New NSF Grant for Mobile Additive Manufacturing Platform

A small community college campus located in Somerset, Kentucky is driving state-of-the-art advances in the field of Additive Manufacturing (AM). With the leadership of Additive Manufacturing Professor Eric Wooldridge, the campus offers several AM courses and a certificate, conducts outreach activities to drive awareness, and runs other funded projects including a new metal Additive Manufacturing capability (see resource links at end of post).

ATE PI - Somerset Community College
Mobile Additive Manufacturing Platform Team (Left to Right): Elaine Kohrman, Ismail Fidan, and Eric Wooldridge

The National Science Foundation has just announced a new grant award to Somerset Community College (SCC), led by Professor Wooldridge, to establish a Mobile Additive Manufacturing Platform to enhance the innovation and entrepreneurship infrastructure in both Tennessee and Kentucky.

In this recent announcement, Dr. Ismail Fidan, Professor of the Department of Manufacturing and Engineering Technology and College of Engineering-Faculty Fellow in Innovation and Techno-Entrepreneurship at Tennessee Technological University, has joined forces with Eric Wooldridge (Principal Investigator) and Elaine Kohrman (Co-Principal Investigator) to create a mobile additive manufacturing platform to aid the future workforces of Tennessee and Kentucky.

Both Wooldridge and Kohrman are professors at Somerset Community College (SCC is part of the Kentucky Community and Technical College system). 

In an interview with Professor Wooldridge, he explained that the “Mobile AMP grant is our solution for getting tech momentum around Additive Manufacturing (AM). The more practitioners, users [we have] the more momentum and the more resulting innovations will occur. We’ll be training teachers, companies (through workforce development programs), and, of course, students.”

They want to take students and the entrepreneur-minded to go beyond “printing keychains and trinkets.” This AM training is “getting them used to high-end equipment and advanced design software — additive projects that make something real, solves a real problem, creates a real product,” Wooldridge said.

A key aspect of the Mobile AMP grant is the use of a vehicle with a trailer enabling the movement of  specialized equipment to off-campus sites. This trailer will allow educators to get the equipment safely to schools and locations, optimizing time  and minimizing risk.. The goal “is to add several printers for scaling production and show the capacity for short run production where a person can design something and have 8-10 printers producing products overnight,” Professor Wooldridge explained.

You can keep up with what this new grant project is doing through a new YouTube channel the Somerset team has created: The Additive Guru. They focus on short videos on equipment reviews and best practices, with lab techs and students contributing.

If Professor Wooldridge’s name is familiar, you may remember AM News recently profiled his work developing a 3D Printing Technician Certificate at SCC. Plus, in February of this year, he was part of the Golden Eagle Additively Innovative Lecture Series, an online webinar event that reaches people around the world. Professor Wooldridge’s lecture focused on his 3D printing technician certificate work at SCC. His lab and accomplishments have been recognized and appreciated by the Governor of Kentucky.

Dr. Fidan, of course, is a regular mention here on AM News for his projects serving the global additive manufacturing community. The most recent includes a new type of 3D printer: Tennessee Tech Launches New Mobile Multitasking 3D Printer (A new printer called the TechBot).

Stay tuned here on AM News in the coming school year for SCC and TTU innovations leading the Additive Manufacturing educational community.

Additional Resources

The Lane Report: Somerset Community College adds metal additive manufacturing technology.

From the NSF Award page: “The overarching goal of the project is to enhance workforce development opportunities in additive manufacturing for high school students, community college students, incumbent workers, and manufacturers in underserved regions of Kentucky and Tennessee. Two courses will be developed to include advancements in powder-based printer and metal printer applications. These courses will be integrated into the existing curriculum for the 3D Printing Technician-Level 1 certificate at the institutions. These courses will cover topics such as improved product topology, metal sintering production, advanced composite materials, and generative design concepts and techniques. Customized curriculum on these topics will also be developed and offered in workshops for high school students and incumbent workers.

Workshop on AR, VR, MR, xR in the Manufacturing World from SME

There is a growing interest in virtual reality (VR) as well as related realities, such as augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), and the new “xR” in this week’s SME webinar stands for “extended reality.” 

VR Workshop Edmonds 2018
VR Workshop Edmonds 2018

More info on the SME webinar: AR, VR, MR, xR in the Manufacturing World takes place this Thursday, August 22, 2019 at 2:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time. 

This week, the TEAMM project is also hosting a two-day, in-person workshop on using virtual reality technology as a classroom tool. It will be hosted at Edmonds Community College on August 21 and 22 at Monroe Hall. The 2-day workshop is sponsored by Manufacturing Education Using Virtual Environment Resources (MANEUVER), an NSF project, and will be covering VR-based digital manufacturing (DM) instruction modules. You can read about last year’s workshop here: Virtual Reality Workshop For Digital Manufacturing Education. Photos in this post are from that workshop.

According to the SME webinar web page, “Industry 4.0” and “Smart Factories” initiatives have created expectations for implementation of Augmented, Virtual, and Mixed Realities (AR, VR, MR) with little explanation of the desired effect of employing the technology.

  • When should we use augmented reality?
  • Will AR achieve the same benefits as VR?
  • What extended reality (xR) platform best addresses your engineering needs?

In this session, we will define these disparate technologies and work together to identify where they apply to your enterprise.

Eric Kam is the Marketing and Alliances Director, Manufacturing Business Channel with ESI-Group and will present the webinar. 

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.