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Producer of the Week: jbrenner

Posted by sdesapio 2 years, 11 months ago to Featured Producers
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Jbrenner shares some high-tech passion projects as well as how he can relate to many of the characters in Atlas Shrugged.

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QUICK FACTS

*Favorite Ayn Rand book:
Atlas Shrugged. I have more comparisons to what has transpired since the middle of 2008 when I first read the book than I can count. I identify with many of the characters. Like Rearden, I am a materials engineer. I could show Reardon and d’Anconia a few things about how to purify metals. I have been on many sides of the energy equation and thus can relate to several characters like Galt, Danagger, and Wyatt. I have a bit of a personality disorder in that I enjoy keeping things running despite all sorts of setbacks like Dagny. When I was younger, I had a few Wet Nurse moments. I worked in a government lab for a while before reading AS and could see the temptation for a Robert Stadler.

*Favorite Ayn Rand character:
Francisco d’Anconia, especially for the money speech. Francisco was gifted at illustrating the hypocrisy of those around him.

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Q & A

*When were you first introduced to Ayn Rand?
I read “We the Living” while in high school because I had to do so. I wrote an essay showing the absurdity of Communism as exemplified by the book, only to find out that my teacher was a Communist. She gave me a C on the essay to give me a B for the course and cost me being valedictorian.

*How has Ayn Rand influenced your life?
Later in this thread, you will read about a company I helped start in which one of my partners invented something akin to Mr. Fusion from the Back to the Future movies. I was one of the last in our small business to read “Atlas Shrugged” in 2008. When Barack Obama got elected and it was obvious that he was favoring solar instead of the biofuels we were selling, we sold our company and shrugged. I don’t think I would have shrugged had I not just read “Atlas Shrugged”.

*What passion projects are you working on right now?
Prof. Kurt Winkelmann and I are co-authoring the first lab manual on a nanotechnology laboratory that encompasses both synthesis and characterization.

My current research projects involve 3D printing of poly(lactic acid) fibers as inexpensive tissue scaffolding. In several years I plan to make tissue engineering affordable by embedding growth and differentiation factors into such fibers, thereby allowing one of my colleagues at Florida Tech to morph induced pluripotent stem cells grown on the poly(lactic acid) fibers into fully developed, ready-to-implant tissue. This will make some money, but the next project is the one for which I will make a mint.

Just today I bought a 40 watt engraving laser from which I will build a 3D printer of metals and ceramics via laser sintering. Right now 3D printing of metals and ceramics AND 3D bioprinting equipment is overpriced to the point where that industry is similar to the computer business in about 1982. In the last couple of years many people have developed 3D printers for home use, but the laser power required to do 3D printing of metals and ceramics will greatly limit the number of companies that want to compete with me. Fortunately I have a student working for me who could be the next John Galt.

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ON THE WEB

I need to update my web site quite a bit, but it's: http://my.fit.edu/~jbrenner
LinkedIn: http://linkd.in/1ocHjmV
Gulch Profile: http://www.galtsgulchonline.com/jbrenner...

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K’s Q & A

*What are you wearing to the Atlas Shrugged III premiere?
I just bought an Atlas Shrugged: Now, Non-Fiction T-shirt (http://store.atlasshruggedmovie.com/offi...).

*What is the one phrase Ayn Rand wrote that stopped you in your tracks?
I would not take it upon my conscience that anything produced by my mind should be used to bring them comfort. - Quentin Daniels

*If you could be the tycoon of an industry, which industry would you pick?
I want to dominate the business of 3D printing of metals and ceramics by making such rapid prototyping printers in the $2000-5000 range instead of in the $200,000-$1,000,000 range.

*What do you pack in a sack lunch?
I don't pack a sack lunch. I either go to my university's dining hall or out to eat.

*Favorite current song?
We Are the Champions is my favorite song because I have no time for losers.
As I write this, my wife is listening to Fool on a Hill by The Beatles. That is a perfect description for people who have blanked out. Taxman by The Beatles describes how I feel about government. When I was in high school, I was the lead singer for a 60's-70's-early 80's rock and roll band, but I couldn't turn it into a day job. I have a fairly broad range of music that I like, but I do not like anything since about 1987.

*Pretzels or chips?
Chips

*Crab or shrimp?
Shrimp

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Read how you can be featured in Galt’s Gulch as a Producer of the Week: http://www.galtsgulchonline.com/posts/51...


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  • Posted by  $  ObjectiveAnalyst 2 years, 11 months ago
    Congratulations JBrenner,
    It is most deserved. I have found your presence and contributions most encouraging.
    Best Regards,
    O.A.
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    • Posted by  $  jbrenner 2 years, 11 months ago
      Thank you, ObjectiveAnalyst. I find myself agreeing with you as much as anyone here in Atlantis. I try to be encouraging, but perhaps more outside the GulchOnline than inside. In my non-online life, most people like me because I have boundless enthusiasm and really enjoy life. I don't care whether they like me or not; they just do. Here in the Gulch, however, I find it harder to be consistent with my generally optimistic nature because in Atlantis, A = A.

      I am looking forward to selling you a 3D printer of metals so that you can do your dyemaking so much faster ... and then have you tell me how I can improve it.
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      • Posted by  $  ObjectiveAnalyst 2 years, 11 months ago
        Hello jbrenner,
        I find your optimism infectious and I need it! :)
        I wish you the greatest of success. I also hope your machines don't put me out of business quite yet. I still have a few more years I have to work before retirement thanks to our pathetic economy.
        Best Regards,
        O.A.
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        • Posted by  $  jbrenner 2 years, 11 months ago
          It will be a few years before my 3D printer of metals would hit the market, so you don't need to worry.

          I'll try to be the local optimist around here. Yes, our economy is pathetic, but there are nice little corners of the world where one can live Galtish values and prosper at least well enough ... for now.
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          • Posted by  $  ObjectiveAnalyst 2 years, 11 months ago
            Good to know. A few questions: What kind of surface finish do you expect to achieve? What accuracy is achievable (thousandths per inch)? Will this machine be able to print aluminum? What is the expected envelope (XYZ) for the first machines?
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            • Posted by  $  jbrenner 2 years, 11 months ago
              Right now 3D printers are about 7 feet high x 20 feet wide x 2 feet deep. My goal is to merge the following:

              http://www.ebay.com/itm/40W-CO2-LASER-EN...

              and a mini version of

              http://www.ebay.com/itm/161200740409?_tr...

              If you buy the latter printer this week, bear with my buddy, Martin Gallagher. Martin is a one-person company and is guiding 20-some students through a 3D printing camp at my university this week.
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              • Posted by  $  ObjectiveAnalyst 2 years, 11 months ago
                The travel/printing envelope for the Gbotz - G200P 3D Printer is X,Y,Z, 8in.x8in.x8in. You will need to do much better to put me out of business. :) I produce dies that small, but most are larger and I can and do produce ones that measure as much as 30x30x45. Occasionally I produce them even larger but must make extra setups and they are rare.
                I feel better already. LOL
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                • Posted by  $  jbrenner 2 years, 11 months ago
                  ObjectiveAnalyst, the metals printer I will make will have a smaller print space even than that, at least at first. The biggest printing envelope I deal with in one of GBotz's other printers is about 16x16x32.
                  30x30x45 is going to be for professional use only, but for models, which is what 3D printing is mostly for, you can do a scale model rather easily. These printers really aren't meant to be production units.
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  • Posted by LetsShrug 2 years, 11 months ago
    Congratulations Jbrenner! :) ("No time for losers". Good one.)
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    • Posted by  $  jbrenner 2 years, 11 months ago
      AJAshinoff's update on Queen last week definitely hit home for me. I modeled my singing after the eclectic combo of Freddie Mercury (Queen), Steve Perry (Journey), Dennis DeYoung (Styx), and then some real old school: Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Andy Williams.

      Recently WinterWind and I had a debate in a different thread about whether or not everyone should hear the merits of Objectivism. We agreed that it is our responsibility to tell others about Objectivism, but it is not our responsibility to "make them agree with Objectivism". We can sow and water, but we can't make them grow into Objectivists. They have to do it for themselves. If they choose to ignore the merits of Objectivism, I have no further time for such losers.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 2 years, 11 months ago
    I am happy just knowing persons like you exist. Since retiring, I have become a bit of a troglodyte, but when I was out and about, I often felt as if I were an alien. However, every now and then, I'd find someone to admire. He or she could be anyone from a dentist to a purveyor of hot dogs, but they all had the same characteristics of loving what they do and being very good at it.
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  • Posted by dbhalling 2 years, 11 months ago
    Very interesting. I have worked on/with 3D printing since the first ideas of cutting layers of material with a CNC machine and then laminating the layers. Very fascinating area.

    The toughest part of AS for me to accept originally was the idea that governments should not fund science. I was disabused of that notion a few short years later in grad school.
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    • Posted by  $  jbrenner 2 years, 11 months ago
      Regarding government funding of science, this answer came a close second in how much AS affected my life. Before reading AS in 2008/2009, I didn't like submitting proposals for government grants, but I did so every once in a while nonetheless. Being a professor and not writing proposals to government as expected is VERY difficult. It is like trying to turn a hex bolt with the wrong size wrench. It can be done, but not easily or well. I have tried to self fund as much as possible because I want the IP for myself, but some things just are out of my price range. I do work with several regional companies. In a lot of ways that is easier than working with government. Quite a few years prior to reading AS, I worked for three years at a government lab. It was a conflicted time. I enjoyed the work and was highly productive, but I didn't like being a moocher. Finding a job in my field was quite hard then, and frankly still is. I then worked for a year at a company where officially my job was to consolidate America's supply of a nuclear isotope of hydrogen and make it far safer. I did make it safer, but certainly never wanted it to be used for its intended purpose. I could see myself turning into ... Floyd Ferris! I knew that had to change. Coming to Florida Tech gave me the opportunity to do what I liked doing without any significant interference from anyone else and without any of the contradictions that I had before.
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  • Posted by  $  richrobinson 2 years, 11 months ago
    Congrats Jb. Good luck on the business ventures. I enjoyed reading about them even though I didn't understand most of it. Impressive accomplishments.
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    • Posted by  $  jbrenner 2 years, 11 months ago
      I've enjoyed it all so far. The tissue scaffolding project really could change aging a lot. If you had (or have) a diseased or decaying organ, how would you fix that? Replacement is the current option, but immune rejection is a major problem. What I am working on gives us hope that our diseased tissues and organs could be repaired ... by our own cells, plus a polymer of milk. And yes, for the lactose intolerant, we can make tissue scaffolding from other polymers, too.
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  • Posted by  $  JCLanier 2 years, 11 months ago
    Ciao jbrenner:
    Your work has much to offer to many... I hope you have that sacred place where you can replenish your spirit and regain momentum if ever you should encounter some underhanded, fatal blow dealt by a governmental organization. I can read your enthusiasm, your passion and your perseverance that you give to your chosen art and nothing can be achieved without these ("The only man never to be redeemed is the man without passion"- Ayn Rand)

    Be bold, be audacious but "tie your camel"- protect your mental assets from those who would profit by defrauding you. In your field it is not uncommon.

    Thank you jbrenner because you will surely succeed and I quote Rand here..."Because the sight of an achievement was the greatest gift a human could offer to others".

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    • Posted by  $  jbrenner 2 years, 11 months ago
      The place where I come to replenish my spirit and regain momentum .... is HERE!

      I have been too generous about an idea when I was a grad student. I wrote an e-mail to a professor at another institution about an idea for an improvement on his catalyst. I saw most of the first paragraph of my e-mail in his next paper just over a year later.
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  • Posted by  $  straightlinelogic 2 years, 11 months ago
    Congrations Mr. Brenner. I have enjoyed your many comments and our back-and-forth, and I'm glad you liked my book, since you have no time for losers. Keep up the good work!
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    • Posted by  $  jbrenner 2 years, 11 months ago
      I have learned much about the precious metals market from you, in addition to the financial history of my favorite era of US history (the late 1800's). I need that precious metals knowledge. Not only do I have some invested in gold as a hedge, the earnings on that is kind of like an endowment for my research interests. Moreover, one of the research areas I didn't mention was a gold nanoparticle-based cancer detection project. I make the particles along with a colleague, and let him handle the biomedical testing.
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  • Posted by kathywiso 2 years, 11 months ago
    Congratulations Jbrenner..as little time as I have had to spend in here, I have recognized you as actively involved and of the same philosophy...I love the Quentin Daniel's quote.. You have earned this reward and I know you will make your future goals a reality, much earned Success to you :-)
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  • Posted by conscious1978 2 years, 11 months ago
    Jim, although my time in the Gulch has been short, I have come to respect your opinions and delivery. The teacher in you shows and is appreciated. Congratulations, Q. ;)

    John J.
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    • Posted by  $  jbrenner 2 years, 11 months ago
      I do my best. Thanks, conscious1978. Would you believe that my undergrad thesis advisor told me I would never make a good professor because of my lack of eloquence? I took it as a personal challenge.
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  • Posted by  $  jbrenner 2 years, 11 months ago
    I think I had to truncate some of the good part about my past biofuels business. A colleague who was born in Poland and labored behind the Iron Curtain for many years before tasting freedom in his 50's was the heart of the company. You could put any hydrocarbon into his plasma arc reactor and get syngas (CO and hydrogen) as an intermediate. My job was to prepurify the feed and design a process to convert the syngas into either fuel, energy, or preferably chemicals. We sold the business when it became clear that our guilt-ridden customers were going to solar (following Obama) to absolve their consciences from their guilt rather than biofuels.

    I also had to edit down a section about a small business to make biosensors. I was asked to be VP for sensor development and one of the early partners. We made an alternate to the EPT pregnancy test kit and were going to mass produce at $1-2 per kit vs. $15 for EPT. EPT heard about us and bought us out. I wasn't all that upset because our company's president was starting to promise things that we expected to be able to deliver in several months, but hadn't proven yet.
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  • Posted by  $  fivedollargold 2 years, 11 months ago
    A couple of years ago, $5Au saw a 3D printer demonstrated and wasn't impressed until discovering that many different materials could be used. With that epiphany $5Au has been buying common stock of these and related companies. Congrats on your recognition in the Gulch and good luck with your research.
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  • Posted by  $  stargeezer 2 years, 11 months ago
    I'm amazed at your accomplishments for a guy as young as you appear in your photo. Now if you reply that that was your college ID photo 25 years ago, I'll be disappointed. ;v)

    Congrats on being on the cutting edge with the 3D bio-printing tech. I was just reading some popular lit. about that with regards to "growing" organs for transplants and a particular area of interest for me, tissue for burn grafts. (my brother-in-law suffered 3rd degree burns on 50%+ of his body in an industrial explosion) That's all heady stuff for my little brain to wind around, but I'm sure you know far more than I ever will about it.

    3d printing of ceramics is a area that I have been exploring a bit, but I'd love to find out just where you are with it. The industrial applications are incredible and the uses for ceramic seals as are use in the space program will open lots of doors in the future.

    And again I say, such a young gentleman........ :v)
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    • Posted by  $  jbrenner 2 years, 11 months ago
      The photo is from 2005. I am 47 years old now. I was 38 then. Sorry to disappoint you. I've gained a little weight since then. I don't like getting my picture taken, but that one is probably the best since my wedding.

      While most of my "bio" group is focusing on 3D bioprinting, I do have one project that I have a grad student refurbishing a biolistic gun (or gene gun). The idea is to fire Au nanoparticles coated with one's own DNA into the dead tissue (burnt skin in your case) with > 1000 psi helium. The Au nanoparticles remove the dead cells from the extracellular matrix, and then the DNA that surrounded the Au is used to repopulate the tissue with one's own stem cells.

      The following Youtube link isn't mine, but it is the inspiration for this student's project:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXO_ApjK...
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      • Posted by  $  stargeezer 2 years, 11 months ago
        Awesome stuff bro. Just one of these days I'll kick back with all the other geezers in "da home" and watch TV as you get a Nobel Prize for keeping us kicking! :)

        I just had a thought come to mind - what about repair of Spinal cord tissue? I know how we've been told that it can't be repaired in a natural manner so that the synax align correctly, is it possible that a new cord might be "grown" in this manner? Talk about Frankenstein stuff! Or perhaps what a Star Trek sort of surgery that would be.
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        • Posted by  $  jbrenner 2 years, 11 months ago
          Spinal cords can be fixed now. If you have ever seen either St. Augustine grass or cucumbers grow, you'll see they grow horizontally. Like cucumbers, nerves send out "little shooters" that look for a place to be tied down onto. What you have to do is build a bridge for the nerve to grow along. The expert on spinal cord regeneration is Samuel Stupp of Northwestern.

          http://stupp.northwestern.edu/
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