The Society for Manufacturing Engineers (SME) is well-known as a resource for engineers, students, and those working in manufacturing. It sponsors many industry events and tradeshows, such as RAPID TCT for 3D printing, WESTEC, and many others.
But fewer people are aware of the community forum that it runs, called SME Connect, that is available to members and non-members alike. Non-members cannot post to the forum, but they can view or read various content posted to it. Many SME members post useful information, but also link back to more details on sites outside of SME Connect as well. So it is often possible to keep up with industry information that you might otherwise miss.
NOTE: Of course, as the TEAMM Network is often involved with various SME events, we encourage those new to the industry to consider membership, too, because SME benefits extend far beyond the community forum.
To give you an idea of the range of topics and activity, we ran a few searches sorted on “most recent” on the main SME Connect page:
Materials Science: 181 results with 71 as events – that means that local chapters post news or other relevant information. There are often national competitions or challenges listed for a term. The remaining 110 (in this search total) are often user-generated posts that might be about a particular technology, a new methodology, or material testing process that another engineer or specialist might want to know about. Since the regional WESTEC show is upcoming in September, details and a link are posted on the community forum.
3D Printing: 103 results with 41 events. Again, it gives you an idea of local or regional activity as chapter meetings are often posted.
Additive Manufacturing (yes, it is often considered synonymous with 3D Printing, but some prefer the AM term and it yields far more additional good information): 556 results with 227 of the total as events. The #2 result is the big SME’s Digital Manufacturing Challenge coming up in February 2018; a good post to read if you are a student.
Technician Education: This search is obviously core to the TEAMM Network and is a growing area of interest for students and educators. It has 119 results with 48 as events. In this search, we found an event notice, held at the SME Toronto office, Impressions of RAPID 2017, about the popular RAPID TCT 3D Printing show that took place in Pittsburgh in May of this year. There is also a popular FAQ in this section that explains how to use the Connections community as a member so that you can find other members, post within the forum and create useful discussions, and technical topics such as searching for specific titles or filetypes.
So, if you find yourself needing more technical or specific information around additive manufacturing or materials science, take a look at SME Connect.
One last thing: You do have to register with email and a username/password, but again, the community forum is free to view or read.