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Joseph Nuhfer
Professor Bret Zawilski
RC 2001-410
8 December 2015
Rhetorical Analysis: CSAIL vs. Wired on the MultiFab
Massachusetts Institute of Technologys Computer Science division has developed a new
version of the 3-D printer that can do its job in a more efficient way than previous incarnations,
and also at a very small fraction of the previous costs. MIT CSAIL (the name of their division)
have named their machine MultiFab, and are very excited about the advancements that its
introduction proposes. In their academic paper, they have presented a very detailed description
of their new machine and its facets, and have even included descriptions of previous 3-D printers
for comparison. A news article on a website titled Wired has covered the story, simplifying
the scientific text into terms that are much more understandable for the common passive 3-D
printing enthusiast. Both pieces of rhetoric have a set of purposes; one strives to explain
complex and important findings to other members of the scientific discourse community on 3-D
printing in order to prove their concept, while the other aims to simplify the material so that
casual Internet users may be educated on the findings as well. This analysis will discuss the
strategies that each author (or set of authors) employs to accomplish these purposes.
The exigence for the news article is actually the creation of the scientific paper by the
CSAIL scientists. Wired aims to get their own iteration of the report on the new 3-D printer out
to the Internet public, so that they may bring to light the new scientific discovery in ways that the
scientific paper cannot. Their exigence is the need to translate the specialized knowledge to the
casual audience, so that they can understand it too. They act upon the exigence by grabbing the

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attention of their audience. They make sure to equip their article with an attention grabbing title,
MITs Multi-Material 3-D Printer Isnt Crazy Expensive (Barrett), so that the audiences
attention may be caught by the catchy title, and that they may be clued in on what is on display
in the article. The authors were sure to pick a title that makes a pathos appeal to the casual
audience; the average reader most likely has an urge to eventually have their own state-of-theart 3-D printer, and this title appeals to their longing, and makes them more likely to inform
themselves on the findings. This title will most likely appear wherever the article is linked from,
whether it be their own website or social media outlets.
CSAIL, on the other hand, has a much different exigence. CSAILs has to do with a
large scientific need for a cost-effective 3-D printer; the typical 3-D printer, such as the
Stratasys Objet Connex, cost around $250,000 as stated by Barrett (a price range way out of the
range of even most high-paid scientists). A cost-effective alternative would draw a lot scientific
attention, as it has. This will help these scientists gain further reputation in their discourse
community, as well as help them gain more money for funding further creations and
experiments. Their title lends itself as more of a very brief informative introduction to their
paper, instead of attempting to be an eye-grabber, because by publishing their paper theyve
already captured their audiences attention. MultiFab: A Machine Vision Assisted Platform for
Multi-material 3D Printing (Sitthi-Amorn, p. 1) is a title that explicitly states the name of the
machine and its purpose. This will give others in the 3D printing scientific discourse community
a brief idea to build off of as they further read the article.
Each piece of rhetoric features a specific type of language intended to both keep its
respective audiences attention and be easily legible for the audience. The CSAIL paper uses
lots of scientific jargon that can be understood only by the computer science community, such as

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piezoelectric (Sitthi-Amorn, p. 1), stepper motor (Sitthi-Amorn, p. 3), and warp/weft
patterns (Sitthi-Amorn, p. 10). The Wired article, on the other hand, uses simple language for
the casual reader such as crazy-expensive, off-the-shelf, and spews out (Barrett). The
language of the pieces of the rhetoric reveals something of great importance about their
respective rhetorical strategies: CSAIL intends to fully describe their machine, with the hopes
that those in their discourse community will be experienced and knowledgeable enough to fully
understand how it works, whereas Brian Barrett of Wired intends to give the simplest possible
explanation of the idea of the machine, so that casual readers will be able to have a concept of
what is going on without understanding all of the scientific jargon involved. This helps them
further succeed in their greater purpose of translating the specialized knowledge to the casual
Just like each pieces language, each writing also features specific organization and
arrangement that intends to help it succeed in fulfilling its purpose. The CSAIL paper, in order
to succeed in its purpose of proving its concept to the reader fully, is organized in a sort of
unfolding style. The explanation unfolds as it goes on. It starts out with the title, then an
Abstract that explains in more detail what the paper will describe, and then is followed by an
Introduction that explains in even more detail the contents of the rest of the work. As the
explanation unfolds, the scientist reading the paper gets a more and more detailed explanation of
the machine. With the exception of the Previous Work section, which serves as background
for the reader who may possibly not be familiar with the history of 3-D printing (and also serves
to show how much more optimal the new printer is than the older models), the rest of the article
is dedicated to describing how the machine works in the greatest detail possible. It is further
separated in headers, such as 3. Hardware Architecture and 4. Software Architecture, whose

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sections are even further divided into sections with headers like 3.3 Material Feeding
Subsystem and 4.2 Feedback Loop. These sections are divided this way so that the authors
may give explanations in deep detail, while still keeping their audience in the right mindset
throughout by keeping their thoughts organized. The authors give colorful, detailed pictures and
diagrams as well, helping to further guide the reader through the concept (Sitthi-Amorn). The
unfolding style of the paper allows the scientist to get a good, solid mindset for how the machine
works, gradually grasping the idea in deeper ways. As stated earlier, this gives the paper its
greatest potential to convey its full concept to its reader, its biggest intention.
The Wired article is written much briefer than the CSAIL paper. It does not feature
sections; it is in one block of information. This is due to the attention span of the casual Internet
user; the average person browsing will not spend very much time reading a scientific article that
they have clicked their way into. This is also due to the Wired readers lack of need to fully
understand the concepts at hand like the readers of the CSAIL paper. They only need a
simplified explanation, so that they get a brief glimpse on the new scientific discovery and
inform others who are also outside the 3-D printing scientific discourse community. The Wired
writers greatest aims are to simplify the topic for the user so that they may clearly understand
the otherwise foreign topic, as well as keep the users attention throughout the rest of the article
(done by using simple language such as clever, greater, and even bum-rushed, and keeping
the article brief), since it is a scientific article that could lose the casual audience if it is
overcomplicated. A YouTube video is also embedded above the text, giving the reader another
outlet of information that will help further keep their attention. The video is official posting
from CSAIL themselves, which shows the MultiFab at work, and features interviews from the
members. Including this also helps to give the readers a clearer look at the topic at hand. After

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watching the video, the user will most likely be more encouraged to read the article below and
get more detailed information.
In addition to the type of language used by the authors, simple or complicated, both
pieces also use their language to target rhetorical appeals to accomplish their purpose. A small
amount of pathos appeal is included in the CSAIL article to help additionally support the
authors work from an emotional standpoint. Use of words and phrases such as great promise,
potential, and opportunity in the Introduction appeal to the discourse communitys hope to
advance technology (Sitthi-Amorn, p. 1). Other uses of words and phrases such as
unfortunately, severe shortcomings, and virtually impossible appeal to the scientists fear
of the not being able to study the 3-D printing subject themselves due to financial constraints,
and allow them to further be appreciate of the new proposed 3-D printers affordability (SitthiAmorn, p. 1). These appeals to pathos placed into the Introduction set up the reader to be
further inclined to support the authors ideas.
As a final act of verifying credibility, The CSAIL paper features many citations in the
text that refer to a list following its conclusion. The authors also choose to list their respective
universities at the top of the paper. Both these decisions by the authors were made to appeal to
their ethos; the authors gain credibility by being well-cited and being from prestigious
universities. The authors also, in spending most of their article logically working through their
machines intricacies, gain a large amount of logos appeal. They use plenty of scientific jargon
as they progress through the printers functions, using step-by-step procedural descriptions,
accompanied by a header structure that groups the ideas logically. The scientists in the discourse
community know that the authors have the ability to go through their concept logically, and are
therefore more likely to follow the ideas presented.

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Brian Barretts Wired article chooses not to include a citation section, but to instead
feature quotes from Javier Ramos, a member of the CSAIL team, and to provide a link to the
CSAIL paper to gain credibility. This serves its purpose, since most casual readers will probably
not look too much into whether they should trust what they are reading; social media readers
have a much smaller demand for ethical appeal. The fact that Wired is a popular casual news
site also contributes to the ethos of the author and the article. Users will recognize the name and
deem the article trustworthy by association. Barrett uses language such as remarkable,
important breakthrough, and most exciting stuff that function as a pathos appeal to the
casual readers yearning to come across knowledge about the most groundbreaking feats in store
for the scientific community. He also gives facts about the MultiFab, and gives quotes from
Javier Ramos explaining further details about it, appealing to logos and encouraging the reader to
continue to follow along with the information at hand.
The Wired article mostly succeeds in its purpose of grabbing the users attention,
encouraging the user to continue reading the scientific article and gain the knowledge, and
encouraging them to consequently share the article to other social media websites so that others
may gain the knowledge as well. Wireds ultimate goal is to spread the word about interesting
topics in the field of science, and this is accomplished successfully here with the use of
simplified language and a user-friendly short-length structure. The CSAIL paper, however, has a
much more broad purpose. It hopes to spread the word about the creation to many others in the
discourse community of scientists working with 3-D printers; the creation of this new printer
serves to revolutionize the affordability of 3-D printing. The authors also hope to further their
reputation among other scientists in their field; they succeed at this by writing a paper that gives
an interested scientist a well-written description of how their machine works, using header-

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centric expanding structure that guides the reader through the detailed information, giving them
the knowledge needed to understand the concept, and be proven of its validity.

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Works Cited
Barrett, B. (2015, August 25). MIT's Multi-Material 3-D Printer Isn't Crazy-Expensive.
Retrieved September 1, 2015, from <>
Sitthi-Amorn, P., Ramos, J., Wang, Y., Kwan, J., Lan, J., Wang, W., & Matusik, W. (n.d.).
MultiFab: A Machine Vision Assisted Platform for Multi-material 3D Printing. The
Computational Fabrication Group. Retrieved September 1, 2015, from