AMT Tech Trends: Killing It From The Couch
Updated: Apr 14, 2020
Release date: 10 April 2020
Ben and Steve’s spirits have been lifted as they are getting in the groove of working from home. Stephen opens with some podcasts he has been featured on lately, one of which was with Ben! Stephen has also shut down and unplugged his Raspberry Pi 4 it’s been overcooked with cooling issues. Then these two nerds start geeking out about computers and changing the coolant. Ben finally gets the conversation on the topic with printed electronics and where sensors don’t belong. Steve introduces a humanoid cobot that actually isn’t so creepy. Ben has a supplemental article about upgrading a robot arm’s capabilities. Stephen talks about more additive saving the day against COVID-19 and gives a big shout out to the healthcare workers and people essential during this time of crisis, big thanks to them! Ben tries to close with additive used for lightweight, but as you can imagine the conversation devolves into car talk.
Preparing Technicians www.preparingtechnicians.org/ Benjamin’s Linked In www.linkedin.com/in/benjamin-moses-b13b44a2/ Amateur Machinist Blog swarfysteve.blogspot.com/ Music provided by www.freestockmusic.com
Benjamin Moses: Hello everybody, welcome to the Tech Trends podcast, where we discuss the latest manufacturing technology research and news. I am Benjamin Moses, the Director of Manufacturing Technology, and I'm here with-
Stephen LaMarca: Stephen LaMarca, AMT's technology analyst.
Benjamin Moses: How's it going, Steve?
Stephen LaMarca: It's going well. Ben, how's your... What's this? Our second, third week? Fourth week?
Benjamin Moses: It feels like an eternity.
Stephen LaMarca: It feels like our second month of working from home, and again, you have the kid, so I can't imagine how much, how crazy that's going.
Benjamin Moses: I'm so jealous of all the people tweeting, the 30-year-olds tweeting that have no kids and no wife. I'm just so jealous of those people.
Stephen LaMarca: Oh, man.
Benjamin Moses: And it's not that I don't enjoy Amelia. She wakes up at 6:00 in the morning, which irritates me. I would like to sleep in a little bit. So when she goes bed at 8:30, it's nonstop of us just staring at each other. She's asking me to do something, I'm like, "I got work to do-
Stephen LaMarca: Oh, wow.
Benjamin Moses: ... I'm trying to do work."
Stephen LaMarca: Gotcha.
Benjamin Moses: And plus, I need to teach her her remote learning stuff from Kindergarten. So it's just time management, man. It's just-
Stephen LaMarca: I can imagine.
Benjamin Moses: The struggle is real. But how about you, man? What's going on this week?
Stephen LaMarca: So I have to admit, man. I've gotten a lot better at working from home.
Benjamin Moses: Good.
Stephen LaMarca: I'm not going to lie to anybody and say that, "Oh, I can be just as productive at home as I am in the office." No, I can be almost as productive at home as I am in the office. The office is just ergonomically set up to be productive at work.
Benjamin Moses: Right.
Stephen LaMarca: Your desk chair was made to be sat on and looking at a computer or writing on papers. As for a couch is not, a couch is meant for lounging, you know?
Benjamin Moses: You don't have an office in your apartment, do you?
Stephen LaMarca: No.
Benjamin Moses: Yeah, why would you?
Stephen LaMarca: No. Right now, I'm on a loveseat and I have a TV dinner try that has the computer and microphone on it, and this is my desk. But that being said, I've been wildly productive. But there's also some perks that I'm kind of warming up to, to working from home. And obviously, I want to be, to get used to being productive at home first. So my productivity is at peak. Not at max, I haven't tried taking it all the way. But I'm definitely peaking on my work from home productivity, and what's nice about that is you can wake up an hour before your first meeting.
Benjamin Moses: Sure.
Stephen LaMarca: You don't have to brush your teeth for a WebX meeting, for a Zoom meeting.
Benjamin Moses: True.
Stephen LaMarca: You know? Nobody can smell your breath over the internet, which is amazing. You might have to brush your hair, you might have to put on a shirt. Don't have to put on pants.
Benjamin Moses: That's right.
Stephen LaMarca: But I'm getting used to how much I can milk, you know?
Benjamin Moses: Yeah. One drawback about everyone working from home is the nonstop flood of conference calls.
Stephen LaMarca: Oh my-
Benjamin Moses: Nonstop. I feel like it's-
Stephen LaMarca: Yes.
Benjamin Moses: It's accelerated 10 times, the amount of conference calls I had before.
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah. And you know what the other cool thing is? If somebody needs to talk to you, I just like to tell them, "Put it on my calendar."
Benjamin Moses: Yeah.
Stephen LaMarca: Put a 15-minute block on my calendar. I'll even put it on our calendar, just put it on the Outlook calendar so somebody like Doug, looking at peoples' calendars says, "Oh, man, he's got a meeting there. He must be busy. They must be getting stuff done." You know? So if somebody needs to talk to me, "Put it on my calendar." So that's cool too. But no, that's been great. Something outside of working from home, but a lot of people around the nation are quarantined, on lockdown or have some sort of... Oh man, what's the word from like when you were a kid and your parents wanted you back? A curfew.
Benjamin Moses: Oh, a curfew, yep.
Stephen LaMarca: And my buddy Colin, who you may or may not remember him but Colin was my friend from college, is my friend from college who is a video game streamer, but also streamed and did announcing for the AMT Ping Pong Tournament.
Benjamin Moses: Oh, sure. Yeah.
Stephen LaMarca: Remember that?
Benjamin Moses: I remember.
Stephen LaMarca: Anyway, he's got a podcast too now.
Benjamin Moses: Okay, cool.
Stephen LaMarca: And it's cool, they talk about anything. And he had me as a guest on his podcast, and he had me talk about our podcast for a little bit. And it was cool, and we started really professional and then we unraveled pretty quickly back to our old college selves, so it was fun. But I got to say, it's been fun being featured and having as many people reach out to us for... because of our podcast as there have been. Because you and I, we, a couple weeks back before the whole quarantine really went down, we did that podcast with the NSF and Mike.
Benjamin Moses: That's right, we did a podcast that discussed latest technologies as relevant to the technician on the operator floor. And Mike is getting funding from the NSF to host that podcast and do a bunch of interviews through the industry. And I'll post a link once it's public, but that was a really fun interview talking about the hype around 5G and artificial intelligence and cyber security. Some really interesting topics.
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah, it was a really on-point podcast. I liked how much it actually... talking about that stuff with Mike felt very much like attending some of the industry conferences-
Benjamin Moses: Oh, sure.
Stephen LaMarca: ... from back in the day. I have to say back in the day, from like a couple of years ago. I remember the very last MCSquared that we did.
Benjamin Moses: Oh, yeah.
Stephen LaMarca: We talked about a lot of those topics, but obviously, the time and technology has changed since then, so it was a very nice podcast and I recommend anybody listening that's in our industry that kind of misses those conferences like MCSquared or jonesing for MFG that can't go this year because of coronavirus, you know? That's a good podcast to listen to, I think.
Benjamin Moses: Good, maybe we'll add a link to his overall podcast.
Stephen LaMarca: Definitely. I'm looking forward to that one going live.
Benjamin Moses: So, Test Bed is still down. We're still working remotely, no access to it.
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah, Test Bed is still down. I think Russ is going to head into the office just to grab the Raspberry Pie, so he can do, him and [Sharab] can do the version 1.6 rollout. I told him where the new Raspberry Pie is. Speaking of my Raspberry Pie, mine is actually shutdown right now. I left it on only because I was doing a lot of testing and I figured, "Why turn it off? It doesn't make any noise." But the thing is, and it's well documented on the internet and in Makerspace forums that the Raspberry Pie 4B runs hot and I think I was probably a half hour to an hour into just web surfing and YouTube video watching when I got the indicator on the top right corner of my television screen that the processor was overheating. Or not overheating, but it's being throttled due to temperature, and check the temps, and it's running at a solid 82 degrees Celsius. So that thing is boiling, or not boiling, but nearly.
Benjamin Moses: That's pretty hot.
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah, and it's just like man, I really want this thing to work out. So now I'm jonesing for a liquid-cooled gaming PC.
Benjamin Moses: That's a mild step up, to put it lightly. I'll tell you-
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah, I think it's fun. I like it.
Benjamin Moses: ... the growth of liquid cooling PC is mind blowing, because I've got a computer that's liquid-cooled also, and it's so quiet compared to previous generations that I've had, I can't imagine going back to an air-cooled system. It's mind blowing how quiet it is.
Stephen LaMarca: I've heard in some cases that there are some pre-builds that have liquid cooling or even custom builders who have build a liquid-cooled PC and will complain that well, it's still loud because guess what has to cool the liquid? A fan. And it's like, it just sounds like you didn't think through the internals of your actual case.
Benjamin Moses: Yeah, they've got some serious flaws if they're complaining about that.
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah. I mean, if it's open and there's enough cable management, so that cables aren't getting in the way of the fans and the airflow, and if maybe somebody implemented some CFD, which is available to literally everybody. And I'm just kidding, but then you wouldn't have a problem with the internal aerodynamics to a PC, to a gaming PC. But you like liquid cooling? You're a spokesperson for it, if you would?
Benjamin Moses: I would. I feel like it's the most efficient way to cool a computer and plus, if you're looking at any type of overclocking, there's a lot of head room on the cooling so you won't get thermal throttling.
Stephen LaMarca: Interesting. Oh, wow.
Benjamin Moses: Even if you don't overcool, your temperatures are so much cooler that you could theoretically say that the life will be increased because you're not anywhere near limiting.
Stephen LaMarca: Sure.
Benjamin Moses: It's quieter, so most cases, you'll go from like four or five fans down to one or two and it can go slower.
Stephen LaMarca: Got you. Okay, that makes sense.
Benjamin Moses: What makes it even better is if you can liquid cool the graphics processor. So, that's not common, but it's getting there, so.
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah, I've seen a few Gucci PCs from back in the day that did that. In fact, that's where I originally thought liquid cooling was used for, was the GPU and not the CPU itself. But again, I'm learning a whole lot more about computers because of the Raspberry Pie and the Test Bed being on hold.
Benjamin Moses: Good.
Stephen LaMarca: But this is the Tech Trends podcast, this isn't the build-your-own PC podcast, but I do have one more question before we get back on topic.
Benjamin Moses: Yeah, man. Shoot.
Stephen LaMarca: Liquid-cooled PCs, how long have you had yours?
Benjamin Moses: Let's see... I moved 2008. Probably 2010.
Stephen LaMarca: Okay.
Benjamin Moses: No... Yeah, 2010.
Stephen LaMarca: So it's about 10 years old now?
Benjamin Moses: About 10 years old, yeah.
Stephen LaMarca: Okay, and this is my actual question. That wasn't the real question. How often do you change the coolant in a liquid-cooled PC?
Benjamin Moses: I've never changed it.
Stephen LaMarca: Have you changed it [crosstalk 00:10:59]-
Benjamin Moses: I've never changed it. This could be a flaw in my processing or in my planning, I've never changed the liquid. So, I've seen the cases where you're supposed to change it. There's no Additive to the coolant, so it's all closed loop, so there's no dyes or anything like that to make it look better, and I think it's just water.
Stephen LaMarca: Like distilled water?
Benjamin Moses: Yeah, it's distilled water. I bought mine pre-built. Probably something I should look into, but I'm not.
Stephen LaMarca: Right, well you haven't had any issues-
Benjamin Moses: No.
Stephen LaMarca: ... so why look into it?
Benjamin Moses: I've never had issues. And I have been doing overclocking recently, some mild overclocking.
Stephen LaMarca: Right.
Benjamin Moses: And it's been auto tuning over the overclocking speed, so it's been finding a target and shooting at and achieving that.
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah, okay. Cool. Well, I think I'm still sold on pre-built.
Benjamin Moses: Yeah, let's get into some articles, man. I got-
Stephen LaMarca: Yes, please.
Benjamin Moses: ... one about printed electronics. This article from-
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah, tell me about that, man.
Benjamin Moses: ... a self-descriptive website, Printed Electronics World, talks about conductive ink. And I thought this was a really interesting article. One, they have a really, really bad use case they talk through and I'll get to that in a second, but the idea of conductive carbon, being able to print on very thin or flexible substrates is pretty interesting. So, if you can imagine being able to put sensors on a conformal part of an automotive panel or anything that has a really unique shape, that's actually very difficult to put a sensor in.
Benjamin Moses: These guys are producing an ink that allows you to do that, and while there's a manufacturing USA institute called Netflex, which has been around for a little bit that has been obviously exploring this, and printed flexible electronics. They've been around for a minute, but the point that the article makes is this material is now being commercialized. So what that allows you to do is reduce the cost of acquiring this material. That reduction of cost allows for more significant growth of applications. So one of the unfortunate use cases they talk about is a smart diaper for babies.
Stephen LaMarca: No way!
Benjamin Moses: Which kind of irritated me, it's just the logic in me. And also the solution... So, I have a five-year-old, so she was wearing disposable diapers when she was a little kid, and those diapers had a little indicator that would turn blue when she peed. It was probably the chemicals in pee like [crosstalk 00:13:30]-
Stephen LaMarca: Right.
Benjamin Moses: ... some chemicals that change the color.
Stephen LaMarca: Diapers made of litmus paper.
Benjamin Moses: So the smart diaper already exists. Yeah, exactly. That technology exists. Don't tell me you want to put a sensor in a diaper to solve a problem that already exists. Give me something else. So they talk about other use cases in the article like putting into very, very hard to reach places in automotive or the backing's very unique. It could be on the surface, and they also talk about it being a sensor and also gathering information, a use case. But also it being a heater also, so if you have a larger panel of this say, printed maybe on the hood of a car or on the roof of a car-
Stephen LaMarca: Or the wing.
Benjamin Moses: ... or the wing, yeah. And you have to heat up an element, maybe you have solar panels on top or maybe some kind of electronics that you have to maintain a certain temperature, this is another application where they could do that on premises, on point of use. So I thought that was really interesting that the conductive ink has come that far along, that's being used in commercial applications.
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah, that's awesome. A lot of those pop up spoilers on fancy cars like Porches, those are designed to come, to be deployed at like 60 miles an hour and then come back down once you get below 40 miles an hour. What if it wasn't speed variable, but it was actually controlled by the ECU-
Benjamin Moses: Right.
Stephen LaMarca: ... and the ECU was able to use one of those printed circuits to measure air flow over the wing, depending on the speed of the vehicle and thus, it can run a calculation on down force available.
Benjamin Moses: Yeah, I really like-
Stephen LaMarca: That would be pretty wild.
Benjamin Moses: I really like active aerodynamics too, like the Pagani Huayra.
Stephen LaMarca: That is so cool, yeah.
Benjamin Moses: The front, diffuses the front spoilers that actively help you move around to help you slow down and rotate.
Stephen LaMarca: Right. Oh, man. The Pagani Huayra. I'm so pumped that you mentioned that in the podcast, just because when we send this to Rev.com for them to transcribe it, I want to see them spell Huayra properly.
Benjamin Moses: Nobody can. Nobody can pronounce it properly either. It's tough.
Stephen LaMarca: Nobody can.
Benjamin Moses: You got an article on collab robots?
Stephen LaMarca: Yes. All right, so I found an article from AutomationWorld.com on humanoid collaborative robot.
Benjamin Moses: Nice.
Stephen LaMarca: And you've kind of heard of these before. Years before, there were humanoid, robot competitions from universities and different research labs trying to make a human size, a humanoid robot doing tasks, and these videos were hilarious because you saw these robots fall over and then they would continue trying to do their tasks, not realizing that they were on the ground. And then, a couple years later, Boston Dynamics started releasing their videos of their really creepy but yet really awesome robots, that's like, "Okay, these are creepy right now, but please just put a use case in the video so we can understand the purpose of it instead of scaring people."
Stephen LaMarca: And then, Boston Dynamics last year in 2019 finally released Spot onto the market. So if you have a use for Spot, and I'm sure their website gives some examples of use cases, you could buy this robot dog that could actually do things. But now another company enters the game and it's called, the company's called Agility Robots, and I believe they're humanoid collaborative robot is called Digit. And even though this is like the same type of robot, it's a humanoid bipedal robot kind of like something you would see at a Boston Dynamics or those old university robotics competitions, this one, I don't know why, but I wanted to bring this one up. I don't find these robots creepy.
Benjamin Moses: Oh, really?
Stephen LaMarca: To me, it looks like a universal robot's collaborative robot arm just with another arm, a torso, this vision system as a head and inverted bipedal legs, and it's just, there's something about it that's... I don't want to say comforting but it's just not creepy. It doesn't seem weird. So it's a cool video to watch, it's only like a minute and 10 seconds of just their robotic demo, and there's like a paragraph of the article [crosstalk 00:18:07]-
Benjamin Moses: I think there are a couple of things that... It avoids the uncanny valley, in terms of-
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah, oh, yeah.
Benjamin Moses: ... so if you look at animation, Polar Express is your best example of it's supposed to be really good, but everyone is just turned off by how weird it looks.
Stephen LaMarca: And it's weird because it's too realistic.
Benjamin Moses: They try to be too realistic. They don't go full on CGI. They get close and it's in that weird place where like, that's gross.
Stephen LaMarca: Right. Right, you can either have Toy Story, or you can either have a live action movie that is supplemented by CGI to make something look like it's live action.
Benjamin Moses: Right, yep.
Stephen LaMarca: Then Polar Express was like, "This looks like live action," please don't do that ever again.
Benjamin Moses: And this robot, it doesn't get into the uncanny valley because it doesn't have a head. I mean, it's a biped, but-
Stephen LaMarca: No, it just looks like a humanoid collaborative robot.
Benjamin Moses: Yeah, and the term humanoid, there's two legs, two arms and a torso. That's not like that's a human. It's like, the definition of a humanoid is that, and it's cool. It's interesting. And there's no hands on it, it's got little nubs as its kind of hands.
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah, it's got little rubber, what look like rubber tennis balls, like we could see on a walker.
Benjamin Moses: Yeah. [crosstalk 00:19:16]. Yeah.
Stephen LaMarca: But that's how it picks stuff up. It doesn't have an end defector, so you don't need to program an end defector on its hands, just as it's meant to move boxes. It's meant to load and unload trucks.
Benjamin Moses: And I think the Department of Defense is doing the best job of finding use cases that trickle down to the need for these types of robots. So like Spot, the Boston Dynamics animal, using that as an equipment carrier. So if you've got troops in the field and you have 500 pounds of stuff, just put it on Spot and he'll walk along with you.
Stephen LaMarca: I do love Spot, by the way. I talk a lot of smack about Boston Dynamics, just because all of their excellent testing that they do, their quality assurance testing to make sure those robots work flawlessly, seems really abusive, and just like, this robot's going to come back and attack everybody. But those robots are so cool. I would love Spot-
Benjamin Moses: So, I've got-
Stephen LaMarca: ... if it wasn't like... It's probably like $100,000.
Benjamin Moses: I'm sure they're very expensive. So the article I've got is talking about making robots smarter.
Stephen LaMarca: Cool.
Benjamin Moses: So it's kind of in addition to your article, where mine talks more and more about the underlying technology. So if I've got a device that we're looking to implement some level of autonomous actions or artificial intelligence, it could be a single robotic arm, it could be an automated ground vehicle, or it could be a bipod or a quad pod robot like the ones you've described. This talks about the processing power required to achieve some of the computational needs that's required almost for real time analysis, right? So, this article talks about... It's from Electronics Design, and it talks about a process from Texas Instruments where it kind of outlines all the different communication flows and all the different information that's kind of being processed, and the different spots on the board itself.
Benjamin Moses: So it talks about using the risk architecture for defining what the overall board looks like, and then it highlights different parts of the board that are handling video acceleration or processing. There's even a section on security, so it's doing cryptograph analysis for the data that's coming in, make sure it's secure. So the article gives you a really good idea of the amount of information that has to be processed for kind of real time processing, and where it lies on the board. And I thought this was useful for people that are getting into... So if I have a robot and I want to do an additional level of autonomous control, this article brings up some really good thoughts on what you would ask for in terms of hardware to support the robot itself. So if you have the robotic arm, if you have a vision sensor, great.
Benjamin Moses: The end effect of that's 80% of the thing, now you need the brains behind it to being able to handle the machine learning algorithms plus all the vision systems and all the sonic sensors, ultrasonic sensors so you know what's going on around you. And I thought this gives a really good overview of what's required and helps you ask questions in the future of, "Okay, what does the board look like?" Not, "What does the end effect look like? What does the arm look like?" It's, "What does the board look like that's going to handle all these processors?" So the board that's required on the agility robot's probably pretty intense and probably very custom, but these are commercial products that are available now, so I think these are similar to the conductive ink. There's a lot of companies making standardized products that this will reduce the cost of implementing autonomous machines.
Stephen LaMarca: Right, it's crazy to think that you look at a robot like Spot or this agility robot, Digit, and think that there's parts in there that are off the shelf.
Benjamin Moses: Yeah, it's amazing. And yeah, I completely agree.
Stephen LaMarca: It looks like a custom science project, you know?
Benjamin Moses: So talk to me about 3D printed nasal swabs.
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah, that's the last one I got from 3D Printing Network, or 3D Printing Media Network. They, amidst all of this coronavirus stuff going around the world, this is how 3D printed nasal swabs could support the widespread COVID-19 testing. So the last podcast mentioned how 3D printing companies around the world started in Italy, with 3D printing the ventilator valves for coronavirus patients. Now, Additive companies are getting ahead of it and 3D printing the swabs to actually diagnose people, to test people-
Benjamin Moses: That's cool.
Stephen LaMarca: ... whether or not they have coronavirus. So I think the coolest thing, the greatest thing that we are making, that our industry is making in such a terrible time is Additive's the hero right now.
Benjamin Moses: Yeah.
Stephen LaMarca: First we were printing the ventilators, now we're printing the test devices. What's next? What is Additive going to do next?
Benjamin Moses: Yeah, that is a good point as you bring up, that the-
Stephen LaMarca: One of the hugest problems, not necessarily problem with Additive, but it's like the question of Additive is like, okay, this is a great technology, what are we going to use it for?
Benjamin Moses: Right.
Stephen LaMarca: This pandemic has had an answer for Additive, it's wild.
Benjamin Moses: And it is great to see the acceleration of this equipment. So, conceptually, it's probably not the best process for producing millions and millions of parts, right?
Stephen LaMarca: No.
Benjamin Moses: But in a pinch where the other pipelines are full, being able to offload to this equipment that may be down or not use, being able to channel that into this is really, really productive. That is really cool.
Stephen LaMarca: Right, and the thing with the ventilator, the ventilator is... That's a complex part, so they can only make so many of them in one Additive bed of an Additive machine, a 3D printer. As for these swabs, if you look at the picture that's included in the article, there's like, I don't know how many there are. I assume there's a couple hundred on that machine.
Benjamin Moses: Sure.
Stephen LaMarca: So they're printing them in massive batches.
Benjamin Moses: Yeah, and they're doing the vat polymerization, where-
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah, that's it.
Benjamin Moses: It's a super fast process.
Stephen LaMarca: Very fast, and they're making a lot in one go, so I mean, I'm kind of eating my words here saying, telling so many people the past few years that Additive isn't ideal for mass production, and people have told me, "Additive isn't ideal for mass production." Then what is this?
Benjamin Moses: Yeah, I do want to bring up this other interesting point where one of the manufacturing USA institutes America Makes has a call on the industry for collecting all this information. So they have three sections where people contribute, so they want to get what are the needs, so health providers can submit, like an individual hospital can submit their needs. So they can say, "We need face shields, we need this," right?
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah.
Benjamin Moses: Designers can submit your designs, or your capabilities and manufacturing can submit your manufacturing capabilities into this one repository, and they're going to work as a matchmaker with the FDA to help source the parts that are needed to the people that are needed. So there's quite a few groups like this, America Makes, and we'll include the links in the show notes that if you're able to contribute towards it, put in your information and then they'll contact you. I thought that was really cool.
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah, and before we wrap up with this article or wrap up with the podcast in general, I just want to say that as awesome as it's been seeing Additive be this hero during this time, we also got to give big thanks to the men and women of the healthcare services industry, like the people in the hospitals that are taking care of all these people. I know your wife does a lot. She's a practitioner, right?
Benjamin Moses: Yeah, she was. So she works at the hospital in Fairfax. She was on the administrative side, so she does capacity logistics.
Stephen LaMarca: Still though, man. She's there.
Benjamin Moses: She's there, and that's one of the reasons we're isolating ourselves, is to prevent us from being carriers, because she has a high potential of getting it at the hospital. But, it's interesting that the problems that they're facing is on the administrative side, it's just capacity, right? There's only so many ventilators, only so many rooms where we can isolate these patients, so while the bedside nurses that are overstressed and wearing these super difficult outfits for hours on end to some of the administrative staff who are just pulling their hairs out to figure out, "I got 10 new patients in today, I didn't plan on it, where do I put these people?" So it's a very stressful situation for the healthcare industry in general.
Stephen LaMarca: I can't imagine, and they are killing it right now. They are doing an awesome job, and not just them and Additive, but I don't know if you've seen a few articles going around, but I saw on Facebook. I actually follow on Facebook a shoe company, one of my favorite shoe companies, Allen Edmonds-
Benjamin Moses: Sure.
Stephen LaMarca: ... they've halted half of their production and retooled their production line. Instead of making high quality leather, Goodyear welted shoes, they've started making N55 masks.
Benjamin Moses: Oh, wow, that's cool.
Stephen LaMarca: Or I don't know if they're N95? Whatever. They're making medical masks.
Benjamin Moses: That's cool.
Stephen LaMarca: They've stopped half of their production and loaded it up with making medical supplies, and it's not just them. There's a lot of companies that are starting to make... We're seeing a reawakening if you would, of the World War II war effort to combat this virus, this coronavirus. Which is really awesome.
Benjamin Moses: Steve, between you and I, the only thing... It's great that everyone's contributing. The one thing that people haven't talked about is what are we going to do with all this biological waste? I don't know what to do with all these masks now that we're using this amount of masks, but that's a conversation for later.
Stephen LaMarca: The good thing about the masks, are... aren't they-
Benjamin Moses: They're probably paper-derived.
Stephen LaMarca: They're made out of paper.
Benjamin Moses: Hopefully.
Stephen LaMarca: So at least they're biodegradable.
Benjamin Moses: Yeah. We'll see. Maybe that's... We'll talk about it.
Stephen LaMarca: It's not going to end up in that plastic swirl in the middle of the ocean. That'll have to be melted down to make Additive powder.
Benjamin Moses: The last article I wanted to talk about was an article from 3D Printing Industry, and it goes over a common application for a production part where they look at saving weight. So they have this hydraulic manifold, this really big manifold, and it's like 30 kilos, which is 60-some pounds in American units. And they say, "That's too heavy, let's figure out how to reduce the weight." So what they looked at was, "Can we grow this part and not..."
Stephen LaMarca: We have a special guest, everybody.
Benjamin Moses: And they look at how to save weight. So instead of doing significantly more machining, they decided to grow the part. Which is great, because they cut it down to five kilos, roughly 10 pounds-ish, and it's awesome. But in the design that they showed, and I don't think they really used any generative design. It looks like they used the interfaces and the fluid volume-
Stephen LaMarca: Wait a minute. Light weighting without generative design?
Benjamin Moses: Yeah, that's what it looked like.
Stephen LaMarca: What are they doing?
Benjamin Moses: The design looks pretty straightforward. It looks like they can continue the optimization a little further, but they looked like they took the pressure vessel and did some basic calculations to remove all the excess material. Instead of machining from a giant block, they said, "What are our critical areas?" And did some basic kind of calculations, which is fine. I mean, your goal was to save weight and you did, but I question that. Why did you go to Additive? This looks like a part that could be in the welded assembly. I mean, you've got some tubes, you've got some interfaces, you've got this flat interface that I think-
Stephen LaMarca: So what processes would you recommend for optimization and light weighting?
Benjamin Moses: So, I would have preferred more of a thought experiment to look at different applications. So, yeah. Additive is one approach. You could take a second to look at that and come up with your trade study matrix to look at cost efficiency, productivity and all those things. But the other side is, what what a welded assembly look like, instead of doing growing apart, can I break this up into components, make those digital components and weld it together. I mean, I would have loved to see that comparison, which would probably be lighter than what you're achieving now, because you could use raw material. Yeah, you have to do some knock downs for the weldments or things like that, but I think the thought process of I need to say, "Wait, let me do it, let me grow this part," at the proof of concept, sure. But there's a lot of other opportunities in manufacturing that are not being harvested, and I think that where we're kind of missing the opportunity, the full potential of manufacturing when we jump to conclusions.
Stephen LaMarca: So you just think they jumped to Additive too quickly?
Benjamin Moses: I think they jumped to Additive too quickly. I agree.
Stephen LaMarca: Wow. Okay.
Benjamin Moses: It's a cool design. I've got nothing against the design. I think the final product looks great. I think there's a lot of opportunity, but I would have liked more information to know what else do they look at, that's all. Yeah.
Stephen LaMarca: Right. That reminds me of a lot of automobile companies when they're making sports car components, one of the most important parts of components and systems of a sports car is its suspension system. And so you'll see on a lot of high end sports cars and super cars even that for the suspension architecture, both the steering knuckle and the control arms, both upper and a lower, and their wishbones, a lot of those are made out of a cast aluminum.
Benjamin Moses: Sure.
Stephen LaMarca: And aluminum, choosing cast aluminum over like let's say, stamped steel, it's number one, people think, "Oh, aluminum parts, it's got to be way better," but you look at the size of these parts and they're so bulky and massive, and again, it's cast. This is an old technology. When there are a few handful of companies coming out today that are like, "We use generative design and additive to print the ideal suspension geometry." Now, that works for a super car, for a very high end sports car, because additive is expensive. It takes a long time. It can't necessarily be mass produced. I'll eat my words again, I'm sure. But then you look at a lot of the budget sports cars can achieve just as good chassis dynamics and handling dynamics using a simple, coded and heat-treated stamped steel.
Benjamin Moses: Yeah, yeah.
Stephen LaMarca: And the components are so much smaller, too. Sure, at the end of the day, stamped steel suspension geometries aren't nearly as sexy as cast aluminum or even God forbid, generative designed Additive components, but at what point is it saving money and time and simplicity way more than flashiness?
Benjamin Moses: Yeah, and generative design can be used for sheet metal design too. It's another set of your constraints, right? It's jumping to Additive is something I'm over with. That'll be in my next video game.
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah, works great for the coronavirus though.
Benjamin Moses: So where can they find more info about us, Steve?
Stephen LaMarca: We can find more info about this, about all of these articles, they will be linked in the description, as well as your LinkedIn account.
Benjamin Moses: Awesome. And I guess that's it for this week, we'll see everyone next time. Bye everybody.
Stephen LaMarca: Thanks a lot, man. Bye everybody.