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.

Wohlers Report 2019 Academic Activities Chapter By Dr. Ismail Fidan

Dr. Ismail Fidan from Tennessee Tech University is in the news often. The engineering department professor is actively serving the AM community; from his students at TTU to the larger group of professionals and analysts who read the annual Wohlers Report. Dr. Fidan contributes a thorough chapter each year on the activities and capabilities within academia.

He notes there is a strong and growing demand for workers trained in additive manufacturing. There are many colleges and universities adding certificates and degrees centered on AM processes. Many of these institutions are conducting research and forming industry-level partnerships within AM.

In the report, he states, “Professional survey results and interviews suggest that skill sets developed using AM technologies are vital for graduating students who are entering the workforce. In response to the growing opportunities in the AM job market, interest among students in AM-related design and manufacturing courses has increased significantly.”

“AM provides students with the opportunity to take their designs to the next level by allowing them to get involved in the fabrication stage. In response to this need, the number  of newly established AM- based makerspaces and innovation institutes around the world has grown significantly.”

As a TEAMM Network member, Dr. Fidan is committed to technician education. In approximately 15 pages, in the Academic activities and capabilities chapter, he chronicles the many academic projects and initiatives taking place around the world. It is a veritable Who’s Who in additive manufacturing.

According to his Wohlers Report 2019 chapter, there are 125 academic institutions and 14 research institutes listed along with short summaries of the areas of focus, including the individuals to contact. The 125 academic institutions are located in the following regions:

      • 28 in Asia/Pacific
      • 34 in Europe
      • 57 in North America
      • 6 in Africa and South America

Dr. Fidan has served as a member of the Wohlers Report team for the last three years. In his role, he collects and reports on the worldwide academic AM practices, trends, and innovations. Currently, he is one of the associate authors of the report. TEAMM continues to look to Dr. Ismail Fidan for his thought leadership within AM and education.

Tennessee Tech Launches New Mobile Multitasking 3D Printer

Tennessee Tech University (TTU) announced today that it is launching TechBot, a mobile, multitasking 3D Printer designed, developed and fabricated by TTU faculty and students. TTU has applied for a provisional U.S. Patent on the 3D printer.

Although there are many 3D printers on the market today, the TechBot differs in its mobility. Most printers today demand a rigid frame structure. This new printer is not limited to a traditional work envelope as are other conventional 3D printers –  the user can define and set up their own work surface to print almost any type of material from the paste-based extruder.

TTU TechBot 3D Printer
TTU TechBot 3D Printer

This is another key difference with the TechBot – it does not use traditional 3D printer materials, such as, filament, powder, pellets, or resin that are commonly used in several other additive manufacturing processes. It has a paste-based method, using a syringe, to dispense any paste type material on any X and Y direction. It can do 200mm in height on the Z axis.

The team has found a number of uses and applications for this Mobile printer:

      • Using the TechBot mobile multitasking platform to develop a mobile tape applicator for multi-purpose gyms. This will result in a quick and precise method to convert a multi-purpose gym floor from a basketball court to a volleyball court.
      • The TechBot platform can also be used to incorporate a fast drying paint extruder to paint team logos onto arena floors. During Sports tournaments, the TechBot could paint both team logos onto an arena floor within minutes. This paint can be removed with the appropriate dissolver.
      • Another application for the TechBot platform is in the construction industry to extrude grout between tile gaps.

Other applications are being explored, across a wide range of areas, such as, 3D food printing (think cakes, pies, desserts) to circuit boards. The team has also looked into the printing of concrete structures with the TechBot. 

The TechBot is designed to incorporate 4 omnidirectional wheels at the corners which greatly improves the print accuracy. The extrusion head is incorporated within the frame of the TechBot, this makes it possible for one z-axis to be capable of printing multiple materials using different extrusion methods. The TechBot is also offered as a do-it-yourself (DIY) kit (assembly required).

TechBot is funded through NSF Award 1601587, Additive Manufacturing Workforce Advancement Training Coalition and Hub (AM-WATCH). Research Team Members are:

The TechBot team also received technical support from Ed Tackett (University of Louisville), Amy Elliott (Oak Ridge National Laboratory), Tom Singer (Sinclair Community College), and Mel Cossette (Edmonds Community College).

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Technical specs of the TechBot

  • Size: X-37cm Y-37cm Z-66cm
    • Max printing area: X-unlimited Y-unlimited Z-200mm
  • OmniWheels: 60mm diameter
  • Syringe Extruder: Uses a 150mL syringe
  • Driven by a 40mm Nema 17 motor with a 27:1 gear ratio
    • Lead screw is used for the up and down motion
  • Syringe Extruder frame was designed in house
    • Utilizes a filament run out sensor
  • Board: MKS GEN L V1.0 Board
    • Runs on marlin code
  • Stepper Motors: 4x 48mm Nema 17 stepper motors
    • Using Nema 17 motor mounts
  • Frame: 2020 aluminum extrusion
    • Size: 32cm x 32cm x 40cm
  • Aluminum corner brackets and right angle plates for a perfectly square frame
    • Z Axis: 34mm  Nema 17 stepper motor turning a lead screw for z axis movement
    • Supported by 2 linear guide rails with linear bearings