Monthly Archives: September 2014

Introducing the YouMagine Team: Erik de Bruijn

 When did you start with 3D Printing? 

Back in 2008 I discovered the RepRap project, looking for a circuit diagram. When I found a wiki with a schematic that was open source (hardware) I discovered that the rest of wiki was about making a 3D printer that could make parts to improve itself, I happily volunteered to help that machine ‘evolve’. Of course that was easier said than done. By may 13th I had done my first print and a few days later I started replacing parts.

First sip, a nice Bacardi shot.
The 3D printed mini mug.stl!
First functional printed part!
Printed the optoswitch bracket as end-stop for the Z-axis.
 What drew you to it? 

I already have a special thing for open source. Also, I like how technology can impact on prosperity and wealth especially if it’s in the hands of many people. My dad taught me to solder and make electronics first from a kit and then my own circuits, later he taught me how to program in basic. I kept playing with these things from that point onward.

When I found the RepRap project, it involved 3 types of things: action, shared learning and meaning. Action is “building stuff”. Shared learning means collaborating and developing knowledge. Finally, it has meaning because we’re fundamentally changing who can have access to an increasingly powerful technology. It’s great to work on something and ponder on the implications on wealth and the economy.

The right ideas can have little impact without action. And they’re never good ideas if you don’t continuously learn and meet people with other perspectives.

When did you join the RepRap project?

In March 2008 I started sourcing parts. Immediately after I’d decided that this was the project for me. I also started blogging about it as soon as I started, because I believe the ideas and ideals are as important as taking action.


I was in my graduation year at the faculty of economics, and RepRap was the perfect way to justify avoiding my studies. But in order to graduate and work on RepRap at the same time I needed some help, which I got!

The visionary MIT professor Eric von Hippel wrote about open source and open hardware way before 3D printing was well-known.

“In a sense, hardware is becoming much more like software, up to the point where you actually fabricate an object,” von Hippel says. “That’s why you’re starting to see open source techniques in hardware. Design is largely going to shift out from manufacturers to the communities.”

Through my role with RepRap and Ultimaker I had the opportunity to talk to the leaders in their respective fields, like von Hippel, Yochai Benkler, Glyn Moody, Frank Piller, etc. This was fascinating by itself, but writing about it helped me connect the dots between their work.

Von Hippel helped me convince my university board and I graduated.

Officially, my thesis was about the viability of the open source development model for the design of physical objects (PDF). In short it investigates why this community works and how fast it’s expanding.

What did you do?

Since 1999 I had founded two IT companies, LowVoice and BudgetDedicated. I learned how to (not) do business, Linux, sever management, virtualization and how to develop your own rack-mounted electronics for datacenters. When RepRap came on the radar, the earlier companies gave me the opportunity to work on that for a while without needing a job on the side. With time and the urge to learn more you can do remarkable things!

How did end up making the Ultimaker?

Ultimaker Founders

Ultimaker Founders

I met my co-founder Siert Wijnia in Amsterdam at workshop for developing green technology (pic 12). There I told someone that I had built a 3D printer and Siert later found out. Siert was setting up the first FabLab in the Netherlands, called Protospace. Martijn Elserman, the other co-founder was one of the first to enter this new lab with amazing digital production machines. The FabLab even had a 60k euro 3D printer from Z-Corp! Siert asked me to show people the RepRap printer and wanted to know whether it would make sense to build them in groups. I told people they shouldn’t start if they wanted nice prints, but they should if they liked to tinker with a wide array of technical disciplines. Everybody there said yes, started building RepRaps and it was exciting! Some had electronics knowledge, others more mechanical, etc. We learned by doing and solved a lot of problems along the way. Martijn joined because he had knowledge on how to make moulds from Z-Corp 3D prints from his first visits to the FabLab. The Z-Corp prints were too fragile and too expensive to be used for making the RepRap, and we didn’t have enough printing capacity to make them with my RepRap. Eventually I printed about 5 sets of parts before I got fed up with that.

The process of making RepRaps took a long time (mind you, between 2008 and 2010 it could be tedious). Martijn had learned about the laser-cutter at the FabLab and decided he would buy one for his home. He made the first Elserbot frames based on inputs from Siert, myself and others. Later we decided to call it the Ultimaker Protobox, the precursor of the Ultimaker Original. When we were getting a lot of requests for kits, we decided to start a company. It seemed like a great opportunity to work on 3D printing full-time (which we were, but making a living from other sources). Eventually you end up spend a lot of time on building a company, not on 3D printing, but with really smart people around you, you can always keep learning.

What do you think the main advantages of 3D Printing are?

It lets you see the world as a place that you can shape to your desire. In software this was already true, you could change things you don’t like by building virtual stuff. To build real stuff, you need to be good with your hands or need a 3D printer. It used to be either expensive or very difficult to make physical objects, with 3D printing this is changing rapidly. Also, it allows you to collaborate (digitally) with people across the world on a real physical object. Perhaps some niche object that just a few people care about, but there are many niches, and the can all reach critical mass as more barriers to entry are removed. Already, many of today’s hardware projects wouldn’t happen without 3D printing. And there are many non-niche things that matter, like the e-Nable project (3D printed custom fitting prosthetics) can find a distributed network of designers, medical professionals, 3D printers, programmers and many other kinds of volunteers. That is an incredibly powerful mix.

I think that a 3D printer can reinvigorate something that we’ve lost during the second industrial revolution. We became consumers and we’re outsourcing design, control and manufacturing of the tools we use. We should be back in the driver seat. And by sharing we can build better things, to which everyone will have access. It’s more than advantages, it’s a fundamental step forward.

Why YouMagine?

Now that we have powerful technology to create, we need a place to share and collaborate!

What are the founding principles of YouMagine?

I’m personally on a mission to encourage people to share more, to empower others and to allow global collaboration. The technology to create things, in the hands of the many can lead us into a new age of innovation and prosperity. YouMagine could play a large role in this. Also, I wanted there to be a place where I would personally like to share things that I’ve made. From before it became part of Makerbot until recently, I’ve been a huge advocate of Thingiverse. Me and many maker/RepRap friends believe we’ve helped make it happen. But now Thingiverse isn’t what it used to be. There has to be a good place to share, and I intend to make YouMagine as friendly as possible and stick to our ideals.

What are the main problems with 3D printing?

People are still creating things in isolation. Their source files are on their local drive. I want 3D design to become more of an online experience. We’ve build YouMagine to support this and are releasing the first features in the upcoming weeks. Also, people share STLs but don’t always share the original files. We want to change that and encourage people to share those, so the next person can take it to the next level.

What is the future of 3D printing?

Recently I’ve had the pleasure to speak with Eric Drexler, a pioneer in molecular nanotechnology. He said that the tools of 3D printing are not that different from those that will be used for the design of nanotechnology. When 3D printing becomes a process at the molecular scale, that can create radical abundance. He and I had both concluded that 3D printing is paving the way for real nanotechnology and the radical abundance that it can create. Not the kind of nanotechnology that keeps shoes from getting dirty, but the kind that cures most diseases, creates an abundance of energy can restore global climate problems and enable interstellar space travel. At the same time he says:

“imagine a world where the gadgets and goods that run our society are produced not in far-flung supply chains of industrial facilities, but in compact, even desktop-scale, machines.”

  – Eric Drexler

3D printing is just the beginning but the concept is very similar to what will come after it: Nanotech!

Do you have any hobbies? Or only do 3D printing? 

Besides this and 3D printing I like to with electronics and software. I’m fascinated by toolchains that go from idea to thing mediated by software, internet technology, people. I’m also concerned about global warming.

A lot of things do revolve around 3D printing, but I have a beautiful wife and 8 month old daughter. The most amazing creations are still made by nature!

Introducing the YouMagine team: Ronald Scheer

ronald 2

Hi, I am Ronald and I am in charge of YouMagine’s educational outreach and I am working with the team on developing our business models.

When did you start with 3D Printing? What drew you to it?

In the summer of 2010 I visited NOVU, the Dutch organization of inventors, product developers and researchers in Utrecht. In the Novu-building I went to ProtoSpace, (a fablab) to attended a workshop where participants could build an Ultimaker. This was the first time that I learned about 3D printing.

Involvement in 3D printing-projects
At the moment I am involved in the ‘3Ducation’ project in the Netherlands, where 24 schools (with children from 6 until 16) will be offered the first lessons in 3D design and 3D printing in the school year 2014-2015. Together with KWTG (a platform to promote Science & Technology at schools in Gelderland) we are preparing a new curriculum that teachers can use.

Involvement in Maker Community
Of course my Ultimaker2-printer is listed on Last month I visited the mobile fablab (owned by Frysklab) where I started to experiment with a full spectrum laser cutter.  In September 2014 I will host some workshops concerning 3D design and 3D print at MiniMakerFaire Kerkrade in the Netherlands. These are examples of how I would like to engage the wider community of Makers, Hackers and Tinkerers.

What do you think the main advantages of 3D Printing are?
3D printing will have a profound influence on Distributed Digital Manufacturing, As a result there will be major changes in Logistics and Distribution as we know it today.

Were you involved in education before?
At the University of Twente I studied at the faculty of Educational Science and Technology. I finished my Masters thesis on Instrumentation Technology with a focus on ‘Open Computer Supported Collaborative Work (OCSCW). So my interest in Collaborative Work (from an educational perspective) has held my interest for a long time already….

You were an educator before, weren’t you?
Yes, in 2002 I graduated as a qualified teacher from Windesheim, University of Applied Sciences. After that I became an Economics teacher.

How will 3D printing help kids?
Children can intuitively work with 3D printers. Children do this much better than adults. I also fully support Youmagine’s initiative to embrace

Why YouMagine?
To me, YouMagine represents my values and passion for open source, collaboration and sharing.

Other interest or hobbies
I am also interested in

  • the ‘Internet of Things’,
  • ‘Open Data’ and
  • ‘Quantified Self’.

Last but not least
I was born in 1971. I am married to Wendy van Krimpen. We have two children (2 boys: 2,5 years old and 4 months old) and we live in Vught, The Netherlands.

Google Glass Interviews: Christina Rebel of Wikifactory

As part of our Wikimania interviews I interviewed Christina Rebel of Wikifactory. Wikifactory is “developing a collaborative ecosystem to democratise design and production.” They are trying to develop the tools & software so people can make many things together. So a lot like YouMagine! 

Follow Christina on Twitter here.

Rights Decay to encourage the sharing of things

We’ve been thinking and talking a lot about rights, IP, sharing, collaboration and innovation at YouMagine. We want to create a good license for 3D printed things and ToS that we can share with the community. And in order to do that we have to take into account many different angles, people and scenarios. At YouMagine we want to encourage sharing, collaboration and innovation. We’ve been thinking of new ways on how to do that. And we think we’ve come up with a new idea that may help this.

If a designer of a thing attaches a particular license to a thing this license permanently locks these rights away in a certain way. So a file may not be used for commercial purposes for example. Many people share and forget leaving a snipped of code of a photo behind somewhere under a certain license where it will stay for years. There are millions of lines of code locked behind licenses that could be shared more freely. Maybe if the designer looked at the file now she wouldn’t mind if the file was used commercially or shared without restrictions? What if to encourage more information sharing we made the licenses more dynamic? A person could always be asked to revisit a file or could unpublish and republish a thing under a freer license. But, speaking from experience we all know that this is not going to happen in a structural way. We’re all lazy creatures and have lots to do.

Picture of a tub of ice cream on a beach melting.

Rights melting like Ice cream. Creative Commons Attribution No Derivates. Dr. Wendy Longo.


What if we build this into the license? What if we gave people the option of saying I will share this under a Share Alike, Noncommercial license and after 12 months it becomes an Attribution license? As time goes on the file is worth less commercially anyway as people make similar things and technology progresses. The person could then monetize the file for the first year and then after it would be freer to share. This would let people build the wonderful heap of open source code that is the sharing world while still letting them profit from their creations. Also long forgotten snippets and photos would released automatically without people having to do anything with them. We like this as an idea and I mentioned it to Michael Weinberg of Public Knowledge during our ToS call and he came up with a name for it: Rights Decay. What do you think?

Sharing a ToS and License for 3D printed things. Google Hangout & feedback on ToS

We mentioned that in order to support the sharing of 3D printed things we were working on a ToS and license for 3D printed things. We are not making these for ourselves but rather for the broader 3D printing and IoT communities. We hope that people will give feedback, contribute, help shape and use our ToS and License. We will let you use both for your own platform or service. We’re doing this because we believe that in order to make more things malleable the next logical step is for people to work collaboratively on group projects. We are also seeing many functional objects emerging in the 3D printing space. But, the requisite legal protections and guidelines are not emerging at an equal pace.  Please comment, join the discussion and give any feedback especially if something makes you unhappy or is confusing.

We have posted our concept ToS to Medium. Here you can give comments next to the pertinent section.

On the 10th of September at 19:00 CET  we will be hosting a Meetings IO. My apologies, we had an early scheduled Google Hangout but it did not work and did not let me log in again.

On the call we will be joined by Louwers IP Technology Advocaten  our lawyers and Michael Weinberg of Public Knowledge who will be joining the discussion.

Google Glass Interviews Part 2 Chris Booth Internet Archive.

At Wikimania we did a number of Google Glass interviews. We wanted to see if it would be easy and fun to quickly interview people. The videos are unedited and what we like about them is that people look straight at the viewer. Here is the first post which goes more into detail about what we learned.

The below interview is a short two minute explanation of the digitization efforts of the Internet Archive by Chris Booth the UK Regional Digitization Manager of the Internet Archive. The Internet Archive aims to digitize and offer ebooks, webpages and other content for download. A library of Alexandria of our modern world, if you will.



Google Glass Interviews

As an experiment I took Erik’s Google Glass to Wikimania. I used it to interview several people there. We wanted to see if it was possible to quickly make engaging interviews using Glass. We were inspired by the excellent documentary Fog of War where the subject Robert McNamara looks directly at the viewer and wanted to recreate this simply using Glass. We’re happy with the results but want to know if you want to see more of this from us? Do you think this is something we should be doing?

About the use of Glass:


It was easy to make the videos.

  • Glass is very portable and so there is less equipment to carry.
  • The interview set up takes a minute.
  • Audio was surprisingly good.
  • We think that the videos are more engaging than other video because the interviewee is looking straight at the viewer.
  • Looking for interview subjects and moving about is much simpler because of Glass.


  • Because people don’t know you are recording, bystanders talk or walk through your videos.
  • Uploading and backing up the video was difficult due to the conference WiFi. Speaking from experience this problem will always occur.
  • The Glass only lets you record for 15 minutes or so of video. We made the clips short in order to offset this.
  • The battery life of the Glass is sapped very quickly when recording video.

Best practices

  • It is difficult to keep your head still when listening to someone talk. Concentrate on doing this.
  • Inside the conference hall itself is almost always a terrible location for video. Lighting and noise make people difficult to see and hear.
  • Go outside.
  • Don’t let people play with your Glass because they will delete videos.
  • Ask for and interview people during non busy periods at stands or events. Seems like a super obvious suggestion but people will say Yes to an interview and then be distracted.
  • Clearly explain the goal and what you want people to say.
  • In Google+ there is this Rotate button above your video. You may out of curiosity want to click it. Don’t. This transforms your video and significantly degrades the video and audio quality. Also it takes hours.

The first video we will be sharing is a short two minute segment with Nick Shockey, the Director of Programs and Engagement of SPARC. SPARC, is “the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, is an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to create a more open system of scholarly communication. SPARC believes that faster and wider sharing of the outputs of the scholarly research process increases the impact of research, fuels the advancement of knowledge, and increases the return on research investments.” A laudable goal certainly!