Guitar Building For Veterans In Puget Sound

On Veterans Day weekend, and on the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One, the STEM Guitar Building Institute team came out to serve veterans in the Puget Sound region of Washington State at Edmonds Community College.

Here are a few of the photos from the veteran participants this year.

The STEM Guitar Building Institute does a remarkable job of training educators on how to use guitars as a way to teach science, technology, engineering, and math. In fact, the project has been in 47 States and three countries outside the USA: Canada, Colombia, and Australia. They are producing more than 1,700 guitar kits each year.

What Is The Guitar Building Institute?

According to the website:

“The National STEM Guitar Project, in partnership with NSF Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Centers with funding provided through a grant from The National Science Foundation hosts innovative Guitar Building Institutes throughout the US. Five-day institutes, combined with additional instructional activities comprising 80 hours, provide middle, high school, and postsecondary faculty training on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) applications as they relate to the guitar. The institutes present and teach participants hands-on, applied learning techniques to help engage students and spark excitement for learning STEM subject matter.”


Upcoming Materials In Stem (M-STEM) Workshop At University Of Alabama at Birmingham

Rockets and toothpicks do not seem to be related, but at this year’s upcoming M-STEM Workshop, hosted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, STEM educators will find out how each one of these topics, plus many others, can help educators share how materials science can weave into every aspect of learning.

Over three decades, Materials in STEM (M-STEM), has served as a resource and aid to educators looking to add new ideas, hands-on projects and experiments, demonstrations and keynotes from professionals and other educators. During this two day, intensive workshop, on November 5 and 6, 2018, participants will gather to interact and connect with a wide range of experts. Three of the most popular past sessions will return for the 2018 event:

  • The Toothpick Factory
  • Teachers with Torches
  • Engineering Rockets

Each session is packed with ideas educators can take directly back to their classrooms and put into action to help students fall in love with STEM topics.

  • Motivating the Unmotivated Learner with STEM
  • Designing Features for Datums (related to 3D printing parts and projects)
  • Damping and Insulative Properties of Natural Fiber Composites
  • Practical Polymers
  • Nano Materials, Light and Water

The program is ideal for secondary and post-secondary faculty. In addition to the keynotes and sessions, there will be a Student Posters exhibit highlighting UAB student work in materials.

M-STEM is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under a larger grant project known as the The National Resource Center for Materials Science Technology Education (MatEdU) based at Edmonds Community College in Washington State.

Register for the M-STEM Workshop here

This year’s event is held at the UAB Hill Student Center (picture above). You can check out the building map here or move around in the 3D photos on Google Maps to look at more photos of the Hill Student Center and the UAB surrounding campus.

Here are a couple of area attractions that participants might find interesting as well:

  • The Civil Rights Tour – Birmingham is one of the most influential locations of the Civil Rights Movement and a visitor could easily fill several days touring important sites.
  • Vulcan Park and Museum with the world’s largest cast iron statue


Additively Innovative Lecture Series At TTU – FALL 2018

For the past couple of years, the Center for Manufacturing Research at Tennessee Tech University (TTU) has been hosting short talks by Additive Manufacturing experts in the field. These lectures are available for students directly on campus in the iMakerSpace in the Volpe Library on campus, but also online in a webinar format from anywhere using the Zoom platform.

Additively Innovative Lecture Series – FALL 2018 Sessions

All lectures are 11:00 – 11:30 am, Central Time

Although it is already passed (Sept 13), the session: “Integrating Additive Manufacturing into CAD Courses” shared by Tom Singer at Sinclair Community College in Dayton Ohio was a popular one. Professor Singer is well known for his STEM Guitar Building Institute where students build an electric guitar during a one-week workshop. The Institute is also a member of the TEAMM Network, sponsor of AM News. There will be a Guitar Building Summit from November 3-5 leading into the upcoming annual M-STEM (Materials in STEM) workshop on November 5 and 6, at the University of Alabama – Birmingham.

Upcoming Additively Innovative Lectures

Thursday, October 11:

–Where’s my Spare Part? Changing Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul through Additive Manufacturing

Brett P. Conner, Youngstown State University, Ohio

Thursday, October 25:

–Design for Additive Manufacturing: The Key to the Industrial Adoption of Additive Manufacturing

Olaf Diegel, Lund University, Sweden

Thursday, November 15:

–Functionally Graded Additive Manufacturing

Eujin Pei, Brunel University London, United Kingdom

Thursday, November 29:

–How to Integrate Additive Manufacturing in Your Production

Benjamin Denayer, The Collective Center for the Belgian Technology Industry, Heverlee, Belgium

The Golden Eagle Additively Innovative Virtual Lecture Series is partially funded by the NSF Award 1601587 “AM-WATCH: Additive Manufacturing-Workforce Advancement Training Coalition and Hub”. For more information contact Ismail Fidan, Ph.D., Professor, Innovation and Techno-Entrepreneurship Faculty Fellow, Manufacturing and Engineering Technology, Tennessee Tech University.

See past presentations in the Additively Innovative Lecture Series Archive which lists over two dozen presentations about 3D printing (additive manufacturing) on a variety of levels and interest areas from dental applications to bioprinting, design thinking to materials science research. Here are just a few of the specific sessions:

  • Dental 3-D Printing Overview, Frank Alifui-Segbaya, Griffith University
  • Free and Easy Software for Designing for 3-D Printing, Tim Gornet, Rapid Prototyping Center, University of Louisville
  • 3-D Printing, Design Thinking, and the Entrepreneurial Mindset, Phan Tran, Center for Architecture, Design, and Engineering, Lake Washington Institute of Technology
  • Making It Work, Marilyn Barger, NSF Florida Advanced Technological Education Center, Hillsborough Community College
  • Content and Curriculum Development Efforts in 3-D Printing, Jesse Roitenberg, Stratasys
  • The Development of a Framework for 3-D Printing, Casting, & Entrepreneurship, Jay Watson, Cookeville High School
  • Mel Cossette and Robin Ballard, National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education
  • Additive Manufacturing Today and in the Future, Terry Wohlers, Wohlers Associates

AM News covered the Spring 2018 Additively Innovative Lecture Series here.

Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Celebrates 25 Years

The 25th Anniversary of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program is a reason to celebrate in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education circles.

For 25 years, the ATE program has invested in and grown technician education opportunities around the nation to prepare a “STEM-capable workforce.” That includes many different types of classes, modules, and certificate programs, in addition to traditional two-year degree programs that are already a strong part of the community college system.

Here are just a few of the statistics:

  • $1.1 Billion is the total NSF ATE Investment to date
  • 715 organizations have received ATE funding
  • 61 ATE Centers and 1,294 Projects have been funded by ATE
  • In FY2017, $66 Million Went To 300-plus Active Grants

All of these efforts focus on technician education, across the USA, to help students graduate, but also to help high tech employers in the workforce. Many of the programs highlighted in the annual report called “Impacts” are part of the TEAMM network, which is the sponsor of AM News. Throughout this coming 2018-2019 academic year, we are going to highlight the network member programs as found in Impacts and through direct interviews, when possible.

ATE Impacts explores and reports on seven major categories:

  1. Advanced Manufacturing Technologies
  2. Agricultural and Environmental Technologies
  3. Bio and Chemical Technologies
  4. Engineering Technologies
  5. General Advanced Technological Education
  6. Information and Security Technologies
  7. Micro and Nanotechnologies

Today we will look at one featured Project and one ATE Center:

Featured Project: AM-WATCH (Additive Manufacturing – Workforce Advancement Training Coalition and Hub)

According to Impacts:  “AM-WATCH provides opportunities for secondary school and two-year college students and educators to learn additive manufacturing technologies. More than 700 students were impacted positively by the project from fall 2017 to spring 2018.” It plans to add more locations to its existing 25 learning sites in Tennessee and Washington.

In a recent Train-the-Trainer Studio, educators were taught how to build 3-D printers to help them prepare technicians for additive manufacturing careers.  Results found that educators:

  • 77% increased their ability to design a system, component, or process
  • 80% increased their technical and nontechnical communication skills
  • Educators report AM-WATCH’s Train-the-Trainer Studios improved their performance on specific ABET accreditation skill sets

ATE Center: MatEdU – National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education

MatEdU is well-known as a materials technology education repository for educators and students. It appears in the number one spot for search engine results for a wide variety of materials science terms and directs students and educators to useful resources.

Students can learn about a variety of career pathways in materials science. Educators can find content that helps them plan a variety of lessons, entire courses as well as core competencies documents outlining required depth of proficiency for a range of related subjects, such as, manufacturing technology, corrosion technician, nanotechnologist, and more. Instructional resources include course designs, materials videos, and recommended book lists, to name just a few items from the Instructional Resources page.

Each year, MatEdU organizes a Materials in STEM conference (two days) known as M-STEM that attracts educators and students around the country. This year is hosted by the University of Alabama – Birmingham on November 5 and 6.

* * * * *

You can read more about all of the ATE Centers and many of the featured projects by visiting ATE Impacts where you can download the digital edition (PDF) of ATE Impacts 2018-2019.

From Reality to Digital Manufacturing through Xbox One Kinect At TTU

The Kinect motion sensor (3D scanning) that Microsoft built for its Xbox 360 and Xbox One gaming consoles is a product that never quite caught on. The company discontinued the Kinect product in late 2017, but you can still find them on Amazon or other sites in new, used or refurbished condition.

So, why an update on a discontinued product and what could a gaming motion sensor have to do with digital manufacturing? Well, under the leadership of Professor of Manufacturing Technology Ismail Fidan, students at Tennessee Tech University (TTU) Engineering Department have the answer to that.

While the Kinect was mostly designed for use with the Xbox gaming console, savvy educators, engineers, makers, and hackers realized it also could be used as a real-time 3D scanner to create 3D printable models. A variety of TTU student engineers are using this humble, yet quite functional, sensor as a 3D scanner to do some fun and educational projects. Keep reading if you want to scan someone and turn them into a superhero action figure.

The Kinect has an infrared (IR) camera, which is part of its depth sensor that can stream a real time video projection. But with one more step, it can project those infrared beams at an object and return them to measure the distance to each pixel. This allows you to create a depth map that can be turned into a 3D model.

As professionals, educators, and hobbyists/makers discovered this 3D scanning capability, software quickly emerged to take advantage of this sensor. Many free and low-cost tools reached the market and TTU outlines how they did it.

After you have the Kinect, and it is all set up, you will need the following software programs from Microsoft (3 of 4) and one from Autodesk called Meshmixer to move you from scanning to 3D printing.

You can read more about the project on the TTU Engineering Research and iMakerSpace page.

Instructions on Xbox One Kinect 3D scanning and printing

Scanning instructions

  • Center the person in an area and remove all objects that may interfere with the scan.
  • Have the person stare straight ahead and make as little movement as possible.
  • Open the 3D scan app. There should be a live video from the Kinect on the screen.
  • Optional: adjust the settings of depth, width, and height as needed.
  • Click scan and, while holding the Kinect at chest level, move 360° slowly around the person.
  • At the end of the circle, move the sensor upwards at a tilt to capture the top of the head.
  • When the scan has been completed, click stop, and the scan will process.
    • Other recommendations:
      • Use the timer function if only two are involved.
      • If there is a third person, have them click start and stop manually.
      • The Kinect can work in a dark place, but light will capture more detail.
      • Also, the Kinect cord may not be long enough to go around the person. This can be solved by having the person step over the wire with care.
    • Open the scan to see the result.
    • Take another scan if the scan is not good.
    • Save as an STL file.

Meshmixer Instructions

  • Import the STL scan into Meshmixer.
  • Also, import the incredible body.
  • Slice the head of the Incredible in order to replace it with the scan.
    • This is done by:
      • Click select on the side menu. Then, find a perspective where slicing the head doesn’t affect other areas. Outline the head with the slicer, and clear the selection.
      • (The headless Incredible have been completed and can be loaded already.)
    • If needed, scale the STL scan down by clicking edit, transform and scale.
    • Also in transform, move the file to above the Incredible body.
    • Slice the STL scan to include the head and some of the neck.
    • Move the STL scan to where the Incredible head would be, and scale to have the body proportions balanced.
    • Select both objects, and combine. One of the objects should change color.
    • In the edit panel, make the object solid.
    • Use the sculpt tool to inflate or shrink the intersection of the two files. The bubble smooth tool is also helpful.
    • Once completed, export as an STL file and print.

More Resources on 3D Scanning

In addition to the popular Kinect, there are low-cost alternatives worth a look. Here are three:

The Orbbec Persee ($240)and Astra ($150) are impressive and can be coupled with the low-cost RecFusion software ($99, but has a free trial).

I have tested the Skanect software (free version for non-commercial use), which provided a very easy way to quickly obtain decent 3D scans of nearby objects, including people – but not pets or children because they can’t stay still long enough. Skanect was acquired by Occipital a few years ago and you can use the software with other scanners, such as, the Kinect or, of course, the Structure.

I have also tested the Structure by Occipital ($380) a few years ago and found it useful, but it was at an earlier stage in the product’s development and it didn’t work as well compared to the others. But many people have had great results with it.