White House report on DIY and "personal factories"


Lots of good stuff in this report, titled "Factory @ Home", which was commissioned by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. 


It ends with these recommendations:


This report recommends the following actions be taken.

1. Put a personal manufacturing lab in every school

2. Offer teacher education in basic design and manufacturing technologies in 

relation to STEM education

3. Create high quality, modular curriculum with  optional manufacturing 


4. Enhance after school learning to involve design and manufacturing

5. Allocate federal support for pilot MEPs programs to introduce digital 

manufacturing to regional manufacturing companies

6. Promote published and open hardware standards and specifications

7. Develop  standard file formats for electronic blueprints design files

8. Create a database of CAD files used by government agencies

9. Mandate open geometry/source for unclassified government supplies

10. Establish an “Individual Innovation Research Program”  for DIY entrepreneurs

11. Give RFP priority to rural manufacturers that use personal manufacturing

12. Establish an IP “Safe Harbor” for aggregators and one-off producers

13. Explore micropatents as a smaller, simpler, and more agile unit of intellectual 


14. Re-visit consumer safety regulations for personally-fabricated products

15. Introduce a more granular definition of a “small” manufacturing business

16. Pass the National Fab Lab Network Act of 2010, HR 6003

17. “Clean company” tax benefits should include efficient manufacturing

18. Offer a tax break for personal manufacturing businesses on raw materials19. Fund a Department of Education study on personal manufacturing in STEM 


20. Learn more about user-led product desig


Views: 362

Comment by brakar on January 12, 2011 at 5:08pm

I must admit I am green when it comes to white house stuff.

The wording looks Nice, but since the report is from That particurlar House, should the wording not be more in the line of; THIS IS WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN !!! ... instead of (what we would reccommend and would like to see someone did something about, is... etc) ?

Comment by Duane Brocious on January 12, 2011 at 5:23pm

We have a 3D system in our school. Rarely used as it is not a part of any industry that needs the training in our state. Just another feel good waste of time and tax money.

If "technology" is so great for education why is it that education outcomes in the USA have declined since we first started putting computers in the classrooms? Any school that needs leading edge technology to teach students or spark intellectual curiosity should be shut down in my opinion.

BTW, I am a multi-certified technology instructor. My students have to be able to read, write and do simple math first...something that is not being done for most students at most public schools in the US.

Spend the money on books, paper and pencils first and don't let them graduate until they have demonstrated mastery of the 3R's.

Comment by Knuckles904 on January 12, 2011 at 6:32pm
@Duane- Agreed. Tech is great for some things, but spelling and grammar check arent available in real life. Nor are google define or freetranslation.com. I really dont think education is one of those things you can just throw money at. My little brother (19years old) still cant quickly find something alphabetically listed when ctrl+f doesnt work.
Comment by Duane Brocious on January 12, 2011 at 6:47pm

My nephew dropped of high school in his junior year to take an $80K programming job. He knew electronics theory at 10 and had two write ups in Forbes at 16. He was "flunking out" of H.S. his reason? I donl;t need to be taught what I already know! He is no genius, just dedicated to being a programmer and scientist.The only technology he had was my electronics equipment and "junk" in our basemment. He was building computers and programming in C while the rest of his classmates were allowed to go from grade to grade without learning how to write their own name or do addition without a calculator. I thnk if he had not had the family support that he did, he wlould have graduated H.S. and been an average cashier at Walmart.

Similarly, if Bill Gates had finished his Harvard education he could be making $250k/yr by now!

Comment by Paul Marsh on January 12, 2011 at 7:04pm

First off, Chris, congratulations on getting recognition for the work you are doing bringing new approaches to business to light.  It is well deserved.


Regarding how this relates to what is taught in our schools, I'm very skepical of anything coming out of the federal governent with regard to public education.  It seems we are always trying everything but what has worked before.  I guess that's because it's not progressive.  I remember "open classrooms."  More recenlty it's been "outcome based education," then "no student left behind," etc. etc. etc.


I can see these novel approaches to manufacturing being taught in business school, but to try and recreate DIY Drones or Adafruit in every high school, well, I'm not sure it will be tax dollars well spent.


I'm probably just shooting from the hip and missing something deep, but there it is.

Comment by Russkel on January 12, 2011 at 7:18pm

Database of CAD files seems interesting. Public access?

Mandate open geometry/source for unclassified government supplies.. what does this mean?

Comment by Duane Brocious on January 12, 2011 at 7:32pm

If autocad files were made available all that would do in schools is give them an excuse to throw a few million to Autocad for software that the schools may not need. Of course not a single politician asks the teachers about education. Been teaching for 12 years and never been asked anything nor has any teacher I know. What do I need as a teacher? Student accountability, parent accountability and administrative accountability.

The No Child Left Behind Act itself shows that the politicians who write these things are uneducated. How can 90% of students perform in the top quadrille of scores? A mathematical impossibility unless the 90% all have the exact same scores and the other 10% have a perfect distribution in the lower quadrilles. Bunch of morons, of course it is all their teachers fault that they were allowed to graduate from high school without learning simple mathematics and common sense.

Comment by Mathew krawczun on January 12, 2011 at 9:46pm

duane I agree to many politicion are more interested in getting a quick hit in the ratings then really fixing things. but if done right I see this as being this a step in the right direction because this isn't about grades or shoving facts down kids heads its about sparking imagination and creativity.


these machines could give kids chances to use what they've learned to make somethng they can hold in there hands that existed no where else before they made it. that simple event is far more motivating and long lasting then any test score or lecture could ever be. you're own nephew is a great show case of what someone motivated can do, but most people home life is not set up to help creaitivity grow and as Einstein once said  "Imagination is more important than knowledge"


its not about teaching kids skill they need for a job its about teaching then skills they need for life in my view.

Comment by Andrew Rabbitt on January 12, 2011 at 9:59pm
All of this stuff has been developed without government intervention or encouragement.  Why on earth does anyone think that getting the government (of any flavour) involved will improve it?
Comment by Duane Brocious on January 12, 2011 at 10:41pm

How about funding trips to museums and libraries, getting major industry leaders and inventors to visit schools ad infinitum.You could put a billion dollars worth of equipment in a school and it probably would'nt change a darn thing unless there are people who know how to use it as a tool to encourage learning other things and make them think. Ask yourself what made you successful and creative. If you are honest it was a person, not a piece of equipment. My inspiration was Igor Sikorsky and my father, not any gadget. Inspire the kids to create and think instead of giving them more mindless toys to play with. Don't get me wrong, I am not anti-technology. It is just that most students need role-models, encouragement in their lives not more gizmos. Albert Einstein's spark was bus ride and his imagination, Newton (allegedly) simply pondered a falling apple. There are great people in our schools that do inspire children. Sadly the greater majority of them are chased out by all the politics and stupid laws.

I spend more time proving to the state that my technology class includes social studies and literature to meet state standards laws than developing curriculum and professional development to be an effective teacher in my own subjects.

Please politicians, do not try to help any more! You just make it worse.


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