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

TEAMM Network Principal Investigator Mel Cossette Reports On Materials Education

According to Forbes and the Wohlers Report 2019, the additive manufacturing forecast for 2020 is $15.8 billion for all AM products and services worldwide. The company expects that revenue forecast to climb to $23.9 billion in 2022, and $35.6 billion in 2024.

Mel Cossette at Edmonds Workshop

This year the report is at 369 pages. Wohlers Report 2019 draws upon expertise of 80 authors and contributors located in 32 countries. Wohlers Associates also received input from 127 service providers, 71 manufacturers of industrial systems, and 30 producers of desktop 3D printers and third-party materials around the world. It is filled with insights and data, such as,

  • Benefits and challenges of designing for AM
  • The overall materials segment of the industry saw record growth in 2018. A great deal of research and development was carried out in this area in 2018, particularly on high-performance thermoplastics.

Among the important trends, particularly relevant to the Technician Education in Additive Manufacturing & Materials (TEAMM), are knowledge and skills development, and materials development, as well as industry standards. In addition to these AM trends, among the 80 authors in the report, the TEAMM Network’s Principal Investigator, Mel Cossette, contributed a section within Part 7: Research and Development of the Wohlers Report 2019.

Ms. Cossette provided an overview of the TEAMM project summarizing some of its work over the last year, including:

      • “The role of materials development in advancing AM process capabilities is vital. With newly developed materials available for 3D printing, it is important for AM technicians to understand the properties they can provide.”
      • Highlights of TEAMM’s work with the AM News blog on the 4TEAMM.org website.
      • The TEAMM Network facilitates the delivery of annual workshops and presentations focused on AM and materials.
      • TEAMM and Tennessee Tech collaborated with Purdue University to develop and present a virtual reality curriculum using VR as a tool to teach AM.

Edmonds VR Workshop

With the AM industry on a radical growth curve, heading toward a big jump in overall revenue of $15.8 billion for all AM products and services worldwide in 2020, TEAMM and its Network partners are in a good place for serving the needs of AM and Materials Science technicians.

NOTE: Wohlers Associates is also a TEAMM Network member.

Intelitek Is Making A Difference In AM And Technician Education

AM News is highlighting different Network members to show how they are making a difference in additive manufacturing and technician education. TEAMM Network member, Intelitek, is making a difference in increasing and improving robotics and STEM curricula around the USA and the world.

Intelitek provides educational institutions with interactive technological learning environments.

According to their website, their innovative and award-winning educational initiatives have “helped students from middle and high schools to post-secondary institutions gain crucial career building skills that will ensure their future employability.” Their programs have been taught in in over 50 countries, educating students in over 26,000 schools, labs and institutes, and teaching over 500 different training topics. In the short YouTube video below, you can get a quick overview.

For example, they provide project-based learning curricula to many of the community colleges in states that have dual enrollment programs. Dual enrollment is when high school students can enroll in a nearby community college earning their Associates degree at the same time they complete their high school requirements. Here in Washington State, where the TEAMM Network is based, our program is called Running Start.

In New York State, Intelitek helps the Adirondack Community College / High School program known as BOCES, offer a project-based learning program that features hands-on activities with industrial-level manufacturing equipment. Students can access online curriculum that is integrated with projects that use classroom hardware for topics like CAD, precision measurement, mechanical systems and electrical systems.

The BOCES program also helps students prepare for the well known MSSC certification exams, such as the Certified Production Technician (CPT) and representatives from the program expressed that the Intelitek courses help students get ready for them.

Intelitek has been transforming education and bringing robotics into classrooms across the globe through comprehensive technology learning solutions for more than 30 years. Their specialized focus on training systems for advanced manufacturing gives educators an advantage in their teaching. In addition to the core STEM offering, they have add-on modules for robotics, 3D printing, energy systems, and other manufacturing-oriented topics.

We are honored to have them as a member for the great work they are doing in producing results for students and teachers.

If you are interested to learn more about integrating STEM into your curriculum, download this 2019 white paper on How to Make STEM Part of the Mainstream Curriculum.

Met-L-Flo Adds Value To Technician Education In AM

With its heritage as the second largest manufacturing city in the U.S., for much of the 20th century, Chicago was well known for metal fabrication. Although large manufacturing plants with booming smokestacks are a stereotypical image for the industry, much of America’s manufacturing output came from small and midsize family-owned businesses. Their impact was far from small: From electrical machinery to iron and steel products, machine tools to fabricated metals, Chicago sold manufactured goods all over the world.

UPDATE 15APR: At AMUG this year, Met-L-Flo tied for First Place with its entry of the “Master Chief” print. Congratulations to Bill Braune and the team.

Met-L-Flo ties for First Place Award at AMUG 2019 with "Master Chief"
Met-L-Flo ties for First Place Award at AMUG 2019 with “Master Chief”

As manufacturing shifts to more advanced methods, it is not surprising to find that only an hour straight west of Chicago sits a well-known voice in the world of additive manufacturing (AM). Met-L-Flo is a 3D printing and rapid prototyping service bureau headed by Carl Dekker, President of the company, and active advocate in two of the most prominent AM organizations: the ASTM F42 Committee and the Additive Manufacturing Users Group known as AMUG.

AMUG Board 2018 2019
Newly elected AMUG Board. Front row (L to R): Mark Barfoot, Leslie Frost, Carl Dekker and Tom Sorovetz. Back row (L to R): Vince Anewenter, Jamie Cone, Paul Bates, Todd Grimm and Gary Rabinovitzrof
   Note: You can read the full news post on the AMUG Board here.

Met-L-Flo Engineering was founded in 1969 as a consulting firm for the metal forging industry. Carl Dekker, current president of the company, introduced Additive Manufacturing in 1991 and Met-L-Flo, the service bureau, was born. The service company offers a wide range of rapid prototyping methods; rotational molding/casting, fiber-reinforced plastics, composites, and vacuum/thermoforming. Their services also include most of the leading additive technologies (3D Printing) in SLA, SLS, FDM, Direct Metal and Polyjet.

Carl served as the Chairman and Past Chairman (current) on the ASTM Committee F42. He is now serving as a vice president for AMUG.  With a background in additive manufacturing and his work on international standards, it makes a lot of sense that Carl would join the TEAMM Coordination Network.

With the Technician Education in Additive Manufacturing & Materials (TEAMM) project working to address critical gaps in technician education involving additive and materials science, having someone deeply familiar with the ASTM skills standards is essential to helping support the TEAMM Network. We are happy to have Carl and Met-L-Flo involved and sharing the value of higher skills for technicians.