OFM Serial numbers?

I am about to finish my first Voron 2.4 3D printer (https://docs.vorondesign.com). This 3D printer is along the same lines as the OFM project. The website, documentation and forum are similar. As a fun addition, the developers of this open source 3D printer project issue a “serial number” after posting a video of the working printer in a Voron Subreddit.(About Voron -). Perhaps something you might consider?. Cheerios.

It would be really great to have some way people can register a successful build, particularly because it would be fantastic evidence to show our funders what a big impact the project achieves. We have been very reluctant to push anything that would constitute “tracking” though, because many people in the open source community really value privacy, for very important reasons. We’d also need to put together the infrastructure to make it possible to register, and comply with the relevant legislation on personal data, which (as you’ve seen) the University implements with some very rigorous processes…

I’m curious how much data they collect in exchange for a serial number, and what they do with it - things that occur to me in no particular order would be:

  • We could update our map of where OFMs are, with actual numbers
  • We could get a picture of what they are used for (research/teaching/hobby, medical/biological/physical)
  • We could collect more nice images for our gallery
  • We could collect calibration data, to see how well they are working

The last point would be particularly interesting once we have more automated commissioning routines, to make it possible to verify that a microscope I’ve never seen is, nonetheless, working as well as one I’ve put together and tested myself. This is a really interesting challenge for open hardware, and one the OFM community might have some really meaningful things to say about.

Having said all this, I think it’s very important that I make it crystal clear that the OFM software is never going to send user data back to the University without explicit, informed consent, and that it will always be strictly optional to do so.