STEM Guitar Project Engages Teachers And Students

The Guitar Building Institute, also known as the STEM Guitar project, is regularly mentioned here on AM News because they continue to move STEM forward in exciting ways. Sinclair Community College Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology, Tom Singer, and his team are busy around the USA teaching educators about using guitar building to teach STEM to middle and high school students.

You can read more about their special events for U.S. Military veterans in our 2018 post: Guitar Building For Veterans In Puget Sound.

The STEM Guitar project was first awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant in 2008 and its first classes started in 2009. As they celebrate their first full decade in operation, more than 800 STEM educators have participated in the five day workshops held all around the USA.

According to a recent post in the SME “Humans of Manufacturing” series, in which Tom Singer was profiled, “Students across the country have designed and manufactured 10,000 guitars. STEM teachers from 40 states have either gone through a Guitar Building Institute course or have purchased guitar kits. At Sinclair, the college produces about 1,200 guitar kits a year, making it a mid-tier guitar manufacturer within the industry.”

As an active partner of the TEAMM coordination network, whose mission is to bring together a wide variety of public and private sector stakeholders (for technician education) and improve access to professional development, the STEM Guitar project aligns with and helps TEAMM to fulfill its mission. STEM Guitar, with its team of 22 faculty around the U.S., coordinates faculty training and other non-profit skill building events related to STEM, Guitars, and materials.

While it is recommended and worthwhile to attend the official STEM Guitar workshop, (the staff here at AM News has participated in and documented several of the workshops), the project website at GuitarBuilding.org is loaded with information for educators and individuals, including the complete curriculum. Joining the live workshop gives participants an opportunity to build their own guitar and learn first-hand what is needed to replicate these lessons in the classroom (hint: you need a workshop, benches, tools). The curriculum and project based learning aligns with industry soft and hard skill sets and is crosswalked to K-12 standards

If you click through to the Video area of the site, you will find details on one of the techniques that the STEM Guitar team has perfected: How To Swirl Dip Your Guitar. The “Swirl dipping guitars from down under” link leads you to a YouTube video that gives you a unique view of the process — in the barrel of water looking up into the paint. Plus, you can see some of the amazing guitar finishing (lots of Swirl Paint jobs) results from photographer James Huntington Schuelke’s Flickr profile.

Here is the direct link to the YouTube Swirl Dip Your Guitar video.

TEAMM is always excited to see the progress and success of its members, but it is tough for any organization to match the energy and enthusiasm found in training other educators and middle/high school students. If you need to spark excitement for STEM learning, head over to Tom Singer and his team at STEM Guitar for ideas and inspiration.

SME: Manufacturing And Training For The Future

As they say on their website, SME “stands for manufacturing.” As one of the oldest manufacturing organizations, and a long-standing member of the TEAMM Coordination Network, SME, formerly known as the “Society of Manufacturing Engineers,” does a terrific job of promoting the constantly changing world of manufacturing technology and helping professionals (new and existing), educators, and students, to develop and improve their skills.

SME started in the midst of the Great Depression. 33 tool engineers formed the American Society of Tool Engineers in 1932 in Detroit, Michigan. With thousands of members today, the organization has evolved and continues to provide a wide variety of current resources, training events, and courses (through Tooling U-SME), and internationally recognized events, such as the RAPID-TCT trade show, one of the world’s largest 3D printing conferences.

Back in 2017, AM News profiled the Tooling U-SME Additive Manufacturing Training Courses in addition to a number of different posts about their workforce development programs.

In March of this year, we also talked to TEAMM Collaboration Network member, Dr. Ismail Fidan, who is a professor of Engineering at Tennessee Tech and associate author of the Wohlers Report, updating the annual academic R&D and education trends in additive manufacturing (AM) around the world. You can read more of Dr. Fidan’s insights in this post: Demand Grows For 3D Printing Technician Education At Undergraduate And Graduate Levels (which includes the bullet point about SME’s new AM Technician Certificate.

      • SME: The Additive Manufacturing Technician Certification is ideal for a candidate with a two-year associates degree in additive manufacturing or currently enrolled in a college program, and/or has one or more years of working experience in a manufacturing related field. The prep course covers key roles and responsibilities for an AM technician, the AM process chain, design for AM, material and process selection, secondary processes, and key safety considerations. The certification exam is a three-hour proctored, open-book and open-note exam consisting of 120 multiple choice questions.

As additive manufacturing, and traditional manufacturing, continues to change, organizations like SME can fill the knowledge gaps and help professionals and educators stay at the industry cutting edge. At TEAMM and AM News, we are proud that SME “stands for manufacturing” and that they are part of our network.

Learn more about the many membership benefits at SMEHere are a couple of their specific pages about manufacturing and AM certifications you can earn: 

TTU Engineering Students To Present Posters At SME RAPID + TCT 2019

Each year, the nation’s largest 3D printing event, RAPID + TCT, provides an opportunity for students with its Poster Challenge. The goal of the challenge is to foster student interest in additive manufacturing (AM) and provide the AM engineering community with fresh perspectives and innovative ideas.

The poster competition also creates a forum where attendees can share ideas with peers, gain visibility as a subject-matter expert, and particularly for students, to establish relationships within the industry as they start preparing for their future career.

There is a dedicated exhibits area at this year’s show in Detroit, Michigan (see our tips for getting the most of out of the RAPID + TCT event) where posters will be displayed on Tuesday and Wednesday; open to all event attendees. On Wednesday, May 22, a special Interactive Poster Session is scheduled where the poster presenters (students) will present their work to the judges, interact with guests, answer questions, and discuss the technology/features of their display.

TEAMM Network member, Tennessee Tech University (TTU) Engineering students (Dr. Ismail Fidan’s team) submitted two poster abstracts and both were accepted this year:

  • Universal Bottle Cap Opener design and 3d-printing
  • Thermomechanical analysis of short-fiber reinforced additively-manufactured components

Students are actively working on their poster presentations. This is Dr. Fidan’s team’s first time submitting posters and are learning that the competition pool is large. Still, it is an honor to be accepted and to be in the running for one of SME’s prizes.

Students must provide a description of the design along with supporting figures and photographs. Poster presentations will be judged on several factors, including:

  • Creativity
  • Integrity of analysis
  • Impact on manufacturing cost, quality or performance requirements
  • Quality of the presentation (timeliness, graphics, clarity, spelling and grammar)
  • Poster display — visual representation

Poster abstracts represent research, case studies and/or applications in any of the following areas:

  • 3D imaging & scanning/CT scanning
  • Additive manufacturing applications
  • Additive manufacturing design considerations
  • Application of AM to the aerospace, automotive, consumer products, medical industry, among others
  • Sustainability of AM
  • Applied academic research
  • Direct-Write printed materials and electronics
  • Engineering Education, Outreach, and workforce development
  • Hybrid systems applications
  • Material development and characterization
  • New and emerging additive manufacturing processes
  • Post processing
  • Software modeling/Digital thread

The competition is open to registered students in their junior or senior year of their undergraduate program or graduate-level degree engineering programs. Although this year’s deadline has passed, students and professors can learn more about the Poster Challenge here.

Poster Challenge Prizes & Awards

The posters will be judged and there will be first runner-up, second runner-up and overall winner. Cash prizes and awards, listed below (subject to the quality of the entries), will be presented onstage at RAPID + TCT prior to the keynotes. Two first prize and two second prize winners will be selected from undergraduate and graduate students.

  • First Prize – $750; Second Prize – $500, Third Prize – $250 (Awardees must be present at the Awards Ceremony on Thursday to accept the prizes)
  • First prize and second prize plaques
  • A certificate of achievement
  • A complimentary, one-year SME membership
  • A recognition letter sent to the winners with a copy sent to the university advisor/educator
  • Recognition letter to a student newspaper/technical publication designated by winners

If you are a professional, moving along in your career, make a point of stopping by the Poster Challenge section and meeting some of these ambitious young women and men to help them on their networking and career journey. The AM industry is growing, but still a niche within the larger manufacturing world and one where we can support and encourage our younger peers.

Advice From TEAMM Network Members On How To Prepare For RAPID 2019

As one of the biggest 3D Printing trade shows is about to start, AM News asked its members for tips and ideas to help you get the most from the RAPID + TCT event at the Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan on May 20 through 23. With 6,000-plus registered attendees, over 400 exhibiting companies, and more than 110 conference presentations, there is more than enough to keep you learning new concepts and networking with peers.

There are many compelling reasons people go to the RAPID event each year — mostly, to keep up with the cutting edge changes in 3D printing overall (which are significant on their own), but specifically within medical technologies, metal 3D printing, and the creative, unbelievable artwork, to name but a few. Figuring out how to take it all in is a big challenge with such an enormous tradeshow. Here are ideas to make it manageable.

Dr. Ismail Fidan at Tennessee Tech University highly recommended that attendees get the RAPID mobile app for either iOS or Android. Either one can help you register for conference workshops or peruse the event’s list of 429 exhibitors (at press time).

“Other than educators like me, several industrial and commercial organizations attend so they learn the latest trends and technologies in their specific AM fields. It is a big event and hard to visit all the exhibitors. It is nearly impossible to listen to all the presentations, but with some organizing before you go, you can get a tremendous amount of new knowledge from this must-attend event for almost all STEM educators and practitioners,” he said.

Mel Cossette, Executive Director & Principal Investigator of the National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education, said that she has found it helpful to look at the tracks prior to attending and identifying areas of interest. She then looks at the sessions to find the overlap and plan her event time.

“Also, look at the exhibit floor plan to get a sense of which exhibitors are of high interest, mid-interest and maybe not so much and where they are located. I found I could get tied up with exhibitors that I found personally interesting rather than those that I aligned to the tracks/sessions I was attending or planned to attend. This way I got to the ones I really needed to connect with and then visited others as time permitted,” she advised.

Carl Dekker, founder and President of Met-L-Flo suggested that students and young professionals check out the Career Development Forum to hear Tech Talks from additive manufacturing experts who will discuss their current role, opportunities and share their career journey. The forum is an interactive event designed to enhance career development and grow future generations of leaders in the additive manufacturing industry.

You can learn more and register for the annual RAPID 3D Printing event here.

National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers Offers Apprenticeship Webinar

Hiring technicians with the skills required to work in additive manufacturing continues to be a serious challenge for most companies. Thanks to an innovative new registered apprenticeship program for additive manufacturing technicians, manufacturers have a way to develop and enhance their workforce.

In a free webinar on Thursday, May 2, 2019, TEAMM Network member, the National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers (NCATC), will present details about an upcoming, new apprenticeship training program for 3D Printing Technicians as well as other occupational trade apprentice program opportunities.

You can register for the virtual event at the America Makes and RCBI Apprenticeship Works signup page. It begins at 8am Pacific/11am Eastern.

Apprenticeship-Works RCBI
Apprenticeship-Works RCBI

The “Developing Additive Manufacturing Talent through the Apprenticeship Model” webinar will explore:

    • An overview and information on the additive manufacturing/3D printing technician apprenticeship program
    • How an apprenticeship program can improve your recruitment, retention, and succession planning efforts
    • How apprenticeship increases your company’s productivity and improves quality
    • Features of the new AM technician apprenticeship
    • Benefits to partnering with the Apprenticeship Works program at RCBI

Apprenticeship Works — the National Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship Partnership at the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) — makes apprenticeships more accessible and affordable for employers, helping reduce skills gaps. This national effort is funded by a $4.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor that expands RCBI’s proven apprenticeship model.

According to the website: “Through Apprenticeship Works, RCBI and its team of national partners help companies develop and implement customized, world-class training that combines hands-on, work-based learning with related classroom and online instruction using the highest industry standards, ideal for small, medium and large multi-site operations.”

RCBI is looking for additional partners nationwide to expand apprenticeship opportunities in advanced manufacturing. A primary focus includes innovative pre-apprenticeship programs for women, transitioning military personnel and disadvantaged youth.

There are many occupations to choose from:

  • Additive Manufacturing/3D Printing Technician (example outline)
  • Tool and Die Maker
  • Industrial Maintenance Technician
  • Welding Technician
  • Engineering Assistant
  • Assembly Technician
  • CNC Operator and Programmer
  • Electrician
  • Industrial Manufacturing Production Technician
  • Die Setter
  • Machinist
  • Press Operator
  • Quality Control Technician
  • Robotics Technician
  • Composites Technician
  • Airframe Mechanic
  • Press Brake Operator

This RCBI programs exists thanks to cooperation with the US Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship, under the American Apprenticeship Initiative grant funding. Employers interested in participating in the Group Standards of Apprenticeship and utilizing the related outlines may contact Lucinda Curry at lcurry@rcbi.org or 304.720.7742 (All OJT and related training may be customized to meet employer needs.) This program is available nationwide.

The Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing (RCBI), part of Marshall University in West Virginia, encourages job creation, economic development, innovation and entrepreneurship by supporting manufacturing companies of all sizes. RCBI and America Makes, along with other national partners, collaborated on the first nationally recognized apprenticeship for additive manufacturing technicians, launched in fall 2018.

In addition, RCBI offers Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology with 3D Printers through its Design Works labs and is a national Center of Excellence for composite materials providing support to NASA engineers as well as first-tier Department of Defense suppliers in West Virginia.