Michigan Tech course to build your own 3D printer 

“Last fall, Michigan Tech offered a new course: Open Source 3D Printing. Students pay an additional $500 course fee for the components and tools necessary to build their own MOST Delta RepRap 3D printer, which they then use for the course. At the end of the semester, each student keeps the printer they built and modified. The 50 seats for the class filled immediately.


The course essentially distilled the RepRap ethos and formalized it as an introduction to distributed additive manufacturing. We used “Open Source Lab: How to Build Your Own Hardware and Reduce Research Costs” as the textbook to cover the material from an engineering scientist perspective. The course covered the hardware, firmware, slicing, and printer controller software for operating and maintaining the device—all of which are free and open source.


Next, we got into the nitty-gritty of the class: designing hyper-expensive 3D printable scientific equipment. We used the methods outlined in the textbook. As previously covered on, labs can save enormous sums of money by 3D printing equipment. Students formed teams with at least one graduate student per team so that they had access to campus labs. Then they did a commissioned assignment for another professor, designing everything from vortex mixers to shadow masks for semiconductor research. We used the NIH 3D printable repository and GitHub (as NIH only supported publishing the STL but not the source). Again, the abilities students demonstrated when they were given the freedom to innovate in open source space was impressive. You can see their work and many more examples here. Consider, for example, this customizable face plate designed in OpenSCAD, which a student group designed for an electrical engineering professor. The students designed all of them, and now even novices can choose their ports, position, and rotate them into place.”


For anarchists, though, free software is attractive not because of the legal provisions of its production process, but primarily because it contains gratis, high- quality alternatives to the proprietary and monopolist software economy. The latter, already on an early critique, represents “a special form of the commodification of knowledge…the special properties of knowledge (its lack of material substance; the ease with which it can be copied and transmitted) mean that it can only acquire exchange value where institutional arrangements confer a degree of monopoly power on its owner” (Morris-Suzuki 1984) — i.e. intellectual property rights. One may add that these are more than mere “institutional arrangements”, since they can be encoded into the technology itself as access-codes for software packages or online content. On such an optic, the collaborative development of free software like the Linux operating system and applications such as OpenOffice clearly approximate an informational anarchist communism. Moreover, for anarchists it is precisely the logic of expropriation and electronic piracy that enables a radical political extension of the cultural ideals of the free manipulation, circulation and use of information associated with the “hacker ethic” (Himanen 2001). The space of illegality created by P2P (peer- to-peer) file-sharing opens up the possibility, not only of the open circulation of freely- given information and software as it is on the Internet today, but also of conscious copyright violation. The Internet, then, enables not only communist relations around information, but also the militant contamination and erosion of non-communist regimes of knowledge — a technological “weapon” to equalize access to information, eating away at intellectual property rights by rendering them unenforceable.
Researchers identify key molecule which halts transcription of cell's genetic code.

Researchers identify key molecule which halts transcription of cell’s genetic code. Thoughts health innovators?

When cells are normal and unstressed, the molecule keeps transcription moving so that genes are ‘expressed’ and RNA is jotted down more quickly. When cells are stressed and transcription runs into a glitch caused by damage to the DNA, it marks the machinery to be disassembled. Now, researchers at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research have shown that a molecule called elongin A plays two…

View On WordPress

Alter Way Is the Open Source on Microsoft Azure Partner of the Year

Today we’re proud to name Alter Way the winner of the first annual Open Source on Microsoft Azure Partner of the Year Award. The company was honored among a global field of top Microsoft partners for demonstrating excellence in innovation and implementation of customer solutions based on Microsoft technology.

Awards were presented in several categories, with winners chosen from a set of more than 2,300 entrants from 108 different countries worldwide. Alter Way was recognized for providing outstanding, innovative, open source-based solutions on Microsoft Azure.

Based in France, Alter Way is an innovator in the open source space and an expert in building, delivering, and running cloud solutions (self-hosted and on-premises). They have many customers with mixed IT environments who wanted to the freedom to choose both open source and Microsoft technologies, working together. Their expertise in Infrastructure-as-Code and DevOps automation practices, in combination with Microsoft Azure, is delivering great results to customers, including faster time-to-market and lower costs.

Support for open source solutions is crucial to enabling a thriving technology ecosystem and we’ve seen some big milestones recently in working with open source communities and in delivering an open cloud platform. In fact, more than 20% of all Azure compute usage comes from Linux-based solutions today. It’s exciting to see how partners like Alter Way are helping our mutual customers make the most out of their mixed IT and hybrid cloud scenarios.

“Microsoft’s success as a company is dependent upon our ecosystem of great partners, and Alter Way is a shining example of the kind of innovation our partners continue to drive year after year,” said Phil Sorgen, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Group. “We are pleased to recognize Alter Way for being selected as winner of the 2015 Open Source on Microsoft Azure award and for demonstrating excellence in providing value to our mutual customers.”

I’m looking forward to celebrating Alter Way’s success at our Worldwide Partner Conference in July and connecting with other partners who would like to help customers derive value with a combination of open source solutions and the Microsoft cloud.


AKER is an open source, modular urban agriculture system. We share tools that help build ecologically resilient, healthy communities.