatment. They were generated automatically in the fabrication process, and may be precisely controlled by the specifications of the design created by the artist or engineer.

Gear ball model made by Offset Fabbing
Gear Ball
     This intricate model shows the ability of an Offset Fabber to generate multiple colors within individual fabrication layers, a unique capability among today’s digital fabrication processes. The curved and aparallel grooves in the interior region of the ball also demonstrate the ability to build unusual shapes without the need for special tooling.

Technical Information

     The initial public announcement of Offset Fabbing, shortly after the first patent issued in 1996, discusses the technical foundation of the technology and several applications that have been tested in the Ennex laboratories.

Patents

     Offset Fabbing is protected by three issued patents, with a standing policy of infringement abatement insurance.
     Click on the following links to download complete text and images of the Offset Fabbing patents.

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